Archive for July, 2013

Remember me

Yesterday, I wrote about my experience watching Remember Me.
One thing I took away from the movie was how he always wrote his deceased brother letters. I decided to do this today. I wrote what I was feeling and needed to get out, and I left it at his grave. Here is what I wrote:

I’m sick of hating you. I’m sick of loving you. I hate that you did this to us. I hate that I spend my days defending you. You said I always had to get in the last word. You really took that away didn’t you? I can live my life without you. But why should I have to? Was it worth it? Really? Buying stuff behind my back, going places behind my back… Was it worth dying? I don’t know how to stop loving you, but it sure would make my life easier if I could. Your daughter will never know you, and it’s your fault. But I am the one that worries about it. You left me with wounds that will never heal and scars that will forever damage me. I wish you could take it back. I would forgive everything and we could start again. I can’t ever hug you again and that still doesn’t make sense to me. Instead I’ll just lay here and stare at your stone. I’ll never find someone like you.

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My on demand lesson

Well I accomplished a lot this weekend and felt like I was in a pretty good place. I continued cooking and crock potting on Sunday and of course had all the cleanup that came with it. I also ended up packing 26 boxes for the troops! Now I just need to come up with enough money to ship them at $15 each! We entertained some guests at my parents’ house and Alexa just walked all over! I really wanted to swim but the rain put an end to that. It also deterred me from my Sunday graveyard trip. I was feeling pretty good about the day and headed home to get Alexa to bed. One of the best parts of my day is the big hug she gives me before reaching for her crib. Not five minutes later she was up and sick. Her, the entire bedroom floor and I were a mess. I knew I could call for help but decided to handle it on my own. I got everything cleaned up and her back to sleep and was completely worn out. I figured I would check out what’s on demand. Here’s what I found…

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Of course, I started getting upset but kept going. I finally chose “Remember Me” for the sheer fact that I like Robert Pattinson. I probably should have checked IMDB first because apparently the description clearly states it is about death and suicide. It was a good movie but put me back in the “dark place” and left me in tears for the night. Oops.. Lesson learned: don’t pick a movie just because the actor looks hot with a beat up face.

Man I’m old

Going through this probably has aged me quite a bit. I still look rather young, I often hear. I noticed a lot in the past few days that made me say “man I’m old!” I went to NJ again to go to the Monmouth County Fair. It was a big part of my childhood and overall NJ years and even though she is young, I decided I wanted Alexa to experience it. Out of sheer luck, I was off this weekend when my friends asked me to go. We took up an entire large picnic table at the food area and found ourselves talking about pregnancy, home maintenance, the best cars to fit carseats and strollers, careers, and big life changes a lot of us have experienced. I announced that I would “buy another round” of cheese fries? Wow how things have changed. I went on one ride with a friend. We rode this same ride together on the boardwalk one Fourth of July as young teenagers. This time we were up there saying to each other “this is safe? We aren’t strapped in! Would we let our kids do this? I can slide right out!” The fearless teenagers we once were, are gone, and now she was looking down at her husband watching, and I was looking down at my child. It was still really fun once we relaxed and enjoyed the ride. I got a henna tattoo in memory of Alex. I wanted to feel like he was there with us. My friend commented that he already was with us, but I did it anyway. I felt a little stupid since I already have so many real tattoos, but I’m glad I did it. The best part of the night, was watching Alexa meet a goat. She was so cute and so happy. The night was amazing and I’m glad I went. It was a great night of experiences for my princess and a good time with friends. It is so interesting how now, it all had a different feeling and meaning. This time, it was all about my little girl. I loved that I got to take her there and show her all new things. She did so well.
I came home, and worked on a new project. I made 7 different croc pot meals to freeze for my family. I love grocery shopping (I’m old!) and I love cooking. I researched recipes, made my grocery list, searched for coupons, did my shopping and cooked! I had 5 croc pots going at once. Not to mention, I made 16 family sized, frozen, healthy meals on $75! I think I did pretty well. It was fun! I used to have big cooking days making multiple meals to pack for Alex when he went to NJ. He ate so much I had a lot of cooking and packing to do just for 1 week of meals. I have not done a “cooking day” in a very long time considering I don’t have him to cook for. I’m glad I’m doing it again. Again, with the things that excite me now, I’m old!
I hear I have a huge amount of packing for the troops to do today. I can’t wait to see what donations I have waiting. I can’t ship things today, but packing takes a lot of time, so I will get started. I am happy to be able to do this for them. I know I don’t want to live without my coffee and snacks etc. I think it really has been good therapy for me. I read on widow net yesterday that a women said for her 8 month “loss anniversary,” she was going to do 8 random acts of kindness. I think that’s something to go on my to do list. What a wonderful idea!
As usual, here are some photos…

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Happy? Sad? Angry?

I know I’ve said this before but the emotions involved with grief are just so crazy. It’s almost as if I can’t decide if I’m sad or mad or just totally okay. I was so excited about getting an A in my class but realize its not as meaningful without him to share and be proud. I was stressing myself out over what to wear last weekend and then realized, who am I trying to impress? Well for one thing, I’m stressed because he helped pick my clothes! He was better at it than I am! But he’s not here to get excited about how I look so whatever. I get excited thinking about my and Alexa’s future plans and then suddenly change my mind and feel like what does it matter without him? I finally emailed a shop about getting my Finding Nemo tattoo. I’m excited. “Just keep swimming” has gotten me through a lot. Next thing I know, the guilt sets in. Our fights were about money. He was spending insanely and I spent nothing on myself. Now that he’s gone and I’m “allowed” to spend what I want, I feel like I’m spending blood money. I only can because he’s not spending it all and he’s not here to tell me no. I work really hard for what I have. Do I deserve to spend some mental health money? So I get angry at him all over again. Yesterday, I had a patient named Alex. When I said “Alex hunny,” I commented how weird that sounded and began joking about it. At the time, it was funny. Later in the day, reality hit and I was crying. Again, I started yelling at Alex (the spirit, not the rabbit) that he did this to me. Today, the song “Daughters” came on the radio. It’s not really a song I would expect to bother me. He tells fathers to be good to their daughters. I couldn’t help but think that he wasn’t. He left her and left her mother heartbroken/depressed/screwed up to raise her. This weekend, I ran into old friends of ours. I immediately had the instinct to text him. Knowing I couldn’t really made me feel the loss. Just the simple things that say “the person you were closest to in the whole world is gone,” really hurt. The day to day normals of my life I am used to and can handle well. Sometimes things come out of left field. I actually don’t know that I even know what that phrase means haha.
These are just examples of the day to day norms of dealing with the first year. If I have learned anything, it’s that it is okay to have these feelings. You need to feel them to eventually get past everything. Cry when you need to. Be totally pissed off sometimes. When I get it out, I’m so much happier the rest of the time.

You never know

It’s always the things you aren’t prepared for that knocks your legs out from under you and sends you into tears. For me anyway. There are always things that I am prepared for and things that I expect may upset me. I’m learning that this isn’t going to change yet. This weekend, Alexa and I were in NJ celebrating a first birthday. Saturday was the family party which I was asked to attend and photograph. Sunday was the “friend” party at which we were guests. I expected that going to a party where I would be surrounded by couples and families would be upsetting. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t. Alexa is my family and that’s all I needed. I expected that seeing acquaintances that I hadn’t seen in a long time would be awkward considering my new life. It wasn’t. I always expected people to assume that Alexa was adopted and when someone actually said it to me (surprisingly for the first time,) it was funny, not upsetting. I was terrified at the thought of photographing an event without Alex. But really, it wasn’t all that scary. I did not get the joy out of it that I used to and my photos certainly aren’t as good as his, but that’s okay. The point is, I did it, and I got through it. I knew bringing my cousin with me to events opened us to looking like a lesbian couple (with a child.) I did not expect this to upset me, and it didn’t. I think it’s pretty funny that someone actually asked. What I did NOT expect (at a 1 year old’s party) was to overhear a loud conversation about mentally ill people legally accessing guns because background checks do not include mental health checks, thus they become a menace to society. I froze and politely attempted to excuse myself from the room. I then burst into tears. I’m not sure how I should have handled the situation, but I’m mad that I handled it that way. This event was not about me and I had a breakdown right in the middle. I guess it’s just one more thing I had to experience. You live and you learn. Otherwise, it was a good weekend. It is just nice to get away and be surrounded by friends sometimes.

Here are a few photos I took.

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Back to reality

I was never a big fan of the phrase “back to reality.” Do you really escape your reality? I don’t. However, getting away is a change and I do enjoy that. Alexa and I spent a weekend in NJ celebrating “her boyfriend’s” first birthday. It was another weekend of firsts. This was the first time I got my “real” camera out and took photos of an event since he’s been gone. It’s just not the same without him, but I did it and I’m glad I did. All of the things I feared upsetting me didn’t, but I did have one breakdown. I’m mad that it happened as this weekend was NOT about me! There was a true catalyst and it couldn’t really be expected or avoided. So here I am, Monday morning, sitting outside with the dogs and then headed off to work. More to follow…

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I passed!

Here is the last part of my final project.
Summarize what you learned from taking this course.

I have learned a lot in taking this course, not only about myself, but how to help others who are grieving a current or impending loss. I never realized how much a terminal patient and their family’s stages of grief mimick those of any other loss. Although the loss has not actually happened yet, they are already preparing and going though the stages. Although I am going through these stages, I have a much better understanding of them now and how they affect people in rather different situations. It interested me very much to learn how those patients react in the stage of “acceptance.” The readings gave me a much clearer understanding of the fight between when to “give up” and when to keep fighting.

What I can honesty say was the number one thing I took away from this course is the importance of giving the patient the opportunity to openly express their feelings and just speak their mind freely. In a lot of these situations, the staff was busy or uncomfortable with death. Therefore, the patient was not getting the chance to bond with anyone and really get to “get things off their chest.” It is very important to have someone that will just let a person vent their fears, angers, displeasures etc. Sometimes all the patient needs at that moment is someone to listen and not try to take away the right to their anger. Also, someone to agree with them that this is difficult and unfair. I know that sometimes, I need just that.

Here is the email I received today…

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Personal feelings / experiences

The next part of my project asked about my personal feelings and experiences as I read the textbooks for the course. This is how I answered…

I should start by saying that I lost the love of my life to suicide. I am still very much going through the grief process. The area of study that affected me the most was most certainly the section on suicide. It was stated that there is a higher level of regret and guilt surrounding this type of loss. She also discusses the fact that the grief process does tend to be longer. I wholeheartedly agree and, in a way, felt that she was describing my life. When discussing preparatory grief in the case of suicide, I found myself wondering if my husband went through that. I began analyzing that day again and trying to make new sense of it all.

As far as death in general, I really began thinking about how people around me reacted and responded to my situation. A lot of what I read went against how I was treated in the hospital etc. I felt that after taking this course, I would be more prepared to handle others in similar situations.

Overall, a lot more emphasis was placed on terminal patients and how to handle things before death. I have no experience in this matter. I was not given the opportunity to experience anticipratory grief. Even still, I felt I was able to connect with the patients in the books because of the basics of the stages of grief. I was very interested to find that the stages are the same. Many of the feelings are the same. It reiterated that everyone goes though them at a different pace and uses different coping mechanisms. Overall, these books evoked a lot of feeling for me as these were people grieving, just as I am.

January 28, 2009

I came across this tonight… Something I posted January 28, 2009

Once you’ve been tagged you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under the tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app). Then click publish.)

1. I’ve been wondering when I would get tagged….and worrying about what I would write..
2. I am of two minds about everything in life…on the outside im a very decisive person…on the inside i am not…
3. I am incredibly thrilled with my life….and at the same time…i hate my life…
4. I spent most life my young-adult-hood (yeah i made that up) saying i hate children…now thats all I want in life…the one thing that would make me complete…
5. i think money is the root of all evil….but i really need more of it
6. ive always said that my #1 goal is to be successful….but what is success?? im starting to believe that as long as you are happy…you are a success
7. Sometimes I still cant believe someone wanted to marry me…and i want everyone to know what a great husband he is…
8. i truly believe that everything in life happens for a reason…and what is meant to be will be..
9. although i sometimes hate being overweight….im not ashamed of it…theres more important things in life to stress over
10. i have way too many cats…and i wouldnt have it any other way…i like being a crazy cat lady
11. the older i get…the better my relationship with my parents gets…i guess i can just relate to them on a totally different level
12. i am a grammar freak….except in ims and stuff like this…
13. i look forward to all the crazy emails from my family…
14. Im turning into my mom with lipgloss…and i used to make fun of her about it
15. I worry that the tough bitch that i used to be known for…is gone…and im not sure if thats good or bad…
16. Im proud of the fact that im a struggling, poor person…i work for everything i have
17. I love the smell of a gas station…the sound of driving over rocks…and coffee…i really love coffee
18. I love being a part of peoples weddings…im so glad photography has given me a chance to do that….it now reminds me of my wedding
19. sometimes smoking grosses me out…but i have no desire to quit…
20. i hate being a “midget” but when i really think about it….its a part of me…so i wouldnt change it. it makes me unique!
23. i would love to be covered in tattoos
24. i have wonderful friends/family members and husband that make me feel so great…
25. i love my truck…i hope i have it for a very long time…

It is funny the things that have changed and the things that are still so much the same.

I am still often two minds about things. I seem very decisive, yet at the same time I am not. I still am very thrilled about certain things in my life, but obviously, I hate my life too. I wrote about how being a mom would make me complete, and it has. Having Alexa has meant more to me than I even knew it could. I think this whole situation has proven to me that money is the root of all evil. Yes, I could use more money, but I would trade it all to have Alex back. This entire mess started from money issues. I still do not know what success means. Am I a failure because I no longer have the average life? Am I unsuccessful at life because I am single and a mother? Am I a success for picking up with my life and doing what I have to do? I really don’t know. I still think Alex was a wonderful man and husband. The way our life together ended was certainly tragic but I have wonderful memories. I do still think that everything happens for a reason. I just question it more now. What could possibly be the reason all this happened? I do have too many cats but I’m totally ok with that. I still have a great relationship with my parents as I’m older. I don’t know what I would do without them now. I think I am more of a grammar freak now, if possible. I still love my family emails. I honestly don’t remember being that into lip gloss. I’m not now and still make fun of my mom for it. I don’t think I really am a tough bitch anymore. I was right about that. That does not mean I am not a strong woman though. I’m not sure how I feel about the struggling poor person. I work very hard and am careful with what I spend. I do not think I am “poor” and am hurt by the fact that Alex’s death has put me in a better financial state. I never wanted that. As long as Alexa has what she needs, I am happy. I think I love coffee even more now, and I still love the smell of gasoline and the sound of driving over rocks. Although I have given up photography, and the one wedding I have been to since his death was very difficult for me, I do still love the idea of weddings. Since this, I quit smoking twice. I currently smoke and feel the same way again. I don’t hate being short. It makes me who I am. It does make clothes shopping complicated though. I would still love to be covered in tattoos. I have a lot, but want more. I obviously do not have my husband anymore, but I still have amazing friends and family members that I am very grateful for. I did really love my truck. I did not get rid of it for more than 4 years after this original post. I do love my current truck too. I plan to have that one for a long time too…

 

The good stuff

I have been falling into a bit of a depression again lately. No real reason, I guess… Saturday was a little too “normal.” I was off work with no real plans and began to get bothered by the fact that it was an average day that we could have been spending together.
So here’s the good stuff… I took my final exam and got a B.. Good enough for me! I finished my final project and just need to look it over and hand it in. Alexa is walking! So exciting! And although I have been down lately, I got on the elliptical today, and really got in some natural antidepressant time. After getting through this week, I have an exciting weekend ahead of me.

So.. Here is the next question on my final project. I have skipped a few and decided to post this one since it is much more pertinent to my life.

You are working with a young mother who has just recently lost her husband to cancer. She is crying, has poor eye contact with you and says to you, “I don’t want to live anymore. I want to die too.” How do you respond to her?

I would start by saying that these are normal feelings. I would tell her that I, too, had the same feelings when my husband passed away. I would invite her to discuss it further with me. What are the specific aspects of loss that she is grieving? I would give her the opportunity to vent her sadness and anger. I think that many in this situation feel that what happened to them is unfair. I would agree with her. They are dealing with one of the most difficult things on earth. It is completely acceptable to feel like it is the end of the world. I would then ask her what else she has to live for. I found that I was able to take the first steps toward healing because I had a seven month old child to care for. Like any mother, I live for my child. I feel that letting this woman vent and get her feelings out will allow her to come to that same realization on her own. Most importantly, I will never insinuate that this will not be a very difficult process. It will, but it can be done.

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