The Perfect Kind of Crazy

…my life as I know it

Being Strong

I’ve had friends, strangers, co-workers tell me that they could never be as strong as I have been. My response.. being strong isn’t a choice.. it’s how I have survived. Sure, some days it would’ve been much easier to not get up. To not leave the house. To not live my life. Hell, I still have those days. I still have days where my emotions make me feel weak. Days that I am not strong and I let my feelings and emotions take over. Days that I have to remind myself that it’s okay to not be okay.

If you are ever struggling emotionally… call me. Day or night. I will talk you through it. I will come and hold you up. I will remind you that it’s okay to not be okay. I will remind you that being strong isn’t a choice. That grieving a loss of any kind doesn’t make you weak. I will show you that you matter. That you have so much to live for even though it doesn’t feel like it.

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It’s Heavy

Grief is heavy. It weighs you down. Physically. Intellectually. Emotionally. Socially. Everything, I mean E V E R Y T H I N G, is harder.

Grief drains you of your energy causing physical exhaustion. Your muscles are weakened and heavy. Routine things like laundry or vacuuming sometimes feels like hiking a mountain.

Grieving exhausts your mind causing you to be forgetful. Your short term memory is terrible. Forget about focusing on anything. Even the most mundane tasks become impossible to tackle.

The toll that grief takes on you emotionally is immeasurable. My ability to multi-task is not what it used to be. The amount of stress, rather work related or personal, has been significantly reduced. Chaos at home and work is a lethal combination for me. Sometimes I feel so fragile to the point that the smallest upheavals will break me. I cry more than I ever have in my life. There are days that my eyes want to spill out tears ALL. DAY. LONG. There are days that they do just that.

The social impact. In January it will have been five years since my dad died. About six months later I pretty much lost my marbles for a few months. I worked in an extremely stressful environment that school year. I kept telling myself that if I could make it to the last day of school I would be okay. Well.. that was so not the case. In fact, it was the complete opposite. Little did I know that I had been hanging on by a thread. The last day of school came and that thread snapped. The roller coaster I had been on the last 13 months came crashing down on me. I was exhausted in ways I didn’t think possible. I took everything off the walls in my house. I started getting rid of things.. furniture.. stuff.. clothes. Everything was overstimulating. The TV, music, kids playing outside, the neighbors dog. It got so bad that I couldn’t even drive in peak hours. I couldn’t go to a store unless it was early in the morning or late at night. I couldn’t do crowds. I couldn’t go out with friends or with Jeff. Through it all I had my rock. My constant source of strength. He may not have known what to say always but he showed me through actions that he was trying to understand. He offered to stop at the store on his way home from work. To drive me places. He never complained when I would have myself so worked up that I was physically ill. When I would lay in bed for hours with a headache from anxiety. He would hold me at night. When he knew that I wasn’t going to be able to pull myself out of this deep depression. This mental break down. He gently encouraged me to do something. He was worried. It was then that I realized I needed professional help. I got a therapist. Best decision I could have made for myself.

Fast forward almost three years. I was feeling so much stronger in all areas.. I decided to go back to school.. (I had dropped my classes when my bonus mama and I brought my dad home on hospice. I thought I could handle taking all on line classes for that quarter since I was back and forth from Washington to Oregon. Silly me.. what was a thinking??) Not quite half way through fall quarter my life once again was turned completely upside down. On October 28, 2016, my husband went into cardiac arrest in his sleep. I didn’t know in that moment that my life would be forever changed. The next six days would turn out to be the longest days of my life. On November 3, 2016, we took Jeff off of life support. From that moment on our lives would never be the same.

It took some time for me to realize that everything I went through when my dad died was in preparation for this. Had I not lost my marbles then and sought out therapy, I truly believe that I would not have been strong enough to deal with those first few months after Jeff died. I stopped questioning where my strength came from or still comes from now. For months and months I would talk to Jeff every night and ask for him to give me strength to take on the next day. I begged God for strength and courage to handle everything that needed to be done. I was exhausted in ways I never knew possible.

After family had gone back home I went to Oregon to stay with my bonus mama for a week. I desperately deeded to be in my dad’s house. It’s out in the country. It’s peaceful and quiet. He and Terri lived a calm life. Drama free. I needed that. I needed to quiet my mind. To sleep. I don’t know what I would have done without Terri’s love and support. Her guidance. Her knowledge.

I reflect on many of the things we shared and talked about that week and since then. But the one thing I will never forget is her telling me that I needed to be selfish for the first time in my life. It was vital that I take care of me. That I rest and set boundaries for myself. To not be afraid to tell people to go home or it’s not a good time. And that I would be more exhausted than I could ever imagine. In all ways possible. She told me that losing Jeff was soul shattering but I wasn’t broken.

Boy, she was not exaggerating. I had never, ever been more exhausted in my life. I had never felt so heavy. So weighed down. So defeated. So much of that first year is a blur. It’s self preservation that your mind doesn’t allow you to remember all of the pain. Every holiday, birthday, family dinner, get together.. and so on.. is a blur. The second year has been so much harder. I’m no longer numb. I feel it all. Grief is heavy. It effects every aspect of your being. It weighs you down and weakens you. It hollows you out and leaves you empty. It leaves you drained… Physically. Intellectually. Emotionally. Socially.

She makes everything a little lighter. My little princess has know idea yet as to how she saved me. How she gave me a reason to get out of bed those first few months when it would have been so much easier to stay there. How our daily FaceTime chats lit up my days. One day, when she’s old enough to understand, I will share with her my story. Until then I will just keep sucking up all the love and joy she brings to our family.

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My View

My view while laying in bed and looking up. This is it. This is what I see. The love that I will forever have for this man, for us, is immeasurable. Some say time heals all wounds. I disagree. Not having him here to do this thing called life with will always hurt. The void in my life will never be filled completely. My shattered soul will always have cracks and chips. How can it not?

I believe that some day another man will cross my path. Just like Jeff did all those years ago.. literally he crossed my path. A man that will love me unconditionally. A man that wants to spend time together just being. A man that will love my babies, the big and little ones. A man that wants a life partner. A man that will respect me and understand that Jeff will always be a part of me. A part of my life. Jeff stories will always be shared. We will always talk about him and remember him. Some day… just not today.

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Back on Track

Since coming home from Hawaii I have struggled emotionally and physically. The wave I posted about last week is still lingering. The vicious part of the storm lasted for three long days and nights. It’s calmer now, but the waves are still rolling in. At least the waves aren’t pulling me under or out to sea anymore.

I had an appointment with one of my Weight Loss/Life Coaches today. Usually I look forward to my appointments…not today. I knew the number in the scale would be ugly. I knew it would be bigger. It was. I gained 5# this week. I’ve been emotionally eating. Cookies, chips, dip, bread, fries, Coke…the list goes on. I also had wine and a few cocktails over the weekend.

Anyways… As soon as I stared talking to my Coach I started to cry. I love both of my Coaches. They are truly amazing. But, I needed T today. I knew she had struggled with emotional eating when she lost her mom. I cried for about 30 minutes in her office. I told her how hard it was to come home after six weeks and for Jeff to not be there. How I’ve just been shoving food in my mouth since I got home. She gave me the tough love and support I needed. She suggested journaling. Not just posting here…but pen to paper journaling. She gave me the tools I need to get back on this journey.

Now, it’s up to me to utilize those tools. To remind myself that I’m worthy. I’m worth taking care of. I deserve to feel good. To be happy. I lost sight of that for a couple of weeks. After my appointment this morning I made the choice to turn it around. To focus on the positives. To celebrate each accomplishment no matter how big or small. To take it one step at a time. Mistakes happen. It’s okay.

Today, I made a commitment to myself. A commitment to become a better, healthier me. I made good food choices and I worked out with a friend.. And you know what? I survived! I’ll be going back to the gym tomorrow.. one workout at a time. One meal at a time. If I make a mistake… it’s okay. It doesn’t mean the rest of the day has to be one.

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Silent Tears

A wave a grief hit me Saturday while I was in the shower. It came without warning. It came without notice. It sucked me in. It pulled me under. It came with the kind of tears that leave you empty and drained. The kind that leave your body aching and hollow. It came with the cries that leave your throat raw and dry.

I thought the wave had receded…I gone to a BBQ where I laughed and played, visited with old friends and met some new ones. Little did I know that the wave would return again, wreaking havoc on my soul. For the first time in a while I cried myself to sleep. I begged for Jeff to visit me in my dreams just to hear his voice. I pleaded once again with God to wake me from this nightmare.

I told him how much I missed him and how heavy was my heart. I told him how beautiful our new granddaughter is and how I wished he could hold her close. I told him how smart and sassy Mayleana is and how much she’d make him laugh. I told him how much I missed him every damn day. I asked him if he could see me now would he be proud?

I told him some days I think I’m ready to move on and some days I can’t even think about it. I asked him many what if and how? What if I never meet someone? How can I even consider it? I know he’d want me to be happy. He’d want me to be loved. He’d want me to find someone to do things with and someone to take care of the things he used to do.

I talked to him and cried for him until I fell asleep. Only to wake up in the morning missing him all the same. I kept myself busy, went to eat with a friend. Did some yard work in hopes that I would be too tired to cry when I went to bed again. That wave of grief had other plans… it came crashing down again. I begged for Jeff to visit me once again just to hear his voice. I told him how much I needed a hug and a hand to help me up again. I told him if he saw my dad to send him instead; his bear hugs were the best and I was missing him right then. Maybe he could hug me tight enough to heal my shattered soul. Jeff visited me last night and held me tight. He made me laugh. I showed him the new floors and in his Jeff way he shook is head and said, “Why am I not surprised?” Those of you that know the story will understand and laugh… especially since we still have a cat.

When I say I miss him what I really mean is this.

I miss his smell and his smile.

I miss his laugh and his yell.

I miss hearing the garage door open and his truck pulling in the drive.

I miss the way he would look at me and shake his head.

I miss seeing him hold our grand babies and play with Jaxxon.

I hate that he will never know Kaleia or Emily… never making them laugh.

I miss his quiet strength and his endless knowledge.

I miss when he would call me to tell me he’s on his way home or to ask what sounds good for dinner.

I miss his sarcasm and quick wittedness.

I miss the banter between him and his friends. The fuck you mother fuckers and middle finger that were all his.

I miss it all. Every. Little. Thing.

Grief doesn’t go away with time. It changes. The waves still come crashing down just as hard…I’ve learned that a time or two. Your heart is truly never whole again and life is not the same. Grief becomes different with each passing year. Life does go on and can be good again. Jeff will always be missed on birthdays and holidays. He will always be missed when times get rough and we need his advice or something needs fixed. When new babies are born, when loved ones die, when goals are met and exciting things or shitty things happen, he is still by our side. His legacy lives on through stories and knowing how deeply he loved us all. I can’t help but to think what if he never died??

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