Update

Hello …. helloo…??

It’s been a while.

….a long while.

I’m not even sure if anyone is even here anymore…..

That’s OK though, because I’m barely here anymore.

….and by that I mean that the kids and I have been off trying to live a big, juicy life.

Both kids are relatively healthy and happy (as far as 13 and 11 year olds can be). Both are doing well at school and have nice friends and are growing into decent, clever, loving, funny and kind humans.

I’m working full time: as of a couple of years ago, I’ve been a permanent employee of the education department.
I love my job and it makes me so very tired….

Our family has been joined by a gorgeous pup who should’ve come to live with us much sooner than he did as he soothes jangled nerves instantly.

…..and

and….

I’ve met a lovely guy.
We’ve been together for a year now.
He’s the man who came After.
….and we were meant to be.

We still miss Greg.

Every day.

But my story didn’t end when he died.
I wanted it to end for a long time after he died.
But I’m still writing it as best I can…..

….and I’m loving my story again….

 

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Anxiety

I have always been highly strung.

I give the impression of being laid back, but I’m like the proveribial swan, paddling furiously under the surface.

 

When I first studied at university, I made sure I got first class honours and a scholarship to finish my PhD.

When I went back to do my Diploma of Education the year before Greg died, I went a step further, getting straight 7s (highest score) and graduating with high distinction at the very top of my class, winning the prize for my year (which turned out to be a fancy dinner and a certificate).

It wasn’t that I was driven to succeed, it was that I was anxious that anything less than my best would spell failure.

 

….and that was what I was like when Greg was ALIVE and using his calming, grounding influence to keep me from shooting through the roof at every little thing that even mildly rocked my plan for world domination world.

 

Now, I find myself unable to calm down when things become a little stressful.

There is no voice of reason there to remind me that nobody is going to spontaneously combust unless I run around like a chook with its head cut off to hose out the myriad of little and big fires in my life.

 

I am currently stressed …. my job is under threat.  It’s a long story that involves a new government cutting jobs which will result in those eager young beavers on contracts (like me) being pushed aside as the old guard who have been working in policy for the past few years, dust off their rusty skills to return to the classroom, pushing us out in their wake.

 

I’ve been quite anxious about how I will support us next year (when my contract ends).

 

I’ve been quite shouty and didn’t I sleep for two nights:  I get more shouty when I am tired.

 

To put it mildly, I’ve been barrels of fun to be around….

 

I am trying very hard to keep some perspective…… but it’s been hard without my human security blanket here to calm me down.

 

Today, instead of flying into a rage or crying or rocking in the corner, I’ve tried to remind myself that possibly the worst thing to ever happen to me has already happened (Note to Universe – this is not a challenge to see if you can up the ante).

 

I have other options for work: we will not starve to death.

 

…and I’ve been spending as much time as I can outside: in the garden; walking through the bushland across the road from my house; strolling along the waterfront.

 

Trying to channel Greg’s calming influence…..

Trying to hear his voice through the whir of my mind.

 

…and so far, I’m succeeding ….. it’s …… OK.

 

…and maybe that’s all I can ask for just now.

 

This is a repost of my post on Widow’s Voice

 

 

The pain….

There it was again.  A little comment made at the funeral I went to in March.  “I can’t imagine the pain you must feel”.

A good comment really – truthful and showing empathy.

But it made me think….. how can I let people know how bad the pain is or how I “must be feeling” so that they really do understand that they don’t understand…..

….and today, I saw this on youtube.  A link on a friend’s facebook page.  I watched it and howled.

Ignoring the fact that this ad  is about drink driving and fast forwarding to the pain and grief part … well yeah …. if you want to know how I feel, paint the face of your spouse or child onto someone in the film and you’ll have a taste of the grief and PTSD.

 

WARNING: This ad is tough going.  Do not watch it if you have PTSD  (hello ME – wish I took my own advice 5 minutes ago).

 

 

So you now know that you can’t imagine the pain, nor understand it and that is OK – I’d hate for you to really know – but if you ever really wondered how I “must be feeling” … this is as close as I can show you….

Things I don’t miss about Christmas

I feel short-changed.

For years, we would debate about whose family home we would spend Christmas in.
…. my parent’s home with their clean, relatively modern furniture, good food, great company and pleasant atmosphere
… or with his large, loud, argumentative family at the farm.

Now I loved my dearly departed parents-in-law, but they lived in one of the filthiest homes I have ever entered.

And I say that with love.

They lived on a cattle farm in Queensland. Hot, humid Queensland. The house was packed to the rafters with “stuff” (think Hoarders but organised into piles of stuff and without actual rubbish).
There were no fly screens on the windows, so the heat-and-humidity-loving flies, dung beetles, spiders, large moths, frogs, mice and *snakes* also enjoyed sharing their home with them. Dust and fly-spots covered everything. And the very first time I ate a meal there, I was sitting under the fluoro light at the tiny kitchen table and a dung beetle fell onto my plate.

One Christmas, when I mentioned that a pervasive odour was making me feel ill, they lovingly and laughingly blamed this on the fact that I was pregnant and feeling morning sickness.
Until they found the dead cat under the water tank.

This on top of the looong trip to get there in the summer heat. The trip would normally take 3 hours … but at Christmas, it was often more like 4 or 5 hours due to the traffic on the single highway heading north from the city. …this was done with babies and small children who needed regular feeding and changing. Or the memorable trip home one night that included no less than 5 stops by the side of a busy highway so my toilet-training daughter could pee.

…and then of course, there were his siblings who like nothing better than a good, loud argument at each and every gathering.

So you may get why I spent the lead up to Christmas every year trying to persuade my ever-loving husband that, as we were a family now, Christmas should be spent at OUR house and the travelling north could wait until New Years. After all, they were on farm time and never really cared what day it was anyway so celebrating a week later was not a ridiculous concept.

…and I finally won that one in 2009.

We got exactly one single Christmas as a family in our home. One single Christmas where the kids weren’t given something like a trampoline from Santa, then told that we were leaving an hour later so they wouldn’t get to use it for a few days.

One single cool, peaceful, quiet, clean, comfortable family Christmas at our home with our kids.

…and this year, I’d like nothing more than to pack up my darling husband, kids, a week’s worth of food, clean towels, bedding and presents and spend 6 hours on the highway in order to have a corned meat sandwich in 40 degree heat in a dusty, fly-ridden, snake-infested house with a bunch of crazy, argumentative in-laws.

Just so long as we ALL got to be there….
Another repost from my posting at Widow’s Voice

That look…

You know the one.

The one that your spouse gives you and you feel that strong connection like a bolt to your heart.

I miss getting that look.

That very first shy grin when we met … and instantly, we both felt that zing of one soul recognising another.

The glowing face that was a result of just looking at me. Greg would just beam at me in greeting. Every Single Morning and Evening.

The glance and smile to share that private joke perfectly, without a word being spoken.

The look that said “I know what you are thinking”. We always knew what the other person was thinking. Even down to which obscure Python quote was perfect for the moment.

The look of the Only Other Person who is as proud of the kids as you are. The Only Other person who can rejoice at the first successful potty mission, and the only other person who could possibly be as proud of their achievements on their report cards (cough – working at … and topping… an entire year above level at maths and reading age levels double their actual ages – cough).

The looking for each other. Seeking where the other was at a party (Australian parties are often affairs where the men collectively inhabit the bbq area, beer in hand while the women are chatting in the kitchen, or dancing on the patio, wine in hand.) We’d always glance over at each other and telepathically sense whether the other was having fun or whether it was time to leave.

The eyebrow wiggle that said … well… you can guess the rest of that sentence….

The point is I miss that look that made me feel loved and safe and accepted and known.

The look that let me know I was home.
Another repost of this week’s effort at Widow’s Voice….

Nine years ago today ….

…. I became a mother.

I had finally achieved my life’s ambition – to be a wife and mother and have my very own perfect family.

Seriously.

That’s always what I wanted to be, despite my prizes and academic awards and the push from every direction to focus on my career and climb that fickle beast known as “the ladder”.

…and I achieved a lot before I became a mother.  …. before I became a wife.

I got myself a science degree and backed it up with first class honours the following year and a PhD shortly thereafter…. courtesy of a cushy scholarship which some bigwigs saw fit to give me .

I travelled the world and spent a few months living and working in Africa.

I ran a research station and worked as a scientist managing huge budgets, staff and still trying to do actual science in the middle somewhere….

But all I ever really wanted was to be a wife and mother.

…and on this day nine years ago, my beautiful girl was born and Greg and I were so proud of ourselves we thought we wold burst with happiness.

I had Done It.  My own nirvana, right there in the form of a tiny baby girl and my husband’s loving embrace.

I never had post-natal depression … I had post-natal elation.

…and we were lucky enough to repeat the performance two years later when I gave birth to our son.

My wonderful husband AND my pigeon pair: my perfect family.  Nirvana.

…but I only got to have it all for seven and a half years.

Not long enough.  not long enough at all.

On this day last year, all I could think about was what I’d lost.

But this year, I am choosing to remember what I have … two very wonderful children and to have known the love of a husband and father who was perfectly imperfect.

So Happy 9th birthday, darling K.  I am so lucky to be your Mum.

XXXX

You can’t fix me

Sometimes I want to scream at people: “You Can’t Fix Me”.

because sometimes, I get so sick of hearing that I need to “look after myself” or “do something for myself” or “make it happen” or “chin up” or “forge ahead”.

Sometimes it’s just too much when friends and colleagues minimise my grief in their misguided belief that they would know how to grieve properly if our positions were reversed.

(The same people that go to pieces if they have a sniffle and won’t make it to the gym that day.)

No, they’d grieve properly, have it together within a year and make rational decisions to take their lives onwards and upwards.

They’d “go to counselling” and “get the help they need” to get on with their lives.

Maybe a tasteful shrine with a few candles on the mantle to remember their love.
A weekly visit to the cemetery: fresh flowers on the grave.

They’d get themselves that new job that fits in with their altered lifestyle.

They wouldn’t suffer the grief fog, the loss of short-term memory, the sudden tears, the incapacitating sadness that saps all energy yet prevents you from sleep.

They quote some random bereaved person their aunty’s girlfriend’s hairdresser’s mother knows who has “coped admirably” with grief…. and cite it as “if they can do it, you can too”.  Never realising that the person they speak of most likely is showing them the brave face  and not the face screwed up in the agony which is widowhood.

NO, not for them this incorrect grief….

I am tired of explaining that life doesn’t work that way.

That “The Secret” isn’t based on scientific fact.  You can’t just wish you woes away anymore than you can make your beloved rise from the dead.

…and I hate that they overlook the incredible feat of strength and endurance I go through on a daily basis Just To Get Through The Day.

I wish they could see the progress I’ve made.

I wish they could know how hard this is without me having to spell it out.

Yes I am helping myself.

Yes I am doing everything in my power to move forward.

…and I am doing a bloody good job of it.

But I wish they’d stop thinking that they know how to fix me.