Category Archives: Melancholy

Saying Goodbye

I’m back from an eight day break in routine that was, in some ways, like a breath of fresh air.

And then yesterday, I got a call from my mom that has sort of blurred everything that happened in those eight days.

I wrote about my grandma last year, that she was not going to live much longer. That I might not see her again. She fell yesterday morning. It was bad. She has a brain bleed. She hasn’t woken up since then.

They moved her to my aunt and uncle’s house, where my mom, her sister, brother, sister-in-law and dad are all congregated. I would like to go in the middle of the night, in my sleep. But if I had to hold on, I’d like it to be like this. Surrounded by family, saying their goodbyes.

I called there yesterday afternoon. Had my cousin put the phone up to my grandma’s ear. I said goodbye, in my way. I told her I loved her and I missed her and how happy I was to know she was surrounded by her family. She had no response, of course, but I’d like to think she could hear my voice. Another part of her family. Her first grandchild.

I imagine people reading this and balking: “It’s just your grandma. Big deal. All of my grandparents are dead.”

That may be. But she wasn’t just my grandmother. She was a whole lot more to me.

She was my silly grandma, who danced in her living room to the music on the Lawrence Welk show. She was my caring grandma, who let her grandchildren be just as goofy as they wanted to be and never questioned it. She was hospitible in a way I’ve hardly ever known from anyone else – I used to spend weeks at her house during the summers, riding down to the community pool in the back of my grandpa’s truck, bare feet hanging off the tailgate. She came along, put on a bathing suit, and rarely went swimming.

When my heart was broken at the age of seventeen (or anyway, I thought it was broken), I called her and asked if I could come to stay for a weekend. My mom drove me to the ferry and my grandpa picked me up on the other side. Grandma wanted to fix me my favourite foods – she always did – and she set up their motorhome for me to stay in so I could have some privacy. She understood that I would want it, even though I never explained my reasons for running away those few days.

She fussed over us at times, but we always knew it was just because she loved us.

When I had my babies, she sent cards for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and birthdays, always with a five dollar bill tucked inside for each kid. We saved those bills for years and now have a bit of money to spend on the kids when we visit later this month. We’re planning on taking them to the aquarium. She also sent books for them, and stuffed animals. She called often and usually asked to talk to my Jenny Rose, the great-granddaughter named for her oldest daughter.

I will miss her so very much. I already do, as her health has been declining for some time now. It’s hard to let go. My grandpa seems to be in such good health and I would love to imagine that all of my grandparents would live until they were past one hundred. But it is not to be.

She is not gone yet, but she does not have long. They are talking about her memorial service, hoping to postpone it until we head down for a visit in two weeks and other family members from far away can make their way to Washington. The timing of this really gets me. We planned our trip in hopes that we would get to see her one last time.

What gets me is all the things I never asked her. The last conversation I never had with her. Every time I talked to her, I imagined it could be the last time, but I haven’t phoned in some time now. I feel bad about that.

I’m looking forward to hugging my grandpa and resting my head on his chest, just like I did all the time when I was a little girl. Smell that familiar grandpa-smell. I believe that he’s been grieving for awhile now, seeing it coming. I imagine that there is some relief when it all ends, but a hope lost that there might just be a recovery. I’m thankful that my grandparents have had some fifty-six years of marriage to each other. They have four kids, twelve grandkids and six great-grandkids. I like to think that my grandma has had a fulfilling life and is ready to go. I hope I’m right.

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Filed under Illness and Injury, Melancholy, Mi familia

Update

I went back to the doctor today.  My results are not exactly what I had hoped for.

This says it all.  I am going to move my darker musings over to a new blog.  I think it’s time.  I’ll still blog here probably as often as I have been, but I’m going to aim for daily posts on the other blog, dealing with my diagnosis and treatment.

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Results to come

I saw the doctor today.  I had a full physical that was almost entirely conducted by a student – but hey, they’ve got to get their practice in somewhere.  I will go for bloodwork as soon as possible to see if this is possibly a thyroid problem or other physical issue that is causing my “mood” problems.  I think the student was leaning pretty heavily towards post-partum depression, but he did say that we would only address that as a problem if all the bloodwork comes back normal.

So, for now, I’m still in limbo.  I was explaining to the student today that I tend to have anywhere from two to ten days of down, followed by no more than two days of up  – the kind of up that feels manic and unnatural – and then I tend to go back to “normal” for awhile.  This isn’t constant and I do have months sometimes when I stay “normal” the whole time.  But I just don’t feel like myself.  Even my doctor said that I’m right – there is something wrong because, as she put it, I “don’t have that customary sparkle in your eyes”.  I’m glad I have such an observant doctor. 🙂

I’m feeling….okay, lately.  I’ve been baking which often makes me feel better.  There’s something therapeutic about working in the kitchen.  I’m glad I have that, anyway.  Christmas doesn’t hold its usual allure for me this year.  Last year I got my feelings hurt pretty badly and then beat myself up for hours on Christmas Eve – “no one cares about me” and all that.  In some ways, the offense was rather silly, and in others, it makes sense and I suspect that most people would react negatively to it.  But anyway, I’m sure that last years experience makes me a little less excited for this year.  I’m trying not to set myself up for disappointment, but I find myself doing it all the time anyway.

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Filed under Life, in general, Melancholy

Two sides of the same coin

Right now I feel like a coin, being tossed up in the air over and over again.  I mostly feel like I’m heads-up, feeling good when I land on the ground again.  But there are these moments of landing heads-down.  Small moments of feeling the darkness creeping back.  Asking myself what could I do to make things better?  Is there anything I could do?  Like I said before, this feels like a high.  One I will probably come down from relatively soon.  Even with my house looking almost as clean as it was before. Even with Mike home for the whole weekend and some time spent chatting with friends this morning.  I just can’t shake it.

And I really do love my kids, but I just wish I could have a day with Mike and only Mike.  For now it’s just not possible (counting Ben, who can’t be left for a full day).  I want a vacation.  I want a date night – the old kind where you go to dinner and a movie or even bowling.  Sometimes I just want to be young and carefree for a few hours. 

The thing is, whenever I leave my kids with someone for any length of time, I spend the whole time I’m away thinking about them and worrying that something is going wrong.  When I leave Ben, I’m sure he’s going to pick that hour of that day to need to be fed more often than normal.  I’m sure that when I get back home, I will get a report of all the terrible things that happened and how desperate the sitter was to have us come home.  So I just don’t leave them unless someone offers or it’s a very special occasion (birthdays and anniversaries).  Is this normal? 

I read part of a blog entry that questioned the common belief that couples must have date night for their marriages to survive.  We hardly ever have a date night without any kids and we’re doing okay.  Well, our marriage is doing fine.  I’m not so good.  But anyway, I think I agree with the blogger that wrote about this.  I think it’s good, but not imperative.  I think it is refreshing, but not necessary.

What do you think?  I don’t ask questions of my audience very often, but I want to know.  Has your marriage survived months without date nights or do you feel like it is a necessity to maintaining health in your marriage?  Do you get what you need just from heading out grocery shopping with your husband or does it need to be formal?  What about family activities instead of dates?  Just hanging out together?

Anyway, I’m curious.  Most people seem to believe that your marriage will practically fall apart if you don’t have time away from your kids, just the two of you.  I’m not so sure I agree 100%.

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Memory

The strangest part of this..whatever it is…is that I have such a hard time remembering things.  When I’m feeling really, really, awful, I try hard to remember good times I’ve had recently.  I know I’ve had really good times with friends, with Mike and the kids, but I just can’t remember them in any detail if it’s been more than a week or so since they happened.  I tell myself that if I focus on the positive things in the past, I can imagine them happening again.  The problem is that I just can’t remember them – no matter how hard I try.

Also attached to this memory problem is the fact that I do things – like send an email – and within thirty seconds, I can’t actually remember if I’ve hit the send button or not.  I actually emailed my dad a second time a few weeks ago because I honestly had no recollection of whether I hit send or not.  Turns out I should have checked my sent mail folder first…

I’ve always had issues with short term memory, but never this bad.  It’s like walking quickly through a busy room with only one thought in your head – reaching the door.  Once you are outside in the quiet, you might remember glimpses of people or things happening, but generally the whole experience is a blur.  It should be a blur – that was the point – get through the room and out the door.  What is in the room doesn’t matter. 

But when the “room” is equal to a week or a month or a year, this lack of memory becomes distressing.

At this point, there are two options in my  mind; hypothyroidism, for which I have much of the symptoms (and family history on both sides), or postpartum depression.  The list of symptoms are remarkably similar. 

Right now I’d take the thyroid problem any day.  Something physical that can be fixed with medication or the avoidance of certain foods.  I actually told Mike last night that I’d rather have cancer than postpartum depression.  And I meant it.

I just can’t imagine getting a whole lot of support or sympathy from certain people if this ends up being postpartum depression that I’m suffering from.  In fact, I can’t imagine telling anyone in the family if that is my diagnosis.  A diagnosed physical problem would certainly elicit a few more offers of help.  And a physical problem can be fixed.  I want to fix this.  It’s killing me.

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Better?

Is it better to write what I’m feeling, even if it sounds like complaining, or write only when I have something good to say?

Is it better to write emotionally or avoid writing altogether when I’m not feeling great?

Is it better to gloss over the bad stuff or tell it like it is?

I was reading a blog recently and noticed that it had more than forty followers, even though it doesn’t seem like the author is anyone well known.  I asked myself why she would have so many more readers than I would – seeing that she is also a stay at home mom/homemaker.  I thought it through for a very short time, coming to the quick conclusion that she is almost always positive.  She rarely complains, writes often about her love for her kids and her husband and when she does talk about the rough parts of motherhood, she does so with humour or with requests for prayer. 

I would like to be more like her.  I don’t know if she writes this way intentionally, trying to be positive even if she might not feel like being positive, or if she is truly this positive all the time.  If she does it intentionally even when she feels like complaining, I understand her and envy her for her ability to avoid negativity.  I wish I could do the same.  I suppose with practice I could. 

There are three camps of people I communicate with regularly; the people who don’t have kids and don’t really care when I talk about the negative things, the people with kids who understand why I do it and commiserate with me, and the people who want kids and can’t have them and for whom complaining mothers are heartbreaking and impossible to understand.  I don’t want to offend people, so when I share things on Facebook I try to avoid being too negative. 

But here I feel freedom to say what I want to say. What is more important to me?  Saying what I feel: that life is hard, that I’m depressed (there, I said it), that my kids sometimes just don’t listen to me and it drives me crazy, that my husband works too much and if I could, I would never leave the house?  Or is attracting readers and making them feel good more important? 

This is a hard question for me to answer.  When I read other blogs that are filled with negative thinking and complaining, it bugs me.  I don’t feel like going on reading them when there is hardly ever anything positive shared in them.  I don’t want to make other people feel that way.

The question is still not answered.  I’m not sure that it ever will be.

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Therapy or not therapy?

There is a part of me that knows that I seriously – seriously – need counselling.  There are many things in my past that ought to be addressed in a professional manner – things that have left me royally screwed up.

There is another part of me – the one that has been winning out for the last eight or nine years – that refuses to even go there.  I have a good life.  We’re not broke, we’re healthy and happy most of the time.  Our children appear to be very well balanced and are intelligient.  This part of me firmly believes that if I pretend to be okay, I’ll be okay.  If I read my Bible every day, keep going to church, talk to my husband honestly and regularly and try to have a small break from my kids now and then, I’ll be fine. 

The first part knows that the second part is a crock.  The second thinks the first ought to stay buried in the past.  They are waging war in my mind all the time.  One of these days someone is going to have to win.  I wonder all the time which it will be.

Maybe I should just start a poll – should I get some help or not?

I do not believe that I am clinically depressed, and while my brief stint in therapy years ago had me looking into whether I might be bi-polar, I am pretty sure I’m not that, either.  Is it okay to get help if you can’t be diagnosed with something?  There is something in my brain telling me that in order to need counselling, you have to be diagnose-able (nice word, hey?).  What if I can’t be diagnosed with anything?  Does it make me just plain crazy or not crazy at all?  Emotionally unstable?  Mentally unstable? 

I have no idea.  None at all.

And something tells me things are just going to keep on like they have.  I’m not strong enough for people to know that I’m in counselling.  Does that sound weird?  I’m afraid my children will be taken away from me; that my husband’s family will feel I am unfit and will take them away.  It’s not like they have ever said anything about it, but they’re all just so normal and healthy and sane

I’m a little bit exhausted at this point.  I’m going to go grocery shopping now.

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Filed under Life, in general, Melancholy

I have issues.

Sometimes I’m faced with a situation and I know the right way to respond as an adult.  It is often possible for me to control the way I react on the outside, but my emotions go crazy inside.

I tend to react strongest to situations I feel left out of; two friends going for coffee when I was home, bored, two family members (or units) getting together for a meal and not inviting us, a conversation two feet from me that I wish I could be included in but for some reason am being excluded from.

I assume that there is something from my childhood that makes me react this way, but I can’t say what it is exactly.  I have abandonment issues because of my mom leaving when I was young, but I’m not sure that this is completely born out if that situation. 

I feel that in so many ways I have overcome my past and moved on, but this is one area I can’t seem to move beyond.  I am brought nearly to tears when I find out that close friends or family members were doing things without me.  I feel alone and I feel sad even when I may have been feeling just fine moments before. 

How in the world do I get over something like this?  I don’t have the answer and I wish I did.

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Untitled

I’ve finally broken down and cried.  I could weep for an hour if I had the time.

My kids are happy, laughing, playing.  Safe.  Supper is nearly ready.  Mike is nearly home. 

But he’s worked seven days in a row and he will still have to work for the next four at least. 

My grandma is dying.  Admitting that hurts.  I want to have hope and believe that she’ll live ten more years, but things are not good.  And while I have distanced myself from my grandparents by having my own children, I still remember when my grandparents ranked pretty high on my list of important people. 

I’m a realist – as they have aged, I have admitted to myself over and over that they don’t have much longer to live.  I’ve thought about how I’ll cry over them but move on. 

I think it’s still true, but it’s not going to be quite that easy.  Especially when I am waiting like this, expecting bad news every day.

I’m so incredibly weary.  There is no other word for it.  How do military wives do it?  How do they live through their husbands being gone for months, years even?  How do they manage to parent children who hardly know their own fathers?  I feel so weak – if this is hard, I certainly couldn’t manage what they do.

At this point, I’m not sure when I’ll ever be past this.  I know it sounds pessimistic, but it’s just how I feel.

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Okay, I promised.

It’s been a week – don’t have a fit.

Thirty-five weeks pregnant, Easter and my dad’s visit behind us (sadly my brother couldn’t get his proper ID in time to come across the border).  Saw the doctor today and I haven’t gained any weight (well, unless you count .1 kg as gain) since my last appointment.  Unfortunately, my doctor could not find the baby’s head.  We know it has one but we cannot seem to locate it.  So unless it turns around or makes its location very obvious by next Wednesday, I’ll be having yet another ultrasound.  I do agree with the logic – no sense going into labour and being ready to deliver if the baby is breech or transverse.  Of course, I in NO way want to have a c-section.  Having been through labour three times and having seen friends recover from sections, I’d way rather go through the labour and delivery.  I generally feel like a million bucks the day after giving birth – no sense changing that now.

I’m also dealing with my good old friends from late pregnancy: heartburn, tiny bladder, compressed stomach (read: the need to eat less at one sitting but more often), nerve pinching, breathlessness and dizziness.  Not thrilled about any of that.  Oh, yeah, and depression.  It could just be my dad being here for such a short time and going  home already (he was here from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning), but I am so down this week.  I feel friendless and alone and overwhelmed by my physical state and the needs of my children.  I want to escape but if I do that I just end up by myself somewhere.  I don’t really want to be by myself – I want to be with Mike or a friend.  I like solitude but it hardly feels worth it anymore because my energy levels are so low.  A nice chat or visit with someone else makes me feel a bit better, but being all alone with nothing better to do than read a book or go grocery shopping actually makes me feel worse.  I look forward to a new baby to pour myself into – and then summer! 

Summers are always easier here; parks are a great way to get the kids out and usually visit with someone (generally my sister-in-law).  It will be a bit more challenging with a new baby to cart around, but well worth it, I’m sure.  And when I do need a bit of time to myself, there’s a good chance I’ll be able to leave the three older kids with someone and go out with just the baby.  I never mind taking my little ones along for the first nine months to a year – other than quick trips, they always come with me.

Anyway, I know it’s not far away, but five weeks does still feel like a long time, especially since I could actually be two weeks late before my doctor would induce me.  Seven weeks feels absolutely ridiculous, although it’s highly unlikely it will be that long.

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