This little tiny voice is trying to scream out "I'm Here!!" But sometimes it is just so hard to hear it. That tiny voice is mine. It gets lost and buried in the recesses of my mind because I feel for everyone else first. The last weeks have been excruciating. Not my own personal grief over losing a loved one to a terrible disease, cancer, my energy has been given to all those around me. My outer voice says "Are you okay?" but the inner parts of me can feel your pain. I know the answers before you speak. If you are able to speak.
I feel your confusion, I feel your frustration. I feel your anger. I feel your sorrow. I shed your tears for you when you are not looking. I lose a night of sleep to my father's heartbreak. I lose another to my siblings. I lose many to my children. It is almost as though if I could just cry enough, you would never have to. But you do need to. Later, I feel like it has been so much wasted effort. I have shed tears that you will shed also. I am not easing your pain, I am simply feeling it instead of mine. The most difficult moments, as I have mentioned before, were the minutes of telling my kids "Grandma is gone." The days following were just a roller coaster of emotions, from one person to the next.
I cried in my own way, at my own time. But it was long after I'd shed all your tears. And I'm certain I'm not finished yet.
I'm still recovering from my own depression. Feeling your pain first is what led me into darkness. I forgot to ever feel my own. I am strong enough to realize this now, thankfully, but it is not something I can find any control over. I can not stop feeling for you, before me. It just happens.
Yesterday was a long day. Yesterday I fought the quiet inner workings of my regular state of mind. I went searching for that tiny voice saying "I'm Here!" I took the day off. I did not visit with family. I did not work. I kept the kids home with me. I ate ice cream in my pjs with the kids at 2 pm on a Tuesday.
BEST FEELING EVER.
And I felt my own feelings. It was almost frightening in it's intensity. Such rage came out, such frustration. Such sadness and sympathy. So much relief that the suffering is over for someone I cared so much for. And guilt. Always guilt. Did I do things right? Was I there enough? Should I feel better than this? Or worse?
Such a slippery slope this can be.
This morning I woke up beyond exhausted. Emotionally taxed beyond my limits, now feeling my own way as well as yours. And I was mean. I was angry. I was rude and didn't want to listen to anyone. My poor trucker always receives the worst of me. And this time all it took was milk. I knew last night I needed to get it. I wanted him to just go buy some. He was careful to leave enough in the fridge so I could have my coffee this morning. He could have finished it easily. The boys were both set on cereal for breakfast, which really doesn't happen often. I barely had enough but I divided it between them so they could eat. I got them off to school and then the evil monster inside me leapt out of my chest and tore such an ugly strip of that trucker of mine. The poor man called me at the wrong time.
And I was perfectly justified! He should have just gotten the stupid milk. He was dressed. I wasn't. He drank it. He should have left it if he wasn't willing to go buy more.
That anger stayed all morning. Every single thing I did or said was tinged with the hurt that I was feeling.
Thankful as always for the things I have learned, over the last few months especially, I was able to calm myself down. I was able to draw out that tiny voice screaming on the inside. I did three things right away.
1) I apologized to the Trucker. It wasn't his fault, he just happened to trip the fault line and get the full rush of everything I felt for several days. He had no way of knowing the kids would need the milk, they don't often have cereal on school days anymore and almost never both on the same day. He had to leave for work so early, he had gone directly to bed after that glass of milk. I was simply refusing to get dressed to go to the store (and I have been known to go in my pj's anyway). Neither of us had cash to send Macboy instead. It was just a silly situation all around. It was not his attempt to ruin my day by any standard.
2) I got moving. I got out of the house and bought milk! Along with anything else that was being avoided on my to-do list. I also got some productive work done.
3) I reached out. I asked for help. I requested a nudge (or swift kick if deemed necessary) from my boss. "Please keep me busy and reach out if I seem to be distant. I do not want to slip away." I messaged a few friends who know me well. (Except for one, she always seems to just know and call anyway) I asked for reminders to eat right, keep exercising and more. I also asked them to reach out if they don't hear from me.
I'm worried about me. Really. I do not want to go backwards after so many forward strides. It seems like it should take a lot to pull me back that far, but it doesn't. It takes such a short time to slip but a long time to crawl back up. So I'm making sure that my supports are on alert. They are ready. They will not catch me when I fall, they will hold me up as I keep going forward so that I don't have to fall again.
So many people may think I exaggerate how I can 'relate' to others. It goes so far beyond relating or sympathizing, I sincerely feel your hurt. Another blog that makes me feel entirely 'normal' talks about this sense of feeling the pain of others. I've finally found a place where I belong. Where my thoughts are not outrageous, but other people have them too. I don't make things up, I don't pretend, I don't exaggerate.
After completing the steps above, I picked up my kids from school. We came home and all four of us played in the snow in the back yard. I even shoveled the patio out back, which we don't usually do. I got active. I played and laughed and exerted energy. Yep, exercise! The trucker cooked us dinner (at the drive thru hehehe) and I had a nice cup of tea to wind down.
I feel better. I feel stronger. I know I will be okay and there are people in line to keep me moving if I get lost along the way.
If my Stepmom was never defeated by the cancer that finally took her from us, I will not be defeated by it either!