Monday, March 25, 2013

The Battle for Me

I have been away from this page for some months as I broke the promise to myself to be as transparent as I could.  So, out of my private journal I'll paste my thoughts during the last six months.

I call the first entry "The Battle for Me."-Late July 2012

Lately I have been feeling “some kind of way”. I can’t explain it really. It’s a combination of a burning desire to move forward and a fear of the challenges I know are ahead. I feel a force holding me in one spot. Is it grief, that heaviness on the heart? Is it anger over my my husband's illness and death that has so radically changed me? Is it fear of the work I know is ahead dealing with all the growth and development my son is experiencing and the challenges of dealing with my daughter’s needs with anxiety, ADHD and Dyslexia? Is it loneliness? I’ve been on my own now for nearly 2.5 years and was a caretaker for nearly half my 10 year marriage. I’ve very little memory of a normal marriage with Thomas, very little memory of passion, of real give and take love and team work.

I guess it is all of those things. I’m trying to make some significant positive life changes along with dealing with all of those things. I’m again trying to wrestle us out of the grips of the drive-thru habit, mainly for the health and financial benefits. It hasn’t been easy. My children are used to instant gratification upon arriving home in the evenings. I have to give my son an “appetizer” until I get dinner on the table, but we had a good week, only getting take-out once in 7 days.

I want back the belief I had in myself that was ripped away by those years. I want to truly believe it when I say to myself he lived longer than he would have without me because he undoubtedly did. The best doctors couldn’t save him so why do I feel I failed him? He could have done a lot of things differently, but he’s not experiencing feelings of failure so why should I?  But with years of that life, I began to see myself as less than I am. Then he died while I wasn’t exactly in super caregiver mode. I had been deceived into believing after a variety of experiences that anything less than heroic was failure. That was wrong. I'm not a robot. I’m a woman with normal feelings, normal needs, normal desires, normal dreams and those were/are just as important as anyone else’s and they can't be turned on and off for convenience.

I don’t know when I gave my power away. Was it when I fell in love with him? Was it when we got married? Was it as he got sicker over time? I can’t be sure. All I know is that I want it back. He’s been dead for nearly 2.5 years. I’ve had a lot thrown at me in that time that hasn’t exactly done much to rebuild what was torn apart. But I want to believe the mere fact that I have survived to this point says a lot about me. I will always miss him. I gave him all I had while he was here. I likely gave him too much considering he couldn’t or wouldn’t depending on the day give me anything in return. Then he died anyway.

So I’ve been repeating to myself: You are the one that determines your worth. Despite every force’s attempt to beat you to a mental pulp, you are upright, making every effort to give yourself and your children a good life. The latest opponent: I call him the “what if” monster. A lot of us are probably familiar with it. He’s appeared periodically over the years and I’m tired of it. I really need to grind that monster and into dust and his friend shame too.

All that rambling to sayif you're familiar with this struggle with the "what if monster", you certainly aren't alone. Whatever your ups and downs have been, whatever your spouse said or didn't say. Whatever they did or didn't do, no matter where you feel you have come up short, those things don't determine who you are.

There will likely never come a time when I have it all together all of the time. I used to have the power to know that didn't make me less of a woman. Years of caregiving that yielded few results other than surviving the crisis followed by death and a whole lot of other crap, ripped away at that.

I'm working on grinding those monsters into the dust they tried to grind me into.

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