Sunday, January 23, 2011


I am so off my game. Not a tiny bit off, not a bit left of center, but totally on the wrong court kind of off. Needless to say this semester has not started well. I was tardy on the first day of class, which is so unlike me that I feel like I have not gotten my footing beneath me since that day. I thought classes started at 8:30 like they always did last semester, but instead they started at 8:00. I had it in black and white in front of me and it was just one of those situations where your mind is so sure of itself that it doesn't notice the visible proof that something is wrong. I arrived thinking I had plenty of time to greet my fellow students, play a little catch up with them, pick my seat, get my stuff out, get organized. Instead I am walking in during the middle of a lecture, having to slink to the back of the room to sit (which I hate) and I have just shown all my new instructors that I am Tardy Girl. The depth to which this has knocked me off feel way out of proportion though.

I didn't do well on the first pharmacology exam, which we get three chances to take. I did okay on the math exam except kept putting my decimals in the wrong place, which in the case of medication administration is pretty darn important. I was tardy again due to traffic issues when it came time to retake the pharmacology exam (which is timed) and I rushed through it. I already am pretty certain I will be having to take it a third time due to that issue.

And topping it all off is this heaviness in my chest, this hole inside me that has suddenly come so much more to the surface. It was always there, but for whatever reason, passing this four year mark has just knocked me on my emotional ass. God, can it be that long? I find myself thinking of him almost constantly. I trace the hills around where he is buried in my mind. I hear songs in my head, his voice, his laugh and I just plain suffer the agony of his absence. Yesterday the strangest thing happened. Alex was at a lock-in at church and Nick was puttering around on the computer in his room. Joe and I were enjoying a glass of wine and our books in the living room and I glanced up and caught site of the framed picture I have of all three of them, placed near the fireplace. And I did that funky Mommy thing where I take quick inventory of where my ducklings are. And in that flash millisecond of thought, for one brief moment, my mind scrambled to remember where Joseph was that night. THAT shocked me. It stole my breath away and brought it back in such a fresh kind of way. I was not expecting that. How can my brain still do that trick after this long? It happened a lot the first year or two, but now? It felt cruel, as if I ought to have some insulation from that by now. But it made me realize how much my limbs are aching again, how often I am teary eyed, how low my frustration threshhold and just how unbearably sad I am feeling. And now and then, from moment to moment, it does feel unbearable again.

I keep wondering why. Is it the four year mark? Is it that the cruise out of town was pretty much a bust? Is it fear over starting my final year of nursing school? I really cannot tell. I just know it is here and fresh again for whatever reason. I have not seen Joseph in over four years. My oldest child. I have all these pictures of him as a baby and my arms just....ache. Yearn. Grieve. I got a physical pain tonight looking at a bald-headed picture of him in the hospital. It has been a long time since I have reacted to that at all. He was bald most of his last year and a half of life. Now suddenly it has meaning again and I can still feel frightened about what is going to happen to him, even though it already has.

It feels like I need to do something, and fast, to purge myself of this fresh, fresh wave. But I cannot tell if I really need to do something - or if I just am having trouble sitting in and being present with my sorrow. I don't have room for it. I need it converted into determined energy and inner strength, but instead I feel its fingers pulling my spirit and my soul. It is getting hard to hide it, hard to step outside of it. And I think at this late juncture, would be pretty hard to explain to anyone who is used to me gracefully getting on with gettin' on. I am sighing a lot, as if the forceful exhale will purge the dark cloud hanging over me and disperse it into the night. How I wish that were true.

Why is it suddenly so acute again? I don't understand.


karen gerstenberger said...

I don't understand either, but it sounds perfectly normal, in the context of this abnormal life we now live.

Here is an opinion to consider: the people who love you will not require an explanation. The others don't need an explanation.
It just IS. I'm sending much love & solidarity to you.

Karen said...

Ditto with Karen G. I have learned that there are sooo many things for which I don't have answers. And maybe this, the sudden, unexpected tsunami-sized wave of deep mourning is just another one of those. I know it hurts and knocks everything off, and it's especially hard when there is a big to-do list in front of you. It's easiest to go with it, and soon the wave will drop you on the shore again. Keeping you in my thoughts and heart.

heatherbird said...

i love you. And i think you are ok, no matter what you feel.

In case you need it:

i give you permission to be tardy and not do well on exams and not want nursing school or enjoy cruises because you are sad and that is an ok thing to be.

i give you permission to still hurt and still grieve, even if you don't think you should be.

i give you permission to rest because you are still wounded, still hurting, still healing.

i give you permission to do enough to get by. Because sometimes, that is literally all you can muster. And no one has EVER asked me about my grades in nursing school.

Please care for yourself with as much tenderness and sympathy (and as little judgement) as you would afford any of your patients. You are as vulnerable and needful as any of them.

i love you. (again and still.)