I have known that I needed to get back to my blog, but its been something I’ve been avoiding like you cannot believe. So much has changed since my last post from March 28. This was literally the day before our world changed. Mom was hospitalized on March 29 and between that day and June 20th, less than 3 months, our world completely tipped upside down. Mom passed away on June 20th. Those months seem both so short and yet so long at the same time. Three long hospitalizations, about 5 weeks total in a nursing home and then hospice care for 10 days while she passed away. It’s been almost 2 months and it still doesn’t seem real in some ways. Painfully real in others.
Where am I now? Struggling. Fighting. Relieved?
I struggle daily with my depression. It has gotten worse – much worse as my good ol’ tells have surfaced and I’m monitoring them like you can’t believe. I’ve flaked on friends, returned to napping (for 2 hours, ya, not good), my productivity is low. Even as all of this is going on, I push it to the back of my conscious. I’m trying, really trying to not shut out my friends as they are my lifeline right now. Family is all going through their own grief process and it feels strange at times to even talk with them. I feel like I need my time to deal with what I need to deal with and perhaps I’m being selfish in taking my time, but as the oldest, I sometimes feel like I have to “solve” their problems — even though I completely know that I can’t . It’s more pressure that I just can’t deal with right now – so I keep them at an arms length. I’m struggling with my relationship with mom too. I know I was there at the end of her life, but I feel like I completely let her down when I could have made a better difference in her life. When she was ALIVE. I was selfish and prioritized me over seeing and talking with her. I know just regular phone calls would have made her so happy, yet I didn’t do that. Can I blame my depression for some of that, yes, I know I can and that makes me even more angry that I didn’t do more to get it under control earlier. Why didn’t I? Did I really think I was doing ok? Did I think I was stronger than Depression was? I put on that great mask and thought I was, but I definitely was not.
I’m fighting against falling too far down the depression rabbit hole. I’m not sure what is “normal” when you’re experiencing grief and you already have depression in your life. Is there such a thing as normal? Where do I draw my line so that I don’t wait too long to seek help from my psychiatrist? I’ve not found any resources that help with that, so I’m going by my gut. I have been seeing a therapist who I really like. I’m finally understanding the value of therapy. She has me reading a grief handbook that is interesting.(The Grief Recovery Handbook) The book categorizes death as a loss, and it puts other losses (divorce, work, friends, etc.) into that same category. It’s given me new perspective on how I look at my career and the losses that occurred there – there’s so much I haven’t dealt with (especially from NJ). It’s also helping with the loss of friends that I had never dealt with, even though some of those are relatively recent.
This goes on behind the scenes while I’m trying to help my dad get back into his routine. I know I can’t force anything, but I can cook for him, and help him with this too big house and the dogs. He has to want to get back into a routine (either old or new). I’ve reminded him recently that we really need to get a durable power of attorney in place and that we need his wishes written down – somewhere. We had none of this for mom, and I know dad has specific things he will want done, so we need to know what those things are so they are honored.
And me too. I’m trying to get back into a routine, but I’m not doing a great job at it. Maybe I need to reframe it instead of an old routine, maybe I need to look at it as the start a new one. But I need to get the exercise excuses under control. I need that in so many ways, but I’m having a hard time incorporating it like I did before. I know beating myself up over it doesn’t help, but I have to figure something out to get it going again. This combo of depression and grief really takes hold of me here. People have said to give it time, but I can’t – I know how good exercise makes me feel both physically and mentally. Perhaps this is my focus in therapy for a bit until I’ve got it back as a habitual part of my life.
I’m relieved in the usual ways one says after someone has passed away – I’m glad she’s not in pain and suffering. I’m relieved the Alzheimer’s hadn’t progressed so that she didn’t know us anymore. I’m relieved that we all had time to say our goodbyes and to make peace with the situation before she did pass. There’s also a lot of selfish relief – I was relieved that I didn’t need to worry about her this year when I went to Florida for the annual Friends for Life Conference (although I did do a fair amount of worrying about Dad while I was there.). In many ways, it feels a little freer, that we don’t have to consider mom now, and that makes me feel so incredibly guilty for having these feelings. I don’t know, is this ok to feel this way? Am I looking for permission to have these sorts of thoughts? Am I the only one in the family who feels this way – I’m too guilty to ask (see above — tis a cycle right now where I want to ask my sister these things but also feel like I need space from her too which I also feel guilty about.).
All of this is still new and I guess I’ll figure out ways to navigate it all – to process and deal with these changes. I know it will take some time, I know it will not be easy. I’m investing in me so that I do come out ok. More than ok, intact and intent on not making the same mistakes I made with mom, with the rest of my family.