The Perfect Kind of Crazy

…my life as I know it

A New Chapter

Tomorrow begins a new chapter for me. Last week I accepted a job as a Head Start Instructor! I am extremely excited to have my own classroom!! On the same day, my diploma arrived! As most of you know, this has been a long and emotional journey for me. My plan was to be teaching five years ago.. then, life threw me some curve balls that were undeniably unavoidable. I didn’t always handle those curve balls with grace but I continued to move forward. Some days it was only an inch or not at all. But, that’s okay because forward is forward no matter the pace.

I could not have reached my goals without the support of my Village. My friends. My family. I know that Jeff would’ve been so proud of me. We made scarifies as a family for me to go back to school all those years ago. He picked up slack around the house, grocery shopping, making dinner for he and Josh.

One of my biggest cheerleaders was my beautiful friend Wendy. She lost her bottle to Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) a couple weeks ago. I’m happy that she knew I finally earned my degree! But I wish she was here to help celebrate my new job. I’m happy she is pain free and no longer suffering. I am truly blessed to have had a friend like Wendy. She inspired me to keep going when I didn’t want to. Six and a half years ago when I was sitting by my dad’s side while he was losing his battle with cancer, and I was attempting to read 104 pages in a matter of hours in my humanities book.. It was Wendy I talked to. It was her that said.. drop your classes. It was her that looked up the dean of financial aid’s email and told me what to say. She worked in financial aid at another school so she was always mine and my daughter’s go to for any and all things FASFA related. I will miss you, my friend.

I’m beyond excited for this next chapter of my life. 2020 has been unbearable in so many ways for most of us. I have had some really dark days since March and I have also had many blessings. As 2020 begins to wind down and come to an end, I hope that we can all look back and celebrate the good that has also come from a year that none of us ever want to repeat again.

6 Comments »

Writing the Next Chapter

I’ve begun to write my next chapter. I don’t know where it will take me or how long it will be. What I do know is that happy feels really good. I’m learning to live in the moment and to not get stuck in my own head. I’m learning to not overthink and over analyze things. I’m learning that I am in control. I get to decide which path I walk down. For the first time, in a very long time, I feel the shield that I have around my heart starting to loosen.

I am not naive enough to not know that in a blink of an eye my life can be irrevocably changed forever. I’ve been there. I don’t want to ever go there again. But, I’m willing to if it means that I get to be happy again. If I get to have joy in my life again. If I get to be loved again. If I get to be in love again. If I get to hold another in my arms again. If I have a partner and best friend again. It will all be worth it.

All of the pain. All of the heart ache and the gut wrenching tears would be worth it again. The sleepless nights. The grief waves that crash down and threaten to take you under. The ones that you just roll with. The ones that keep coming one right after the other. The curve balls that you swing at and miss. The ones that you hit out of the park. The emptiness. The loneliness. All of it.

I want to fly again. I want to soar. But first, I need to jump. I’m ready to jump.

Leave a comment »

Look for the One…

Leave a comment »

Anger is a Cover-Up

Anger is a secondary emotion or as I like to call it, a cover-up so to speak, for other emotions such as fear or hurt. When I started seeing a psychotherapist on my way out the door from one of my first appointments, I had said something along the lines that “I am not angry with Jeff for leaving me. I know he didn’t want to.” She says to me, “I don’t believe that but we will talk about that another day.” Honestly, at first I was a little put off. What does she know about how I fee anyway we are just getting to know each other?

Fast forward about six weeks… I’ve been spending a lot of time in Jeff’s garage surrounding by his things. The work bench was covered in the stuff that we cleaned out of the shop truck, his personal truck and his car. All of it was just thrown haphazardly up there. It’s been rifled through, shoved around, things taken down or added to it. His hunting stuff, his work vests and hard hat, his golf clubs and golf cart, and on and on. We had gotten rid of his clothes but all of his personal belongings are in the garage as well. Up until a couple weeks ago I avoided the garage like the plague. There is also boxes of kitchen stuff from the remodel that I haven’t gone through and boxes of craft stuff that I need to consolidate…It’s all so overwhelming. My plan has been to eventually clean it out so that I can park in there and also have a work space for making custom cups since you use epoxy.

One day I was looking for something that I never did find and I got so angry with him that I took my arms and did a clean sweep to the right and to the left. Tossing stuff on top of stuff. I made myself an area to put my cup spinner and where I can use glitter so it doesn’t constantly look like Tinkerbell has sprinkled her fairy dust everywhere. The more time I spend in Jeff’s garage the more I’m looking around. The more I am remembering. The more I am feeling. The more I am becoming angry. I can see him clear as day tinkering with something while singing along to the radio. I can almost hear him. I can feel his presence when I’m out there late at night. I can hear him telling me a better way to sand or to apply epoxy. I can hear him telling me to slow down and take my time. Asking me why I always gotta be in a hurry? Which is something he would ask me often… because truth be told, I’m always in a hurry. I’m not patient when it comes to some things. I want to take the short cuts. I want to rush it. Well, you CAN NOT rush epoxy.

Half way through my session this week I started crying. I told my therapist that she was right. I am so angry with Jeff. She reminded me that anger isn’t a real emotion that it’s masking fear or hurt. I have so much fear because he is dead. In 18 months I lose the partial pension that I do get. Which means I need to figure out what I am going to do to makeup that income. Enter a BA program? Find a job that I work more than 170 days a year? Get a second job? All of those options send my anxiety soaring. Damn him, this was not in the plan. Being alone. Being an empty nester… alone. Being a grandma… alone. He left me to deal with all of this and so much more…alone. He left me to deal with the house… alone. The yard… alone. Repairs… alone. Yes, I am fucking angry as hell.

Because… I’m afraid. I’m afraid of the unknown. I’m afraid I won’t figure out what I am supposed to do to make more money. I’m afraid that I will make the wrong choice and hate what I am doing. I’m afraid of being alone for the rest of my life. I’m afraid that I’m not enough for my youngest son. There are times that I think that he would have been better off if it were me that died and his dad was here. I’m afraid that he hasn’t dealt with losing his dad at 18 and the guilt that he feels. I’m afraid that one day I’ll get THAT phone call. I’m afraid of dating because let’s face it… people lie. People are crazy. Reading through literally 100’s of profiles is exhausting. Finding someone that you think is on the level takes time and effort. It’s like having a second job. It’s depressing. Then, when you do find someone that you connect with on the phone and decide to meet… they aren’t who they portrayed themselves to be. Or… get ready for it… they ghost you. What are we in Jr. High? Aren’t we all adults? Pick up the phone and say hey.. nice meeting you but I didn’t feel a spark.. something. Anything.

Because… I’m hurting. My heart hurts. I fear that it will never be whole again. When in a wave of grief everything hurts. My body aches. My head hurts from crying. My heart becomes so heavy. There is pressure in my chest. The sadness that I feel is overwhelming at times. I’m tired of being the strong one. I’m tired of wearing my big girl panties. I’m tired of rolling with the waves. There are times that I curl up into a ball and not do anything. There are times when I wallow in my own self pity. But I really haven’t had many times that I have expressed my anger to Jeff. Until now..

I have yelled and screamed at him. I have flipped him off and said fuck you mother fucker (those that know him will get that). I have told him he’s an asshole for leaving me to deal with all of this. I have purposefully not put his tools back in the right place and then laughed telling him.. that’s what you get for not being here…it’s all mine now. For those of you who didn’t know him…he was OCD/Anal about his tools. Even if you did put it back in the right drawer he always knew that I had been in his tool box.

I know that all of these feelings and actions are a normal part of the grieving process. I know that anger is a step I have to take. A step that I have to work through. I know that, like the other steps, I can’t rush it. I have to be patient with myself. Because, like epoxy, steps of grief can’t be rushed. It can’t be skipped. You can’t avoid it. You have to let it level out on it’s own. You have to give it the time in needs to become smooth.

 

Leave a comment »

Widow, Covid 19 and Stay at Home Order

Being a Widow, Covid 19 and the Stay at Home Order has been a test of strength, faith and patience. Then let’s throw in being an empty nester on top of all of that. Which all has left me to look at the same four walls of my home…for days and days on end. I have had days of feeling lonelier than ever. It’s a different kind of loneliness. My therapist, whom I started seeing about a month ago, asked me last week how does it feel different than what you normally feel? I sat there and I thought about it. I couldn’t really describe it. I said, “I don’t know. Sad? Depressing?” Those things usually go along with being lonely so I was at a loss. So, once again I found myself at a loss for words. This has been happening to me far more often than I like…I’m never at a loss for words. EVER. It takes a lot to shock me speechless… those of you who know me are shaking your head in agreeance while you are reading this. She told me to think about it… she says that a lot. Some visits I feel like my four year old granddaughter and want to stomp my feet and cry, “I don’t wanna think about it!!” I still couldn’t come up with quite the right words to describe how I am feeling. How this “lonely” is different from my normal loneliness. One thing that I know for certain is that I absolutely, unequivocally, hate it.

Being stuck in my house, ALONE, has been a constant reminder of how things used to be. How they should be. I’ve had way too much time to think about how things would look if Jeff hadn’t died. If his life hadn’t been cut too short. If he hadn’t left me to do this shit on my own. My logical brain tells me that everyone dies. Everything has a lifetime; people, plants, animals. It also tells me that I am not the only widow out there facing this struggle. There has been laughter with some people when it comes to; “Jeff would be losing his shit right now if he were here.” Or “I can hear him now bitching about not being able to work.” Or “Dumb ass mother fuckers need to knock that shit off because looting and burning shit isn’t gonna solve anything.”

Logic says that I should be thankful that I am young and that I have people in my village that would be here for me in a heartbeat… but wait, we are all on house arrest. No one can come see me. I can’t go see them. We are all stuck. Yes, there’s phone calls, texting, FaceTime and on and on. But I need organic, human interaction. I need organic conversations. I need to hug my people and to be hugged. I’ve been a good citizen. I’ve followed the stay at home order for the most part. I’ve only ran into the store to pick up essential items and prescriptions from the store. I’m claustrophobic so wearing a mask is a challenge in and of itself. Which is another reason that I stay home. I have also gained about 12 pounds and my body aches from sitting so much despite how much I stretch, which is not how I want to go into summer.

A very short list of the things I want to be able to do and will NEVER take for granted again.

  • Hug my friends
  • Have coffee with my friend in a real coffee shop and not in our cars sitting in a parking lot
  • Just stopping by to say hello to my village
  • Browse the grocery store for an hour or more because you have no idea what you are there for
  • Go to work without a mask and a tube of Clorox wipes
  • Go to the movies… don’t get me wrong, I still love a good Netflix binge, but I miss going to the movies. The social interaction

I can’t even begin to fathom what this world is going to look like in the months to come. What work is going to be like…to actually experience it, not just discuss possible plans that will be implemented. How do you teach students that are 3, 4, and 5 to keep a mask on and to follow social distancing protocol and to not share their materials? How do you teach them social skills, letter sounds, and to read facial expressions when you all have masks on?

There is no sugar coating when it comes to how I feel about all of this…I’m honest to a fault. I’m real. Don’t ask me something if you don’t want the answer. I’m scared for my students and all the littles in my life. My anxiety has been awful. Some days it’s just as bad as it was when Jeff first died. I’m dealing with bouts of depression more than ever. My heart is so heavy for my daughter who is raising two beautiful, mixed girls and how she has to worry about not only their safety and wellbeing but for her husband as well. My heart is heavy for her friends who have mixed children. For my mama friends who are black and have always had to worry about their sons, husbands, brother and fathers. I will never utter the words, “I know how you feel.” Because I don’t. I know what mama fear feels like. But this is different. This is so much more. So much deeper than I can ever begin to imagine.

All of the fighting amongst each other that I have seen or read about is exhausting. I believe in the freedom of speech. I believe in peaceful protesting. I believe that fair is based on need and not want. I believe that the color of your skin does not make you good or bad. I believe that justice needs to be served for those who are acting a fool and steeling what is not theirs. For damaging property that isn’t theirs. For the violence inflicted on others. I believe that you should fix what’s wrong in your own family before trying to fix others.

There is so much more that I could say. Writing about my journey has helped me to heal, to process things and to hopefully help others to heal along their journey as well. Those that know me well, know my heart. Helping others not matter how big or small the act, fills my cup. I will leave you all with this, it was a gift from my daughter a few years ago and it hangs where I can read it every day.

IMG_6292

I’ve included a link to a beautiful children’s book that explains death in a way that children can understand. My grandma bought it for my children when they were little and my other grandma was dying of cancer. It’s been my go to book rather I’m reading it to a child/student or sharing it with parents.

Until next time, stay healthy, stay strong and never forget that kindness matters,

Melissa

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: