Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Moving On While Standing Still

We celebrated Mom's 100th birthday visiting her grave a few days before the date. I can only remember one time not being with her on her actual birthdate during her lifetime.

Mourning for Mom is different from mourning for my husband. Death and dying are as individual as life itself and so is the experience of losing and living with the loss. Although they're different in how they've affected us, the loss of two of four members of our immediate family/household has been greatly and profoundly life changing.

We've moved forward, many times moving backwards and often standing still. Daughter and I have told one another "we're making it" and now we're saying "we're on our way".

Are there really significant differences changing the way we feel, the way we live? Well, there was a time when a nickel, five cents, was significant; when the purchase of toilet paper or bare necessities for living had to be measured, evaluated and put off until the last possible minute.

My oldest son would say we wouldn't have had to go through that if we'd simply sold our home and "moved on". But then he hasn't chosen to come back except once in the three years Mom was in an SNC and then for husband's funeral and his Grandmother's.

For some people it's easier to walk away, turn your back; that way you don't have to see or hear anything that might be disruptive or disturbing and you can go on with your life. It takes a tremendous personal strength and emotional development to face life's challenges head on and constructively manage their effects.

If someone you know/love loses their "other half" don't be so quick to try to get them to "move on" which you might think is best to "move away".  After all, you might reason, the house is too big, or remote, or requires too much upkeep and maintenance or dozens of other reasons why YOU believe it would be best to get rid of. Want to talk about possibilities and alternatives, fine; just don't assume, especially if you're not close to the person on a daily or very frequent basis, you know what's "best" for them when it's actually in your best interest because then you can put that "possibly challenging current or future situation" on the back burner of life and not have to be more involved.

Let me try to explain. When someone you dearly love is lost, you feel as though you've been torn apart -- that a piece or an important part is gone. The last thing in the world many people need is to have another upheaval in their life and another change. Not all, though; for some it might be best; it might be more beneficial. Let them lead; let them ask; work with them and not insert your needs, your wants and your best interest.

I would imagine someone who loses the use of an arm or a leg or its removal has happened, either by chance or by choice, understands the loss yet the feeling the appendage, the person, is still there who's passed on. Anything that's such an intrinsic part of everyday life can be a loss from a move to the ending of a relationship.

It's like suddenly being in the middle of a tornado; the aftermath of the death including the funeral and even months after you're so busy "adjusting" and trying to keep moving ahead -- taking care of bills, settling matters, getting used to "being without" that each day is a major accomplishment. No matter your level of intelligence and ability to reason, there is change and that change is usually not one desired or welcome.

When time passes and you realize you are here, you must go on, you must do more than simply survive or go from day to day, you may experience times of panic, times of emotional "attack" that can come on when least expected, triggered by something experienced in the past closely associated with the span of time between realizing the end is imminent and the actual event.

In the first few months, I could barely make it through Walmart without tears running down my cheeks. This aisle had the Protein drink we tried in hopes everything that went in didn't come out without something, some form of "energy" remained. Then there was the men's casual clothing area with the drawstring fleece pants, the only kind he could wear because he could adjust them and position them so his four bags taped across his abdomen so precariously to allow the openings, the holes in his stomach wall and intestines, could drain.

How long until the pungent acidic odor no longer comes to mind? How much more time until I stop thinking about what I might have done differently?  To stop asking why he seemed to accept all that he had to endure.

The MRSA had spread and with the incision, the one the "benevolent" Dr, the surgeon, advised the attendant to make to "drain" through lancing a "boil" and which he did not see before giving the order, caused rupturing, caused spreading of the MRSA and no amount of "repair surgery" cloaked as "necessary for the condition" would work -- in fact it would make the entire situation worse.

Too young. Too early. But never the right time for death to come knocking.

Some times are definitely more difficult than others. I try to keep busy. Working helps. Jobs are still scarce and especially when you're at the age I've reached in life. Ageism has become so very real where once it didn't matter. As an entrepreneur, having our own business, no one cared, no one noticed and I had great responsibilities, amazing opportunities and did financially very well. Now, just getting my foot in the door is an accomplishment.

Difficult economic times have placed daughter and I in very challenging situations. My sons have no real idea what we have done to survive. Nothing illegal and nothing immoral but far beyond their "privileged" ideas of how someone should live and the lifestyle they had in our home.

My early life, before husband and family, was full of economic and other tremendous struggles. Been there, done that -- although this time around, the journey is far more difficult with the added weight of the loss of husband and mother. I believe it's easier to survive adversity when you can focus on a loss of things rather than people.

Flashback. I get a lot of those these days.  Coming home from being out with my then "boyfriend" who became my husband. We were both home from the college we attended and where we'd met. It was early January and we were on our last weekend before heading back to school.

Interesting thought: Three people so close in my life, all departing in the same month.

When I opened the door to the apartment where Mom and I lived, she was sitting in a chair next to the telephone and I could see she was crying.

My Dad had died. I'd seen him not too long ago in the VA hospital; lung cancer they'd said. He wanted to go to another VA Hospital, he'd told me, to be closer to me, to Mom. They'd been divorced at that time for five years although it felt like two or three times that long. I'd told him he was closer to me where he was because I was at a college nearby.

Sugar doll he called me.

Sadly his alcoholism and smoking brought his life to an early end.

Sadly his alcoholism provided more negative memories of our life together.

Dad was younger than my husband, but not by many years, when he passed.  Another one of those "thoughts" that hasn't come to mind before. So many seem to be rising up out of the depths. Is that good?  Is it a sign of healing?  Is it a sign of .......?

What I remember is seeing my mother's tears and knowing the living H... Dad had put her through for so long. Yet, it was obvious, she still loved him.

Love is very strange, indeed.

So, as the world sometimes whirs around me as I stand still just trying to remain standing, I refocus and reposition because I told my husband we would make it, we would be all right.

Moving On . . . While Standing Still.

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