How can it be almost time to go to bed already?! There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day any more to get done all that I want/have to do. There is always something that needs to be done around the house and yard, and before I know it, it is after 10 p.m. and time to wind down so I can go to bed and at least try to sleep, then get up and do it all over again. Each day starts out with a list of things to do. Each day ends with me, exhausted sitting in the recliner with Abby resting half on my lap, half on the arm of the chair. Our chill out time before bed, and the list for tomorrow’s To Do already forming in my head.
I took a couple of days off last week and had a four-day weekend last week. I did pretty good emotionally for the most part. I did a lot of counter-productive work. In other words, I would start working at one thing and the next thing I knew I was off on another project, leaving a lot of unfinished work behind me…and in front of me.
My sister took me to the ‘big city’ and we had lunch with her sister-in-law, who also is a widow. Her husband died of cancer almost 5 years ago. It was good to talk to someone who has felt the deep pain and gut wrenching feelings I am feeling and to help me realize that I am not crazy (well not any more than I ever was). She cried with me, laughed with me and helped me realize that I need to start thinking about moving forward and stop living in the past or the what would have been our future. She let me know that it certainly isn’t easy, and it may take a LONG time, so I need to not rush it and be kind to myself (something lots of my blogger friends have also told me). Then, she told me she is a psycho-therapist! My first thought was “oh, crap”. But I maintained my ‘professional’ blank face as though I was not shocked or surprised, even though I felt like my jaw had just hit the table. Long story short, it was a nice time…until my drive home alone. And I cried like all this nightmare that has become my life had just begun.
A few days later, an old friend, from the youngest daughter’s high school days, and a pastor now, came to visit with her and me. He spent at least three hours with us and counseled us and prayed with us and I felt so much better after he left. I felt like I was starting to feel again. He knew the right questions to ask and had the right answers that fit my life because he knew our family. His wife had also been quite ill for several years and he had also watched her slowly lose her abilities to function and had been in a nursing facility for the last three years. She passed shortly after Mike did, but not as peacefully.
For anyone who answered my plea for prayers that if it was Mike’s time to go that he would pass quickly and peacefully and not be in a vegetative state for days or weeks, I thank you! I know how hard it must have been to make those pleas on my behalf, but I am so grateful that, even though I was not ready to let him go, he did pass very peacefully and smoothly. There was no gasping for breath at the end, no crying out in pain, just a few words concerned about his place in the hereafter, my prayers over him confirming he belonged to God now, and he was gone. I’d be lying if I said I wish he had been able to tell me one more time that he loved me. I wish I had those words to hang on to now.
But I digress. After I went back to work, after the long weekend, I felt as though the whole world came crashing down on me. I spent the morning at my desk in tears, making my boss very uncomfortable. On my lunch hour, I had an appointment with one of the pastors at my church. I really don’t know him very well. He was not a pastor when Mike and I went to church on a regular basis, just the husband of one of my church friends. We talked a while and then out of somewhere came the courage I needed to tell him how rejected I felt by the church and our church family. That everyone knew that Mike was ill and when we stopped attending every Sunday it was because of his health. Not one person cared enough for us to contact us to see if we were ok or if we needed something, or help with something. Not that we would have told them, being the proud “We got this” kind of people we were, and I still am. But, it would have been nice if the head pastor who performed the services for Mike’s funeral would have called to check on me afterwards. I’ve heard it preached from the pulpit that the church isn’t the building..its the people..and that as the church we are to show the love of Jesus to others. So, in my grief I was feeling that if my church family doesn’t love us, how could I possibly believe that God really loves us? Does He show that kind of “out of sight-out of mind” love toward His flock? I sure hoped not, but I have such doubts because of it.
Anyway, the counseling session was hard. I was a mess for four days. I didn’t even think I could go on any more. It just hurt too bad to even imagine moving forward. And, I still have feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem and wondering ‘why’? “what makes the difference’ and ‘who cares’. Part of my identity and part of my inner self was lost when Mike took his last breath.
Below is a photo I took of a tree that sits in the side yard of my property. I call it my “Tree of Life” of “God’s Tree”. Mike and I had several disagreements over the tree. He said it needed to be cut down. It’s hollow inside. Decayed, but the outside is still very much alive and its branches are still bearing leaves. Thankfully, he gave up his efforts to take the tree down and allowed me to have my tree. I’m so glad that he did. As I look at it, I can now see myself. Empty inside, yet the outside appears strong and viable. While the tree and I will always have a large empty place deep inside, we will survive.
I am hopeful that I am gaining strength and am no longer stuck. For today that is true. Tomorrow, maybe not so much…