Wednesday, July 21, 2010

getting mad at the dead

So, I've been getting mad at Brian the last couple days. I freely admit this because I realize it is normal and doesn't make me an evil person with terrible thoughts. It doesn't discount the relationship I had with Brian and it doesn't show him disrespect.

I received news recently that a lady I know through friends, who has this really cool business (that's her family in the pic) recently moved to Singapore. While back in the states this summer with her family, Joe, her husband who works for Cat, tragically, suddenly and unexpectedly died in the presence of some of his family while preparing to run a 5K in Florida. Very young, late 30s, healthy man. Heart attack. All their belongings are in Singapore. They have no home and no car in the states. They have 4 children ages 5 to  9. Their families are all from Ohio. They have lived in Peoria for years prior to moving to Singapore.

And I could SOOO totally relate, but then not at all. I had time to prepare for Brian's death. He was sick and it was coming and we were warned about it. She had no warning. I can relate to all your belongings being in another country and having no home and no car. We were living in Canada when Brian went in for surgery, yet came out never performing many of the basic functions of life normally again. All our belongings were in another country. Brian never returned. I can relate to having no home and no car and relying completely on those around you just to help you do basic life duties, but not to the degree that she is experiencing this right now. Not even a fraction.

So my first reaction is immediate empathy for this woman and her kids and what I know they are about to endure. And all the life-changing huge decisions that will need to be made and some of them quickly. And all the uncertainty when just trying to hard to hold it together for the sake of the kids. And just trying to determine where home is on top of it all. And my experiences in all these events are a fraction of what she is about to endure. But, I can relate and I want to just hold her hand and help her, but it isn't for me to do.

My second reaction was anger at Joe. Yes, you read that correctly. I was mad because how dare he die like that when they had a plan. They have a good life and a plan for their future. Now what?

And then I got mad at Brian for the same reasons. We had a plan. We were very financially responsible and had a plan for college and retirement and had mutually agreed-upon goals and lifestyles. We HAD A PLAN! And after living for the past year like nothing has really happened except handling grief and making room in my heart for a potential new relationship and clearing up the emotional air, things are starting to change. I am going to work part time this fall. I am going to have to re-prioritize my gym and work out time and life in general. Grant and Gavin are playing separate fall sports and will require oodles of running here and there. This was not part of the plan. Angie staying home was the plan. A mom and a dad to split the parenting was part of the plan. It makes me kinda mad. How dare Brian die in the middle of the plan?!

And the garage is a mess. I got mad at Brian the other day because I don't want to deal with the garage mess. I don't want to deal with the expired fertilizers and 15 bottles of nearly empty oil and bug killers, etc. That was never my job. I don't want the garage to be added to my already too big pile of crap to do. I DON'T WANT IT! Yes, I realize I sound like a 2 year old. I'm okay with that. I don't want to remember when the stupid van needs an oil change. I don't want to HAVE to mow the lawn because no one else is here to do it especially when I am packing and preparing for a 5 day trip, yet knowing it needs to be done before we leave for that 5-day trip. Life wasn't designed for one person to handle everything. This wasn't the plan. And for some reason the last few days, probably accentuated by the recent news of the family above, I have been getting resentful of my situation and mentally throwing a temper tantrum instead of just handling it like I began doing even before Brian died. I'm mad.

I guess grief still comes up and haunts you at unexpected times even when you seem to be doing really well. I should know that.

So today, I went to the cemetery for a spell. I threw my mental and emotional temper tantrum and told Brian and the air and the ground that I was mad. I cried and talked out loud a bit saying, "This isn't the life I signed up for. This wasn't part of the plan!" Then, I wiped my face and drove home.

Later, I'll mow the lawn.

Because, in the end, this is my life. I have to live it.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

acceptable dad substitutes

Okay. So, per my very wise mother-in-law's suggestion, I did not make a big deal about or even mention the break up with the boyfriend to the boyz. She suggested to let them lead. Wait to see if and when they mentioned him and then casually mention that we are making time for new friends and haven't had a lot of time to see each other anymore because of that. If I make a big deal about it, I have created another loss for them.

Let me preface this by telling you one of the reasons for my timing of breaking up was that I thought I was witnessing a bond forming and I realized that if I was having this many doubts, then I needed to stop before the bond developed further and my children started to identify with him as a potential father figure. Although, as my and their counselors have told me, even the mention of a date to them will subconsciously begin that kind of an identification to two little boyz who don't have a dad. It is a tough position to be in as far as dating goes, but it is what it is and that is our life. I handle it the best I know how.

Okay, so nearly 3 weeks went by without the boyz having any contact with the boyfriend and mommy mentioning him at all. Nearly 3 weeks, and they never once mentioned him either. So the bond that I thought was digging roots deep into the ground was really more surface level than I had understood. I was very glad to see that and I learned a lesson about ensuring my feelings a bit more before I introduced someone into their life. However, in my situation, it is difficult to see if the entire dynamic will work without introducting them into the mix SOME. They are part of the entire Angie package. They do not go away every other weekend and on Thursdays. They are with me 100% of the time. You can't love ALL THIS without loving ALL THAT, too. Again, it is what it is. And I realize it is a lot.

Then they finally asked. I played it off exactly as I intended to very casually and VERY calmly and very vaguely. But, they are smart little cookies and I knew them well enough to expect more questions. They asked many questions about if I was EVER going to go out with him again or ever going to see him again and if I was going to marry him. I said, "No boyz, mommy isn't going to marry him." We talked a bit about what dating is and how you get to know someone and determine if and when you want to keep dating this person to possibly marry some day and if and when you stop because you realize you don't.

Grant finally said, "Well, you have to get married to SOMEONE."

Thinking he was insulting my ability to continue to do it all, I said, "No I don't. We are doing just fine. We are getting by and having a good time. We are doing good just the 3 of us. Why do you say that?"

"Because I WANT A DADDY."

I'm sorry, excuse me, ooops, sorry. I 'm just gonna bend down and pick that up. I just found a few more pieces of my shattered heart. It keeps shattering every time I mentally repeat that.

He said it a few more times almost like a temper-tantrum-throwing toddler.

I teared up, looked at him and said, " I know you do, Buddy. I love you. Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?"

"Nothing really. I just want a Daddy."

"I know, Buddy. But maybe there is something that you are remembering that you did with daddy or something that you see other dads do that you wish I would do."

He looked out the window  (we were in the car by now) and said, "Well, I think I would feel better if you let me have my next birthday party at Rainbow Playsystems." (Yes, we were driving by Rainbow Playsystems' display area at the time.)

I laughed and said that was a long way away. We would see.

He paused, sighed and said, "And, there is one thing you could do that you never do. You could take us to Chuck E. Cheese."

Smart kid.

I told him I wasn't falling for any of it, though.

I'll just keep trying out my best kung fu and watching more Star Wars.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

I took another step towards becoming crazy cat lady this week...

So, you may remember from last summer and fall that I struggled with certain things relating to moving on in my tangible world after Brian’s death. One of those things was purging his items and taking over that space.

Taking over his space has remained an issue for me for a variety of reasons, none of which have anything to do with guilt associated with moving on. (Oh what wonders time and God have done for relieving me of guilt associated with moving forward with life!)

One reason I have for not wanting to take over Brian’s living quarters is that I don’t want to accept that I have a problem. That problem being a surge in my wardrobe, thus requiring more space. Facts are facts, though and suddenly my bras and panties do not fit in one drawer as they used to. My shorts are overflowing and constantly wrinkled being shoved into the allotted space they used to occupy. My jewelry will no longer allow the door on the mirror/box to close effectively. Call it retail therapy. Call it a desire to change and update my look. Call it whatever you want. I’m busting at the seams and I need more room.

Another reason I have not wanted to invade drawers and closets that have remained empty for the last several months is that if I admit I take up this much room, how am I ever going to have enough space for someone else in my life? And this is what I know: I want someone else in my life. I want it to be the right person and I am trusting God to provide in this context, but I really want to share my life again someday. If I continue like this, I’ll have to add on unless they come bearing only one carryon and one checked bag. (I won’t even charge for it.)

Finally, to invade Brian’s space means succumbing to both the above facts and facing that I am single that much longer. I know that some people that have been single and not accountable to another adult for extended durations of time can become… well… strange. They develop strange standards for living and home life. Bizarre habits can form. They get irritable and intolerable and easily annoyed. They just get a little odd. I don’t want to admit that I could become that person the longer I am single.

Still, with the breakup of the boyfriend I am nowhere near sharing my life and space with someone, and with the expanding wardrobe and overflowing accessory arsenal, I could use some extra space. I HAVE the space. I just didn’t want to admit I needed to use it. So, I took over two empty drawers this week with my personal belongings.

I guess I will just have to trust in the efficacy of Space Bags if I ever do find love again.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

soo... it's been a while...

Wow. May 17th was the last time I wrote. Really??  Kinda hard to believe considering this was such a staple in my life a year ago.

So many people from so many different areas of my life read this blog – Brian’s family, the boyfriend, my family, my friends, Brian’s coworkers, his friends, etc. Moving on with life and trying to be sensitive to so many different people’s feelings, grief and concerns makes finding a topic to write about difficult at best.

I will tell you some things that have been going on in the last two months.

Grant’s tube surgery went fine, but he currently has an ear infection. It is draining out the ear which is what the tube is designed to do, but it is keeping us out of the pool during this very hot week. I talked with Grant’s teacher at the end of school. She said he finally started to come out of his shell and talk more openly in class including talking about Brian. Grant does not AT ALL like to be singled out for being different. Having a daddy that is dead makes him very different. She said that many of the children asked questions about his daddy in heaven and he told them he died from surgery. She interjected that it was cancer and he said surgery and cancer were the same thing. This makes me so sad – no wonder he was so afraid of the surgery.

Grant is like a different kid since school has been out. Admittedly, I have not been encouraging much time spent on academic or learning activities like flashcards and reading. We have been at the pool, watching TV, playing Wii and at baseball. He really just hates school. I am having him evaluated soon to determine if he has some sort of attention issue or other factor contributing to his dislike of all things school related. I just want to help him and learn how to better keep my cool given his attitude.

The boyfriend is no longer my boyfriend. I have no doubt that someday he will make someone very happy, but we are just wrong for each other in the way we handle, approach and respond to life, adversity, and relationships. Not to say that either of us is wrong or right, but just different and for the long term – incompatible and probably a recipe for resentment. That’s all I have to say about that.

Gavin has declared he is skipping high school. Upon further investigation into this declaration, it stems from a discussion we had in recent weeks in which I told him that in high school you will take showers in front of other guys after P.E. I told him this in an effort to get him to stop freaking out so much about his brother or a friend that spends the night seeing his privates for a brief second. It completely backfired and now he is petrified of high school. I told him by the time that comes around he won’t care anymore and he will WANT to take a shower because he will like girls again by then and girls like boys that smell good.

I defrosted my deep freeze today for the first time in 2-1/2 years. It was all frosted up, but it still worked. It was my sister who explained it could break if I didn’t get the ice off the coils that finally led me to defrost it. It wasn’t even that much of a pain in the butt. Only mildly. I have to put the seafood and chicken back in it now. My hands got cold after handling the beef.

That's it for now!