Monday, January 24, 2011


Joe and I are strong together, almost eerily in sync sometimes, to the point that we can easily lock out the rest of the world and remain hopelessly, perhaps detrimentally, content to homestead down in our lovely home and writhe around in the joys of just So when we are out of step with one another, it is irritating just in its own right. Its annoying to us both. We are quite used to our harmony. Dissonance doesn't make sense for us. But when I get into the low swing on my cycle of grief, it screws us up, mainly because I am so determined to keep it from affecting him and us.

But this particular trough has just plain kicked my ass six ways of sideways. And something in my spirit is just........tired. So tired. I am tired of fighting these waves and covering them up and suffering through them in the in-betweens of life - in between classes, in-between home and the grocery store, in-between when I go to bed and when Joe does. It makes my reactions to things seem weird in our household because that is what they are. Weird reactions to something more than what is happening in the moment and though I try to put it away and tuck it all up nice and neat (Mine! My grief! Mine mine mine! Don't touch it you'll break it!), apparently I have stored up enough snot to run out and over and across the kitchen floor. Not really. But you get my gist. I have been suffering alone for a very long time, by choice. Joe has never shied away from me in these moments and has never made me fear for the security of us. It just has felt unfair to lay it on him, particularly in the early days when it happened every other half hour. It became a habit and I got rather good at it. But this, it would seem, is the consequence.

We discussed tonight this perfect storm of things that have happened, not the least of which is my guilt and floundering over discovering I might like to go an easier and less emotionally devastating route of nursing than the one I put forward in Joseph's name. I feel selfish for this, particularly because I feel pretty strongly I was one of earth's most selfish mothers while he was alive. Combine that then with what pursuing this dream has been cradling - all these black emotions, the confusion, the horror of what happened to him and the helplessness. All of that has fallen back on my heart as I look at the possibility of being a certain kind of nurse for me as much as for him.

I have discovered I really don't want to be class president. That was a hard decision, filled with a lot of angst and a sense of being ungrateful. I served for a year and did well. But today when given opportunity (via re-elections for a second term) to decline to run again, I took that opportunity and felt mostly a sense of a huge weight coming off my shoulders.

I saw Rabbit Hole, and something about that movie unleashed a deep, deep sense of validation, and I have not been quite the same since. It cracked this careful veneer. I have to hand it to myself. I have put it on for a very long time, letting the dam loose in metered doses carefully orchestrated to keep things at bay rather than let them flow. I don't think I can do that anymore.

And vacation was a bust. And Alex is turning the age Joseph was when he died. And I am one year away from holding a license that lets me hold people's lives in my hands and I feel unbelievably unqualified to do that. And four years have gone by, and some weird part of my soul I think was STILL, STILL hanging on, thinking there might at some point be a different outcome or something. All I know is that it has drifted down on me that he is still gone and four years again and four on top of that will come and go and he will still be gone.

So I am trying something new. I purged great gobs of tears and suffering onto Joe's lap today while he stroked my hair and just let me talk. I let him bear witness to the absolute depths of the sorrow that eclipses me and listened to his quiet wisdom, assuring me this is still and forever a cycle, that it will come 'round again and that my agony is not self created nor misplaced nor self serving...and that I can bring it to him to hold me through and that he wishes I would stop being stubborn and let him do that when I need it. It is HARD to do that for me. I am working hard on not seeing myself as broken. Even when Daughtry songs on the radio set me off, even when nothing at all sets me off. I guess one way or another I am going to learn how to carry this, every part of it, not just the pretty and commendable ones.


karen gerstenberger said...

Sending love to you.

Karen said...

Oh such deep, deep sorrow. And it all makes perfect sense to me. How blessed you are to have Joe--someone who lets you cry your tears all over him and comforts you in the process. Tears help a lot. And comforters do too. It's a long journey, isn't it, and never easy to control. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Love, Karen

heatherbird said...

Oh, i am so proud of you.

Nursing is emotional and challenging enough without it being tied up in your grief. i'm so glad you are beginning to excise Joseph's death from your career. Your life's work cannot be about his death. Remember: you wanted to be a nurse long before he was sick. And that's completely valid. You deserve to be happy, to have a job that you enjoy, that is about you.

And when you are sad, you deserve to feel and express those emotions, too. Period.

And i'm SO proud of you for showing yourself to Joe. One of the hardest parts of marriage is trusting that other person with the parts of yourself you think (rightly or wrongly) are the least lovable. And now, you're more married than you were before, aren't you? :)