This is going to be a busy week for the kids and for me, the chauffeur. We have places to be (after my 9-5 of course) every night with three events on Saturday. It’s the weeks like these that I really get upset that I am now a single parent against my will. Now, I’m the one who scheduled all these events (or negotiated the scheduling) for us but they needed to be done before school starts which doesn’t allow for much time. I continue to have quite a lot of help from family but it’s not the seamless transfer of duty like you have in a two parent home.
The kids are with N&P this week while I’m at the office and as I left from there last night, after the kids were in bed, I just felt overwhelmed. It didn’t help that I was rushed that morning and didn’t get everything done. I had procrastinated the night before so I have myself to blame and the Teen didn’t pack everything she needed; this isn’t the first time she’s failed to do so. All in all it was just a bunch of little things that added up. Little things that in my ‘life of before’ I could’ve split up between Mindy and I; together we could’ve had covered it all. Little things that individually are no big deal, and collectively are still manageable, but I can’t always delegate, or be the delegate, like before.
The more overwhelming things seem to be the more I say out loud what I should do. It’s sort of a way to let myself know that I understand what to do; it’s just the ‘getting it done’ piece of the puzzle that is hard to fit in. I was on my way home last night and my mind was racing. Planning this and that; trying to work out a tentative schedule for the next few weeks. By the time I got home I was asking out loud what should be next, and for a split second I fully expected Mindy to answer. For a split second I thought she would be there to help carry the load. I caught myself falling into that old routine. I caught myself living in a past that will never again be my life. It only took that split second to light the fuse.
Whatever bits and pieces I had worked out in my head up to that point have all been lost. I spent the rest of the evening staring at piles of her stuff that have been in the same place for nearly a year. Looking over pictures still not in frames, the kitchen she started painting…still not painted. The life we had yet to finish planning for will, forever, stay unfinished. It’s not often that my thoughts devolve so quickly or so thoroughly as to bring up this mix of intense anger and debilitating sadness; but there I sat. Just passed the lonely anniversary of her death and preparing for her birthday to burst onto the scene as yet another stark reminder. I eventually turned out the lights and sat in the dark still staring at all the items on her bedside table. Most of them have been there for well over a year. If not for the cleaning service they would be covered in a good bit of dust.
It’s maddening to feel so alone while surrounded by so many helpful people. It feels so hopeless at times to think that I will most likely have to continue raising our children as a single widower father. It’s such a struggle to be a single parent, but honestly, I couldn’t imagine letting anyone else get near my kids. I couldn’t imagine letting anyone else get close enough to me to ever be close to them. But that’s fodder for another post.
Maybe I’m just wallowing in the grief as I refuse to acknowledge its presence this week; and last week as well. I want to be strong and independent. I want to be able to tackle anything that stands in my way, grief included. But the like so many things in life, the more I try to tighten my grip and keep control the faster things slip through my fingers. Knowing in your head is one thing; convincing your heart to follow along is another thing entirely. I can’t let go. I don’t want to let go.
Some days I have a relaxing peace that everything is as it should be. My beautiful wife isn’t here hurting and confined to this life; she has been released. But I still selfishly want her here, and the more I wish she was here the faster that peace flees. With school around the corner I see the vicious, endless circle of my routine clearly. To avoid the grief I become so busy I have no time to find myself enveloped like this then the fast pace wears me down and I get frustrated that I can’t do it all. Once I’m worn sufficiently I slow down to rest and recoup; only to be swallowed by grief again. To escape the grief I look fill my schedule and we ride around this track once again.
I allowed myself the remainder of the night to wallow. Today, I refuse it. Today is a new day; a new week. I granted myself the wallowing since a year ago that day we were at the funeral. A year ago my baby girl release a balloon for Momma’s “party in the sky”. I’ll start that uphill climb once again and keep hoping that when I fall back to the bottom no one will see. As things continue to slip through my fingers I still wear that mask that says I’m okay. The mask blurs the beginning and the end of each trip around the circle. Blurs the black and white into a mundane grey; a shallow grey that hides all the fear and frustration just under the surface.
That’s what most of the world is comfortable seeing, and that’s what most are comfortable showing.