I haven’t posted because it seems I can’t capture my thoughts. They are as difficult to catch as fireflies on a summer night. I meander through my day feeling normal (ish) until I don’t. I feel as if I’m standing on solid ground until suddenly, I’m not. It happens just that fast. I feel okay, but then I’m suddenly sinking or falling, or drowning. I cry sometimes, but I’m often just numb.
This isn’t how I imagined it would be although I guess I never REALLY imagined what it would be. I had learned to focus only on the day we were in and trying to make it as good as it could be. Sure, I knew that my husband had a terminal illness, but odds and statistics have never held true for him. From being diagnosed at age 55 with testicular cancer (the young man’s cancer–average age of diagnosis ages 17-25) to coming up on the short end of the stick with its 95-97% cure rate, to then achieving a victory against PNET, a rare very aggressive sarcoma with low survival rates, B has always been in the minority. We always knew that this evil disease would get him at some point, but I truly thought we would get just a few more “good” years together after the stem cell transplant’s success. I envisioned being able to visit Arkansas again with him, watch a few more ballgames together, and have another trip or two to somewhere beautiful together. I have a hard time believing that is all gone.
So, now I sit here trying to make sense of something that doesn’t really make sense and never will. I get up to go get something, but I forget what it was. I decide to write, and then I don’t. I decide to pack something or make a pile of things to donate; I get a few things done, then I stop. I look up, and somehow an hour or three has passed. I type one message to a kind friend on Facebook or make a call to an insurance company, and I have to rest because it seems to zap all my strength. I struggle to focus on one thing whether it’s as simple a decision as what to eat or whether to turn on the TV, and forget about trying to figure out a show to watch. Baseball and “Friends” reruns is pretty much all I’ve managed so far.
I’ve had numerous good moments and hours at a time. I’ve watched the Astros make it to the World Series. I got a manicure/pedicure and lunch with a friend, and then fell asleep in the peacefulness beside her pool one day. I drove down to the coast (remember, the beach is my happy place) and hung out with an old friend and her daughter. Max and I took a walk on the beach both of us realizing that somehow walking the beach will never be quite the same. The weather has been beautiful, and I fully appreciate these low humidity fall in south Texas days.
I feel as if I have split into hundreds of different puzzle pieces–one of the big difficult puzzles often found in waiting rooms at MD Anderson that I would occasionally work on while waiting for B. There are some normal pieces (I’m really hoping they’re the four corner pieces), there are giant angry-looking pieces, pitiful misshapen sad ones, several very grateful and pretty pieces, but there’s also these CRAZY maniacal pieces that don’t fit and keep all the others from fitting together. Then, of course, I’m missing some very important pieces that are lost forever…….
I try to hold on to and keep the corner pieces in place by doing the simple small things on which I CAN manage to focus like breathing. I’ll catch myself holding my breath, so I’ll focus on breathing for a few minutes. That’s a good thing. When I feel paralyzed, I’ll take the dog for a walk or just get up and move. I’ve been taking my vitamins, drinking my Ningxia, and using the essential oils that I know help me. I’ve turned to my faith and prayer, and although the prayers are as crazy as the rest of my thoughts, I feel certain that God can make some sort of sense of them. I’ve had a glass of wine or two or maybe that was bottles. I forget. I’ve obeyed my rule of doing at least ONE productive thing every day. Well, except for last Sunday because I made a NEW rule that says if it is raining, AND it’s a weekend day, the productive rule doesn’t stand. I really love to follow MY own rules!
When my thoughts do their elusive shadow dancing, I try to grab a notebook and at least jot down the things that pop into my head and then just as quickly leave. These are often tasks that must get done eventually or sometimes they are ideas for writing. I’m trying. I’ve made plans to head back home to Arkansas on Friday. I’ve made a list of the things I MUST do this week along with several other things that I MIGHT should do if I can manage it. I even have a list of some long-term type goals. I realize the main focus for me right now is to just keep going and keep getting out of bed even if I’m missing pieces. Thankfully, I have a dog that must be walked, and a cat that demands to be fed, so the animals are doing their part to hold me together. Friends and family are doing their part too although they probably don’t even realize it. It seems that every day someone different says that ONE thing that really makes a difference to me. Little things matter, and all that good energy adds up! I think it’s the only energy I have right now.
I know I can do this. I’m just not quite sure what I’m doing yet. I guess I’m just searching for two pieces that will fit together…… and breathing. 🙂
2 thoughts on “Just keep breathing.”
Quendy I know exactly how you feel. The numbness, list that don’t get done and forgetting. ALWAYS feeling the emptiness that whatever you are doing it will never be the same again because your soulmate isn’t with you. I am like you in thinking that even though I knew Charlie was sick I just KNEW we would have more time together because being in the hospital just couldn’t be our last chapter. My dear friend when you get settled you may check in to participating in a grief support group. Mine has really helped me. One day at a time, but sometimes it’s just an hour at a time. Like you said your ok then you get ambushed by your own feelings and you feel as if you are drowning and can’t catch your breath. I love you, kindred spirit, and so sorry you had to join the club of widowhood.
This is beautiful. Praying for many more moments of clarity for you. You are one of the strongest women I know and I’m proud of you. Grief is a personal process. Take your time. There are no rules or timelines that you must follow, except to take care of you and honor the lost. You’re making good strides as you attempt to do just that. Your friends aren’t going anywhere and will wait for your return. Because you’re worth it.
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