Friday, August 31, 2012

A friend's prayer

This morning a friend I met at the mom's group I attended messaged me to tell me that she woke up and felt like God had 'put me on her heart' and that she needed to pray for me. I was a little surprised because we don't communicate on a regular basis. All she had seen was a Facebook status that said how proud I was of my sister and the eulogy she delivered for my Dad. I often don't know how to respond to these types of moments especially when they come from an evangelical fundamentalist practice, but I do trust her. All that I have seen her do seems very heartfelt and genuine.

A few hours later I ran into her at Sweet One's preschool. It was an introduction morning for the students and holy shit! was Sweet One so excited to be there. She hugged both of her teachers (she's never met either of them before) and told them she'd come back "by myself". She and I are so ready for this.

But I digress. This friend left shortly after we had arrived but returned later on her own because she was worried about me. I talked to her and tried to limit my crying so as to not let the other mothers see me cry (they were busy with their own friends, anyway). I was very surprised that she had come back to check on me but there was something inside that felt so comforted by it.

Later on in the day (after canning 22 quarts of peaches and still having enough left over for another 10) I messaged her and thanked her. I also asked what made her feel like she had to pray for me and if she'd mind sharing. Her response struck me so deeply.

I haven't been feeling any spiritual comfort in all of this. I only feel empty. I'm a little scared because I want to feel something to help me move on and feel ok.
When my alarm went off this morning at 5, you were in a dream I was having. I can't remember the dream, but I woke and just felt an urgent need to pray for you. So I did. I prayed for strength, encouragement, courage for whatever struggle you might be facing. I prayed for protection and that God would continue to embrace you, comfort you, and consume you with his love. I will continue to pray for you. I could see your heartache in your eyes today. Praying for peace, comfort, and healing for you dear friend. Hang in there.
Her prayer was perfect. She gave me words for what I need when I haven't been able to find them myself. If that isn't God working, I don't know what is.

Now I'm going to watch Rookie Blue as soon as Big Love is done with Futurama. I'm tired and need to turn my brain off and have a good night's sleep. But I will fall asleep feeling a little more comfort in my heart than I did last night.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Two phone calls

Leading up to getting pregnant with Sweet One, I was regularly seeing a counselor who helped me through a lot of anger. I didn't realize I had been carrying it for as long as I had and while it completely shook my foundation I ended up in a much better place. There were moments when I literally felt like the pieces inside of me were fitting back together in a way I had never felt them before. The yoga classes I was also taking helped with a lot of this as well.

While being a mom is amazing, as are my two little ones, I haven't felt my pieces fitting for quite some time. The challenges of being a mom and dealing with a strong-willed 3 1/2 year old, as well as not having any outlet for myself as an individual, has worn on me. And now with my Dad dying, (which I absolutely hate typing every time I have to) I feel absolutely lost. The pieces are all jammed up inside of me and I don't know how to put them together or to make sense of how I move on from here. I'm quick to anger and, unfortunately, it usually happens when Sweet One is pushing me off the edge. It's not fair to anyone in this house.

I made two phone calls the other day. The first was to my yoga instructor. We had been playing phone tag for awhile but finally connected and there's a class I can go to on Mondays from 530-700. I was hoping there'd be an early morning one I could go to so the kids wouldn't feel like I was leaving them, but as my sister is trying to drill into my head,
"Just remember it's actually for their own good. They see you being your own person and having your own life and they're still secure. Then they know they can do the same."
The second phone call was to the counselor I had been seeing. She phoned back the next day and I have an appointment booked for September 17th, with her phoning if she has any cancellations that will help me get in a little earlier. I'll have to drive to another city so the whole thing will take probably a minimum of 2 hours and 15 minutes but I didn't want to find a new counselor here in town where I'd have to go through the whole history. And this woman really helped me. I don't like having to be gone that long but I'm also fantasizing about maybe being able to get to Target all by myself either before or after the appointment!

I've put aside my own needs over the past few years and only looked at them when things felt really bad. Right now I spend the days feeling like I'm walking wounded. No one can really see the giant gash inside of my chest but I can feel it pouring out, asking to be healed. I can't continue as I have for the past few years and so it's time to take care of myself a bit more. My kids will be ok when I'm away from them. Big Love is a great Dad and if I can't leave them with him for that long, well that is just plain stupid. It's hard to admit but I am afraid of putting myself into a vulnerable position where I'm going to have to be very honest with myself. I'm not sure what I'll find out. I only know that regardless of what I have to work through, I'll be a better person when I'm done.

Friday, August 24, 2012

One more cup

My little espresso machine made one more cup of americano for me today. I had given up on it, save for a wasted bit of hope that the DeLonghi customer service might be able to help me get it up and running. I found a suggestion on an amazon review and with the help of my contractor (because he had the tools) I was able to get one more cup this morning. We'll see if I get many more but for now I'll enjoy what I have!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Counting days

When my babies were born I counted their life in days, then weeks, months and now half years. Changes happen so often with little ones that it is necessary to use smaller measurements of time because one week is incomparable to one month; twelve months is nothing near what sixteen months is like.

Three and a half weeks ago they proclaimed my Dad dead. When will I stop counting the weeks, months and move into years? Perhaps when it doesn't hurt every moment. Right now the hurt doesn't seem to let up. I'm dragging myself through every day. I wake up with a strange idea that I can do it but within a few hours I'm mentally exhausted and not so sure anymore.

Dad, I hope time is flying by for you.  I know things are wonderful for you where you are and that brings me a momentary sense of peace. But then just as quickly I remember that we won't be able to have that moment of reconciliation where we start new because I've finally been able to find a way to let go of the things I want to forget. I don't like holding onto them but for some reason they stick like glue to every inch of me even though I desperately want them to leave my mind so that I can only remember the times we laughed and enjoyed each other's company. I miss you. Please watch over my kids and enjoy watching them laugh and play. I know that is what you would want me to focus on right now and I'm trying. It's just so damn hard sometimes. Love, ste.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pizza Night

Pizza for supper tonight. We don't order in because this town does not have gluten free crusts and I feel so much better if that's what I eat. (I was shocked how many Canadian pizza places had it!) So buy frozen crusts for me and other crusts for the rest of the family. Grate all the cheese, cut up the pieces of what we're putting them on so we can each have just what we like and then I remember.

We never bought our pizza growing up. My Dad would make the crust and the sauce. It was quite an ordeal.  Exciting. We even got to drink pop with that meal (or soda for those of you who use that weird word) which was a very rare occurrence. We used canned mushrooms and my Dad would let us eat some of them as we were assembling our pizzas. It is almost ridiculous how much detail I remember of these nights. The crust wasn't thin but nor was it thick. It was just my Dad's crust. So much fun for all of us.

One night I got home from wherever I was early. I'm not sure if it was work or babysitting but I got downstairs and said I was hungry. My Dad's suggestion was to order a pizza if I'd go and pick it up. So I did. I brought it down to the basement where I scarfed probably half of it. We never spoke much. I heard later from my sister how surprised my Dad was at how much I ate. If I had taken a moment to look up I probably would have seen a look of complete relief. That was in the middle of my almost-anorexic stage. The teenage years were hard for me and how much I ate was the one thing I felt I could control. I liked how skinny I felt. 97 pounds isn't very much. My Dad was incredibly worried but didn't know how to talk to me. I think that is about the time things started declining for us.

So my family and I will eat pizza tonight. And it will mean so much more to me than I ever imagined.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kitchen Improvements

This is what our kitchen looked like when we first moved in. I hated it and thought that we could redo it. Then the realities of living on one income and owning a house hit me like a 2x4 in the head and I realized that we would not be redoing it. 

When Sweet One was about 3 months old I got sick and tired of these awful colors. We got a new stove with our Christmas money (full size but we had to get rid of some counter space to the right of the stove to make room for it), painted the walls yellow and the cabinets white. It was better. It still wasn't great. The countertop always looked dirty and I couldn't get the floors clean for the life of me. I tried everything and I hated it. 

In June while we were at a cabin with my in-laws, we had a groutable stick on tile put on the floor and also new cabinets put along the empty wall. I was sick and tired of running downstairs every time I need a can of beans or some tomatoes. We got the cabinets on sale and so they were only about $600.

When I got home from our trip west for my Dad's memorial service I got a strong whiff of epoxy. It stunk but I was happy because that meant my contractor had finished putting the new counter top in. It is definitely the finishing touch. I can't believe how much better this little kitchen looks. It still isn't perfect, the workable counter space isn't ideal and the flow of cabinets isn't great, but it sure is a hell of a lot better than the day we moved in.
Complete with two children tuckered out from a dance session. This floor is quite nice for dancing! (It also looks much more gray than my camera was able to pick up.)

 Complete with a plate of cooling corn on the cob. I never got this kitchen all lovely and clean yet but here it is doing what it does.
There are moments in the day when I feel absolutely fine and then there are those when I can barely move. My sister saw a psychic/clairvoyant and what she was told was amazing. It all makes sense. I wish I could have a moment like that. I want to know my Dad knows I love him and that I'm sorry things happened the way they happened. That I miss him. I want him to know everything even if I don't know it all myself.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Where I'm from

I had forgotten how much light there is where I grew up. Some nights the sky doesn't get completely back. And then in the winter the northern lights are beautiful. When I looked up at the skyline it seemed absolutely empty to me. When I look up where I live I see houses and trees. For the first time in a long time, I stopped hating the town I grew up in.

As our trip progressed I started to find calm and peace in looking at the sky. I was actually able to slow my brain down when I looked at it. It was huge and endless. As I was driving back to my Mom's, I kept looking at the fields of canola. They're so beautiful. The landscape in this part of the country used to bore me but this time I couldn't get enough. I wanted to absorb every inch of it and remember where I came from rather than trying to forget.

Sweet One had been saying, "I wish I had a kite," ever since she saw Curious George fly his and so we got her one. A special tly to remind her of the trip. The days were fairly windy and she had an amazing time running with hers. (This field was a 5 minute walk from my sister's house. It's actually part of a school.)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I miss my Dad. Terribly. But I don't feel like I have a right to tell anyone that after what has happened over the past 4 years.

I've had a very hard couple of days being back home and trying to get my bearings. Sweet one is pushing every single button she possibly can and my reaction is anything but good. I need Big Love to step up more.

I feel lost. Every so often over the past few days a picture pops into my mind. A buoy bobbing in such darkness that it saturates everything around it save for the moon that shines down and softly glimmers. I want to be that buoy.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Can you hear me, Dad?

Dear Dad,

I went to bed with Sweet One beside me and Little Man in his pack n play while Big Love sleeps next door because the kids are having such a hard time with being away from home for so long and I just couldn't sleep. My mind slowed down and I just started to cry.  My heart hurts so much because I really thought that after some emotional distance we'd be able to sort of start our relationship over, at least the one when I was an adult. But we can't and it breaks my heart every time I think of it.

For years we struggled to be able to talk to one another. We seemed to only be able to hurt one another. I don't really know how I made you feel, and I'm only starting to get a picture of what your personal struggles might have been. And i couldn't let that happen to me. I tried to talk to you in so many ways but you never seemed to listen. In those attempts I was never trying to criticize, I was only trying to scream "please listen to me".

And then one day it felt like to much and I had to stop my hurt the only way I knew how. So I stopped letting you into my emotional space. After I was able to work through some of it with a counselor, and none of it was easy, I became less angry. I would not have been able to be a mom if I had not let go of this anger. I can only guess how it made you incredibly sad when you didn't get to be actively a part of my kids' lives. I'm sorry for that. I truly was not trying to punish you but to protect myself from what I was afraid might only be more struggles in our relationship. I shared pictures with you so that you could see them grow because I didn't want to keep you completely out. I wanted to bring the kids back to the hometown so that you could see them but we just never had the money for it. I can't tell you how many times I looked at the ticket prices hoping that something might miraculously enable me to afford it. I know you offered your Airmiles on a few occasions but I couldn't take something like that from you after not speaking with you for a few years. It didn't seem fair.

I guess I just don't know what was or is really fair in all of this. Perhaps none of it is. All I know now is that my heart hurts so excruciatingly much and I miss my Dad. I miss the hope I had for being able to fix our relationship and letting you see my kids. I heard so much of an amazing man who gave so much to others but I feel like something prevented me from knowing that man.

I'm running short of words but I'm sure there will be more letters to you. I hope you hear them. Someone told me that when we speak of those who are no longer with us that they can hear every word. I so desperately hope you hear these and know what is in my heart now.

A few days after Grandpa died I felt his presence as I watched his children talking with one another. Could you come and visit me? Could you please help me put my heart at ease so I know you are ok and that you know I miss you and I love you? Please watch over my kids for me. Be their guardian angel and help them when I can't.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Stepping Back

During a recent conversation with my friend she mentioned that it is ok to step back and let others do the planning. My sister and brother are doing a great job of taking care of things. It's not that I don't want to help but there doesn't seem to be much room for me to do so.

Grief seems to come in waves. I'm hearing so many stories of my Dad's generosity, patience and love for his family. I wasn't always sure if his motives were altruistic but now I'm learning that they were. I'm struggling because he never seemed to have any patience for me but I am trying to hear the stories and learn about a side of him I didn't really know. I do know that he always loved his family as much as he possibly could. What I need to learn in all of this may not become clear for many years.

I will be ok. Eventually it may all make sense.