Saturday, November 28, 2009

The first big one

It is Saturday night, two days past Thanksgiving. I made it through the first big holiday since Keith's passing. How did I do? How did the kids do?

The kids did very well I think. I know that they missed their dad, but they do not seem overwhelmed by his absence the way I do. I have prayed so often for God to heal their hearts and dull their pain. They accept that Keith is gone, but they are joyous because their dad isn't sick anymore. They miss him, but are okay that he is in heaven and not here with us.

I think that I did very well too. The kids and I arrived at my sister's house for the meal about 30 minutes before meal time. The rest of the family had been there for a while. I knew that it was possible that I would have a difficult time, so I tried to plan ahead a little. We had lots of good food. I was able to find a quiet spot and just "be" for a little while. I helped my brother in law clean up the kitchen. It was quiet in there too. I dealt with the day by counting down the hours until it was over. I spent some time crying at different times that day, but not a lot. It was a hard day to get through, but I did it.

I don't know how Christmas is going to go. I am going to take it one step at a time. I am not putting up our Christmas tree or our ornaments (some of which were wedding presents). I am not even going to look at the boxes in the garage.

MLC* has advised me to go buy new this year. That's my plan. I am going to buy new. As a matter of fact, Kacie got a new stocking and three new ornaments just today. We'll start looking for Nick's maybe tomorrow.

*My Lovely Counselor

Another big gigantic step I took was taking off my wedding rings. I did that on Wednesday morning. I can't explain it. It was just time. I know that God was/is in the decision. I have been praying for Him to heal my heart. It was time to let Keith go. I also began cleaning out Keith's side of the closet. I only did half, but it is the first time I've done anything remotely like that. I had the realization that holding onto Keith's things isn't affecting him in any way. It is only serving to hurt me. I have to begin letting go of him, in these physical ways, in order for me to heal.

Don't get me wrong! I wanted more than anything to put my rings back on the next day. It had only been 24 hours since I had taken them off and I wanted them back where they belonged. I knew that I couldn't though. I can't let myself go back on this decision.

What did I do with the rings? Well, I have been wearing Keith's wedding ring on a chain as a necklace. I have added my rings to the necklace. I didn't let myself wear the necklace for three days. I felt like I needed to give myself some space. Some time to get used to the idea before I wore the necklace. I wore the necklace with all three rings today. I'm thinking about taking the rings and having them made into a pendant. That's a decision I will take plenty of time to make though.

Another big step I took (yes I've taken several of them in the past few days) was to sell my van and buy a new car. I did that yesterday. I made this decision for financial reasons and emotional reasons as well. I am happy with my decision and have no regrets. I got a Honda Pilot. It is the first SUV I have ever owned. I am thrilled with the vehicle.

It was harder than I thought to let go of the van, but there are so many bad memories associated with that vehicle. It was time to make that decision too.

That's about it on the run down of my Thanksgiving weekend. I had a HUGE realization on Thursday morning. I realized that for the first time, in a long time, I didn't have to worry about this Thanksgiving being our last one with Keith. That was one HUGE burden that I didn't realize I had been carrying. What a relief to have that burden lifted, but oh how I miss him! I also thought about the kind of Thanksgiving Keith must have been experiencing. He would probably tell me it was beyond any of our wildest dreams.

I miss him terribly. I am accepting that a part of me will always miss him. I love him more than words can say. I am accepting that a part of me always will.

But I give thanks to God that Keith has spent his first Thanksgiving in several years cancer free!

That is definitely something to give thanks for!

In His Grip!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To wallow or not to wallow

**********UPDATE********* Please read the original post below before reading the update.

I have spoken to MLC and the kids LC. The general opinion is that I am not wallowing, at least not in that sense of the word. I am dealing with so much. They would rather see me continue to take it one day at a time, than start picking up pieces of life before I'm ready. I am going to try to find some middle ground. I will stick to my plan of getting through these next very difficult 6 weeks. Then I will look at making some other decisions about how I spend my time. I was thrown off course today. I need to concentrate on what I am able to do each and every day. Do I wallow? I'm sure I do. Don't you?

****Original Post****
I had my 1 month checkup with MLD (My Lovely Doctor) today concerning my depression. He thinks that I am better than I was, but there is still room for improvement. So, he doubled my medication. He also doubled the medication he prescribed to help me sleep. Apparently, that needs improvement as well. MLD also asked me what I had done within the last month to get myself involved in the land of the living again.

Well...I haven't done that. I decided not to concentrate on THAT part of our conversation last month. I was still reeling from the diagnosis of depression. I honestly had forgotten about THAT part of our conversation. I didn't expect him to hold me accountable for that either, at least not so soon. I was thinking about tackling the land of the living sometime in January.

MLD was not thrilled with me. He says I am wallowing. He says I HAVE to STOP wallowing and reenter the land of the living. He says I have to do something other than sit around all day thinking bad thoughts. He says I have to DO something with my life. I have to get away from the medical stuff. I have to start living my life without Keith.

Okay. First of all, I don't sit around all day thinking bad thoughts. I do have days when it is like that, but it isn't every day (especially since the medication helps with that). Second of all, I thought that I was doing something every day. I get out of bed, I get the kids to school, I get them home from school, I feed them, I make sure they have clean clothes, etc., etc., etc. Third of all, I don't want to rejoin the land of the living right now. I am still struggling to adjust to life without Keith. I don't want to see what is out in the world. The world just doesn't hold the same appeal to me since Keith is not here for me to share it with.

If feeling that way is considered wallowing, then I guess I am. As of right this minute, I have not talked to MLC (My Lovely Counselor) about this. I have spoken with three very good friends today, since my appointment with MLD, who all are of an opinion (though it is in varying degrees) that I am wallowing at least sometimes. Okay, I'll agree to that. I probably am wallowing sometimes. Doesn't everyone? Don't I have reason to?

One friend said that she would love to see me do things because I want to, not because I have to. I would love to be that way too, but I'm not right now. I honestly don't know why. Rejoining the land of the living just seems too hard. That means I have to be around people that I probably don't have the tolerance for. That means I have to be nice when I don't want to be. It means that I have to have an interest in life. As bad as this sounds, I just don't want to. I don't feel mentally, emotionally, physically, or spiritually strong enough to even be nice to someone I don't know right now. Just ask another very dear friend I was out to lunch with just yesterday. She can tell you that I didn't have much tolerance for our server who was completely terrible at her job. At one point my friend said she thought she saw steam coming out of my ears. I was nice though. I didn't yell at the server, or throw things, or act ugly in any way. I did talk to the manager about the server. We did get our meals comped. I will go back and eat at this restaurant, although I will be sure not to sit in this server's section.

I took a bit of a side trip there. I know that I have to reenter the land of the living at some point. I know that Keith would not have wanted me to wallow in my grief, sadness, depression, or whatever it is that I am apparently wallowing in. One big point for me right now is that KEITH IS NOT HERE! If he were here, I wouldn't be wallowing. I don't know how to DO anything other than live a life that revolves around medical stuff. I don't KNOW how to live my life without Keith because I've never done that before.

A little bit of history about my life with Keith. We met on a blind date set up by a mutual friend. Keith was 19 and I was 16. I knew from the first date that I was going to love him and he was the ONE for me. We may have been young, but we KNEW! We dated what was left of my junior year in high school. We dated my senior year of high school. He took me to both proms and my senior homecoming dance. He gave me a promise ring on Valentine's Day 1992. He asked me to marry him on May 7, 1992 (my 18th birthday). I graduated high school on June 4, 1992 (I think that's the date), and we were married on July 11, 1992.

My life with Keith is ALL I KNOW!

I don't know how to live without him. Everyday I struggle with some new challenge, whether it be with the kids, the house, myself, the van, something. It is something each and every day. Each and every day is something new that I have to do for the first time without Keith by my side.

I'm going to end this very long, rambling post now. I still have more to say, but... To wallow or not to wallow? That is the question. I don't have the answer right now. I'm hoping that MLC will have some kind of answer for me. It may be next week before I get that answer, since we will be having a holiday this week. That holiday is a topic for another post which, I can say with some certainty, will come later this week. A little hint...I don't want to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas. I have to for the sake of my kids. I don't feel very thankful or blessed right now. AND I HATE HEARING CHRISTMAS MUSIC BEFORE THANKSGIVING!

I really am okay. Just needed to vent a little there.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

It had to end, but I give thanks

It had to end. The good days had to come to an end. I knew it would happen. I was even a little worried about when it would happen. It happened today. I knew it even before I was fully awake this morning. I knew that my streak of good days had ended. Today would be a day that I had to dig deep and find the strength to get myself out of bed.

I did get out of bed, although it took me a little while. I also decided to let the kids sleep a little longer than usual this morning. I needed to have some peace and quiet for just a little while. I thought about not going to church this morning. My heart wasn't really in it. I'm glad I went though. God gave me what I needed to help me through this day, and really the next several that are to come.

My Sunday school lesson this morning was based on Psalm 116:1-19.

1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the LORD: "O LORD, save me!"
5 The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
6 The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.
7 Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.
8 For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
10 I believed; therefore I said, "I am greatly afflicted."
11 And in my dismay I said, "All men are liars."
12 How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
16 O LORD, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all of people,
19 in the courts of the house of the LORD-in your midst, O Jerusalem.

Praise the LORD!

God spoke to me so clearly this morning in the verses of this Psalm. The Lord has indeed heard my voice, and I certainly love him for it. He has heard my cry for mercy. I have cried that many times in the last 20 weeks. Let's go further to say almost 6 years, and even further to say the last 14 years. I will call on him for as long as I live. I know that God is the only one who can truly help me through these hard times. In verse 3, I am overcome with how closely that describes what I have felt since Keith died. I have felt entangled by the cords of death. The anguish of Keith being in the grave has threatened to overtake me at times. I have been overcome by trouble and sorrow. I have called on God to save me.

I don't remember feeling the way these verses made me feel this morning. I felt like these verses were describing me to a "T". I feel like God has given me such a gift today. While I am not in the black or gray that my depression has been, I am not feeling the best emotionally today. This entire Psalm was a gift from God that he has indeed heard my cries. He is aware of my anguish and sorrow.

I am in awe once again of the way God works. I can rest in God's graciousness, righteousness, compassion, and protection. I can rest knowing that God will keep my feet from stumbling, even today when my eyes are full of tears and my soul is weary. If I do happen to go into the gray or black place of depression, God is with me. It's funny though, even though I feel the way I do, I know I won't go there today anyway.

So, yes the streak of good days had to end, but I do give thanks. I give thanks to God for freeing me from the chains that come from living in a sin filled world. I give thanks to God for freeing Keith from the chains of cancer. I give thanks to God for the 18 1/2 years Keith and I had together. I give thanks to God for my moody "tween" daughter, and my adolescent 15 year old son. I give thanks to God for helping me get out of bed so that I could receive the blessing he had waiting on me in Sunday School this morning. I give thanks to God for his Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross so that He could welcome Keith with open arms on the day he was called home to Heaven. I give thanks to God for that same gift that my children and I will both walk into those same arms of Christ and be reunited with Keith when our time comes. I give thanks to God that we have been freed from the chains of an eternal death.

Today, the day that I am not feeling all that well emotionally, I choose to give thanks to God, because I am...

In HIS Grip!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

4 pretty good days

I have had four pretty good days. Thursday had a few bumps in the road, but that's okay. Bumps are to be expected. I rode them out and was better for it. I didn't go into the black or even the gray. I have liked my life the last four days.

Don't get me wrong. I don't like the fact that my husband is dead. I didn't like the fact that he had cancer for 5 1/2 years. I still don't like the fact that my son has cancer for the third time in 14 years. It is very hard to be a single parent, deal with my depression, help my children cope with their grief, deal with my own grief, and balance all of the "normal" activities.

I still have issues with anger, frustration, sadness, and grief. Sometimes, I still am afraid that one or more of these emotions will consume me. The last four days I have experienced very little of these emotions. I have to think that it is a combination of the medications I am taking for the depression and insomnia, and God. I have turned my broken heart over to God. He is Jehovah-Raphi. The LORD My Healer.

I still miss Keith so much that sometimes the pain is very keen. Thursday's bumps were due to a mental box the needed unpacking and MLC helped me through that. I guess that is one of the reasons I go to see him. It was difficult to unpack that mental box that really didn't have anything to do with Keith, his life, his illness, or his death. It was simply a mental box that had been in mental storage for over 20 years. I had a difficult time dealing with what was unpacked. I experienced another secondary loss that is so common when dealing with death and grief. I was at home that night, needing the safety and security of Keith's arms around me, and he wasn't there to give it to me. I needed him so desperately. The pain of his absence was very keen Thursday night. Something important happened though. I realized, through much prayer, that while Keith wasn't there to comfort me, God was.

I know, I know. How can I not have realized that? I speak of God's love, comfort, compassion, mercy, and grace all the time. So, how could I have not realized that? I don't exactly know, unless all of my grief and depression have clouded my heart. I'm sure that certainly has something to do with it. I'm also sure that it was a moment of spiritual growth for me. Yep, I do believe that we all continue to grow spiritually our entire lives. I KNEW that Keith could not comfort me in my time of need. God was the only One who could provide me the comfort I needed. I asked Him for it. I am certain that He answered me in my time of need. I was able to go to sleep. I awoke Friday morning with a peace filled heart. The only explanation is that God wrapped me up tight in the safety and security of His arms. What an amazing God I serve!

I am in awe of how He is big enough to handle my anger, frustration, bitterness, doubts, and questions and STILL love me enough to give me the comfort and security I needed. What an awesome Father He is!

In HIS grip,


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

bullet points

I can't seem to find exactly the right words to write a "formed" post. I've tried for two days. So, on the advice of MLC, I am just going to write in bullet points.

  • Yesterday was crappy for me emotionally. I was in a gray place. I think the gray is worse than the black place that my depression has often been.
  • Today is better, even though Keith has been gone for 19 weeks now.
  • The kids spent their first weekend with Nana and Pawpaw, Keith's parents, since Keith died.
  • I spent two, count them TWO, nights alone in my house for the first time while the kids were gone.
  • Friday I had a come apart of almost major proportions, while sitting in the van at our meeting point, after the kids left with N & P.
  • I sent them off with lots of hugs, kisses, and smiles. They didn't see me cry.
  • Yesterday I laughed so hard at something Nick said that I couldn't drive. I HAD to pull over.
  • Saturday morning I woke up at 4:30 and could not go back to sleep. I went into the black of depression and could not shake it. It took me until 8:00 AM, to be able to draw on every ounce of inner strength that exists in me, to get out of bed and into the shower.
  • Saturday morning, while trying to make myself get out of bed and shake off the black, I got so angry that Keith wasn't here to have a date weekend with that I almost took my wedding rings off and threw them across the room. Thankfully, God intervened and I didn't. I would have been devastated if I had done that and the rings had gotten lost.
  • Saturday, my dear friend, A, took me to Lawrenceburg, TN to visit the Amish community there, and that evening we went to a Southern Gospel concert. I had a wonderful time.
  • It took me until just as we were arriving in Lawrenceburg to shake off the black.
  • I went shopping for myself today for the first time since Keith died. It was fun, yet difficult. Keith was not a husband that hated shopping. He often accompanied me.
  • Yesterday I was ready to throw in the towel and quit, but I didn't. Quit what? The what didn't matter. I just wanted to quit something.
  • I am so glad that today is better than yesterday. I hope that it continues to be that way.
  • I am not ready for the holidays. My emotions are all over the place most of the time as it is. I know it is just going to get worse as the holidays get closer.
  • I want to skip Christmas. I tried to bribe the kids with a trip to Disney World if we could skip Christmas. They refused.
  • Saturday night I fell asleep while waiting until 10:00 to take my sleep medication. Truly felt successful when I woke up Sunday morning at 8:30.
  • Keith's death has left a huge hole in my heart and my life that sometimes I wonder if I will ever heal.
  • I know what it means to be truly brokenhearted.
  • I am so glad that we aren't scheduled to go to Birmingham this week.
Well, that's the good, the bad, and the ugly of my thoughts and emotions over the last several days. Take them for what they are. I mentioned a while back that I was going to be more open and honest here about where I am emotionally and how I am dealing with everything. Some days are better than others. Some days are just down right hard. Some parts of some days are better than others. Some parts of some days are just down right tough.

I've made it 19 weeks. 19 very hard and very tough weeks. I've made it through being diagnosed with depression. I'm still struggling with the depression, but I'll be on the medication for 1 month at the end of the week. I'll see MLD next week for a checkup. Hopefully, things will continue to improve.

Until next time, remember we are all...

In His Grip,


Friday, November 13, 2009

not today

Today is not the day that I had a come apart and went to the dark and scary place I was in on Monday's come apart. Today's come apart was let loose, let out, and done. I dusted my hands of it and have moved on. I finally feel good about that. I have now had 3 come aparts in one week. I do believe that's a record for me.

I am not someone who typically has these episodes. A part of my counseling has been to recognize and acknowledge the huge amount of emotions I have carried around inside me for SO MANY YEARS. I have always considered myself emotional. I cry when I'm happy, sad, or mad. Well, apparently I have not cried enough through the years of carrying this load. I have to accept, and even embrace, the fact that for now I am someone who has these episodes.

So, today is not the day that I feel like I am in the dark and scary place that depression can be. Today is the day that I woke up at 2:30 this morning and could not go back to sleep...even having taken my sleep medicine. Today is the day that I decided it was too soon for me to attend a very dear friend's funeral. It wasn't good mentally or emotionally for me to go there today. Today is the day that I went back to bed after getting the kids to school. Then I slept for 2 1/2 hours. Today is the day that I had my first (because I'm reasonably sure it won't be the last) come apart because Thanksgiving is in13 days and it is the first one without Keith.

Today is the day that we will "live" life once again. The kids will be going to Nana and Pawpaw's house for the weekend. Today will be the first time they have done this since Keith died. This weekend will be hard for me. These weekends were very special to me and Keith. We didn't get them very often once Keith had the seizure last April. The summer trips the kids took to Nana's were timed with Keith's chemo treatments to help us with child care. Keith didn't exactly feel like having a date night after getting pumped full of chemo that day.

I do have some plans. It's things with a friend, who is generously giving me most of her weekend. I am cautiously optimistic about this weekend. I'm a little worried too. That dark and scary place still looms. I hope I don't revisit there anytime soon.

We are certainly...

In His Grip, even in the valley!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Something happened last night that makes me feel fragile today. Nick ran a little bit of a low grade fever last night. Okay, in everyone else's world that isn't a big deal. In my world, it's a huge deal. The low grade fever at night that goes away by morning is a symptom of the cancer becoming more active. I have seen the pattern before. I saw the pattern three years ago. That means chemo is imminent. That makes me feel fragile.

Last night's low grade fever wasn't the first episode. Nick had another episode a couple of weeks ago. I didn't think about it again, because it went away. There seemed to be an explanation too. Nick had taken a hot shower not long before I noticed how warm he felt. That's why I thought it was simply a fluke. Last night has no explanation. There is no reason why, other than the cancer.

I'm feeling very fragile today. This scares me. I know what the reality holds. I know I have to tell the doctor tomorrow when we see him. I know this will affect the outcome in some way. I don't know how much of an effect it will have. I know that I am scared.

I wish I could have a break from this. I KNOW that God has the power to stop this. I'm struggling with why He won't. I'm struggling with the reality that He hasn't. I'm struggling with everything I have been through. I'm struggling with the fact that it seems to keep coming at me...AND IT WILL NOT STOP! I cry out "oh God!", and I wonder if He hears me.

I'm fragile today. I don't want to face tomorrow. I don't want to tell the doctor about the fever. I don't want to face chemo again. I don't feel strong enough emotionally to handle this. I don't feel strong enough to be strong enough for Nick and Kacie.

I just want a break. Some time off for good behavior. Some time to heal. Some time to simply grieve without all of this other junk thrown in on top of my grief. I just want some time to concentrate on me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

18 weeks

Today marks 18 weeks. I wish I could say that it wasn't the first thing I thought about today, but I can't. The fact of the matter is most days Keith's death is the first and last thought of my day.

How am I doing? Well, I think that really depends on who you ask. MLC (my lovely counselor) told me just this morning that he thinks I am right where he would expect me to be. I will confess that I was afraid I was having a nervous breakdown yesterday. I had a REALLY TOUGH morning yesterday. I started crying at about 7:30 AM and didn't stop until nearly noon. That's a long time to spend crying. I needed it. I now know that I had another box that needed unpacking. That box contained a lot of really big and heavy emotions. MLC has reassured me that yesterday was NOT a nervous breakdown. It wasn't even an emotional breakdown. It WAS a huge emotional release.

Do I feel better? Yeah, I do. Physically, I am tired today. That isn't unusual for me, especially after experiencing strong emotions. Emotionally, I feel okay. I'm steadier today. Yesterday's release allowed me to release at least a portion of the packed up emotions that I've been storing for a while. These emotions were directly related to Keith and the night before he died. There were some things that happened in the hours before the hospice nurse was called that I needed to deal with. I am not ready (and may not ever be ready) to share those details. It is very difficult to address exactly what I experienced that night. I say it that way, because it IS what I have to deal with now. Keith is gone. Keith is walking the streets of gold. Keith is not suffering anymore. I am one of the ones who is suffering now. I have to address that.

I do think that I will have to begin "unpacking" those particular boxes one day soon. I don't see any way around it. I am going to have to go back to those extremely painful final hours of Keith's life and allow myself to feel the emotions associated with what I saw and the decisions I made.
MLC compared it to the pain that is experienced when a broken bone is set. In order to heal, there has to be some pain. I don't like pain. I don't want to experience another day like yesterday, but I will if I want to heal. I do want to heal.

There is a song that is played on WAY-FM quite regularly. Some of the lyrics are: I want to wake up. I want a restart. Put the drum beat back in my heart. I need to be revived. Bring me back to life. It feels so good to be alive. The name of the song is Heartbeat by Remedy Drive. This song just speaks volumes about what I am feeling and what I want to feel. I've added it to my play list at the bottom of my blog. Search it out and listen to the words. If you feel led, please pray for God to put the drum beat back in my heart and for Him to revive me. I know that I can't do it myself. I am taking the necessary steps to heal physically and emotionally, but ultimately God is the only one who can heal my broken heart.

It's 18 weeks without Keith by my side. I've made it longer than I ever imagined I could. Each and every day is a new day. I've learned that for me it isn't leaning on my faith in God. It's falling into the arms of God and the faith is KNOWING HE WILL CATCH ME! He'll catch you too. All you have to do is ask.

In His Grip, especially when walking through the valley of the shadow of death!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

4 months

Today is four months since Keith died. At this moment, I am not consumed by the sadness that has been present on past anniversary dates. Will it be there at some point in time today? I don't know. I imagine the sadness will likely rear it's ugly head sometime. Can I handle it? For the first time in a couple of months, yes, I do believe that I can handle it. I can handle letting the sadness come. I can handle letting it out, instead of packing it in a mental box and putting it on a mental shelf.

I finally am beginning to feel more emotionally steady than I have in a very long time. I don't feel as overwhelmed by my life. I know that's just the medication beginning to work, but it's nice to feel steady.

Some one said to me the other day that it was nice to hear me laugh again. Now, I'm getting a little teary. I didn't realize that I had stopped laughing. I don't remember when I stopped laughing. I do remember wondering if I would ever find humor in my life again. That was even before Keith died.

Realizing and accepting how difficult Keith's illness has been on me has been difficult. MLC (my lovely counselor) says that was because I was so focused on caring for Keith. I was so focused on how to keep Keith comfortable and the kids as normal as possible that I never stopped to look at how hard it was on me. Now that I am having to do this in order to heal, it truly breaks my heart. It's like watching a movie of yourself. I remember doing all of these very hard things. When I look at them from the "outside" perspective, I am floored that I was able to do any of them. I hope that makes sense.

Anyway. Today is four months. Tuesday is 18 weeks. Thursday is Nick's repeat trip to Birmingham. Another tough week ahead.

But I can do this, because...

I am in His grip, especially when I am in the valley of the shadow of death!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Stored up and let out

My lovely counselor (MLC) and my lovely doctor (MLD), who have literally been life savers for me in the last several weeks, have been advising me that I have a lot of stored up emotions that need to be addressed. The phrase "an emotional reservoir" was used. At first, I did not like hearing that. I don't like to lose control of my emotions (period). For years, I have put a lot of my feelings/emotions in a mental box and placed them on a mental shelf never to be looked at again. In coming to terms with my diagnosis of depression and being treated for it, MLC and MLD have both been advising me that these emotions and feelings need to be let out of their respective boxes. That means I have to allow myself to FEEL them.

Okay, you may be asking, "Why did you store them Kristy?" Well, the main reason was I didn't want to burden Keith anymore than he already was. Since the majority of these emotions were related to him and his illness, it just seemed better for me to store them. It's called a coping mechanism. That is one way that I have coped for years and years. Yep, that's right. I have discovered that there were some boxes on that mental shelf from as far back as 14 years ago when Nick was first diagnosed with cancer. Talk about a surprise! Those emotions are so buried I am still uncovering some. I hazard to say I'm libel to find some from even further back, but that's for another day...maybe.

Ok, back on track. I can honestly say that feeling these emotions was scary to me. Letting them out felt like opening Pandora's box. MLC finally convinced me that allowing myself to feel these really big and heavy emotions would not kill me. He finally convinced me that in order for me to heal from the depression and the grief, I have to let the emotions out, give them face time (literally since I cry a lot and it isn't a pretty sight), and stop adding more boxes marked for permanent storage. Yep, I've lost my main coping mechanism.

Yikes! How am I supposed to do this that is my life now? Well, I can shelve the bigger emotions until I reach a place where I can let them out. I do have to reach that place sooner rather than later. Absolutely no permanent storage allowed. This realization made me worried that I would become a woman that did nothing by cry and scream at no one in particular all the time. False worry. That hasn't happened. Yet.

Letting these stored up emotions out apparently falls into the category of treating myself gently. Hmmm. That's another thing that I don't know exactly how to do. Something else that I am learning to do.

These are aspects of grieving that I didn't expect to encounter. I knew it would be a journey, but I didn't realize how much like a roller coaster the journey actually is. For you that know me really well, you KNOW I can not stand being on a roller coaster. This journey is hard. It is the most difficult path I have ever been on. There are so many unknowns.

So, if you see or hear me crying and screaming at no one in particular, just know that I am unpacking boxes. MLC says it won't kill me and it gets easier. I can agree with the first part, but I'm not convinced that it gets easier.

In His grip, especially when in the valley!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

17 weeks, a new path, and a trip

Tuesday was 17 weeks since Keith's death. Wednesday was another trip to Birmingham with Nick for CT scans and a checkup. A new path for my self is slowly being revealed.

Tuesday was difficult for me. I think it is difficult on the kids too, but certainly not in the same way. I am finding that Mondays are tough for me as well. The weekends are especially tough too. I guess it's just safe to say that there are tough days all around.

It's hard to believe that 17 weeks have already gone by. I have struggled with my diagnosis of depression. It isn't easy for the caregiver to become a patient. I am getting better with the idea of having an illness though. There are a lot of the details about my depression I will not go into here. These details have some very intense feelings associated with them that I am having to handle very gently.

I am seeing a new path open up for me and my life. I don't know where that path is going to take me, but I know there is a path. The experience I have had with depression has been a scary one. One aspect of the depression has been the feeling that there wasn't a path. I felt like I was lost in a forest thick with trees. I couldn't see the sky. I couldn't see the path. I couldn't find a way out. Now, two weeks into my treatment, I can see the path. It still gets a little hidden at times, but I know that the path is there. I know that God is leading me along this path.

I do know that somewhere along this path I will find a new Kristy. She will eventually emerge from this nightmare a better, stronger person. I asked my counselor what would happen if I didn't like who emerged. He answered with a grin, "You can just change her!" That's a neat thought!

Nick's trip to Birmingham was yesterday. I sent out a full run down in an email update earlier this afternoon. If by chance you didn't get that email, comment here with your email address and I will add you to my list.

Emotionally, yesterday was TOUGH. I am so glad it is finished. I am trying to be glad for the good news we got and that the bad news wasn't worse. I think the depression is affecting how I feel about yesterday. It's hard for me to focus on the good, and the bad seems so big and scary.

Things certainly are not finished with Nick, but I guess they won't ever be until God calls him home. Nick is doing well and seems to be handling every thing very well.

Kacie still has tough moments, but who wouldn't. We handle them when they come up and try to move past it.

Taking one day at a time seems to be the best choice. Of course it usually is. I know I don't like who I was becoming with the depression prior to beginning treatment. I want to get well. I want to recover from this grief that I still worry (a little bit) will consume me. I want the kids to move past their grief and be able to laugh about memories of their dad, instead of cry. I want to be able to remember Keith with laughter instead of tears. He was so full of laughter. His sense of humor was one of the first things I fell in love with. I know that I am getting better, because I have a sense of "want to" now. I didn't three weeks ago.

I know it takes time. I have had lots of folks who have walked this path of grief tell me it simply takes time. Time, time, time.