Thursday, August 29, 2013

The relapse



Since I have been home from Baltimore I have found some sense of peace through writing and getting back to work and spending time with friends. The news of my grandmother’s condition worsening and the inevitability that comes with that has been wholly hard to swallow, but I managed. But yesterday my car broke down and it put me over the edge. You would think that the situation with my grandmother would have done that, but no, it was a car. I have officially reached the level of horror to which I can no longer function and I am completely breaking down. I don’t even want to be around my own kids. I want to do impulsive and reckless things. I don’t want to be alone, ever.
It seems like the rest of the world is floating around in a bubble of happiness while I’m left alone to wither in this lonely and awful place from which there is no escape. I have stayed positive through everything and I’ve tried to always find a purpose for my journey. But now I feel like I’ve run out of any sense of optimism, that I’ve used it all up and now there is nothing left to do but hate everything that has happened to me. A few days ago I thought it might not even be long before I could start thinking about the prospect of dating again, or at least not closing myself off to the idea. Now instead I have this entirely unhealthy desire to be with a man just for the sake of not being alone. I want to feel something other than pain and loneliness. But that’s not a real feeling and I suspect it would probably only make me feel worse in the long-run – a temporary reprieve that would only lead to more heartache.

I find myself looking at the world through cynical eyes. I want to be happy for friends who have good things happening to them; those who are expecting or planning weddings or moving into new and exciting chapters of their lives. Instead I look at their individual situations as infuriating and I’m jealous. Why was my perfect little life reduced to rubble while theirs continue unharmed? And while I know that all of my friends and family will continue to be here for me when I need them, I feel like I’ve been at least somewhat set aside. It’s been over a month. I should be on my way toward healing and finding that “new normal” all the grief books talk about. I shouldn’t need constant attention. And it’s this ultimate catch 22 because when they were surrounding me constantly, I kind of just wanted to be alone sometimes. And now that they’re not here, I don’t know what to do with myself.

I have a list of things that need to be done as long as my arm, but every time I try to start tackling them, I freeze in place. I get lost in my thoughts and forget what I’m doing. All I want to do is sleep, or drink or be anywhere but my own home. I know that if I just make myself do the things that need to be done, I will find solace in that. It will lift an immeasurable weight off my shoulders and give me a sense of satisfaction. It will make the rest of my life maybe just a little easier. But I remain frozen.
Nothing about the past month of my life has been healthy. Not physically. I don’t eat right. I drink too much. Hell, I even smoked – something I hadn’t done for almost a year. And I haven’t been doing things best for my emotional well-being either. I find myself obsessed with getting hit on, just to feel some sense of validation that this label I feel like I wear like a Scarlet letter doesn’t paint me utterly untouchable. But then when I do, I scoff at the attention like it’s disgusting. I’ve been cloaking myself in the appearance of happy, when on the inside I feel like all of my vital organs have stopped working the way they’re supposed to work. And I’ve refused to tell anyone that I’m not OK. I want to be OK. And I want people to treat me like I’m OK. I don’t need to talk about what’s happening inside me, but I need people to push me. And all anyone can say is that it will be OK. Is that really the best there is to offer a person who has lost so much? How is it going to be OK? When will it be OK? What can I do to make it go faster? I suppose no one knows those answers. But I need the people closest to me to be there willing me to do the things I know need to be done. Kind of like how I have to get my kids started on their homework, but once they start they’re fine. I need someone to tell me, OK, Janelle, now it’s time to go through this box; now it’s time to mail this packet. I’ve made lists to try and help myself, but I lose them or ignore them. I ask for help, but don’t follow through. And none of this is done on purpose.

I try to end all of my blog posts with something inspirational; some sort of lesson I’ve learned from whatever feelings I’ve experienced that day. But today, I have no lessons. I’m sitting here with a sense of failure and doom. What good is anything I do if there is no lesson? I want people to read this blog and feel uplifted or less alone if they are struggling through a similar loss. And so far I’ve left them with important observations. How does pointing out that my life fucking sucks right now offer any help to anyone? I’m writing this to help people, but if I can’t do that, what’s the point? And now full circle, I’ve made my point yet again – that I went from purposeful and optimistic to doom and gloom in what feels like the blink of an eye.

I watched my grandmother today struggle to stay awake or move and I saw so much pain on her face. Jon will never have to feel that pain and I know my grandmother is at a point now where she’s probably ready for the suffering to be over. Sometimes death is a blessing. But it wasn’t a blessing with Jon, it was tragic. My oldest daughter told me about a dream she had last night that left her in tears but unable to move. She dreamt that Jon had survived and gotten better. But then one day we went to my dad’s to go swimming and it happened again. But this time, instead of me being there, she was the one trying to save him. Tears streamed down her face as she told me about it. Worse, she said there was something that looked like a chart in the background showing her dreams each night and the chart showed that dream over and over. So now she’s afraid she’ll have another dream tonight. There was nothing I could say to make her feel better, just like there’s nothing anyone can say to me to make me feel better. I wanted to take it all away from her in the same way my mother wants to take it all away from me. No parent wants to see their child in pain. Then later, my youngest daughter, who hasn’t showed even an ounce of emotion since the funeral, said to me, “Mommy, I’m glad it wasn’t you who passed away.” I said, “me too,” but what I was thinking was at least in death there wouldn’t be so much suffering. What kind of horrible thing is that to think? I also keep having to fill out forms for the girls’ school. That first night I cried every time I had to skip over the space where you provide information about a child’s step-parent. Then today came another asking if there were anyone else in the home who could discuss the student’s education and again, I had to skip over it. For the past three school years, I’ve written Jon’s name and phone number in those spaces. Now they are empty. Like me.