May 31, 2009

Another month gone.

May has been a very busy month. School spills over into June for the kids, but just by a few days. I’ll be so glad when school is out. I’m so worn out from following up on homework, tracking down permissions slips, and trying to keep three separate schedules from running over each other. Although I have mixed feelings about how this summer is going to go. I’ve made arrangements for the kids to spend time with various family members so they don’t have to go to a day care. For much of the time they’ll be with me in the evenings and nearby during the day, but they’ll be spending considerable time quite a distance away as well. I know they’ll have fun and enjoy spending time with Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins but I don’t know that I’m ready to be without them that much. They’ve been such an anchor for me these several months.

Yesterday we spent the evening at Mindy’s parents house for a BBQ that they host every year. There were about 70 friends/family there and for much of the night things went smooth. At one point I was in the kitchen with my sister in-law talking about how nice it was that no one was prying me about Mindy. I surprised myself that I remembered a few names from the preceding year, although there were many that escaped me. Then a very nice woman said she wanted to meet me. I was introduced to her, her son, and her daughter in law whose hair reminded me of Mindy; it was long, dark, and very curly. The woman was very nice and spoke highly of my family. She told me how Mindy’s parents had spoke of me and was clearly wanting to give me some supportive words. She asked me how life has been the past 9 months and 25 days and no matter how many times I get that question the answer is always a struggle. I doubt anyone really wants to know…it’s just one of those loaded questions that sort of spew out of your mouth. I ended up fielding that question several times that night. I want to be brief, but give enough information that they don’t ask follow up questions. I didn’t do very well with that. Its always a little awkward for me to go through this routine when I’m with Mindy’s family. It may be just my perception but I’ve rarely been around when Mindy’s parents or sisters are asked how they are getting along with out her. I don’t know what it would be like to lose a child or a sibling and I don’t like the attention these questions bring.  I do like to hear that people are thinking and praying for me and my wonderful kids but I feel it’s more appropriate as a statement than a conversation.

I drove home that night feeling the void. There was no one there to argue with me about the radio stations. No one to tell me to ignore the idiot in the lane next to me. Every song that played seem to reach into my heart and stir some memory. I couldn’t get home fast enough; I couldn’t get in bed fast enough. To put a little insurance on the brevity of the night I made sure to grab a couple of sleeping pills on the way to the bedroom. I thought that would do the trick…but as with every morning in my life without her, I woke up alone. Well, almost every morning. The kids have slept with me some and there’s nothing like waking up with a pair of feet in your back or having a 7 year old steal all the covers. But there aren’t anymore mornings waking up to her rubbing my back or keeping the kids out of the room so I can sleep in.

With school almost wrapped up and the kid’s schedules all set for the summer I wonder how the next 3 months will go. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to this. Time isn’t healing anything, and I miss her more than I could’ve ever imagined I would have. I just wish I could fast forward my life like Adam Sandler in ‘Click’. I want to be at all the dance recitals and school events. I want to see my boy grow to be a good man and my daughters have beautiful weddings, but I could do without the long nights and lonely days. I could do without being both the hero and the bad guy to kids depending on their mood. I could do without things being this hard to deal with.

May 16, 2009

Out on the fringe

Well another session at The WARM Place and once again I find myself walking in the door with no expectations and unprepared for what may happen. This whole week I’ve been behind the curve. I missed two appointments and just ran late in general. Just remembering to get the kids out there for the group sessions was a win in itself. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable in the setting despite my early resistance and each time I seem to open up even further.

Our facilitator started to pass around a good sized bag full of random objects and instructed us to pick an item that reminds us of our late family member. As the first man rummaged through the bag I kept thinking maybe there would be some artsy stuff, or maybe some reference to tennis or sewing. As the bag gets to me I pull a cowboy hat off the top and it jumped out at me. A prescription pill bottle is sitting right there in the bag. I didn’t give it a second thought I just went into the vivid memories that have been haunting me all week. There were times Mindy and I argued over these little bottles. Then she began hiding the pills and the bottles separately. If you’ve been through this type of addiction you know that the bottles are important to keep track of refills. Soon arguments turned away from the actual pills or prescriptions because there was no way I could keep tabs on them. The best way to assert some control, some attempt to curb the addiction was to watch over the money. That too  proved to be ineffective and just caused more arguments. These memories have been waking me, chasing me through the week. At first it brought on guilt; guilt that I couldn’t find any good way to help her. Now I just feel helpless. Husbands are supposed to care for and protect their wives, but what can you do to protect her from herself?

At least this time when I was finished speaking there wasn’t an awkward silence. I got a few quick questions and then we moved on to the nice woman sitting next to me.  As the bag made it’s way around the room there was a lot of discussion about in-laws and family relationships. I am very fortunate that Mindy’s parents have been so wonderful to me. There are more than a few families that have just abandoned any relationship to the surviving spouse for reasons they can’t seem to reconcile. Mindy’s parent’s invite us to come over regularly and while they really want to see the kids I still feel like part of the family. I need that.

Mindy would’ve hated me talking about our issues in a group, much less posting them on the internet but this week is the first time that I’ve really been bothered by them since she passed. I’ve chosen to seek out more appealing memories and when I’m conscious about my thoughts I’m okay. It’s just these waking memories that catch me off guard. Maybe it’s because I’ve been thinking a lot about what she would have me do for our children. Since the adoption was finalized I’ve been spending a lot of time wondering about my kids future. Maybe it’s the coming trip my Teen will make to see her paternal grandparents out of state. I don’t know for sure but it did feel a little better to blurt it all out loud to a room full of adults that I won’t see out in the real world. People that feel like they are just as crazy as I am for having similar thoughts and stories to mine. Until this week I’ve really been able to related to other widow/er bloggers and real life people in group. Even a few at Church and work that have lost a spouse at some point. But tonight as I try to find a way to express my thoughts and fears, I can’t help but think that I’m out on this branch alone. Well maybe not all alone…but it doesn’t seem crowded over here.

I’ve been taking anti-depressants for a couple of weeks now and I haven’t really noticed a change in the symptoms that prompted me to see my doctor in the first place. But to make sure I knew I was taking something I did still get to enjoy some of the side effects of the pills. I guess it’s time to ask the good doctor for a different script. Maybe these pills are tied to the odd waking memories. In any case a woman in our group this week did make mention that she was on something as well. Key on was, as it appeared to be in the past. Her actual comment was that this Mother’s Day was the “…first one [I] spent not being heavily medicated..”. I guess they worked for her so I’ll just try something else…maybe the next one will work. For now I’m just trying to focus on the fact that I won the adoption, my kids are (for now) all healthy, and my wonderful family has stepped up and helped me out with scheduling the kids events for the summer. I have a lot to be thankful and grateful for it just takes some work sometimes to remember that.

May 11, 2009

Mother’s Day without her…

I tried as hard as I could to ignore Mother’s Day. I called my Mom and chatted with her for a while but I didn’t do gifts this year. I hope that doesn’t make me too selfish…I just didn’t want to acknowledge the day any more than possible. Only because Mindy isn’t here. The kids came home from school with projects they made for Mother’s day. They did a wonderful job and I’m sure Mindy would’ve loved them.

We spent most of Mother’s day with Mindy’s family, and I love it that we did. Both of her sisters were there and the kids had a blast playing with their cousins. The little girls went for a ride on the neighbors horse and they giggled most of the time. The boys were running around trading cards and acting suspicious, as boys do. I always enjoy time with my sisters in-law. I got a “Happy Mother’s Day” while I was over there…logic concedes that since I’m filling both roles I should enjoy both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day; it made me smile that they think of such things for me.


The kids didn’t seem to have any difficulty over the weekend dealing with the vacancy of a mother in their lives. That’s why I love them so much; they are my little rocks. But both Saturday and Sunday night I kept having a dream, or more accurately a waking memory of an incident Mindy and I had at a pharmacy. I was so mad that day and even in retrospect I feel like I did the right thing. But both nights I woke up feeling guilty. Maybe I could’ve done something different, or maybe it’s just my mind’s way of dealing with all the things I keep trying to ignore.

I just lie awake staring at the room I once painted, scraped the acoustic ceiling, and redecorated for Mindy in two nights while she visited her parents…all for Mother’s day. The television in our room that I watch alone, late into the night while I try to sleep was a Mother’s day present for her a different year. Her life, her personality is plastered all over our home and in our children. For now, I’m thankful for that; thankful that I have these memories.

Thursday was a very good day for my whole family and Friday continued to be a relaxing and enjoyable day. The weekend in total was great but I can’t help but think about how many Mother’s Day events will the kids be subjected to where explanations will be needed. I guess that’s life; our new, post Mindy life.

May 8, 2009

All morning in court (Part IV)

The adoption is final!

Our whole family went to court yesterday morning for the final hearing. Mindy’s parents were there along with my parents, grandparents, and Aunt Jen to support my Teen. And now she legally is MY Teen. We met up with even more family later that evening for a celebratory dinner. It’s been a great day; a day that I have long awaited and an very thankful to have behind me.

For all the uplifting email I’ve received…Thank you.

I took Princess and Sugarbear to the adoption hearing as well. It was important to me that they be there when the Judge secured our future together as a family, giving legal weight to the reality we’ve been living. They got a big kick out of the process and the formality of the event really helped it materialize to all three of them that this is a big deal. For them nothing really changes, but the threat of my Teen being taken away is now gone. Those little minds didn’t quite grasp the importance of it all. The Judge and court officials were all very nice. They posed with us in pictures and let my Teen strike the gable when the hearing was closed marking the end to the ordeal. The kids enjoyed the day out of school, and while it makes for a little bit of catch up work I think it was worth it to really make the day stand out in their minds as a special one.

The legal proceedings are all complete. Now onto the task of having all the documentation updated. We have to get the birth certificate and Social Security information updated so that I can get her properly enrolled in school next year. More pressing is a plane flight coming up in June…my Teen has to take ID with her to fly as an Unaccompanied Minor to see her paternal grandparents and getting all the ducks in a row for that will be tough. At least all the heavy lifting is done.

Today I’ve felt lighter, it’s strange how I physically feel different when something so significant occurs. It’s been about a month since I’ve felt this way which was when Bio Dad’s rights were terminated. It’s makes everything seem better and no matter how long it lasts….it’s never long enough. I’m sure the mother’s out there may have a different opinion but for me the euphoria from the adoption being complete was comparable to the feeling I had when Mindy first told me we were pregnant. I say we because she let me know when WE didn’t feel well and WE didn’t get to do a lot of things because WE were pregnant. (In my head she just playfully slapped me for that last sentence.) Maybe it’s the context in which the adoption took place but there is definitely a sense of completeness now that I never knew I was missing before. I hope I can do justice to Mindy’s expectations for raising our children. She gave me a bit of a head start when she brought such wonderful little lives into this world for us to enjoy.

But for now I’m thankful. God is obviously at work in keeping us together.