Happy Unbirthday

Not our picnic, but one nearby.

Last  Saturday, we had a picnic for Greg’s Should Have Been 50th birthday.

In a miracle of the Climate Gods, the weather was perfect even though it had rained solidly for the weeks beforehand and every day since (and up to 150mm / 6 inches last night alone).

I am glad we did it.
I’d forgotten who I’d invited, so as more and more people turned up, I was genuinely surprised and glad to see them.  Old friends and workmates gathered and remembered in just the sort of relaxed chat-fest that was Greg’s style.

I saw some people who came to the funeral and then disappeared so I’m hoping that this has reset their minds so they know they can talk to me.

The kids had a great time and I enjoyed seeing everyone.
But by the next day I was a wreck….
…and then today I walked downstairs to find my garage and store room sitting in 2 inches of (thankfully clean) water.
and I broke.
I feel like I’m 100 years old, everything is heavy, I am so tired, the kids are moody and I don’t feel like doing anything.
…except I have had to throw away waterlogged things and try to move things out of the water.
I want to sleep for a week.
Yep – death week is here 😦
… but I know it will pass and while I don’t expect things to be “good”, I know they will be OK again.
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Am I done yet?

 

This week, bang in the middle of death-march month, has seen me BEG Greg to come back more than once.
Many times in fact.

Seriously, I have coped with this shizzle for almost 3 years.
I have worked, I have kept the kids on an even keel, I have hit rock bottom on more than one occasion and I have stood up again.
Can I have my medal now?

I am tired of grief.
I am tired of being alone in THIS month …. the month that contains the 20th anniversary of that birthday party where we first met.
That first date.
Valentines Day (and the single time Greg bought me flowers without laughing that you’d swung by the 7-11 on the way home.
His birthday.
….and finally, his death day.

I just want to be done with this and go back to how life was Before.
.
.
.
…..but I can’t go back.

I must go forward, even though I hate every year that passes without Greg in it.
I have to ensure I experience joy each day so that yawning black hole of grief is held at bay.
I will move forward in a ways I have never dreamed of.
Grief will not define me.
I will rise again.

The Death March

5 First bars of Beethovens Funeral March (Sona...

5 First bars of Beethovens Funeral March (Sonata 12) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5 First bars of Beethovens Funeral March (Sonata 12) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

….. is here.
Its now February – less than a month until the 1st of March.
The last few weeks of year 3 are here before we tick of the 3rd Sadiversary and enter year 4 of this madness.

My internal monologue is stuck on repeat: “He’s dead.  Can you believe he is dead?  This makes no sense.  How could GREG be dead?  He is so alive.  So young and fit and healthy.  So adventurous.  So full of energy.  How can he not be here?”

February is the month Greg should have turned 50.
I’ve just invited a bunch of people to mark the occasion with an informal picnic at the beach.

I had to track down the e-mails of the men he had been friends with since his university days.
Funny – Before, when life was good, I thought I would be able to count on these blokes if I needed them for any reason.
They were Greg’s oldest mates.
They were solid.
But they turned to dust within 6 months of Greg’s death and have rarely, if ever phoned.
Maybe they don’t know what to say to me …. but anything would have been better than the complete silence of the last 2+ years.

But.

On the other hand, other people have been here the whole time.
The friends who had Greg as their Best Man at their wedding – always checking on us, and coming over to help with those handyman jobs that are beyond me.
Greg’s workmates – phoning, facebooking, sending through new photos as they are found.
My friends who have always been there, never drifting away from me and my grief.

….and my family.  My family are awesome.  They make life good.

…and as I look back over the past year’s death marches, I think (hope) I can say that  – so far – this one is a little bit brighter than the last two.

An odd kind of celebration

Picnic
Picnic (Photo credit: Carlos López Molina)

When Greg died, I had just printed out invitations to my 40th birthday party which was supposed to be held 31 days later …. but wasn’t…. for obvious reasons.

I am not a person who likes to host parties.  I think the last birthday party I helped organise for myself was my 30th birthday when we lived in a small country town and all but one of the party-goers walked to out house.

This time, we had booked a few tables at a local restaurant that overlooked the bay and had a dance floor and live band. I had bought an outfit and was getting excited to see all my friends.

… I still got to wear that outfit and see all my friends though.
Just not for my party.
There was no dancing.
Instead, there were lots of tears.

Anyway, my 50th is still over 7 years away and I am thinking I still need to finally have that party that I didn’t get to have …. but not for me.

…This coming February, Greg SHOULD have turned 50.
It seems such a surprise to say that number in the same breath as his name.  He always looked and acted much younger than his age.  He was such a fit, vibrant, adventurous, funny soul and he loved a good party.

I don’t want to replicate the wake where nobody could meet my eyes … when they rose from the floor that is.  Where everyone spoke softly and drank cups of tea.  Where the world had turned slightly foggy and surreal and I was there without really being there.

I want to have a party that celebrates the bloke that he was.  I want his old friends to come and I want the stories to flow.  I want the kids to meet some of his old friends and hear what an amazing Dad they had.

At the moment, I am leaning towards a general invitation for friends and family to meet us down at the beach for fish and chips – something we used to do as a family.
Informal.
Come as you are.
BYO folding chairs, kite and frisbee.
Picnic-style.

Just like he used to love doing.

Maybe I am odd for wanting to mark a birthday for someone who can’t be there.
Maybe this will seem inappropriate to some people.
Maybe I am asking for the grief monster to rear its ugly head and smack me back down.
But maybe I am onto something that will help us all.

I don’t really know.
But it feels right to me.

Hope Bubble

bokeh cup hdr

It is December again.
It should be time to sink into the December blues of Christmas and New Year alone again.

…and now with added unemployment due to Newman’s job cuts.

But I seem to be floating on a tiny bubble of hope instead.

I saw a psychic a few weeks ago.
(Whether you believe in spirituality or not, in the end, she was cheaper than a psychologist and I felt much better afterwards.)
Perhaps because she told me to give myself permission to let go of the things beyond my control.
Like another contract for next year….. I have worked my hardest all year and have to trust that all I have done will be enough to land a job somewhere.
She also gave me hope that I will meet another man who I wont want to run screaming from.
Whether its fake or not, it feels nice to have hope.

…and I am enjoying things more than I otherwise would.

  • Miss K got an academic award at school today.  I was overjoyed for her.
  • Mum and Dad are buying another puppy that the kids will be able to play with all holidays – this thought fills me with child-like joy as I keep looking at the pictures of the puppy they are collecting this weekend.
  • H has been delighting me with his own brand of humour.
  • Both kids have had a great year at school.
  • I get to see my friends through the holidays.

Maybe it all is a big bubble that will pop any second now, but until it does, I’m going to relax and enjoy the feeling of peace.

Update: I do have a job next year – at another school where someone remembered how awesome I am and called me.   I have accepted this job and am glad to be done with my current (lying, misogynistic, sly, sleazy, cunning, intellectually-dumb) boss.  But leaving the school that I love and teachers (well most of them) that I value still hurts. 

Uncertainty

The view from my verandah on Saturday morning

I know I’ve written about this before.
I know I sounds like  broken record.
But.
.
.
I don’t cope well with uncertianty.

That change in government I mentioned we’d had?  Well they have decided to get rid of their contract staff.  That means me.

Despite pulling two classes uphill this year, and being recognised for doing a stellar job, I find that I am once again in that place where I don’t know what I’ll be doing next year.

I’ve been in this place before.
I was a scientist for almost 20 years where funding is uncertain and you work on 3-year funding cycles.  I was never without work, but by the same token, I never really worried about it: I knew we could comfortably live on Greg’s wage.

Not that he earned a lot, just that both of us come from farming stock and so we are a very frugal mob.

…..and I find myself getting angry at how things have changed.

(not that it helps).

I am told that I am “lucky” I have the compensation payout.
(I know right?….. but I managed not to slap the person who said that)

But truth be told, money is not top of my list of worries …..
I am not good if I am not busy.
Working, feeling useful, seeing the difference I make, being part of the workforce means that my mental health is OK.

…and the not knowing what will happen is driving me crazy.

But I have to just wait out this storm.
I have to hope that things will work out for the best.
Because hope is currently all I have got that is working for me.

Sunday’s view

Posted by Amanda at 12:00 AM

Can I play my immunity card now?

A repost of today’s Widow’s Voice post.

I don’t quite know why I haven’t worked this out yet, but being a widow does not mean I am protected from Life parking its enormous derrière over my head and emptying its dysenteric bowels.

 

If life was remotely fair, it should protect me from further heartbreak.

It should also deliver me a million dollars, a permanent job, a full home renovation, an overseas holiday, and after a time, a hot, intelligent man who can look at me and all my baggage and still say “Phwoar, what a woman!”

….and yet none of that has happened.

 

I find myself back in a place of uncertainty.

The hole that I have been trying to climb out of since Greg died and left me on this shaky, moving earth without a still-point, a protector, a person to say “Everything will be OK.”

 

So much of my current angst comes from not having job security and having a misguided right-wing State government who is hell-bent on austerity measures that include sacking a whole heap of public servants … and I expect that they will then poke about in the left-wing Federal government’s unemployment figures and decry their terrible management of the country’s economy and jobless rate.

 

Surely there’s got to be some law of nature that protects widows  from further harm??  Some sort of immunity card that I can play when Life insists on throwing curve-balls.

 

Except there is not, nor has there ever been.

 

So I guess it is up to me to rescue myself……  Which I’d gladly do if only I knew how.

I am trying to be my own hero.  I am proactive at looking for work.  I strive to make a better life for my children. Perhaps I have given up on the hot bloke with the big brain … for now …. but I haven’t given up completely.

 

 

…and short of finding some armour and a unicorn, I shall just have to keep trying everything I know to get The Universe to shift its great posterior to another location. (In other words- I shall have to suck it up and plod on).

 

…at least plodding is moving right?