Monday, August 3, 2015

not a poem...just trying to survive



I lost my husband to cancer, and I lost my job to callousness.  Long story on the latter.  Suffice it to say it’s gone, I didn’t chose to “resign” but that’s what it says on the letter.
I too often fall back on the phrase “I’m broken” hoping and praying that the broken is “open” and not “apart”.
I need to look at this as another opportunity.  Another chance to learn to care for myself, comfort myself.  A friend said this to me about my kids learning to sleep in their own beds.  They need to learn that skill.  I am not sure how well I learned it.  The hardest thing has been and still remains the long, empty evenings.  I miss my best friend. 
I say that I have no family support.  I have some family support.  But it’s not a parent support.  It’s not the support that puts me above all else.  I often find myself on the back burner.  In fact, I’m lucky if I am on the stove.  That’s okay.  I’m glad to have what I have. 
Everything is overwhelming.  The laundry, cooking, money, hope.  I’m trying to exercise to boost not only my strength but my happy hormones.  I’m trying singing lessons to fill my soul.  But evenings are the hardest.  They are lonely.  Long.  Empty.  Sad.  I spent so much of my life looking for a friend and love to fill that hole that is not personified by nights.  I found him.  So accidentally.  He was the best friend I ever had.  The best lover.  A pain in my ass.  Annoying.  Self-centered.  Giving.  Loving.  Funny.  Talented and determined beyond anyone I’ve ever known.  And he loved me.  I know that says something about me.  I also know it doesn’t matter for steps forward.  I cannot put him on a love/friend resume.  So.  What do I do, besides want to die?  I’d never harm myself in the immediate.  I have thought about it and all I see is my sweet babies waking up and finding me dead and that is my worst nightmare…that I give them the horrible gift of losing their only remaining parent.  That makes me ill.  I have enough strength to see that.  But it doesn’t stop me from drinking and smoking.  And those things, on purpose, will kill me eventually just the same…even worse actually, since they will eventually take over the person I am and make me into a mess of a human.  That will leave them with a shell that they barely grieve.  Been there, done that from the daughter end. 
I’m already doing better than her…than my mother.  I’m dating, singing, traveling a little, staying connected to a community that is diverse and interesting.  But losing my job after losing my husband messed me up.  The job loss was based in people treating me like a liar, an irresponsible, bad person.  THAT put me in the hospital when losing John to cancer and nursing him, giving him shots, caring for him in the messy, scary last moments didn’t.  And there is no one to bitch to about that.  There is no one to yell at.  They treated me like shit.  And I have to move on.  I don’t want them to take my love, my teaching, away from me, since I already lost my best friend.  So I’m still looking for teaching jobs.  As messed up as the system might be…it’s my home.  I know the rhythms, the ups and downs, the little things necessary to make the days work.  I want that familiarity.  I feel like I need it.  That word “need” scares me.  I don’t feel safe needing anything.  Everything can be taken. 
So breathe.  That’s what I come back to, time and time again.  Go to sleep, restart.  But I cannot always go to bed at 8:00 with the kids.  So.  I tried knitting and drawing and braiding.  And I am proud and glad I could do them all.  I have no commitment.  No drive.  Perhaps I make my own drive? 
I’m so glad I have a few friends still willing to listen to me cry.  It’s been 2 years since I lost him.  2 years and almost 3 months.  It’s only been 6 months since I lost my job which was not just a job. 
I know that looking for strength, happiness, and hope outside myself is not particularly productive.  I need to look within.  I’ve done that at different points and am confident that I’m more able to find these things inside myself than many people will ever be…and that is irrelevant.  I need to find more of it, all by myself.  Well, maybe not ALL by myself.  But still.  I need to find a way to reach this place, with empty evenings.  I feel ancient and na├»ve, incompetent and completely capable all at once.  So confused and confusing.  So lost.  So damn scared.
This grief thing, when compiled with all the shit that life sends a person with unstable working conditions, little functional support, and a lifetime of second guessing every potentially worthy thing that might be inside a self….it kinda sucks. 
All I have is breathe.  Ask for help.  Ask again.  And again.  And if they don’t answer, call someone who has been down a similar path.  And keep breathing.  None of this is easy.  For proof, I still have to find a way to get my kids out of my bed.  Every night.  Even though I want them now and then.  How does THAT work?  See: tons of tears and lots of screaming.
Breathe.  Deeper.  Breathe again.  You’ve got this.