Monday, July 26, 2010

Locked Out

Yesterday I walked by my old house and there was a padlock on the door. I tried not to dwell on what this meant. I ignored the lock and just kept going. Deep down though, I knew I would never walk through the empty house again. I pushed these thoughts away.

Until this afternoon when I drove by the house and saw a crew of guys cleaning it out – I almost crashed into a parked car as I just stared at my lost house. I pulled over and started sobbing. Then of course I got out and stood across the street hiding behind a tree – watching them.

Maybe this is one of the downfalls of living down the block. I knew this would happen – it just seems surreal to see it all unfold before me. I liked knowing that I could pop into the house sporadically and walk around pretending that I still lived there; pretending that you weren’t dead. But now I can’t. I stood there watching as these guys ripped all the flowers out of the front walkway and every time they pulled one out and threw it into a bag – my soul went with them. I stood there crying, just watching, until I forced myself to walk away.

Tonight after an early dinner I took the kids swimming. I really just wanted an excuse to go past the house again. I looked at it and was overcome by such anger and despair. I know I moved three months ago. I know that technically this isn’t my house anymore – but it was the only house I ever owned. The only place that truly felt like a home and the last place I lived in with you. So yeah – it is still my freaking house.

Someday soon I will have to watch some other family move into my house. I will be happy for them and then I will hate them forever. Not their fault of course – but I will.

I was complaining to my friends over the weekend that I am feeling stuck. I just want something to change – I didn’t mean this. I didn’t mean for the house to be taken away forever. I realize I am getting myself all worked up over something nostalgic. I can’t help it. I want my old life back and I want you back and the stupid house back. I want everything that has been taken away from me to go back to normal. I hate that this will never happen and there is nothing I can do about it.

It has been three months since we moved and I have yet to hang a single picture on the wall. I am stuck. I don’t want to hang anything on the walls because that means I am staying here, that I am not moving back home. But if I start decorating it means to me that I accept my new life and feel at home here. I don’t feel this way either. I don’t want to stay, I want to go home. But my home is now lost and taken over by strange evil men who don’t give a shit about the mint leaves I planted for years to come. So going home is out, hanging photos is out and now I am just stuck.

All I want is a glimpse into the future. I sit sometimes and wonder where I will be in five years – in three years, in one. Nine months ago I could have easily answered these questions – and now I just can’t see past tomorrow. I have no idea what the future holds and the not knowing is terrifying.

I realize at some point I am going to have to learn acceptance. Once I get past the sorrow grief pain and guilt of course. But I apparently have to learn to accept that this is my life now. It will probably happen without me even realizing it. Right now I accept the fact that I am still tripping over boxes of photos in the middle of my bedroom. Maybe when someone else moves into my house – that is when I will put photos up. When my reality is really smacking me across the face and I realize and accept that I am never going home.

Today it doesn’t just feel like I have been locked out of my house – it feels like I have been locked out of my life.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Doorbell

I wonder sometimes how I can keep this blog going. I could write everyday, but I don’t. I could write everyday about how much I miss my husband. About how the children are changing everyday and you are missing so many little pieces of their life – too many to list or even think about. I could write about how I feel everyday and the sorrows and conflict I go through, but I don’t. Sometimes even I need a break from the way that I feel.

I could write about how I still have keys to my old house, and every once in a while I go back. I wander the empty rooms thinking about our old life. I think about how many memories were filled within these walls. Sometimes I just stand there and call out your name, just to see what will happen. My voice echoes in the emptiness and there is never a response. Never. I wonder sometimes why I still do it. Why I still try and cling to something from my past that causes me so much sorrow. Maybe because as difficult as it is, looking back is still easier than looking ahead – to a life clearly without you.

My daughter asked me tonight – again - where you died. Then she asked how did G-d reach you from heaven to bring you up there. Her questions seem so simple, yet they are so deep. Even at four, she doesn’t realize just how impossible her questions are to answer. I told her that you floated up to heaven when it was time for you to die. How? She asked. Like a balloon, I whispered and tried once again not to let my tears ruin the moment.

I try not to write everyday because rehashing these moments with my children or sitting down to think about how I feel, just doesn’t seem to help so much. When it does help, I will write. These days I am still feeling like a broken record. My thoughts and emotions have been unchanged for quite some time. I cry some days, some days I just feel sad. Some days the anger is too intense to put into words. Some days the guilt is just a blanket wrapped around me. Whatever it is that day – it doesn’t change too dramatically.

I look back sometimes and see how far I have come. Then I will look back and think I haven’t changed a bit. I am still mourning and grieving. I am still dealing with the first year of your death. I am not so na├»ve to think that on your year anniversary I will feel like a weight has been lifted from me. In fact, I think I will feel worse. I have decided that I am past getting through the stages of early grief. Now I am just leveling off and staying in place. Somewhere between awful distraught sadness anger longing and guilt and just simply sorrow.

This summer is moving faster than I would like. I am trying to keep the children occupied and give them a fun time each and everyday. It is exhausting. Just thinking about what to do with them each day is exhausting. I love them and don’t want them to feel like they are different than any other kids. Maybe I am trying to distract all of us from the fact that this is our first summer without daddy.

I had this feeling the other day that I wanted to rent a RV camper and drive the children across the country. To set out and have everyday be filled with new sights and new people and new adventures. Then I realized how I would have to do all the driving and I couldn’t really take that much time off from work. I guess in a way I just want to run away. But no matter what state we went to, no matter where we would go, we would still be the same people with the same problems and no amount of miles can take that away. Maybe I will wait and save this trip when the kids can share the driving – that should be fun.

I haven’t written about this in the past because I thought at first I was going crazy – now I just don’t care. I am pretty sure I am being haunted by my husband with a doorbell. Since I have moved into the new house a doorbell has rung in the middle of the night, around 3 am. It isn’t my usual doorbell sound – it is just a doorbell. I thought for a while I was dreaming as I would wake up and run to the door and no one would be there. Four months now and every so often I will wake in the night from a doorbell sound and run for a mysterious caller.

Last night at around 11pm the mysterious doorbell rang again. I was close to the door and able to open it right away, excited that I would be able to catch the person in the act. I threw open the door and no one was there. No one on my stoop, or down the street or anywhere. I actually rang my doorbell to confirm that I am really hearing two different sounds. I am.

So instead of getting totally freaked out, I am just going with the idea that my husband is saying hello. He knows we moved, he knows where to find us – and he is telling me he loves me. Maybe he wants me to stop haunting him in the old house and this is his way of telling me – or maybe I am just really going crazy.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Profound

Wednesday night at therapy a woman said how it is just unbelievable how much profound sadness she feels each and every day. There was a collective sigh that went around the room and then I just started crying.

I feel this profound sadness as well, everyday, and most of the time I am suffering alone. There are times that I want to share my sadness with others, but I don’t. There are times I want to tell my children how much I miss their daddy, but I keep the words inside. Sometimes suffering alone is just the easiest way to get through the day.

There are moments when the children do something amazing and I want to tell them how proud their daddy would be. Sometimes I do say it, but more recently I hold back. The tears and sadness I cause them seem to take the joy out of their accomplishment. I feel like it’s selfish to do this to them.

The other day we got into the car to run an errand and in my sweetest voice possible I turned to them and said, “Hey guys – who wants to go to the cemetery?” My son asked if we would see daddy’s name. I said very enthusiastically, “Yes, want to go?” They both shook their heads and said no, not today. So I said O.K. Maybe another time – and off we went to buy groceries.

I wanted to go so badly and realized that going there is just not the same for them as it is for me. I feel this burning desire to go and feel his presence and they just don’t.

This morning I dropped them off at camp and went to the cemetery by myself. It hasn’t been that long since I have been to see my husband, maybe a month. But it feels like it has been a long time. When I got to the grave it looked so different. Grass, weeds and dandelions have started to grow over the dirt. Your grave is beginning to look like all the rest of the graves. It is starting to look like you have been dead for a long time – and yet it is not possible. You just died! In my heart you died today. How can flowers be growing already? It feels very wrong. Part of me wanted to rip all the green away and make the dirt look like new again. But I couldn’t do it, I was crying too hard.

I sat with you for a very long time. I didn’t really want to be there, but I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I am missing you and suffering your loss everyday and it seems this is just what I do now. I live this so called life and try and do my best for the children, all the while feeling your absence day in and day out.

Wednesday at therapy as we went around the room starting the introductions, I said that everyday feels like Groundhog’s day. Everyday I get up with the children and go and do and just fake it. I told the group that sometimes when I walk outside my house I feel like the word suicide is written in huge bold letters across my forehead. That when anyone looks at me, that is all they see. Another woman said she feels like that also, but when she comes to group she doesn’t see the words on anyone else’s face – so maybe it isn’t on hers either. This made me feel better – but not much.

I seem to feel worse at night after the children are in bed and I am trying to figure out what to do. Should I work, watch TV, fold laundry, read a book, or eat everything in the house? Sometimes I just wander around not committing to anything and realize I am trying to distract myself from the sadness. It is really difficult to do. When I do finally force myself to try and sleep, I turn off the light and then there is silence. There are no distractions and I struggle with myself – forcing my thoughts to go away. It feels like the guilt and sorrow are clawing at my face and just don’t want me to ever feel at peace.

I am amazed at the amount of profound sadness I feel all the time. I am amazed that I can be crying hysterically at your grave at 9:30 in the morning and then 8 hours later be in the park with my children, hanging out with my friends. I try to push the sad morning away. I try and appreciate the happy times that I have in my life. I really do. I smile and joke around and maybe no one sees the words on my forehead. Maybe an outsider wouldn’t look at me and see that I am damaged goods. But the sadness doesn’t go away for long, if at all. It lies just beneath the surface, always with me – profoundly.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Quicksand

My grandmother told me life is all about survival of the fittest. She would know as she is almost ninety and has survived quite a bit in her long life. Her life is filled with stories of good times, sad times and everything in between. My life is one of her sad times. I think it pains her to see me struggling and she only wants the problems to go away – like yesterday. But of course, it doesn’t work that way.

I am sure my mother is expecting me to blog about her – as we have had a horrid few days together. I am going to try and not bash her and blame anything on her. But then again – this is my blog for me to vent and she doesn’t have to read it! My mom thinks she is giving me good advice. She thinks she is trying to save my children from a horrible childhood. She thinks she is protecting them and helping me. She thinks she is right – how can I tell her I disagree. It wouldn’t matter anyway.

My mother has never “gotten” me and I don’t think she ever will. My relationship with her feels like quicksand sometimes. She does or says something that makes me angry so I say something, then she says something, then I say something worse. Before I know it I am sinking into a pit of anger and despair only to have her look at me and say – you really should be on drugs that calm you – your anger is out of control.

She doesn’t understand that my anger comes out in its worst form around her. No one else criticizes me as much as her, but she calls it advice. I always react badly when she is telling me something I didn’t ask to hear. She thinks I am a terrible mother sometimes and am too harsh with the children. She thinks I don’t go to therapy enough. She thinks a lot of things about me that I just don’t want to hear. Maybe she is right, but the fact is that she doesn’t stop - ever. She says anything and everything about every little thing and I can’t deal with it. I couldn’t deal with it before suicide and I surely can’t deal with it now.

Sometimes I don’t care my husband is dead. Doesn’t that just sound so awful? I don’t care because what is done is done and I can’t undo a single thing. All that is left is this life I am struggling to live. To deal with the after effects of how suicide lives in my soul. How a dead daddy affects my children and how the rest of our lives will unfold. My relationship with everyone I know has suffered this year. I am sure I have lost friends these past nine months as I don’t call or want to see anyone. I am sure I have yelled and screamed and blew up at everyone in my family. I am sorry but my heart is broken – my husband is dead and my dreams are shattered – everything else just falls by the wayside.

I don’t care that my husband is dead until mail comes with his name on it – bills I have made a thousand calls to change the name. I don’t care that he is dead until the phone rings and someone is looking for him – or when I walk past our old house and think about how nothing is settled there either. I don’t care he is dead until my children are crying for him. Or when my daughter learns to ride a bike without training wheels and your son learns to dive into the water and you are no where to be found to share these trivial joys only a parent can appreciate.

Maybe I should just go back to crying day in and day out. Then everyone will remember what I am dealing with. Remember that every new day is a day without my husband. Every new day I think about the day he died and the awful look on his face. Every new day I think about dragging his lifeless body from the garage. If I am not crying and am not acting sad I am just asking for someone to judge me incorrectly.

My mother asked me – if everyone thinks one way and you think another – who do you think is wrong? I don’t know how to respond to this question. I am just trying to get through each new day and try not to look too far back because it is devastating and try not to look too far ahead because it is terrifying. What everyone thinks about me and how I act is not even on my very long list of things bothering me.

I can’t possibly justify my actions to anyone. All I know is that I am trying to do my best and yet it seems to never be enough. I would like to one day think that I am like my grandmother and that the survival of the fittest will prevail. These days I don’t feel that way about myself at all. Maybe I should look to my children for some courage, as they have much more than me.

My six year old son looked at me the other day and said – well, I guess we are just going to have to live the rest of our lives without daddy – survival of the fittest indeed!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tragedy

I am in a funk and not the fun Parliament seventies rock kind. I am just in a funk – maybe it is depression, but I don’t think so. Maybe I am just tired and hot and sweaty and lonely and bored and missing my husband and the life I was supposed to be living.

I feel like I am in a Shakespearean tragedy. I only say this because I was told this is what people are saying about me. Well not the Shakespeare part, but I am an English major after all so . . .

A friend who was trying to make me feel better said that her neighbor saw me the other day and said, “Is that woman with the two beautiful children the one who had that terrible tragedy?” I think I was supposed to hear that she complimented my children. Instead I just think - oh great, now I am a tragedy!

But I am not a tragedy! A tragedy is when a child dies or someone runs into a burning building to save another person and they die instead. My husband walking into a garage and never walking out – this is not a tragedy – this is just fucked up!

This morning the children woke me very early. I went into the kitchen to make coffee and then lay back down onto my bed while I waited for it to brew. Suddenly I was sitting at my kitchen table and you were sitting across from me. You were so young and handsome and I was starring at you like you were a ghost. You were telling me to stop complaining about my life and the kids and go live and appreciate my life. Go enjoy myself. When I tried to interrupt you, to tell you how difficult life has been for me, you put your hand up to halt my words and just smiled. You wouldn’t let me talk. I finally could look at you no longer. I put my hands in front of my face; put peeked at you through my fingers. You were just sitting at the table smiling at me with your young, vibrant and beautiful face and then I woke up.

Maybe this is the cause of my funk today. Because I don’t know if this was you visiting me from heaven and telling me to get my life together or my subconscious acting out. Either way I am disappointing us both.

I don’t think I will ever fall in love again. I don’t see myself ever marrying again or dating or anything like that. I just don’t see it at all. Maybe I am not supposed to see it now – but in my heart deep down – I never see it all. Yes, I joke with my friends about cute fireman and silly stuff. But I followed cute firemen around in Costco even when I was married. It was just fun – nothing seems fun anymore no matter how much I joke.

Then I look at my children and think how much they could use their father right now- any father right now and I think; well I will just disappoint them too.

Maybe I am a tragedy. How did I get to this point in my life where I am just lost and stumbling and trying to find my way? I am not supposed to be like this at 39. I am a mother and really should have so much more together than I do. I feel like I have disappointed my children, my family and really myself.

Quite possibly I am just feeling sorry for myself these days. I realize this is fruitless and doesn’t help at all. I don’t want to be viewed as tragic or any other negative terms. I just want my happy self back. I don’t really care about much these days – just my children. I want to give them a happy, love-filled life. I want to watch them laugh and smile and don’t want to disappoint them any longer.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Nine Months

Tomorrow is nine months you are dead. Nine long, dreary, tear-filled and overwhelming months. The only thoughts that linger in my mind these days are – I wish you were here.

My children and I are stuck at the moment. We are in between their school days ending and their camp time beginning. This has been the longest school year ever. I feel like my children should have graduated high school by now – not just pre-k and first grade. I have never been so happy to say goodbye to school – it has just really been a long hard school year.

But now summer is officially here and we are stuck. We wake up each day with no place we have to be. I am working from home while we are in limbo – and though this is convenient for a single mom, it is quite impossible too. I put them into bed each night and then get to work – spending hours upon hours working while they sleep. I have been up till 2 am almost every night. Then I wake with them each morning trying to keep my crankiness at bay while trying to find fun ways to entertain them.

Today was no exception. We woke up and though it was beautiful out, we went to the movies. Just for something to do. Then I took them swimming all afternoon and then after sheer exhaustion, took them out to the local diner for dinner. Somehow it doesn’t seem to matter how little or how much we do. The end of each day is always the same. We return to an empty home where I get them into bed, we pray to daddy in heaven and then it is just me all alone again – just me.

I am probably a little more melancholy this holiday weekend than most. Last year was a really great July 4th for all of us. We got a police escort (thanks to a friend) straight to the closest spot one can get to the NYC fireworks. It was a magical night for my husband and our children. We aren’t doing that this year and we really aren’t doing much of anything. My neighborhood is deserted with most people away or spending time with their family, because that is what people do. What we would be doing if you weren’t dead.

I sat in the diner tonight facing the window. I watched the couples walk by with their children. I knew all of them by name or face – it is the kind of hood I live in. I would have done anything to be them – just for a moment. To not know my pain and sorrow – to not feel so abandoned and destroyed. If only for a moment, I would have liked to walk in their shoes.

But I walk in mine – and then I looked across the table at my two monsters throwing french fries at each other and fighting over the half inch space on the seat they share – and realized - I wouldn’t trade them in for anything.

On the way home I met a woman who lives three doors down from me. I knew who she was and she knew me, but we have never spoken – not till tonight. She looked at my children and said, if you ever want to knock on my door and talk that would be nice. She is an elderly Jewish woman and looks like Dr. Ruth minus the accent. She said to me, we have something very terrible in common. I said yes, I know. Eleven years ago her husband sent her to the bank to make a deposit. When she came home she found he had shot himself dead.

She was talking about our situations and how terrible they were. I was pleading with her through my eyes to not say anything more specific. I was praying silently for her to not say the word suicide in front of my babies. She thankfully never said the word – but she said a lot more.

After eleven years I am still angry, she said. After eleven years I still think it was a waste and not necessary. He could have talked to me, she said. He didn’t have to do this. But you know this already, she said. She looked at the kids again and said, but you have it much worse than me.

I tried not to cry as I walked away with an extra super fake smile on my face. Honestly, I am just trying to get through tomorrow and then the next day. I can’t imagine anything more now. I would like to think that I could someday come to peace with all that has happened – but maybe I won’t. Maybe I am really asking just way too much.

Of course then at bedtime my six year old cried for you. I just miss daddy he said. Why did he have to die? Then he just cried and cried. He hasn’t cried in a long time. The pain fills up my heart and spills over into everything as I lie with him and feel his tears. This just doesn't get any easier.

So nine months later I still wish you were here. Your children miss you and so do I. I feel at times we have come so very far since the day you died and then I realize – we haven’t even taken a step.