Tuesday, March 30, 2010


What is the expression? We make plans and then G-d makes our decisions. Whatever it is, that’s what happened to me today. The kids and I were supposed to go to New Jersey today to spend the second Seder with my husband’s family. But my six year old woke up vomiting – so those plans were shot.

I was worried about him and then just frustrated with the constant illness going on in my house. Instead of being angry that my husband wasn’t here I stopped myself and soon realized there was nothing I could do about it. So I ended my pity party and the kids and I and the “bucket” sat in front of the TV and put on a new movie – “UP”

I should have known not to trust another Disney movie. Disney is just evil and twisted and seems to have more family issues than me. But I am naive and always seem to let them into our lives, even though I should just boycott the entire enterprise. We watched as the movie unfolded. A man and woman meet, get married, grow old together and then she dies – of course she freaking dies. The rest of the movie we watch as the old man tries to figure out his life without her. I am explaining this to the children as they are not really sure what is going on and sobbing as I speak. I watch as the old man wanders the house missing his wife, and kissing photos of her. Just like me I thought – exactly like me.

The man decides to continue his wife’s life long dream of going on an adventure. He takes a million balloons, attaches them to his house and away he goes. The story takes a turn and at some point the man must leave his balloon house in order to save a child’s life and the house floats away – lost forever – along with all the photos of his wife. I was utterly devastated for him crying for his loss again. The little boy who was saved says to the old man, I am sorry you lost your house. The old man looks at him, smiles and says, it is just a house.

I sat there transfixed to the screen. I felt like I was watching my entire life unfold in an animated movie. I was so empowered by this man’s courage. It dawned on me that I should be stronger than I am. I need to stop worrying about this house and worry more about my family. I realize most of the time I dwell on silly inconsequential things – like the house and really need to stop looking back. Instead I need to take a long look at where I was, where I want to be and then keep going.

I packed the rest of the day. You can’t possible know how painful it is to take pictures off the wall that I once thought would be hanging here forever. It hurts with each and every one. What upsets me is that I don’t know if I will have the courage to ever put them back up. I took our wedding photo and wrapped it carefully – the smiling faces of a past life looking up at me. But by the end of the day I had almost packed them all.

The house is looking emptier and emptier. I am trying not to feel sad. Instead I am trying to feel empowered by what will hopefully be better for us. We move two weeks from tomorrow, but there is still a lot left to do. It is just not easy to do. Not the packing – that is mundane and basic. But packing up my old life, saying goodbye to what was supposed to be forever – this is difficult, impossible – awful.

My father-in-law called me today to wish me a happy holiday. The moment I heard his voice I started crying. I sucked back the tears so he wouldn’t know how upset I was. I haven’t talked to him in months and the second he started talking I just pictured him speaking to my husband and was so sorry it is just me he is getting on the phone. I find it so difficult to talk to him – I feel like I let him down and just feel so sad for him – words fail me.

The more I pack the more items of my husband I stumble upon. Clothing and things I could not throw away five months ago. I still can’t. I look at his old sweatshirts and think, I really shouldn’t bring this and then in the box it goes. I took his suit, his shirts, his tux and shoes and put them all in a box. It makes me feel like I am bringing him with me. I have no idea where it will go in our new place – all I know is that he is coming.

The week after my husband died someone gave me a little book called Grief Therapy. I never even opened it until today. It has some very poignant sayings inside, but the one that struck me today was “Mourn not just for the loss of what was but also for what will never be. And then gently, lovingly let go.”

This is what I am trying to do today and tomorrow and the next. Pack and purge, physically, mentally and spiritually – for myself and my children. I owe it to my family to do the best I can.

Tomorrow if we are vomit free, I may take the kids to the movies. They want to see “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” So help me if anyone dies in this movie I will just walk out – and not look back.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


OPEN THE DOOR!! Fists pounding. OPEN THE DOOR!! More fists pounding into metal and then me screaming my head off . . . that is how I awoke this morning at 6:22 am - right back in the garage. My heart is racing as I look around and realize I am in bed, not the garage and I try to calm myself down and push, no shove the images as far away from my mind as I can. But they linger and as I desperately try to get back to sleep the images, his face, that day, my life just flatten me like huge heavy stones across my chest.

I stayed in bed feeling the weight of the world crush me and only handed the remote to the kids when they awoke as I hid under the covers. But Sponge Bob and his insane laughter makes sleep an impossibility as do my fears of the recurring nightmare. Besides the children would surely start eating their fingers if I don’t get out of bed soon. So I get up and start the day.

Just another Saturday – 22 weeks - here I go again.

I am so annoyed with myself for being unable to keep these memories at bay. Every photo of my husband in the house – no matter which one I look at turns into his dead body in my mind. I can’t stop looking at the photos because for one brief instance they bring me peace – but then the pain and the awfulness switch on and sorrow soon follows. I can only assume I am either a glutton for punishment or the split second of happy thoughts is worth the pain. I am not sure.

I needed to get out of the house today – I am suffocating in the boxes and the chaos and the anxiety of it all. I needed fresh air. The children and I went to go look at a day camp for the summer. I didn’t love it – not sure I would like anything these days. But it just wasn’t what I pictured for them and thought I could do better at mommy camp then this place. As I drove away I remembered that I saw a lake in the camp’s brochures. It wasn’t on the tour but I distinctively remember seeing one so I made a u-turn and went back.

Right before the camp there was an odd road and I turned onto it not sure that I would find. Blissfully I found the lake and a small beach and a playground and to me it was just perfect. We bundled up, got out of the car and for the next two hours just explored. I taught the kids to skip rocks, we hiked in the woods and they ran around the playground. It was wonderful, even on a Saturday. I could see us going back there just to get away and hide from the world and see a little bit of nature too.

I couldn’t help but feel sad at moments, like when I was sitting on a bench watching the kids run and play. I was lonely and missing the person who should have been sitting next to me. I felt him holding my hand and heard him talking to me – he would have loved today. Well maybe not the hiking through the woods part – but everything else.

What bothers me the most is that I just feel stuck. It has been 22 weeks since my husband died and time means nothing. I am the same I was 22 weeks ago; miserable, sad, confused, lonely and mourning. But I watch as the world unfolds around me. I see spring coming and the earth is changing but I am not. I watch my friend’s lives blossom and grow and change and I am so happy for them – yet I am still stuck in my own little miserable world. Friends are having babies, buying houses, excelling in careers, taking trips and I am just stuck right in the middle of my so called life. I am trying not to look back, but can’t move forward and it feels terrible. Feels like I am being left behind by my husband, the world and my life.

I long for the day that I can awaken and not feel instance sorrow. I long for a time when I can reflect back fondly on my husband and not feel the tightness in my chest and the sourness in my stomach. I don’t know how long I will have to wait – maybe till my next life. I just long for a time when I can look at the world and feel better about myself and everything in it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ice Cream

Yesterday I had three hours to myself. I decided to continue on my quest to packing up the house. Everywhere I look there are memories of you and it makes it quite challenging. I went into your office, looked at all the books, papers and photos of the family. I abruptly walked out and shut the door. Not today.

I went into your tool room and tried to take some of the random bits of wires and junk and throw them away. Instead I found your old photo album when you used to coach your eldest son’s little league. The smiles and love in your face – I just turned around and walked out of that room as well. Not today.

I went to the book shelf and thought books are innocent. I can pack the books – how bad can that be? In the very first book I picked up I found an old love note I once gave you that you used as a book mark. I walked away. Not today.

I ran though the house desperate to find someplace safe to start. My head spinning like a top. I didn’t know where to turn. You are everywhere and yet you are nowhere to be found. You aren’t helping me pack – you are just a ghost smiling from the shadows and I am crying and lost without you.

Then I thought – the freezer downstairs. How bad can chucking out some old meat and defrosting the extra freezer be? I was excited to get something done. I went down armed with a garbage bag ready to get something, anything accomplished. I opened the freezer and there it was; your carton of ice cream. The last thing you ate in this house. I can still picture you sitting on the couch, spoon in hand with the entire carton on your lap savoring every cold mouthful.

The day after you died I took the carton and hid it in the downstairs freezer. I didn’t want anyone to touch it, let alone eat from it. This is my sacred carton of ice cream. I collapsed on the floor of the basement hugging it. I miss you so much that I am clinging to a carton of ice cream just to feel closer to you.

I am pathetic.

I couldn’t throw it out – I just could not. So I put it in a plastic bag and moved it back to the upstairs freezer in the kitchen. I don’t know what to do when I finally move. I have a feeling I am going to want to bring it. I know this is weird – but this is all I have left. I just am incapable of throwing it away and don’t think I will let anyone else do it either. Your love for ice cream used to make me crazy. I would beg you to scoop it into a bowl like a normal person. I would yell that the children would learn this bad habit from you and please use a bowl. Now of course I am grateful you didn’t use a bowl – it make this carton even more special.

After almost three hours I had done nothing but move a carton of ice cream. I pulled myself together and went on through the house searching for safe things to pack. There are none. There isn’t once corner in this house that hasn’t been marked by you in some way.

Everyone wants to come over and help me pack and I just say no thanks. In some way my packing is going to battle and I need to do this by myself. I am facing my demons with every room I enter and every drawer I open. I am trying to bring only the good memories to my new home – I want to leave the demons behind. This does not include the ice cream.

Today I am angry again. I am not sure at whom. I find my emotions flip flop between grief and sadness and anger and hurt. Sometimes I find it is easier to accomplish more when I am angry. These emotions swirl through me and give me strength. The sadness on the other hand sucks the life out of me and I am just a sad sack unable to do anything but mope around in self pity.

I know deep down my husband didn’t choose to leave us – I know that he had a disease and was sick and that is what really killed him. But I feel awful that I didn’t know how sick he was. I feel like a terrible wife for not seeing what was right in front of me. I feel useless and feel betrayed. I am angry at him for not asking for help and angry at me for not realizing he needed it.

The cemetery is calling me – like it does each and every Thursday. Thursdays used to be your day off and we would always do something – even if it was nothing. I always miss you the most on Thursday. But I can’t go tomorrow – I actually won’t let myself. The empty refrigerator is yelling at me and though I would love to ignore it, my children won’t let me. I have packing to do, have to clean for Passover and all the other life stuff that I never have the time for.

A big part of me just wants to get a huge tub of ice cream, go to your grave and just sit with you – even if only for a little while.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rain Drops & Tears

This morning was a quiet, rainy and foggy day. I had just dropped my six year old off at school and was pushing the stroller home with my four year old. I turned down our block and there you were. At the other end of the street walking towards us – you were there. I watched as your black hair got drenched in the rain. I watched as your black jacket, black pants and boots walked slowly our way. It took my breath away. I walked very slowly until I was just stuck in the middle of the sidewalk as you came closer and closer to us. I started to shake. I wasn’t sure if you were a ghost, a hallucination or if you were just really back.

What I wanted to do was run straight down the block and throw myself into your arms. I couldn’t wait to hug and kiss you again. I was in awe of your sight. A million thoughts went coursing through my brain and a huge sigh of relief flew through me. Finally you were back and I couldn’t wait to talk to you again. To tell you how much I loved you, how much you were needed and missed. I steadied myself as you were soon approaching. I was just starring at you until the face that was looking down away from the rain finally looked up into mine.

You can’t imagine the disappointment. The devastation I felt when it turned out not to be you. The man was also Chinese, not the white Jewish guy I was expecting. The man walked around me without a word. He barely even acknowledged my presence. He was just a random stranger who for the briefest of moments was my lost love and he will never know what he did to me. First I was relieved that I didn’t actually go jumping into his arms. Then I was just a mess. I was so angry with myself that I could let my imagination run wild. I just cried uncontrollable sobs upset with myself and world yet again. Rainy days are actually perfect for me – you can’t tell the difference between rain drops and tears.

I was visibly shaken for the rest of the walk home – cursing at my idiocy and only relieved that my four year old, who was tongue out catching rain drops missed the entire episode. I walked faster than fast and got us home. I went upstairs, washed the mascara off my face and headed out the door again. My daughter was off to school and then I drove to New Jersey to work. Just another day in this so called life of mine.

Moments like these are beyond comprehension. Beyond painful. They are almost self inflicted torture. I thought about this encounter the entire drive to work. How could I really have thought it was him? I was truly convinced for a brief instant that it was my dead husband – alive and well. I can’t explain it – not even to myself. But there was this moment – this definitive moment where I stood in the rain and my husband was walking toward me. For an instant I was filled with bliss. I can actually remember my heart warming up and my smile twitching. It makes the emptiness in my soul feel the cold that much more and my smile is just trapped in a far away place.

My six year old asked me tonight why did daddy have to die. Why couldn’t someone else die instead? I looked at him with my sorrow filled eyes and said I was sorry. Sometimes I don’t know what else to say. It feels like empty words coming out of my mouth. He doesn’t need advice – doesn’t need to hear anything. I just think he needs to talk and get it out. I find the less I say the more he talks to me. I can’t tell him anymore that daddy is dead and we are alive and have to life our life and move forward. Even a six year old knows bullshit when he hears it. So I listen to him talk and see him struggle to push away the tears. I tell him the truth – daddy would be so proud of you if he were alive.

The worst part of. The very absolute worst part is that someday I am going to have to tell them that you didn’t have to die. You chose death. You did this to yourself. You took yourself away. Just thinking about having to say these words is enough to send me in a downward spiral of tears and nausea. The tears that come are hot and angry. Because not only am I left to clean up this awful mess – I have to explain it. I have to try and explain the unexplainable to your children. I only hope that when the day comes I understand more and know more. But the reality is that I don’t know anymore than I did 21 weeks ago and I don’t think I ever will.

I pray that when the awful day comes that I have to say the words out loud the children and I are in a better place. A stronger state of mind – stronger mentally spiritually – anything but what we are now. For better or for worse I have time on my side. A four and six year old will hopefully not ask the questions I fear most to answer any time soon. Especially not when I have days where I see you walking down the street like you never died. I am not ready to face the harsh reality that will someday be my destiny. Maybe I never will.

Thankfully for now they are blissfully ignorant and easily distracted. I wish I could say the same about me. I only hope when they do someday ask we are outside on a rainy day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

That Girl

Believe it or not I haven’t cried once this weekend. Maybe it is because as my friend put it, I have cried a lifetime worth of tears in the past 21 weeks. Maybe my tear ducts are empty – I don’t know. I am just trying to ignore what is right in front of me. The move, the holidays and the rest of my life. If I let myself sit back and think about all that I must do and what I have been through, I could just cry forever. But I have learned quite a lot over time and the one thing I know to be true is that crying doesn’t fix anything. If crying was a solution there wouldn’t be any more problems in the world – I would have solved them all.

The only time I came close to tears was when people would see me out and ask me how I am doing. I would start to answer “fine” and then would choke on the words, have to reel in my emotions and flash my phony smile. I would be so much better if people would just stop talking to me altogether.

We spent a lot of time outdoors this weekend which was quite nice. Though I dwell in a big city, I live in a small neighborhood. Everyone knows me. Everyone knows my story. It doesn’t bother me that much. I feel a little bit like I am under a microscope at times, but really I don’t care. People are nicer to me than they normally would be - probably out of pity which does irk me, but as time heals my wounds I am hoping that others will just forget.

Actually what bothers me the most is my left hand. Normally I never think that much about my missing rings. But when I leave the house, I feel like my ring finger is glowing and that sparks are flying out and that everyone is starring at my missing wedding band. I am so self conscious about not wearing it I keep my hand in my pocket as much as possible. Sometimes I find myself turning a ring that isn’t there – the ghost ring.

Deep down I just miss wearing it. I miss the symbolism that surrounds the ring. I miss the man who gave it to me. I have been thinking about turning the ring into something I can wear – other than a ring. I have no idea what I want. It is hard to think about the ring too much – I almost want it to magically appear in my jewelry box. Maybe it will come to me in a dream.

I took my daughter for her first visit to a beauty parlor to chop off her long golden locks. Her hair usually looks like a rat’s nest as she won’t let me brush it and I just need to find the easy answer in everything these days.

The woman was extremely nice and asked me a million questions as she cut away at my baby’s beautiful hair. She wanted to know why I don’t have her style my hair. Why don’t I come to her when I am going out, blah blah blah. I tried to answer her questions without revealing details. But at some point my evasiveness was getting awkward and finally said, I am not really into how I look these days as my husband died five months ago. She stopped mid-cut and looked at me. You’re that girl, she whispered. I flashed my phony smile and said yes, I am that girl. Then she came around the chair and gave me a big hug and said, do you have any idea how strong you are? I just nodded. I had no idea you were so young, she said. I laughed out loud and then she started asking me a million more questions that I didn’t want to answer. But she is a hair dresser after all so I’ll forgive her.

I hate when people tell me I am strong. Several people have told me the same thing over the weekend and I hate it every time I hear it. Hate it. I am not strong. Especially when I feel like I am seconds away from sobbing hysterically for no reason, green jeeps send me into panic attacks and I am haunted by my dead husband’s ghost. I am not strong – I just have no other choice.

No one said to me you can either lie in bed everyday crying and feeling sorry for yourself while you ponder the what if's OR you can raise your children to be good and kind, cook their meals, take them to school, help do homework, take them to Dr. appointments and play dates, entertain them, clean the house, go to work, take care of anything and everything thrown your way, visit your dead husband’s grave and just carry on. There was no choice. There was no fork in the road. There is survival and that is it. This isn’t bravery or something to be proud of – not even close.

So no, I do not know how strong I am - not this girl.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Forget Me Not

I have been spending all my time trying to forget. Trying to push away all the awful memories that have haunted me these past few months. I have been trying to forget the terrible images that have invaded my head and how horrible I feel. It is not working.

What I fear now is forgetting the important parts. As the move inches closer and closer, I fear of forgetting you. I am terrified of losing you after we move. It is hard being in this house, seeing you everywhere. But when we move – that is it. There are no more new memories of you – just old ones.

I sat at dinner the other night with the children and we tried to recall all your corny jokes. They remember more than me. I am trying to find a happy medium of forgetting the image of you dying and remembering your beautiful face. It is a battle. It is a fight. It is sad and scary.

I went to the cemetery today. I have been gone so long and have missed you. My feet followed the path I now know so well and I didn’t get lost. I sat at your grave and cried. I sat under the warm sun just crying for you. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I go – it never feels like you can really be there. Sometimes I want to dig into the ground, just to really see for myself. My head knows you are dead, but my heart just doesn’t want to believe you are gone forever.

I told you about the children. About report cards and reading levels and the temper tantrums. I told you we were moving. I just talked and talked. You said nothing. I asked the air if you were here with me and when the wind blew I took it as a yes. I am grasping at straws, but I need something. I need some connection to you, because after we move I fear I will have lost them all.

I stared at the pile of dirt and feel like it is symbolic of my life now. Just one big pile of dirt that I am trying to clean up. I told you I was sorry. I told you I feel like a terrible wife for allowing this to happen. I know this isn’t my fault. But still, when your husband chooses death over life with you – you feel terrible about yourself. You just do.

I told you that I thought you make a bad choice when you decided to kill yourself. I talked to you about all the other ways we could have solved our problems. The only thing that has ever really mattered to me was keeping our family together. This has always been the only thing important to me and you knew this. Yet here you lie – dead to the world. You took the only thing I ever wanted away from me and it hurts – it still really hurts.

I thought about our life together and where do I go from here. It seems a long and treacherous road lies ahead. I can’t see beyond the next turn and only hope it is brighter than what I am leaving behind. I am trying not to drown in my own self pity and grief. I am trying to look ahead and feel better about the future. I am pained when I sit in the park with the children and seen fathers with their kids playing and laughing. I am devastated for them over and over. I just wish he could be here with us. I just wish a lot of things.

Tonight at dinner the children cried for you. It came out of nowhere and I wonder if they knew I went to see you today. I feel sometimes my visits spark their tears as if I brought a little piece of you home and they can sense it.

Your son took a picture of the two of you off the wall and just held it in his hands – stroking your face in the photo and asking you to come home. It is awful to watch this and feel hopeless beyond belief. It angers me and saddens me and makes me want to scream. But the moment didn’t last long. I told him we would hang the photo back up in his new room and the tears quickly went away.

I am trying to talk about you and remember you in the best way possible. I want the children and I to laugh at what you loved and think about you without sorrow. I just fear as time moves on and memories fade what I will be left with. The images that haunt or the sweet memories that I need.

I haven’t slept well all week – when I do sleep my dreams are littered with packing anxiety and dead bodies. It is a terrible combination and makes me not want to sleep at all.

Four weeks until we move. I have packed two boxes. At this rate I will be ready to move by the end of the year. I packed the two boxes today after the cemetery. It is difficult to wrap each item that once held such potential. The pudding cups I remember registering for because you loved them. The platter with our last name, the cake plate; these objects which once filled my heart with hope and optimism of a new life now feel empty and cold. I supposed in someway I am facing my demons. I must look at all my stuff with new eyes. It is amazing how losing someone can just put everything into a different perspective.

I view my life and the whole world in just a different way now. Not worse, not better, just very different.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Everyday is like Sunday. Everyday is silent and gray. Not my words – they belong to Morrissey. But I feel them just them same.

I am angry today and can’t figure out exactly what is bothering me. I have a plethora of choices, but I just can’t seem to pinpoint what IT is. Maybe I am angry that this is my lot in life. That my husband chose to end his life leaving me just here; feeling alone, confused, sad and scared. I feel like everyday is exactly the same and this angers me too.

Everyday that I wake up should be viewed more positively. I should wake up each day thanking G-d for all the blessings bestowed upon me. Be thankful for my wonderful children, my health, my family and friends. Instead I wake up angry that once again it is just me – all alone to face the day - another Sunday.

Somehow today I am more upset than yesterday. I decided yesterday I was getting tired of crying every Saturday. The tears caught up with me and today I am just bewildered that five months have past. It is not that his death doesn’t seem real – it does feel real now. It gets more real every day. Maybe it is the move that is fast approaching. That I am really going to leave this house. I am terrified by the idea of moving. I am not sure which worries me more. That I can sit in my kitchen and picture his every move or that I will soon be in a new kitchen and I won’t see him it all.

I am haunted by his presence and yet I fear that when we move I will lose the only thing I have left of him – images of him all over this house. I just can’t believe it has been five months since I have talked to him, that he has made me laugh like no one else can. I can’t believe it has been five months without nothingness, the loving married nonsense of nothing that you live for and don’t even know you live for until it is gone.

I am rambling now – I just can’t get my thoughts together. I am just so sad and angry today and miss him terribly. I feel like a broken record. Feel like I am just playing the same song over and over. Maybe it is the rain, or losing an hour of sleep or maybe this is just how grieving feels. The roller coaster of emotions that hits without warning and without permission. Grief doesn’t seem to abide by any set of rules and just takes over my soul. Grieving is time consuming and eats away at you until you just feel like an empty shell.

I promised my son today after sitting at the table crying for no reason that I would be a better mommy after we moved. He told me I was a pretty good mommy now. I cried harder. He laughed at me. Apparently the children are so immune to my tears they are unfazed by them – or maybe they aren’t and they hide what they are really feeling. Which makes me want to cry more.

The Jewish holidays are approaching and I don’t even care. It won’t bother me that he won’t be there. These holidays are only difficult because it bothers everyone else. The family will be looking at the empty chair by my side and giving me sad smiles. They are not used to the empty chair. I live every day, every moment with an empty chair at my side. The holidays are just another day to me.

These awful sad feeling have got to subside soon. I mean at some point I have to have reached my full capacity for sorrow. At some point won’t my brain just say – “Hey, you know what – I think we are good here – you won’t feel sadness anymore – you have reached your lifetime quota of sorrow and tears.” I am waiting for the message to come down from my brain to tell my heart. I am waiting because enough already – really!

Then my brain will say - Get packing, stop crying and for the love of G-d wake up tomorrow and appreciate what you have already. Hopefully my heart will listen.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I guess it was inevitable that I would get sick. The only silver lining was that I didn’t miss work or therapy and have amazing friends. Though my sister is furious with me for not calling her for help – she is forty minutes away and my friends are two. Sorry R – I know you are there for me always.

I did something horrible in the midst of my puking and learned a valuable lesson. It was Thursday night – 7 pm and I had just finished throwing my guts up. I had somehow gotten through dinner (pizza bagels served on the floor in front of the TV so I could lie on the couch) and was trying to get the kids to put their pajamas on so I could get them into bed. They were not listening and were running around and my world was spinning – literally. I started yelling at them to get dressed. They ignored me. So then I started yelling that I was so disappointed and couldn’t count on them when I really needed them and they weren’t here for me in my time of need. Then I stopped in mid scream and just started crying. Because I realized as the words were spewing from my mouth that I wasn’t talking to them. I was yelling at you. I was so sick and really needed you home to help me and you aren’t here – you are freaking dead!

As soon as the words passed my lips and I really heard what I was saying I knew they were not meant for my children. Even though I was so upset with myself I stopped crying. I looked at the two of them through my bleary eyes and told them how sorry I was for yelling and didn’t mean anything I just said. They looked at me confused by my quick change of pace and then went on not listening again. No damage done. But I realized in that moment that I do this a lot. I yell at the children when I am angry and frustrated, not so much at them, but at you. I am yelling at you through them and this is not helping anyone. You of course can’t even hear me – so what is the point?

Today I am better and am able to reflect a little about what I learned at therapy. There were three newbies there. People who have lost loved ones more recently than me. They reminded me of the first time I went. They cried a lot and had that lost and confused look on their faces. Though I still cry and look lost, I felt horrible for them. I wanted to give them all hugs and tell them that everything would be OK. But it would be a lie. Because nothing seems to ever feel like it will be OK ever again. The theme of the night was “mystery”. That each and every one of us are left with unanswerable questions to why our loved ones took their own life. The mystery of how this could have happened and the guilt we feel because maybe we could have done something differently. Knowing that everyone else feels as lost and confused as I should make me feel better, but it doesn’t.

Tomorrow is five months. What have I leaned in five months. Nothing at all. Maybe this is why I left therapy feeling like maybe this isn’t enough for me. Maybe just being in a room with people who can relate to me better than anyone else in the world isn’t enough to make me whole again. There is a woman who lost her husband and has three children. She says that she will never be happy again. Never. I feel like I understand where she is coming from. The only thing that would truly make me happy again is to have my husband alive and for my children to have their father back. That would truly only make me happy too.

But the reality is that this will never happen. He has taken himself away from us forever. I hate the idea of never being happy again. My children deserve better than this, better than what I am right now. I don’t want to be sad mommy forever and I don’t think my dead husband would want this of me either. There has to be something in between never being happy again and missing my dead husband forever. There has to be someway to climb out of this pit of despair I have landed in. I don’t even know where to begin; how to close up this huge gaping hole in my soul. I am not sure what it is I am searching for. All I know is that I owe it to my children to at least start looking.

Maybe this means I need more therapy. Maybe it means I need drugs. I am not sure. Maybe it just means I need to fix everything that is not working right now in my life. Maybe I just need to get past this move and settle into someplace new. Spring will come and the sun will be shining and maybe I will want to go outside again. Maybe I will even smile and mean it.

I can’t believe it has been five months since you are gone. I feel like these past five months I have lived a lifetime. It feels like you have been gone five minutes. I could sit and cry for hours on end if I let myself. I just don’t let myself get so upset anymore – there isn’t any time.

I was so very angry with you yesterday. I could not believe how many people I had to call to ask for help and none of it would have been necessary if you were alive. I really needed you home to help me and I guess I know what I am really thinking. This is only the beginning of times where I need you and you aren’t here. It doesn’t help being angry at you. I guess I just really miss you so very much and spend so much time trying hard not to miss you, that when I can’t help it – when your absence is so apparent - it feels like you died all over again.

Tomorrow is another Saturday. I will not pack again I am sure. I will snuggle in bed with the kids and make them pancakes and we will try and figure out the day – just another Saturday without you.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Falling Apart

I sat in traffic today instead of racing home in time to pick up my son from school. It didn’t matter that I had someplace to be – traffic can’t merge and I am freaking out. While I sat and sat and tried very hard not to ram my car into the person in front of me, just because, I realized that I am very much on the verge of falling apart.

I have been trying for so long to get through this awfulness. I am raising my children everyday and keeping them healthy, happy and safe. I am working. I am packing and moving. I am trying to keep my head above water and then a traffic jam occurs and I am an emotional wreck. I am just sitting and not moving and soon enough I am crying and crying. Then my Ipod battery dies. So there I am, sitting in Jersey waiting for someone to get a clue in the driver’s seat, left all alone with just my thoughts – not good. So very not good.

I am falling apart at the seams. I feel like I have been torn into pieces and they are exposed to the world. I feel as though I am trying to climb upward but there is a giant weight crushing me preventing me from accomplishing anything – anything at all. There is just too much going on.

My daughter is crying and won’t go to school. My lawyer won’t return my phone calls and I am sitting in the stupid car about to be very late to pick up my child. Maybe these things seems trite. They probably once did to me – if I just had one thing to worry about maybe it all wouldn’t feel so bad. But every single day something gets added to the top of the stress pile and nothing gets taken away.

I did decide one thing today while stuck in the car. I am going to get the children therapy. I think I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this. That we would all be fine and not need any help. I can’t deny what is right in front of me anymore. I can’t wait till we move. I can’t pretend like we aren’t all falling apart a little more each day. I asked my son the other day if he would like to go talk to someone about daddy – or not talk about daddy and just say whatever he is feeling and thinking. My son, who doesn’t like change and doesn’t want to do anything but watch Sponge Bob, said maybe. This is a huge maybe to me – this is a yes mom what the hell are you waiting for maybe.

Now it is just a matter of finding the right person at the right time at the right place. No problem. I cried the entire trip today out of sheer frustration and anxiety. I just have so much to do and don’t know where to start. My friends keep offering, no wait, demanding to help. They want my to-do list so they can get things going. I can’t even write the to-do list down, it scares and overwhelms me. Maybe tomorrow.

I am going to move next month on my birthday. I decided it will be the worst birthday ever; I might as well inflict more torture on myself and leave my home and all my happy memories on this day. It doesn’t matter. I hate my birthday and won’t be getting a corny card from my husband this year telling me how much he loves me. I might as well distract myself from what I will be thinking about all day and just move. Maybe it will be a giant symbolic out with the old in with the new day. Goodbye horrible year 38 and welcome bright and better year 29. (not a typo – so not ever going to write or say that number out loud) At least I will have a great excuse to eat a giant chocolate cake by myself and consume too much alcohol.

Therapy is Wednesday. The timing is perfect. I can’t wait to walk in and announce to the group that I am falling apart, hate the world and am haunted by my husband. It should be a good night all around.

As I sat in the car, I did think a lot about my husband today. I wonder all the time how he could have gone through with this. How he could have walked into that garage knowing he would never walk out. I hate when I think about it and yet I am so obsessed with how he really could have possibly done such a thing to the children and I. The only grasp on his state of mind that I keep coming back to is that he really and truly believed we would all be better off without him. I find this so deeply ironic, it chills me. Because if he could only see us now. How awful we all are. How we are moving because he’s gone – how we are left with deep grieving scars because he is gone- how we are all falling apart because he is gone. It is almost funny how very wrong he was.

I wasn’t late to get my son. I got there with two minutes to spare. I didn’t crash my car into anyone for the sake of feeling better. I picked up the children, got homework done, made dinner and read them bedtime stories. I didn’t even yell tonight. I was a good mom. I am not packing tonight – again.

Instead I am going to get a needle and thread and sew up my unraveling seams. I need to be whole for my family tomorrow and don’t have any time for falling apart.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Is That All You got?

I am not even sure I can write tonight. I may just be too upset and angry and over the edge. Shocking I know. But I push myself tonight because if I don’t get these feeling out of my system I may burst.

I feel like I have not had five minutes to myself to mourn my husband. Since the moment he died I have been racing from one catastrophe to the next. I am constantly dealing with numerous impossible situations without ever taking a break. I still wake up each day in utter disbelief, nod at his ghost lurking in the shadows and then run to the next disaster that awaits me. It never stops. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

If someone were to sit down and write the worst case scenarios of a person’s life; were to write about whatever could possibly go wrong for one person – they need only follow this blog.

How much can one person endure in such a short time? Forget about the fact that I have one dead husband and two small children – plus an older step-son dealing with all the death and pain and guilt, now add selling a house and packing and moving. Now factor in cleaning up the enormous mess my husband left in my lap. Now add that I went from a stay-at-home mom to a working single mother – add this all up and what do you get – me! Exhausted, insane, stressed to the max just me.

Every single time I think I have gone through the worst of it, every single time I think I have turned a corner, every single time I think maybe today I can sit back and take a breath and just be – some wrench that feels larger than life gets thrown straight at my skull.

I don’t know what to worry about first. I don’t know which way to turn. I am spinning in circles of confusion and doubt and the worst part is that I have no control at all. I feel like my destiny has been written and the lines are zigzagged, drawn by a three year old with a bold black marker. I hate this – really.

My four year old has become impossible. One day she announced she was quitting ballet. Though I know she loves it, she just refuses to go. She complains about going to school and cries on the days she must go full time so I can go to work. I let her quit ballet but obviously must stay strong about school. Regardless I worry and feel awful every time she cries. I hate my husband on these days because this is his fault. The hating doesn’t help – well maybe a little. But is this change in her a delayed reaction to her dead daddy or is this normal four year behavior? Is she trying to become more independent or is she just trying to make me crazy? How the hell am I supposed to know what is going on? All I know is the awful feelings and worry that live in my soul. I know mom, we all need therapy. It is on my to-do list.

Tonight at bedtime my six year old started asking me questions about what happens to your body when you die. “If your brain stops working does it go to heaven with you? He asked. I said no. When you die your heart stops beating and your brain doesn’t work and your body just shuts down. “What is shut down?” he asked. It is like an off switch I say. But your soul – the part of you which makes you special goes to heaven. “Well how does it come out?” he asks. I said didn’t know. “I think it comes out through your belly button,” he says. Maybe I respond. “Or maybe it comes out your mouth,” he states. I told him whatever he thought was probably right. This went on for a long time – just what I wanted to talk about on a day like today.

He wasn’t sad when he asked. He was just trying to understand the concept. I could see the wheels in his brain turning as he tried to scientifically figure out where the hell his dead father is.

I wanted to yell and scream at my husband I am so upset with him today. But I can’t. The worst part is that no matter what I deal with, whatever problems I face - he is still dead and there is no one to blame for this mess I am in. I am left feeling angry and sad and just so tired of this all. I am forced to write it all down so I don’t stat screaming at my computer which will do nothing but wake my children.

I want to go to your grave and pound at the dirt and cry and yell and scream at you. But I won’t. I usually end up feeling horrible on these angry days – because you are dead and missing out on this beautiful life. You are missing your children every single day so how can I be angry with you. You were the one suffering and blaming yourself for your failings – how can I be angry at you. So I am just left to be angry at the world.

I just want one thing, just one single thing to go smoothly for me. Am I asking too much? Can I just have something work out for me – please!

I know sometimes I feel very alone – but my friends and family call too much and stop by and help too much for this feeling to last too long.

I may be having a bad day today – one of the most frustrating days in awhile and I know it can always be worse. I just hope for once it will get better.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Puke Day

Apparently all my talking about vomit gave me an eyin harah (evil eye for those not of the tribe). Both my children were up all night puking. I didn’t cry and get upset my husband wasn’t here to help. Mostly there just wasn’t any time to dwell on his absence. But somehow over the last few months something in me has changed. I no longer feel resentment over his absence. I have come to terms with being alone. I don’t look for help where there is none – I am just used to it. Is this how my life is going to be? Getting used to him being dead. I hate this. I still miss him and cry almost everyday, but some how my brain has moved along into survival mode. I am trying to survive this ordeal all by myself.

So now I am trying pack in a house that smells like puke and keep the children from vomiting into open boxes. As well, all they want to do is take things out that I have already packed – this is just so much fun.

I told the children on Saturday that we are moving. I didn’t cry. It took a lot for me not to cry. Instead I told them that we are all going on an exciting new adventure. We are going to pack up all our things and move to a different place. I told them about the big basement with a piano that comes with the house. How much closer we will be to our friends and about the great new backyard that we can go explore. They were fine. Even a little excited. They didn’t ask me why – at least not right away.

About three hours later my six year old is in the bathroom peeing. He turns to look at me in the hallway and proceeds to pee all over the bathroom as he asks, why do we have to move? I sigh and tell him to finish in the bathroom and then we would talk. First I said the house was too big for us and he got a little upset. So then I said that mommy is working really hard, but we have to find a place that is not so expensive. My daughter chimed in that the house cost $50 so we have to move. I said yes. The next day my son asked me again why we are moving. He doesn’t seem to recall any of the answers I give him the day before. I try and remember which answer upset him the least. This time I say, well the new house has fewer rooms for mommy to have to clean. He smiles and agrees it would be better for us. I am sure he will ask again. I am running out of answers.

I don’t think the full reality of the move has sunk in for them. I try and talk about it a little everyday. I encourage them to tell their friends and teachers about our exciting news. My daughter keeps asking when. I tell her around my birthday. She wants to take pictures of all the rooms. I tell her that is a fantastic idea. I am relieved that the news has gone over so well. I worry about what is yet to upset them. Scary new noises, new shadows and just change. They are both like me and we all live for our consistency. I am trying to put on a happy face for them and not cry every time I pack a box or throw something of daddy’s away.

But all I really want to do is cry and scream and sob and cry some more. My fake smile is not helping me embrace this situation. Although I am packing, kind of, I am in serious denial that we are going to leave soon. There is so much to be done and I just do not want to deal with any of it. I have to call movers, I have to buy more boxes – but all of this is real and I don’t want it to be real. I want it all to go away.

I am living an impossible life these days. I miss my husband so very much and just wish he was here. That is all I want and the one thing I can never have. It feels awful. I feel sick to my stomach and am not sure if it’s the virus or just my usual nausea taking over.

I guess if the next blog has a vomit or puke title you will all know the outcome.