Saturday, August 30

the mourning after

It's been a long month since Sean died, I've faced things that I'd always seen off on the horizon, but thought I would have time to prepare for. I miss him terribly every single day, I miss our innocent peace here, and I miss the ease of the familiar.

The dust has settled, we're fully integrated into the banalities of every day life - but I still feel like the world dropped me off and I am scrambling to catch back up. Bills and paperwork are piling up, letters are still unwritten and unmailed, I'm wandering from place to place aimlessly, searching for meaning and understanding.

It is like a vague fog that I can't shake - all I want to do is sleep (but when I get the chance, I don't). I don't blame Sean, not in so many words. I do resent his leaving, I also resent the turmoil his passing brought to my life, the demons his death awoke. I resent not being ready to deal with death, as a person and as a parent.

I resent that I still feel so much pain.

I know that much of it is my the way my mind works (or doesn't) - I guess I resent that, too. That I have this achy, icky depression. I also know that much of it is the natural process of mourning, a process that I am entirely unfamiliar with. I wish it was just over, that I could open my eyes and have erased August 2008 from memory. That would be easy.

Living is hard.

There is so much to do and see and feel - people whose lives are intertwined with mine, people whose calls and emails I can't quite bring myself to return, whose worry grows in silence. I've kept silent and numb. I understand the draw of reclusion.

But, the hard facts are these:
  1. I am alive and will be for the foreseeable future.
  2. I have two children to raise.
  3. If I stay here, alone and unfulfilled, I will be miserable.
  4. I am surrounded by people who care about me.
  1. I have a responsibility to clothe, feed, teach and love my kids.
  2. I have a responsibility to keep my house clean and safe.
  3. I made a commitment to my husband to stand by through thick and thin.
  4. I am the matriarch of my family, and as such am responsible for keeping our bills paid, cupboards stocked, and minds and bodies engaged.
Yes, I am floundering. I am facing the decision to go back to work (for a year), stay home and do what I do now or stay home and try to get some of my personal projects off the ground. I am also facing a box full of necessary projects and another full of nice-to-do creative projects.

For better or worse life has changed. I am just having trouble now getting up the courage to move on. I wish I had a map.

PS. Two great books for kids dealing with loss:
Lifetimes - Bryan Mellonie (talks about life and death as natural and expected - uses simple language and has stunning illustrations)
Someone Special Died - Joan Singleton Prestine (follows a young girl as she copes with the death of someone special - there is a parent's companion book)

Tuesday, August 26

that's what it's all about

I don't remember the last night I slept for more than a handful of hours. The usual culprits are at it, sore teeth, a cold, changing weather and garden-variety insomnia. It all add up to my being very, very tired.

Sebastian's at a stage. A talking all the time/asking questions/interrupting/stubborn stage. I'd be lying if I said I was doing any more than hanging on by a wisp.

But, that's the way it rolls and I'm fairly certain that this time will be nothing but a memory pretty soon. So, I'll glance over the pile of dishes, I will side-step the mounds of toys and laundry for another day or two - trudging through until my eyelids lose some of their weight.

Oh, and I applied for a job today. Yeah, right out of left field. It did serve as a reminder to keep a current resume around, just in case.

Saturday, August 23

also known as "why am I still awake??"

I can't get to sleep tonight, insomnia has me in her sweaty grip and as of 4am, I have lost hope of getting anything resembling a night's sleep.

I am staring at the ass-end of a relatively innocent week here at casa del forsyth. I would even call it drama-free (save for some ugly zits I developed from either not washing my face that one time I wore makeup or face goo from my phone). We're still dealing with the ghosts of the past weeks, my thorough and intrepid son keeps checking to see if there's some exception to this "every living thing dies" idea.

I am guiding him through the process as best I can, what with me being the seasoned adult - but some times I feel like I am floundering. I suppose that is to be expected, it isn't like I've ever done this before.

I feel disappointed that I didn't take advantage of more opportunities to get out and enjoy summer with him (and now Rigby, the lean, mean, crawling machine). But when I think about it, I hope he remembers all the neat things he got to do. Like spending time at dad's office (which is super-cool like woah) or spending a few days with grandparents and other family here and there. I hope he remembers the times we gathered friends together, or at least how much fun he had. I don't want my experience of the summer, and this year, be his lasting memories.

I wonder, now, how my parents would have been dealing with me at this stage. Is there any doubt in my mind that they did absolutely all they could not to pass their issues on to me? And is there any doubt in my mind that those feelings and experiences are the ones that have made me the woman I am today? I am the matriarch of a beautiful family because of the love and dedication my parents had for me - so for what it is worth, I know that it is because of them and those difficult experiences that I am strong enough to accept that when I am doing the best that I can, it is enough. It will always be enough, whether I fret about it or not.

He is actually amazing, my son, he is smart and funny, he is curious and oh. so. adorable. I am crazy about my kid, it is such a gift to be the one to watch him grow. My daughter, too - in the past few months she has blossomed a personality and is exploring the world with the innocence and vigor only a small child can experience. I figure they're good kids, who are clothed, fed and live in a vermin-free dwelling of limited size, I must be doing something right.

So, I finally get to my point. I did have one, after all. I'm a great mom. I will continue to be a great mom. I don't need to look like some hip yummy-mummy or the like, I need to be comfortable and a bit stylish. I also don't want to be a parent who is insecure in her parenting. Sure, I will fuck up royally at least a dozen times before high school, but I'd like to stop questioning my every move. I've proven to myself that when a situation strikes, I can get shit done, so no need to fret. I am so competent, so fun...

Okay, so... I may have just nodded off at the keys, I am going to take this chance for an hour or two of sleep. Thank goodness it's Saturday (right?).

Thursday, August 21

whoop - here I am

I am trying to decide if a trip to the gym tonight is a good idea. I need to go out, regardless, because there's an important banking errand to be done, but the gym? My ass is exhausted - though a workout might lead to a nice sleep tonight - or to even more insomnia - if I stayed home I'd just waste my time then complain about wasting my time - if I go to the gym, I will obsess about using the car twice today - if I go for coffee, I can ride my bike, which is exercise and eco-friendly, plus I could write a bit - if I take my bike, I will get all sweaty...

I just threw that last one in there to make it look like I hadn't already made up my mind. It is a lovely day for a bike ride or even a walk. I'll hit the wee "artist's cafe" down the street and I will be sure to get a decaf.

Today was a pretty nice day, we took the car to the food bank (which always makes me feel self-conscious, even though our car is beat-up and barely gets driven) and then went to the Family Place on "The Drive," I wanted to see if it was still pretentious. The short answer is *yes* - but it also looks like a place where Sebastian, Rigby and I could fit in. They were having a potluck today, which we skipped because a) we hadn't brought anything and b) because all three of us were funned out by 11:30. We'll give it another go, soon. We go out that way twice a week, anyways.

After lunch, we had a very peaceful quiet time. I didn't do much, we were up late last night and early this morning - everything I did today took twice as long as it would normally. I thought about writing something (anything), but really, I did dishes, listened to CBC2 surfed the tubes and shuffled around the house self-importantly. Post quiet time the kids and I hung out for a bit, then Rigby and Sebastian played together for a bit, Rigby took another nap, Sebastian watched a little TV and took a bath.

We've been invited to a baptism for our neighbour's daughter in a week and a bit. I think she's really cool, but our kids have opposing schedules, so we rarely hang out. One of these days I will make cookies and knock on her door... just not on a day where I look like I may have just gotten out of bed five minutes ago.

Damn, I just remembered, I need to drive to the bank. Frick. Okay, must get off ass, get going, get to bank, scrounge car for change for coffee.

Tuesday, August 19

jazz and tea

Today I met with my mind doctor. She listened wide-eyed as I detailed the events of the past month, asking lots of probing questions to which I had pretty mature and thoughtful, if optimistic, answers.

I feel like I am back in the "getting well and moving on with life" bit of my wee mental illness. I have amazed myself with my strength, faith, understanding and resiliency. I am feeling mindful, I am feeling bright.

I wonder sometimes how we ever really expect to connect our lives with those of our mates, and later our offspring. I try and figure out what good bits I want to pass on to my kids, and how I might go about passing them down - considering most of my best features were borne of hardship and loss. I wish it were possible to raise pampered kids to be competent adults, because I want to give my children the world. But pampering people does nothing to teach them how to live and contribute to the world - what a waste.

I made a choice when I had Sebastian to stay home with him until he was school-aged (by which point we would have explored his education options and have an idea of what our next step would be). It was important to me to be here to witness things my own parents likely missed out on because they were busy splitting up and working to keep a roof on my head, food in my belly and clothes on my back.

When Rigby was conceived, I automatically stretched out my time-line. It felt like it was the obvious thing to do and as such, when I began to mourn the loss of my original vision, I felt terrible. Why should I resent another child? What right did I have to resent it? What kind of terrible mother would feel such resentment towards a future child?

So I pushed on.

I stopped contemplating the unknown future because it had proven itself fragile and flawed. If thought of the future were explored, they were grandiose and implausible. It was easy to shoot high and stand still, after all, I have kids and a house to care for and a family to run, what else could I expect from myself?

Suddenly, I saw what I was really doing. Letting my dreams wither and fade while blaming my position as wife and mother. Resentment had grown, my husband, my son, my luck, my friends, my family... my dreams shifted to ones where I'd run off without looking back.

Staying would be into a kind of suicide.

Leaving would too.

Incredibly, it was something passionately frightening that opened my eyes.

Living is hard sometimes and incredible always. So is family. Especially a family like mine.

We're nuts, and inexperienced, and tend to talk a big game. We're peas in a pod, the four of us, and we're wicked lucky to have stumbled together.

Wednesday, August 13

told you so!!

She's not much to look at, but open her up and she's a wicked awesome little sewing centre. The green chair is on wheels and once it is out of the way, there is just enough room to open the whole thing up and sew while watching the world go by.

Tuesday, August 12

s'all gone pete tong

I am feeling the weight of the events of past weeks. To summarize without getting too personal, I have had occasion to learn a lot about the state of my marriage, my parenting "style", my early life and family of origin.

There have been moments of great despair, hopelessness, resentment, anger, understanding and enlightenment. Things aren't "fixed" but they are "kinda ok." We'll need to keep going if we want to see where we'll end up. At least we both recognize the need for change.

We have recognized for a while that we were far from the path we'd planed, but complacency is easy. The turmoil of recent weeks has forced us to face some of our most secret demons, our deepest insecurities. And our dedication to each-other and our family is giving us the balls to face up to them. It would be so easy to run off and find a nice, quiet beach hut somewhere and forget I ever had a husband and kids... but I love these freaks.

So... same old song... we're going to use this place as a jumping off point. We've been reminded off where our hearts lay and that our time is precious, too. Taking it easy isn't horrible, but taking the easy way out is pretty dull.

I don't have big pie in the sky goals, I am hanging on to the simple ones like weeding my garden and learning how to make a roast. It might seem mundane to you, but for me these would be huge.

"It will be mine. Oh yes. It will be mine."

We'll be picking this baby up tonight while my sister watches the kids. I am so excited I can taste it.

Thursday, August 7

Monday, August 4

bootstraps come in handy

The veil of wretched sadness and insomnia has lifted to match the sunny weekend weather. I got things done, I baked, barbecued, cleaned (and cleaned-my house looks awesome), fell in love with a new TV series and got laid.

I even feel occasionally optimistic and happy. The first time it hit I actually had to sit down.

Someone close to me self-destructed and if I let myself, I could easily do it too. So I have been really pushing myself to push on, to keep at least one foot planted. I haven't exactly been successful, I have drank too much, isolated myself, been moody and irrational, and if I had kept pushing, I would have eventually pushed myself right off the edge.

I got some space this weekend, I spent it almost exclusively in the company of my daughter. She followed me around the house while I cleaned and listened to music. She loves it when I sing and is a fantastic dancer. I took time to take care of myself, took time to take care of my home, I even slipped in a couple cat-naps.

Time with my son has been exhausting. His curiosity and exuberance are traits I adore, but their execution has been far from reasonable. He is screaming out for attention and we've been this unpredictable blur. Thankfully, as Andrew put it on one really bad day last week: "In Sebastian's life, this will just be a blip." He went on to tell me I am an amazing and really good-looking mother.

Tomorrow will be another challenge, but I am ready to take it easy on myself and just make it through.