I have taken a long hiatus from blogging. Part of it is because I have been trying to stay focused on the important people in my life and spending time with them. The other part is because I don’t want to sound like a broken record. I am still grieving. I am still hurting. I am still struggling to find that “new normal”. I realize that it has not been a year yet, and because of that I am trying really hard to cut myself some slack. But there are times that the fog still makes it hard to move forward.
We are in the middle of Advent, the time of preparation for Christmas. I am terrified of that holiday this year. Honestly, I have been scared since Thanksgiving. This has always been my favorite time of the year. I love everything about it – the decorations, the music, the specials on TV, the family traditions. One tradition was that Dad and I always went out on a “booming around” day. It was a shopping day where it was just the 2 of us (until the Cubs came along and then they came with us) and we went shopping for mom and whoever it was I needed to buy a special present for (boyfriends as I was growing up and then gifts for Papa Bear as we started dating and throughout our married life). The day would always include Dad taking me out for lunch. As I got older the day became more about the lunch and the conversations we shared than about the actual shopping. When I graduated from Nursing School and started working he would pull out his date book on Thanksgiving weekend and say “we need to plan when we can do our day”. We always aimed for weekdays since the stores would be less busy. Until I was in my late teens the man had me convinced that he did not know how to wrap a gift, so I always wrapped the gifts for him after we got home from shopping. Once I was living on my own I would always have a big pot of chili waiting for us so we could warm up while I wrapped. This will be the first year in 46 years that we have missed a shopping day. I have tried to think of so many ways to “honor” that tradition and create a new one. I have yet to come up with one that feels right. I thought about doing a spa day, but money and scheduling just did not work out. I have tried to think of other ways….go out with the Cubs for a shopping day, make it a family day of shopping, do some sort of service project with the family. Nothing has worked out from a scheduling standpoint, and honestly, nothing has worked out from a feeling “right” standpoint either.
But this is just one of the things that have changed. There are some not so great memories of last year’s Christmas that I have to work through. Mom and dad usually came up to decorate our tree with us, but last year dad did not feel good enough for long enough to come up, so our tree did not even get decorated until 2 days before Christmas. I am not even in the mood to decorate the tree this year. After Christmas Eve Mass last year is when dad took a very bad turn for the worse and they had to leave our home in the wee hours of Christmas Morning while the cubs were still asleep. It was the 1st Christmas morning that the Cubs did not spend with my parents.
During this precious time of the year I am just sitting in a low spot. I know I have to work through the pain. I know that have to just survive until the healing starts to occur. I know that eventually there will be a “new normal”. But right now, at this moment, it hurts. And I want things to “old normal” again. But normal would mean he would be in pain again. Normal would mean that the loss was still going to occur. Neither of those things would I want for him or my family. But that does not stop what I am feeling right now, at this moment. All I do right now is to cry out to the only one who knows completely about my pain and hang on to the faith that has been given to me.
OK, it is time to get moving again.
I have been struggling lately with a lot of issues. Some of them are emotional. Some of them are physical. Many of them cross over.
I am still trying to “get over” the loss of my dad. When I slide down into that dark place of mine I tend to pull into myself and don’t want to even open the blinds, let alone move around outside the house. During these times I understand the commercials regarding depression and physical pain. There is increased joint pain and muscle pain. There are increased headaches. I don’t understand the biology of the whole thing, but I do understand that there is a definite correlation.
Another part is that my body went through some trauma at the end o 2012. My medication had to be re calibrated for my heart rate so I could do more than walk across the room with out getting short of breath. I also had a kidney stone storm that required surgical intervention. Neither of those things do I want to do again! I finally got back to TKD only to find out that I had developed bursitis in my hip. I tried all sorts of things from stretching, to modifying my technique to getting a steroid shot into the bursa. That is not a bad experience, just something that I would prefer not to go through again. I limped along this summer, missing more classes than attending due to the pain. Late this summer my ‘Ittle Bear decided that she wanted to run cross-country. I started schlepping her to practices. Then baby bear decided she wanted to try out ballet, and that added to my taxi service hours. Subsequently my attendance at TKD became non-existent. Fast forward to this fall when my hometown sponsors a 5K run/walk for cancer. When it was time to register I realized that I was not even remotely ready to do it. I had to admit that I had really let myself down. I had fully intended to form a team and walk it in honor of my father. Add another dose of guilt. ARGH!!!!!!
Well, now it is time to start training. Now is the time to get my inspiration back. We are headed into the bleak months of winter, and I know that my motivation will wane during that time. So I need to get into a routine NOW. I need to take advantage of the cool, pretty days of fall to get my body hooked on exercise again before the dark and cold days of our winter set in.
I need to start with something that does not require my hip-joint to bend to any extremes. So I have chosen to walk – easy on all my joints, gets me out in the fresh if slightly chilly air, and is weight-bearing so it is good for my bone health. I am going to start with this program from The Walking Site. Since right now everything in my being is encouraging me to stay in my nice warm house on my nice comfy chair, I am going to actually set my goal for the first week as 1/2 of what is called for in the program. It is a mind game that I play with myself. If I set my goal fairly low in the beginning, I am really proud of myself when I exceed it. I know, I’m a dork. The cubs are very good at telling me that! I am going to keep track of my exercise via the Presidential Fitness website. Then as I earn “medals” on that website I will reward myself with items like I did whenever I belted up – a piece of nice but not expensive jewelry, a new outfits, etc. Today I will start walking. This is the time when I will do the 1/2 thing. Then on Sunday I will start the program full force!
I will accept all the cheering I can get!!!!!!!
There is something that has caught me by surprise during my mourning for my father. It is the foggy, disconnected, numbness that I am feeling. It is not an all pervasive thing – I am not saying that I don’t feel anything. There are times, though, that I feel like I am wandering around a field in a dense fog and can’t seem to find any landmarks to get me home. I guess the problem is that I have to figure out what exactly is home since the home that I have known for 45 years has been permanently changed. As I walk through this field I can’t see the furrows and am unable to prevent myself from tripping, losing my balance, and sometimes landing face first in the mud, scratched and bleeding. I know eventually the sun will come out again and burn off the mist. I also know that no matter how bright it shines there are always going to be pockets of fog which will engulf me from time to time for the rest of my life. But I am tired of feeling this way. I know it has only been 3 weeks, I know I need to give myself more time. But I have never been a patient person, and I am even more impatient than usual. I don’t want to feel this constant ache, this disconnect from the rest of the world. I go about my daily life, working, taking care of my family, going to church, starting back to TKD, but what I really want is for the world to stop for a little while, to realize exactly what has been lost. But that is not how life works. The world continues to revolve, people continue to live their lives, and eventually I will be back to “normal”. But for right now, I am going through a lot of soap and water and band-aids as I clean myself from each tumble in the mud.