Mar 28, 2009

Auto pilot

Today is a cold, windy, and ‘I want to sleep all day’ sort of day. My little monkeys are all at Mindy's parent's house for the weekend so I did sleep in for a while...that was nice. Then after a few loads of laundry (a never ending job) and a little lunch I decided I should run to the store. I haven't been grocery shopping since Mindy passed. Not that I haven't run to the store for a gallon of milk or a package of meat here and there but mostly $50 or less worth of stuff. In a family of 5, in our life of before, $50 worth of groceries was nothing. Since Mindy passed we've been eating out a lot and having friends and family cook meals for us quite a bit. I have cooked a few things but it's not the new norm.

Today on my way into the store...for that quick gallon of milk and fresh box of cereal I took a phone call. I ended up taking another call while I was in the store also but the point being that I was on the phone and distracted the entire time. As a result my mind went into auto pilot as I scanned through the familiar aisles. I loaded up all my stuff and headed home not giving a second thought as to what I was doing...after all I've done this a million times before.

When I unpack the groceries at home I find that I've bought things for Mindy. Things that I intentionally bought for her in the past; for example, I thought it would be good to get some frozen dinners to save time on especially rushed days. So I picked up my regulars and also got home with a Salisbury steak dinner; it's Mindy's favorite of the frozen entrees. Amongst other things I came home with several packages of Coke...another of Mindy's staples. These are things I haven't bought since she passed but bought with some regular frequency on our usual twice monthly trip to the store...a lifetime ago.

Who would've thought that a stupid package of cokes would make you cry out of nowhere?

I'm really missing her today and I just want to go back to bed!

The part that really gets to me most is that this stupid walk through life with grief as my unwelcome partner is still filled with firsts. It's amazing how everyday things are never the same and yet I don't fully comprehend it until something like this happens and I find myself engulfed, completely covered in knowledge that I can't have her back, all over again. I hate having this much time to myself...I always have big plans for something or another but ultimately I always end up wondering why it had to be her. What will my children's lives be like in another year, two, or five? When will I find myself thinking of her without the tears being a companion of all the memories?

And for all my questions I guess time is the answer but time is not a friend of mine either right now. So for the foreseeable future I guess this is how life will be. I don't think this is something you can get used to, but toleration is becoming more of a routine.

Mar 24, 2009

A little sleep for a change

After all the excitement yesterday in court I went to see Mindy and tell her the good news. I know she’s always with me and I don’t have to go out to the grave site to feel close to her. On important days like yesterday it feels better to me; like I’m closer to her and more focused on what she would say to me. I am so excited that the termination of Bio Dad’s rights is completed and I just had to go tell her. It was good for me to remember the inscription on the back of her stone lacked the children’s last names on purpose. I left them off because at the time the Teen still kept Bio Dad’s name and the wording only reference my last name. This way the inscription implied that the children’s names were all the same as their mother and I. Now we are legally closer to what we have always been…one big happy family. Just one more court proceeding to go, the final adoption.

I guess the excitement had my heart pumping more than I expected because after we had a little dinner I found myself struggling to keep my eyes open. I manage to stay awake long enough to get the little ones bathed and in bed…barely. I told my Teen to do the same and wake me if I drifted off before she went to bed. I don’t really know what time it was but the last look I got at the clock was around 9:30p. I woke up this morning with the lights on, TV still playing, and surprised that I could hear the alarm clock over all the noise. I must’ve been more exhausted that I thought to sleep through all of that.

I probably could have slept for a few more hours but life doesn’t let me do that very often. I still managed to get about three loads of laundry done between last night and this morning while getting ready for work (mostly this morning) but I’m so thankful for the sleep and not really caring that my house looks like a disaster area. Of course the cleaning service is coming this week so, according to the kids, my house is supposed to be a disaster.

Today is just such a wonderful day. I’m so thankful for God’s work in keeping our family together and for the apparently much needed rest. I just want this feeling of exhilaration to last a little while longer. It’s a welcome change to the daily norm that has become my life. It’s so much easier to praise God for answered prayers than to be vigilant about lengthy requests such as adoptions and reconciliation of grief. For now I’ll take as much of the easy as I can get.

Mar 23, 2009

All morning in court (Part III)

We went back to court this morning for what would turn out to be the winning moment in our case. I was really frustrated with the way my Teen was treated this weekend as Bio Dad went through the motions of his visitation. As I stated before he chose to not see her on Friday because he was too tired. Saturday he picked her up and took her shopping and to see a movie; that was a pretty good day for the two of them. Then to end the trip in his typical fashion he picked her up on Sunday and took her to break fast and to a book store. They spent the remainder of the day watching TV in his hotel room with his father.

My Teen was acting a bit odd afterward but I guess she was just tired from sitting around all day. I asked her a few questions but she didn’t really want to talk so I dropped it. I didn’t want her to think I was putting her in the middle and trying to pry into her time with him. She’ll eventually tell me what she’s thinking about it all but I’ll have to wait till she’s ready.

With the weekend in mind I went to court this morning and pointed out all the facts he’s given that don’t add up correctly such as starting a new job in mid November but giving a pay check stub from his job from the end of November after not paying child support for a few more months. I asked the opinion of my attorney about making a deal with him to forgive his back child support in return for termination of his parental rights, which we agreed was acceptable given that he won’t be able to pay and has never regularly paid his support payments. He jumped on the deal right away and we spent most of the morning hashing out all the minor details. Then we tracked down the first available district judge and had the termination made official.


We will have to go to court one more time to complete the adoption process but the termination is complete and that is a huge step in the right direction. As I understand from my attorney the adoption is mostly a formality at this point. The courts aren’t going to allow my Teen to go without a parent and we couldn’t complete the adoption as she was not there. I really didn’t think he would go for the deal and of course the attorney’s were not aware until our conversation that morning but it all worked out well and I praise God for his continued blessing on our family. Now I can rest a little easier at night knowing that we can stay together always, there is no threat of our family being torn apart by legal proceedings any longer.

This is the biggest bit of news I’ve had to share with my kids since Mindy passed, but this time we’ll all be crying for a different reason. I’m so thankful!! So very, very thankful!! For all those who where praying with us and for us, thank you for powerful prayers. Thank God for his hand of blessing on us!

Mar 20, 2009

Deadbeat Dad frustration

Bio Dad called this afternoon at about 12:20p to let me know that he was in town for his visitation with my Teen. The issue is that he is court ordered to take my Teen to see her ad litem attorney today during his visitation time. Not only is he not doing so, and once again failing to comply with court orders, he also has no real interest in seeing his only offspring. He said he was "...tired and going to lay around the hotel..." but that he'll call her this evening to speak with her.

Are you SERIOUS!

If my whole court case was based on my want to visit my daughter, I think when I was given the chance I would visit my daughter! But I guess that's what one can expect from Bio Dad who has never had any substantial contact with my Teen. I wish I knew what it would take to make him go away. One day she will most likely want a relationship with him; one that she defines but for now he just needs to go away.

He has failed to comply with all but one of the several court orders issued to him thus far; my hope is that when we head to court again in the very near future that the judge recognizes his lack of effort. I'm so furious that he has a very, very weak case and yet is still able to just drag out these proceedings costing everyone involved time and money. Not to mention the impact he's having on my Teen any hopes she may have of a relationship with him in the future.

She has known for some time that he was to come into town today and spend time with her. I haven't had a chance to speak with her yet but I'm very anxious to see how she feels now that he is delaying his time with her. She won't know the lame excuse he gave me today, that would do more harm than good I think, but someday she'll know. How important could someone feel if they understood their parent was too tired to see them? It's not as if this was a last minute update for him. He's had a month to plan this trip and provide adequate time to spend with her.

Richard Baxter said "Anger is a passionate emotional response to a perceived evil that would cross us or hinder us from something good." I really am trying to stay on the positive side of anger. I will be glad when this task of adopting my Teen is complete. I just have to remind myself that I have a very strong case, but it will take time.

Mar 17, 2009

Party like it's 1999

I was looking for something green to wear today and came across a button that Mindy bought at our first St. Patrick's Day party together 10 years ago. I haven't seen this button in a long time...I haven't thought about that night in a long time.

It was the first, and last time we went out on St. Patrick's Day. I don't remember much about that night really, only because it was so long ago. I do remember that the lines for the restrooms were very, very, very long. I remember Mindy holding my hand or grabbing the belt loops of my jeans most of the night as we crossed through the crowd. I'm glad that this holiday was never a big one on our calendar, it makes it easier to laugh at this goofy looking button.

Spring Break

I have wrapped up my short spring break vacation with the kids for the week. The remainder of the week they will spend playing with cousins at Mindy’s parent’s house. It’s all downhill from here; the rest of my week won’t be as great as the last several days have been.

Our vacation has been scaled down several times since I started planning what we could do. Originally I thought we may go skiing in Colorado with my Aunt and Uncle. Then we decided we would still go out of state but changing directions to Ohio. In the end…we had to stay close to home, in part for Bio Dad to exercise his visitation, and traveled less than 35mi from the house but had a great time.

We stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge Sunday and Monday and the kids loved the indoor water park. I got a crash course in single parent vacations. Princess can’t swim yet, and Sugarbear doesn’t swim very well so I needed to get them life jackets to wear in the water park. I got one for Princess and turned around to find that the Teen and Sugarbear were gone. I knew they were headed for the slides; they had been talking about it since we left our room, but I couldn’t find them and I was scared out of my mind for about 10 minutes. I finally caught up with them and got everyone situated but it was not the way I planned to start our time away from the everyday. It took some adjusting to keep track of all three of them by myself but I managed. We stayed up late at night and slept late in the morning. We ate like royalty (we ate the biggest ice cream sundae I’ve ever seen!) and played in the water till our fingers looked like raisins and everything turned out nicely.

After we had enough of the water we decided to squeeze in a movie at the local mall. I like the theater because of the stadium style seating so we went all the way to the top row of the almost empty movie theater and took over four of the seats as if it were our couch at home. We watched “Race to Witch Mountain” while stuffing our faces with candy and I haven't had that much fun at the movies in a long time. Princess nearly fell asleep in my lap and the Teen and I had our feet atop the empty seats in front of us. Sugarbear was on the end opposite me because he didn't want to share the M&M's

To make sure I felt like an adequate father, our time not so far away from home had to include something of educational value so we headed to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and took a tour. The kids got to see how our printed money is made, and I even learned a little too! The tour was a lot of fun and only took about 30 minutes. To further the educational value we then headed to the Museum of Science and History and saw a movie about the Grand Canyon at the Omni Theater. They loved it, and that’s why I loved it.

I stink at photography so the pictures are I have of all of this are really bad. The Teen took a little video for me and it made me dizzy to watch. I’m not sure what she was watching while she was shooting the video…because she doesn’t hold still long enough for us to focus on anything but she tried. So I’m going to make a collage of sorry pictures to put at my desk at work. I figure the quantity may take the edge off the lack of quality. But this one was one of my favorites...the Museum is under construction for renovations and this guy was directing traffic out front.

Mar 14, 2009

When depression turns to anger...

I've been sitting here for a long while...trying to put my thoughts, these raw emotions, into words. I need to. Today has been I have been so angry today at everything and everyone. I've been trying to take some advice and slow down a bit but I can' hurts too much. It's like my heart just refuses to be sad any more so all that comes out is anger. I need to write it all out, nothing else I've done has helped it dissipate.

My little ones are anxiously awaiting our little trip. They've packed their bags and are hopping in the bath. I haven't packed yet. I've had time, but I got frustrated that I couldn't find a component for my laptop while I was packing and that sorta ended that little task. I wish she were here; I could let her pack and I could go run. Running will calm you down if for no other reason than the energy zapping drain of the endless miles of solitude; nine minutes at a time (or whatever your pace). That's what I need; four or five quick miles would do the trick. But I can't leave the kids alone that long; my Teen gets scared if I leave them alone when it's dark out (she's not as grown up as she pretends to be). It's too last minute to call anyone. And the treadmill is buried behind my spare PC's and monitors in the office. Excuses...I know.

I got out some baby pictures of the kids. I thought we could look through them and that might get my thoughts away from everything else. But the Teen was completely disinterested and kept interrupting as I showed the two little ones; that only fueled my previous disposition. So I put the pictures away and have been staring at my old, flickering monitor since.

Today, when in search for missing computer parts, I found Mindy's brown pants; she had several that color but these will always be associated with one of my more embarrassing memories. I thought that I had put away all her clothes; most of them are packed away in the attic. I can't get rid of them but I don't want to see them either. She was wearing these pants as we walked down the hallway to the break room at our office when we worked together...way back in 1998. I lied to her about my age because she made comments about not dating younger guys; this would be the day she found out. As we walked there was an awkward silence so I blurted out "Are those pants brown?" as if I was suddenly color blind and seeking reassurance. She laughed, and not because I was funny. We would eventually make it to the break room and have lunch together, which was a rarity because of our schedules. About an hour after lunch that day she would come seek me out again, this time she stormed right up to me and said "Hey, can I see your driver's license?" and I reluctantly got it out while my mind raced to find words to explain myself as I was not yet even 20. In the end I didn't have to, not about that. Over the years what we both remembered about that day was my stupid comment about her pants...these pants.

Today she is wearing blue jeans with a white button up shirt and a green sweater thing (fashion is not my strong suit) with no shoes. That's what she'll wear everyday from now on, that's what my mother and Aunt Jen picked out for her. Her hair is all in curls which she liked and her makeup is done. But you can't tell now that her beautiful green eyes really stand out when she wore that green thing. On her left shoulder sites three red roses and a heart to represent our children. I forget what the heart says...but it made me cry at the wake.

Our Teen is getting big enough to wear some of her mothers clothes now, but they are mostly put away. She informed me today that she is an inch shorter than her mother. She's also one six pounds lighter than Mindy was when we got married. She pointed me out in some of the older pictures tonight and said I looked young. I was six years older than she is now in these pictures. My beautiful green eyed girlfriend was just 23 and the little girl in the picture with us now sitting next to me was just 2. We were all smiling, oblivious to the fact that we wouldn't all be together just 10 years later.

My mom used to tell me that life isn't fair. When I was young I thought how ridiculous; if people made the effort then everything could be fair. How naive to think that we can control everything, to think we can stop people from dying at such a young age. Mindy left two unfinished projects, I think I'll hang them in my room just as they are; a reminder that life isn't fair. Next to them I'll hang her paintings to remind me that life is beautiful while it lasts.

I don't know if any of this will make sense when my kids read it years from now, but I feel a little better. I feel relieved of some of the anger, and for now that's what I needed.

Mar 13, 2009

The sky is grey

It rained off and on all day yesterday...and probably will again today. I don't know if it's the weather, or the fact that Mindy loved this kind of weather, or an unexpected phone call from one of her old friends but in any case the last two days have been rough.

Wednesday while I was driving in to work I got notice that a voicemail had been left on my home number that almost never happens. Family and friends have my mobile number and telemarketers usually don't leave messages. I listened to the message as I sat in the stubborn, crawling traffic; it was an old friend of Mindy's and she was calling for Mindy. It's been seven months and somehow she didn't know...and now I was going to have to tell her. It took me more than three hours to rehearse what I would say and call her back. The call went well; she will be one of the ties to Mindy that I can keep and that works well in my recent campaign. But to have to relive the story again and hear her reaction to it....I was back at square one.

I was sitting in my car in the parking lot at work after reluctantly making that phone call; the rain tapping on the top of the car and the wind blowing the drops across the windshield like little tears and all I kept thinking was that Mindy would love to make a big pot of chili and sit on the couch with the blinds open so she can watch the rain. Then later when we were all back at home and the kids were put to bed I laid awake listening to the rain thinking how Mindy loved to sleep to the sound of pattering rain drops. So I kept listening...waiting to fall asleep. I finally lost track of the time around 4am and then woke up late at 7:30am. The Teen almost missed her bus and the little ones were late to school by one minute (or so the elementary school "Clock Nazi" tells me).

I spent much of yesterday at work trying my best to actually work. I don't know what, if anything, that I accomplished. I don't really recall much of the day at all. Just that my mind wandered a lot. I considered leaving several times, but only stayed because I'm on vacation next week for the kid's spring break. I do remember contemplating my next move on the adoption in the car on my way home. My favorite afternoon radio host was on the subject of children and their best of course I went off on my own little tangent.

My previous position has been that Bio Dad owes my Teen her child support...all the tens of thousands of dollars he has neglected to pay. In reality I know that he'll never pay it; he doesn't care for her enough to take care of his obligation. But is it in her best interest to fight over it in court when either way she'll never get the money? The best she'll get is a judgment that can't be enforced (he doesn't own anything of value). I've made up my mind that I'm fighting for full termination of his rights and adoption but the money has been a side bar issue that is of greater concern for him.

I'm not sure what to do just yet, but at least I know a few things I can do. I guess it's just been a stressful few days with little sleep. But today is the last day I'll have to go through the motions at the office for a little while. And sleeping in the hotel during our little trip may just be enough of a scenery change to get me back off square one; at least for a while.

Mar 10, 2009

Reaching out

Over the past week I've been reaching out to some of Mindy's friends that we didn't really see much of after we got married. It's been a mixed response some have let me know that they appreciate the contact and they have been thinking of the kids and I over the last few months; others have responded politely but didn't encourage any further contact.

I feel a pull to keep an open line of communication with them, but I really have nothing to say. Nothing that I think they want to hear. I guess that's why it’s easier to talk to strangers, or sometimes talk to myself (I know...I'm nuts), because I don't have this all figured out and it bugs me. I want it to be laid out in understandable chunks.

Step one, do this.
Step two do that.

But this overbearing process of grief doesn't work that way. I feel one way for a day, a week or however long. Then my mood, my thought process goes in a completely different direction. I think that in normal life your thoughts can control your emotions. Your emotions control your actions. But it seems that somewhere down the road of grief you pass a mile marker that isn't really that noticeable at first; then you realize that your thoughts trigger emotions, but don't control them. Your emotions control your thoughts. And your emotions now have a firm grip on your actions. I like things to be more logical...I'm a computer programmer for crying out loud! There is a need for rules and processes.

I don’t really know why it’s important to me to hold on to friends that were brought into my world when she entered my world. But then again, maybe I do…maybe it’s because they are a tie to her and I feel like I have to hold onto anything and everything that reminds me or connects me to her. It’s hard for me as a more logical thinker to put my head around these emotions. It’s hard for me to make sense of things that are not necessarily based on sound reason. Why reach out to someone and express your desire to hold on to them when you both know you will only talk maybe once or twice a year…if that?

Mindy was the one who nurtured our relationships with others. She would call people out of the blue just to say hello. She would call someone she hadn’t spoken with in years and they would talk for hours sometimes over several days. I’m just not that way. If it were left up to me, everything would be in a text message and would not need a response.

“Thinking of you, hope your well.” - What else is needed?

I know better, I know that you have to nurture a friendship or it will grow apart…life will get in the way. When we were kids it was so much easier…everything was exciting. Now, who wants to hear that I was up till 2am folding laundry? Who should I call to inform that I’m helping with homework and monitoring bath time and next on the agenda is the war of wills concerning when is a good time to go to bed?

I don’t know I guess I’m venting because this was Mindy’s job and she did it well. I’m not so great at it and I don’t like things I’m not good at. I’m frustrated because I want these people in my life but I’m not the chattering type and I’m not so great at keeping these ties connected. These people who were Mindy’s friends first and ours later are more important to me than I know how to convey. I guess the filter of life will determine who is really important as the important ones will continue to be there for me…the others, hopefully the few, will choose to fall away.

I guess at the heart of it all is that I’ve realized there is yet one more area at which Mindy completed my deficiency; my seemingly long list of deficiencies. I wish I could’ve found a way to be a better husband. I wish I knew how to help her escape all the trouble she brought on herself and the rest of our family at times. I know now, from her journals, how badly she wanted to change. How much she despised her actions at times. How much she despised my reaction at times. But the good times still vastly outweighed the rest for me. And it truly wasn't her within her control; bipolar disorder controlled her.

A brilliant man once told me that love is a choice, not an emotion. You choose to love through good and bad, otherwise you won’t love through the bad. I only ever planned to have one wife in my entire life…and I feel so lost that she’s now gone. Having my friends and family; her friends and family all surrounding me and my children makes it feel a little better at times, but it doesn’t fill the void.

Mindy told me all the time that she knew we were soul mates from the very beginning. She used to tell me how she fell much faster and much harder for me than I for her. I don't know that it's really true but if so I guess it’s because God knew she would have to cram all that love into 33 short years, only 10 of which I was blessed to know her.

Mar 6, 2009

Group night - reflections on what happened

Last night was group night again and it’s still a bit awkward for me. Aunt Jen brought the kids to meet me with dinner prepared for the pot luck (Thanks again!) and the crowd was a bit thicker this week. It was interesting to see how people have progressed (or not) in the span of a couple of weeks. And it was really nice to know the feelings are very similar for those that lost some one regardless of the circumstances. Some were lost to medical conditions, some drugs, and a couple of participants were dealing with suicides; all of us were dealing with grief.

In only our second visit the agenda has already become routine. They gave us the outline of what the children would be discussing and then we proceeded to our introductions. Very quickly after we all had our turn at saying hello the floor opened to who ever wanted to share about getting the news of a loss. The topic was a continuation of our last visit but it was just an ice breaker. Quickly raw emotions were being shared with virtual strangers and it was beneficial for most everyone. I didn’t share; not this time. But the words of others did make me think about the morning that Mindy left us. And this morning I thought that if it helped so much in group…why not try to finally post the event here. I’ve tried before but couldn’t find the right words. In any case, here is my latest attempt to describe that morning and the hours that followed.

I woke up at about 6:30a on Wednesday August 6, 2008 and nothing about the morning was much different from any other morning before it. I walked through the house to the laundry room to get my clothes for the day; Mindy and the kids were strewn about the living room asleep on couches and taking up floor space. They had a “party” the night before as there was no school and Mindy was probably going to be gone for a while starting in a couple of days. The Teen was upstairs in her room but I was the only one up. Mindy was imitating a train with her familiar snore that could almost shake walls as she slept on the floor next to Sugarbear and just below Princess who had taken a couch. I quickly gather my things and returned to our bedroom to start my day.

Just under an hour later I was showered, dressed, and ready to leave the house. I went to wake everyone as I left so they could start their day and noticed that Mindy’s snoring had stopped. I didn’t think much of it at the time so I woke the little ones and as I went to wake Mindy I found she was not breathing. Shocked, and scared I yelled for our then almost teenager to bring me the phone, and do so quickly; not remembering that I had my mobile phone on my belt. She brought me the phone and I had her usher her siblings upstairs away from the ensuing action. I dialed 911 and proceeded to administer CPR. My wife was now lying below me, a blue tint to her face, ignoring my attempts to get her to breathe.

The EMS responders got there quickly and I moved out of the way. As they began hooking up sensors and IV lines I quickly called Mindy’s father, he was my first thought for contact. I answered the questions from EMS in between updating her father to what was happening on my living room floor. After several minutes with no response they powered up the defibrillator and began to play out a scene from a tragic movie. My children were upstairs and couldn’t see what was going on…but I’m certain they could hear every word as I panicked on the phone while a stretcher was brought in my front door. EMS loaded her into the ambulance and started for the hospital. I quickly got the kids situated and followed them. Mindy’s father watched over the kids who in retrospect must’ve been completely frightened as I rushed to the hospital only to be held in a waiting room while they “looked for a nurse” to give me an update.

I don’t think I’ve ever prayed as insistently or sincerely as I did that morning. I begged God to make her okay. I begged and repeated my words over and over because I couldn’t think of anything else. Mindy was bipolar and addicted to prescription pills. The two individually were hard to deal with; the fact that she blurred them together nearly destroyed our marriage. But that morning I would be released of all those issues; God would lift that burden to make room for a new one.

After what must’ve been 5 – 10 minutes, and what seemed like an eternity, a door opened into the waiting room where they put me; two people walked in to greet me. A blonde female nurse in blue scrubs who never said a word and a male doctor with black hair and black scrubs who told me my wife was gone. He was like death itself standing there with no emotion on his face as my mind raced and my eyes blurred. Warm tears ran down my face and my throat began to close as I tried to answer his questions about how we came to be at his hospital.

The doctor dressed like death allowed me to spend some time with her in the now empty emergency room. At one point I saw her eye flutter for a fraction of a second. It could’ve been my imagination or it could have been some nerve reflex in her body but either way it reinforced my prayer that she would be okay; even though she wasn’t. I held her cold hands and kissed her now swollen face. My heart was broken…my mind enveloped in a fog of disbelief.

I would find out later that Mindy died from acute accidental drug overdose, which basically means she took several pills that didn’t play well together in her body. It shut down her heart and lungs and she probably died in a very peaceful sleep. I’m still very mad that she left us but I’m also grateful that she doesn’t have to fight her demons anymore. She’s done with addiction and depression.

Of all the books we have on Bipolar disorder none have a section on what to do when the afflicted person is gone. There is not chapter on how to reconcile your anger and your loss. The last two weeks I had with Mindy were really nice; she wasn’t on a big mood swing and she wasn’t out of her head from all the prescriptions. The fact that we ended our marriage on a positive note was a true blessing. If things had not worked out so well before she passed I couldn’t imagine how I would deal with the anger that is left from her passing; anger from her leaving me to raise our children alone and having to fight her ex-husband for custody of a daughter he’s never cared for. The anger of trying to find ways to compensate for her not being in their lives when we all know that no one could ever replace her, but mostly I’m angry that she amputated my soul. She took with her the best parts of us that I can’t recreate on my own.

In a nutshell the roughly 1,200 proceeding words are what I recall of those hours. These are the thoughts that dominated my mind as I sat quietly in a room full of grieving adults last night. It’s because of thoughts like these that I’ll be glad when the group environment is no longer needed for my kiddos. I’d rather go on putting up my “I’m okay” face during the day to keep the questions at bay. Then leave the nights to grieve in my own time, my own way. I’ll be glad when this part of my life is a memory in the rear view mirror…if that’s really possible.

Mar 4, 2009

Trip to the ER

Last night was dinner with N&P, which is always great. I get awesome food and I don't have to cook! Since dinner was taken care of, some laundry was done and things in general were moving along nicely I thought I'd get to bed a bit early. I thought that anyway.

At about 10:30p Sugarbear came down to my room whimpering. He was holding his stomach and walking very awkwardly. My first thought was "He's up again, why does he hate to sleep?" but a quick inspection proved that he was in pain. When I touched his abdomen he cringed and jerked. So I ran to the office and looked up the local urgent care facility which as it turned out closed about 30 minutes ago. So I went for my insurance website, they offer chats with RN's for free but the chat site was not found. So the only remaining option was the emergency room. So at 11pm N&P were on their way back to my house to stay with the girls, the boys were on our way to the ER.

I didn't tell him that we were going to the ER. I didn't want to scare him; I just told him we were going to the all night doctor. Although it's not like he couldn't read the bright bold white sign above the door that stated in all CAPS "EMERGENCY ROOM"; and that's exactly what he did. As we pulled into the parking lot he stated very factually "This is the Hospital where Momma died." We went in and he asked a few questions about Papa who was there a few months earlier. He wanted to know if Papa was able to change the channels on the TV. Then he asked "What if people are just asleep and they think they are dead, can they dig out of the dirt?" But that was really his only serious question of the night. I was glad.

Three hours, and a large emergency room co-pay later we determined that he's perfectly fine. He just needs a laxative and more fiber. Really nice! The nurse brought him a popcicle and sent us on our way.

All things considered I'm happy with the way things worked out. At least this late night trip to the ER was a non event, unlike the few I made with Mindy over the years. So a bit deprived of the extra sleep but no worse for wear; all but the smallest amount of grief was surprisingly avoided. Another needed blessing on our family.

Mar 3, 2009 the speed of light

Mr. Einstein devised the theory of relativity on the constancy of the speed of light. And this week I feel God nudging me to think this through a little more. I admit the theory really escapes me. I mean in its elementary form I get it...but all of its details, its implications are a bit much for me. But the topic keeps being thrust in front of me; the Father keeps telling me to look at this because He’s trying to teach me something.

I’m not sure what that something is yet, but I have put some thought to how all of this could relate to my life, my situation, my current path and there is a lot of information I could derive such as the constancy of light and the constancy of God. How matter and energy are transmutable but can’t be destroyed; they are two forms of the same thing; much how the Holy Trinity are three representations of the same God, although that is hard for me to wrap my head around as well. But for me, for now, the lesson that is glaring out at me is that the closer you get to the speed of light the slower time moves. So the theory goes that at the speed of light time stands still. In Peter II 3:8 we are told that for God a thousand years is but a day. It’s hard for me to remember that God is not limited by the time He created.

For me, I definitely feel the effects of general relativity. Last month I was so busy running around trying to keep things held together (I’m about out of bailing wire and duct tape). Even though it was the busiest month since last August it seemed to last forever. I feel like I’ve lived an entire year just a few months. I’ve intentionally sped up the pace of my life so that I would be too busy to grieve; too busy to deal with life. But I can’t escape it…the faster I move the slower time seems to go. As if it’s waiting on me to slow down so that the looming wave can crash down and wash over me.

I’ve been told that anger can be a form of depression. I think anger is spawned from not being able to out run depression or control grief. I’m angry that I could not run to the hospital fast enough to stop time, and somehow save my wife from herself. I’m angry because I know in my head that all this was done in His timing but I didn’t get to say goodbye. I didn’t want to say goodbye. My mind and my heart are disjointed and I can’t seem to reconcile the two.

This morning I thought about something Mindy and I used to tease each other about. She would remind me that I was only 19 when we started dating. Her friends would tease her about me being so much younger. I would always remind her that when I turn 50 she would be 54. At least that was the expectation. Now she will always be 33; for her time now stands still. Can she now see my whole life from beginning to end in the presence of God? When I see her again will the time I spent without her seem as long as it has already felt? Einstein neglected to address this in his theory, and I am not able to understand it.

Some days I feel like I’m doing well, I’m maintaining a ‘normal’ existence for my children. They feel safe and secure if their world has some resemblance of our previous life…our life of before. Then other days I feel like I’m just going through the motions because I don’t know what else to do. I want everything to change, but I want it all to stay the same. I want a new house but I want it to feel like home. How can it feel like home without her? I want a new life; I want my life of before to be my new life of now. I don’t want to dwell in the past, but I don’t like dealing with the present and I can’t imagine a future living without her. Every day I get through the present and with each day I have a little less future to be concerned with but it doesn’t make it any more appealing. I guess I’ll just end up being 50 one day, wondering how I made it there without her. Wondering if she is laughing out loud that she won…she never turned 54.

Maybe in another day I’ll feel better, maybe in a thousand years I’ll still feel the same.