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"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... it is about learning to dance in the rain" (unknown)

"Without Darkness, there would be no Light" (unknown)


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Humdrums & Randomness

Well, I'm still muddling through... excuse my ramblings as my thoughts jump from here, there, and everywhere. Its an insomnia night, tonight. It's currently past 3:30 AM and here I sit. Random thoughts of bills, to-do's, and Mom are running through my head. I had another one of those whammies that sneak up on you and you realize you are never going to see your loved one again in this lifetime. I miss her so much, and it hurts like hell.

I made through my first full week of work since Mom got sick in late November, and it wiped me out. I also had a day full of anxiety Thursday and went into panic mode (work related). I finally had to put that particular bit of work aside to revisit Monday; maybe I will face it more calmly by then.

I still have Mom's chest of drawers in the back of the Trailblazer from moving my sister last weekend, along with Mom's nightstand and a box of her stuff. I guess its going to stay in there until I can wrangle up a man to come help unload it and move it into the house.

By the way, the move didn't go so smooth: Deb's entertainment center got broke (two legs broke off), her dining table got damaged, my oldest granddaughter fell and is now sporting two staples in the back of her head, and a bag of my dirty clothes went missing. I'm hoping they are inside the chest of drawers or something, and not in the trash (sigh) I have such few clothes! I ended up in pain (my back) and thought I was in trouble for awhile there. Oh, and instead of the cable company transferring her cable to the new addy, they cancelled her account and turned it off. WTF poor Deb, and now she has bronchitis, so needless to say she is miserable and not up for company, so I stayed home this weekend, and I plan on doing a whole lot of nothing!

Now I'd best give this puter a rest and try to get some sleep. Time to sign off....

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

3 Words of Ponder

Acceptance- the act or process of accepting: to allow, admit, receive, take in, believe, endure, or understand.

Abnormal- departing from the normal or atypical: deviation, irregular, or divergent.

Grieve- to feel, show, or express grief [mental anguish or pain caused from loss or death:despair]: to mourn or lament.

I realize it is not fair to myself to compare myself, my emotions, and my experiences with another's, however I find myself doing just that; I am comparing my reaction to my sister's regarding the loss of Mom. We are behaving and/or experiencing this so differently that I can't help but wonder if my reaction is abnormal. How is it that she is crumbling day and night, and I have moved on to occasional moments of pain and loss? Why am I able to accept this more easily? Is there something wrong with me?

What is normal in the terms of grieving, anyway? According to the "7 Steps of Grief" there are seven stages:

  1.  Shock and Denial- the numb sense of disbelief, and/or the denial (conscious or subconscious) to accept the reality of the death of your loved one aka shock, which provides emotional protection from the sudden whammy of overwhelming grief. This stage may last a week..."may" being the operative word here. I'm interpreting that to mean that this particular stage can last longer than, or less than a week.
  2. Pain and Guilt- as the shock begins to wear off, it may be replaced with unbelievable pain, heartache, despair, and even guilt Sometimes these emotions can feel unbearable, however this is an important stage of the grieving process and perfectly normal. You need to allow yourself to experience this array of emotions, fully in all their not-so-pretty-glory; it is crucial in order for you to heal and move forward into the next stage. During this stage it is normal to find yourself asking the "what-if's", "if only's", and the "why's".
  3. Anger and Bargaining- during this phase it is very normal to experience frustration, anger, and possibly the need to lash out or blame someone or something. Although it is normal, it is important to try to refrain from doing these things as it may result in permanent damage to relationships with family, friends, etc. I personally recommend finding a constructive outlet for these emotions, such as physical labor/chores. You may also find yourself still asking questions such as: "why" or "why me" and perhaps pleading for impossible bargains such as: "I promise to never _____ again, if you just bring ____ back!"
  4. Depression, Reflection and Loneliness- this stage comes along right about the time other people may think that you should be moving forward and getting on with your life, but this is when the true magnitude of your loss hits, and depression, loneliness, and despair set in. You will find yourself remembering the past (the good and the bad), reflecting on the sound of your loved one's voice, laugh, or his/her smile, etc. You may find yourself craving isolation and withdrawing from your friends, family, work, and hobbies. Once again, these emotions are all normal and you may find that no amount of encouragement from others will help you feel better. this stage, just like its predecessors is temporary and you just have to let yourself experience these feelings, but know that they will eventually ease.
  5. Readjustment- depression eventually eases and you slowly begin adjusting to life without your loved one in it. Your physical and emotional symptoms begin to lessen and calm begins to return to your life.
  6. Reconstruction- as you move from the beginnings of adjustment, you move into a period of "function" when you begin begin reorganizing, and finding realistic mundane solutions to problems as you become more focused on the practical things such as finances, packing up belongings, etc.
  7. Acceptance and Hope- mind you this does not mean instant happiness  it merely means that you will begin understanding and accepting reality, and finally begin moving forward. There will always be the sadness, however the unbearable heartache will lesson and eventually disappear  and you will eventually experience joy again.                     http://www.recover-from-grief.com/7-stages-of-grief.html
With the exception of the first stage, there is no approximate time limit given as far as to how long each of these stages may last. As I sit here typing and re-reading all seven stages, it has dawned on me that I have experienced six of them so far. I am currently working my way through depression into the reconstruction phase, with occasional bouts of grief, guilt, and reflection.

I don't know why I moved through this process so quickly vs. my sister who appears to me to be stuck in Stage 2. Maybe it is the fact that she lived with Mom, whereas I had been separated from both Mom and my sister when they moved out of town in January 2012; maybe that separation assisted in preparing me for her loss? All I know is that I am puzzled by how this has affected me. I totally thought that when the time came, Mom's passing would absolutely devastate me, leaving me a nonfunctional emotional wreck; however, somehow I have already begun moving forward, and it hasn't even been a month yet. Don't get me wrong, I still have my moments. Hell, I still have my moments about my Dad's passing, so I imagine that these moments will continue to come out of nowhere and hit me upside the head for years to come yet.

So the question remains, is it abnormal that my grieving period was so short, and I seem to have accepted Mom's death faster than my sister? I don't know... Does it mean that I loved Mom any less? No, absolutely not. I'm going to miss her terribly; I already do.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dear Mom,

I sit here replaying your heartbreaking and final stay in the hospital like a broken recording, and thinking about the what if's, if only's, and why's., and remembering your smile, your crazy sense of humor, your tough intimidating exterior which disguised your sensitive interior, and soft heart. Everyone thought you were such a "tough cookie", "an amazing woman", "a strong lady", and "cool chick". Yes these are some of the things people are saying to me about you, as they smile with sad eyes, missing you. You never knew just how many people truly loved you, or how many lives you touched, how many people are grateful for having the pleasure of working with you. But I do Mom, for they have told me so. I have seen their tears, received their hugs, and have been touched by their sadness as they share their favorite memories with me. You never knew your worth, but I do... we all do. You will never be forgotten.

I sit here remembering the recent past. How upset you were when you fell and spilled your newly acquired bag of beloved pinon nuts that I had bought you, and that comical sad pouty face you made about the loss of those very nuts while your sat in the front seat of Deb's truck dabbing at the bleeding torn "onion" skin of you arm and elbow; our last dinner together at Red Lobster and watching you thoroughly enjoying your crab legs and making sounds of pleasure as you retrieved a large piece of crab meat from a particularly stubborn leg, and how we all laughed; your excitement when you showed me your latest treasure from a second hand store, antique store, or yard sale; how you would jokingly flip someone the bird, or the jokes you would tell but always messed up the punch line; how you would call me on the phone and sing me happy birthday, for trying like hell to call me by my chosen nickname, Reba, rather than my childhood nickname Becky.

Then there are the older memories of my adulthood, my teen years, and my childhood... so many memories all squished together, the good and the bad, the birthdays, the holidays, our family vacations, our fights, our friendship. I am so thankful for our friendship! Our heart to heart talks, shopping at the antique stores, admiring all the wares at local Arts & Craft shows, all the "Look at this, isn't it cute/pretty/neat. You can make this, Becky!" and the "I know honey; I love you baby" or the "I'm so proud of you, sweetheart"., and even the "Goddammit Rebecca Jane!"

I'm grateful for being blessed enough to have you as my Mom. I'm thankful for your unconditional love, your strength, your many hugs and kisses, your humor, your "Armer Pride", your strong sense of family, for all the support, forgiveness, your wisdom, and selflessness over the years, and for being such an awesome grandma aka Nanny to my boys, and your great-grandchildren. You really were the best, and I'm so damned proud to call you Mom.

How I miss you!

With all my love,
Becky (Reba)