Thursday, December 31, 2009

The countdown

**************Update 9:16 PM 12/31/09**************

We were only at church for about 45 minutes before Kacie got sick. I gathered them up and headed back home. I am just hoping that I can be asleep when the new year hits. I think it will be a little less painful that way. I am also hoping that whatever has upset Kacie's tummy will be short lived and she won't be sick all night long.

**************Original Post******************

It's down to the final hours of 2009. I was watching a little of the nightly world news at 5:30. The journalist was doing an "in memory of" segment of all of the "famous or influential" people that died during the last decade.

All I could focus on was that Keith's name wasn't on that list. His name should have been on that list. At least that's what I think. He was a HUGE influence in my life, the lives of our children, and many other people (some I know and others I don't know).

With the hours of 2009 drawing to a close, so many thoughts and memories are running rampant through my mind. On this night 10 years ago, I was very pregnant with Kacie. She was born at 11:05 AM on Monday, January 3, 2000. On this night six years ago, I was sitting in a sleep chair at Huntsville Hospital keeping watch over my husband who was newly diagnosed with colon cancer. He was 5 days post surgery. He would come home on Friday, January 2, 2004. Yes, that would be the day before Kacie's 4th birthday.

Our lives had been changed forever.

Here I sit on this night in 2009. I am so grief stricken I can't think straight. My heart is so broken, I'm afraid it won't ever be put back together. I am fighting the black of depression once again. I am having to fight it very hard today. The entire day has been tough. As the hours to the new year draw closer, the black of depression seems to get closer too. Not only is the depression weighing on me, but the grief is especially heavy today too. I've felt it looming for the past few days.

To be frankly honest, I really don't want this new year to come. I don't want 2009 to end. I don't want 2010 to begin. I don't like what 2010 represents. It represents the beginning of the first entire year that I will spend without Keith. I know, I've already spent the better part of six months without Keith. BUT I HAD HIM FOR SIX MONTHS BEFORE HE DIED!!! I don't get to have him with me ANY of 2010!

I could always try to put a positive spin on the new year. It will be the first year in six that I don't have to wonder if it will be the year that Keith dies. That's already happened. For some reason, I just can't make that one fly.

I can't put a positive spin on the coming of 2010, whether it be from my grief, my depression, or both. I just can't. I'm tired of trying. I've been trying all week long to find something positive about the new year. My grief has won this time.

The kids seem oblivious to anything that I am feeling. They aren't having the issues that I am having with the coming of the new year. That's a good thing I guess. There are times I wish I could have their sense of innocence and just simple faith.

Despite what I want, we will be going to our church for the new year's eve service in just a little while. We will play games, eat pancakes cooked by our pastor, and pray in the new year. I am hoping that will be better for me than staying here at home and crying because I miss Keith so dreadfully. Crying, because it will be the first year since December 31, 1991, that I will not be able to share a first kiss of a new year with the love of my life.

I am hoping that I can focus my prayers on letting God lead my life and heal my heart in this coming year. I am hoping I can get through the first few minutes of the new year without crying, but I doubt it. I am hoping that I can concentrate at least a little bit to enjoy playing some of the games. I am hoping for a small reprieve from the black of depression and the overwhelming grief that has been shadowing me for the past few days and especially today.

I am not making any resolutions for the next year. I only want to get through it with as few scars as possible.

May God be with you and yours during this new year.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Imagining and shelving

As I sit here trying to put my jumbled up thoughts into some kind of order, Kacie's new 12 week old kitten, Izzy, keeps nibbling at my fingers while I type. My hands are shaking from yet more medication I am taking to try to get well. Oh, I am also shelving as many emotions as I can, because I just can't face them right now.

My pharyngitis moved into bronchitis. I am on a steroid inhaler, oral steroids (again), and I have to finish what's left of my antibiotics. I have a full blown case of the shakes. I am tired, but can't sit still. My mind is running at 100 mph. The kids are at Nana and Paw-paw's house for a couple of days. I really want to say that I am looking forward to 2010, but I'm not.

I am not looking forward to the new year. I've been trying to imagine what it will be like without Keith by my side...and I can't. I just can't imagine going through the 365 days of 2010 without him. I know that I have to. His trip to heaven was one way. Keith isn't coming back here...not even for me.

I wish I could say that Christmas was full of joy, magic, and wonder over our Savior's birth. I wish I could say that I held onto what Keith must have experienced being with Christ on Christmas. I wish I could say that I didn't just go through the motions. I wish I could say that although I was sad, I was still full of joy for the real reason we celebrate Christmas. I simply wish I could say that I celebrated Christmas.

The truth is I simply went through the motions. I missed Keith terribly. I got through it because of the kids. I didn't really care to celebrate Christ's birth, although I went through those motions for the kids as well.

I am shelving as many of my emotions as I can right now. It seems to be instinctual for me. MLC said I could do that during this tough couple of weeks, but I can not wrap them in duct tape or put them into long term storage as I have been prone to do in the past. I will meet with him on Jan 7. I'm sure that everything will come roaring to the surface then, if not before.

Jan 7 is the six month mark since Keith's death. Half of a year without Keith by my side. Where did time go? Has it really been that long? It feels like an eternity. How can I do this for an entire year? 2010 will be an entire year spent without Keith. January 1 to December 31...without him. At least 2009 I had Keith for half of the year. 2010 will be entirely without. How can I do this? I can't even imagine it. There are so many days in the next year that Keith should be here for. I have another half of a year of firsts to get through.

Dear God, I miss him so much. Please carry me through 2010, because I can't and I don't know the way.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Our first Christmas

December 29 2:08 PM

Below is the post that I began on Christmas night. I simply could not finish it. I have decided to go ahead and post what I started to give just a glimpse into what I was feeling on Christmas day and the days leading up to it.

I am currently working on a followup post. Hopefully I will have it up before the day is over.


Well, it's here. As I write this, it's actually almost over. Our first Christmas without Keith finally got here and now it's almost gone. I have to say that I am so relieved that this hurdle is almost behind me.

The last few days leading up to Christmas have been extremely difficult. The days have only been made more so since I am sick. I was in the doctor's office last week with a sinus infection. I was back this week with pharyngitis. Now it's full blown congestion, a cough, and I wear out quickly. I am on another round of antibiotics to hopefully knock this stuff out.

Back to the difficult days... I have really struggled with massive amounts of grief and sadness the past few days. I have spent a lot of time just crying. MLC has told me on many occasions that letting my emotions out is one of the only ways that I am going to find my way through this journey of grief. The longer I hold everything in, the longer it can take me to recover.

Yesterday was especially difficult. I woke up terribly sad. I managed with the kids, taking care of breakfast, and those morning things that you do when the kids are out of school. I managed until I got in the shower. I began to cry and literally sat down with the shower running. I sat in the shower and cried until the hot water ran out. I cried out to God for help. I knew that I did not have what I needed to get through Christmas Eve. I'm certain that God heard my cry simply because I was able to get up, get out of the shower, and get dressed. I was able to get through the day and the things I needed to do. I was able to play the role of Santa last night with the help of my new elf, Nick. I could not have made it through these past several days without the God sent friends who have lent many ears and shoulders. Yesterday was no different.

I have never in my life felt as consumed by sadness and grief as I have during this Christmas season. Thanksgiving was an absolute breeze compared to Christmas.

I am so glad that it is almost done.

I have missed Keith with such ferocity I didn't think one human being could feel.

Monday, December 21, 2009

12 days

I would like to apologize to my daily readers for my 12 day absence. I have not been of the mind to write here. I haven't been much of a mind to do anything during the last twelve days. So, grab a cup of tea, coffee, or whatever, and we'll catch up.

In my last post, I had been crying for 4 days. Well, the four days turned into six. Yep...I cried for the better part of six days. I woke up on Saturday morning of that same week so relieved that the "movies" had finally stopped playing only to have a new one begin while I was in the shower. The new movie was not a pleasant one to experience either. I had a lot of pent up anger, bitterness, and hurt that needed to be purged. That's all I'm going to share about that. It was very intense though. I dealt with it by writing all of my feelings out as honestly as I could without holding anything back. Then I shared the writings with MLC on my next appointment. He has them under lock and key for me until I decide what I should do with them, if I do anything with them.

I wasn't going to put up a Christmas tree, but we did. Granted I had to go buy all new everything: tree, tree skirt, ornaments, topper, stockings. EVERYTHING! I absolutely could not deal with getting out our other things. There are simply too many emotions and memories attached to each and every piece. The kids ended up having to decorate the entire thing though. I tried putting a few ornaments on the tree and the emotions were once again just too overwhelming. I don't have a clue how I am going to take it all down next week.

I have also been having a very tough time the last four days. It began on Friday. The events of the past 14 years with Nick finally caught up with me. I had so many emotions come to the surface that dealt with Nick's initial cancer diagnosis. I did not realize that after so many years I could still have so many unresolved emotions. I haven't even gotten past the majority of them yet.

I was okay until Saturday afternoon. I began crying a lot again. I had spoken with MLC on Friday about what was going on with me. He cautioned me that the weekend might be tough, but to try really hard not to suppress my emotions too much. Well, I didn't think that it would turn out the way it did. My good friend, A, came over and we had a girl's night in. It was a wonderful time that truly helped me through the muck that night.

Then yesterday (Sunday) happened. I woke up and all the "movies" had gotten jumbled up and I could not stop crying. I finally got up, got the kids up, and got dressed for church. Although, I really did not feel like going. I still don't know why God wanted me in church yesterday, because all I did was cry. I had to leave the service before it really even got started. The lighting of the Advent candles made me a mess. Then there were the Christmas hymns. I sat in the foyer and just cried. Friends came out and checked on me. I just couldn't handle it. We didn't go back to church last night like we usually do. I could not handle it emotionally.

As yesterday wore on, I cried more and more. Today has truly been a struggle. I am full of so much sadness. I miss Keith so much. December 22, is when Keith was admitted to the hospital with abdominal pains 6 years ago. December 23 is when we found out he had cancer 6 years ago. These were the days when I just KNEW that God was going to heal Keith. I am dealing with what is now. God didn't give Keith earthly healing. God called Keith home.

Keith is not here today 4 days before Christmas. I miss him so much. I feel like my heart is freshly broken once again. Last night I didn't know how I was going to make to bedtime. I could not stop crying. Today, I have had to work so hard to be able to function in spite of my emotions being right at the surface. I talked to MLC once again this afternoon. He really thinks (and I agree) that it isn't the depression. It is just massive amounts of sadness and grief. Everything could also be made worse be the fact that I am taking steroids for a sinus infection.

I wish I could be joyful. I am trying to concentrate on what joy Keith must be experiencing celebrating Christ's birthday WITH HIM. In my humanness though, I can't get past my own feelings of sadness and grief at Keith's absence.

I want to just get through this week. Then I want to get through next week. Then I want to get through Kacie's birthday. Then the kids will be back in school and this season will be over. I will be able to say that I made it through the first one without Keith. I am working really hard at not letting myself look too far ahead. I am truly taking it in baby steps, much like I did this week 6 years ago.

Pray for me dear friends. I don't know if I have enough within me to make it special for my kids. They so need it to be.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

And today makes 4

4 days of lots of crying. I called MLC this morning when I could not stop crying. I have to admit that I was VERY worried that the depression had reared it's very ugly head and I was sinking into the abyss once again.

Thankfully, that does not appear to be the case. MLC thinks, after trying to make out my some what incoherent tear jumbled information, that I am in the midst of releasing some of the emotions that I didn't let myself feel while Keith was sick. That's 5 1/2 YEARS worth of emotions! Apparently once these emotional doors have opened, there's no closing them again. The flood (literally feels like I cried enough to contribute to all the standing water from the storms here last night) keeps coming until there is no more. There's no stopping it.

The best way I know how to describe the "episodes" when they happen is it's like a movie playing in my head, except backwards. The one that happened Tuesday was about the day Keith died. Today's episode was about when Keith was on chemo. I'm sure that episode is not finished yet. That's where Keith and I spent the majority of his 5 1/2 year battle.

MLC even hazards a guess that there will be some "episodes" that go all the way back 14 years ago when Nick was fighting cancer as a baby.

It is very overwhelming to be feeling everything that I am feeling right now. It is very painful. I am very raw. MLC says that I might be beginning to recognize the weight of the burdens I have carried for so many years. At times, it is like seeing yourself for the first time. I feel like that was someone else who was doing all of those very difficult things.

MLC says that I will likely be crying a lot for a while, if this is indeed what is happening. I have to deal with the emotions/feelings. I have to let them out when they come. I will not recover from the grief, the depression, and the weight of the burdens will not be lifted if I don't.

That's a whole lot of emotions to let out.

At least I know I'm not going crazy or losing my mind. I'm being treated for the depression with very good medicine, so we know it isn't that. I can't even imagine dealing with all of these emotions if I weren't being treated for the depression. UGH! I would probably be in a padded room somewhere.

And so, like sands through the hour glass, these are the days of my life!

I'm holding close the promise that God is with me and carrying me through this very painful place.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I have been crying for the better part of three days now. MLC* advised me just today that I am likely emoting in advance of the very difficult days and weeks that lie ahead.

*My Lovely Counselor

He also thinks that my raw emotions (aka frequent crying jags) are also a result of the last two VERY difficult weeks (Thanksgiving the first week and Keith's birthday this past weekend). MLC does not believe that my depression is worsening. I was relieved to hear that. The way I have been feeling has had me worried about that. The symptoms of grief and depression are very, very similar. It's difficult for me to tell the difference.

I began seeing MLC twice a week when I was diagnosed with depression. I really struggled with some kind of stigma attached to that, the diagnosis of depression, and taking medication to treat it. It took me a little while to realize that seeing MLC twice a week was actually better for me than only once a week. It took me a little while longer to come to terms with the fact that I have an illness that is chronic, that I have to take medication every day for it, and it won't be going away any time soon. It took me some more time to be okay with the fact that for a few weeks, I not only saw MLC twice a week, but spoke with him by phone nearly every day. I haven't talked to him every day lately, but have had to call a few times.

The world of depression and grief is NOTHING like I ever imagined it would be. I don't mean that I've spent tons of time during the last several years thinking about it. During the some of the worst times, I did think about what my life would be like without Keith here. Usually the next thought would be what dying would be like, then onto what emotions I would actually feel and how I would feel physically. I have learned that every thought I had was no where close to what actually IS.

Depression is not a predictable illness. For me, it is a deep, dark, black pit that threatens to consume me if I get too close to it. Although, there are lots of times when the pit is nowhere in sight. I am able to be happy and feel joy. Then I turn around and there's the pit. Where did that come from? How did that get here? Grief is also very unpredictable. It likes to sneak up on me, ambush me out of nowhere, and leave me so emotionally drained I need to take a four hour nap. Grief is also very raw. The emotions I have experienced because of grief have totally run the gamut. I can be smiling one minute and falling to pieces the next. I can be happy one minute and completely furious the next. Sometimes the roller coaster makes me feel like I don't know who I am.

I had an episode of anger today that completely took me by surprise. I decided I wanted some muffins. The muffin mix was on a high shelf, so I had to use my step stool to get it down. When I climbed up, I could see behind some other things that were on the shelf. There was an open bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs left from Easter. Keith had hidden them there so the kids wouldn't sneak them. That was his candy stash. He absolutely LOVED Reese eggs. I took the bag and the muffin mix down, and got off the step stool. As I was moving back toward the counter, I was OVERCOME with anger. I took each and every candy egg out of the bag and threw it as hard as I could onto the kitchen floor. The entire time screaming, "NO! NO! NO!" Then I stomped on them. (Thankfully they were individually wrapped so it didn't make a mess.) I put my head down in my hands and cried so hard I was nearly sick. Once I quit crying and I calmed down, I realized that I needed to clean my mess up. I had flung candy eggs everywhere. I began to feel bad about being angry and ruining perfectly good candy. Keith's favorite at that. As I was picking them up, it occurred to me that the candy eggs were still whole. You know, the chocolate shell around the peanut butter...well, it felt like it was unbroken. I started mashing around on them. Those things were so hard. I took my sudden burst of anger out on stale candy. No guilt there. It needed to be thrown away anyway. I just threw it away in a very therapeutic way!

I only shared that very personal story to give a glimpse into what happens with my grief sometimes. I am unpredictable. Sometimes my emotions are very jumbled up. Sometimes they come flying out of nowhere. There are times when the least little thing will set me off. Other times, things that I would assume would bother me don't. According to MLC, this is all a very normal response to grief. Oh, and add to that the weight of the burdens that I have carried for so many years, well that puts me at the head of the class for emoting.

I am emoting ALL OVER THE Cheddar's Restaurant, at Party City, at Sear's. More on those stories later.

I'm still having trouble seeing the path through my tears.

I've cried to the point I can't wear my contacts...again. I went to group tonight without fixing my cried on all day makeup. I thought about going as I was (which would have meant wearing my sweats, no shower, no hair fixed, and no makeup) to see MLC this morning. I decided that I didn't want to be "that" person. I don't know exactly who "that" person is, I just didn't want to be it today. I guess somewhere in my mind that made me think I would look on the outside like I feel on the inside. So, I decided to take a shower and see how I felt. That led to fixing my hair and makeup always follows hair with me. Next thing I knew, I was dressed and ready to go.

I'm not even going to address the fact that I came home from my appointment with MLC, laid down on the couch, and cried for a long time. I've already shared the episode with the candy. I also drank what amounts to 6 cups of coffee, although it was only two and a half mugs full. I ate three of the muffins. I didn't eat anything else today, until I started to get kind of sick about 7:20 tonight. Then I ate an Arby's sandwich. Nick and I were on our way back from our grief groups to pick Kacie up from dance.

As I said in this long rambling post, I am emoting all over the place. I don't know exactly what emotion is going to come out and when. I don't know what's going to set me off...whether it be a really bad server, a smart mouthed store clerk, or a lost Christmas tree. Sometimes it is just the fact that my husband died and I'm a widow at 35 years old. Who knows what's going to trigger it?! Certainly not me!

I am trying very hard to remember that God is very near to me, especially now. He is indeed guiding my feet and carrying me through this valley of the shadow of death. Some day I will come out on the other side.

I have to treat myself with patience, kindness, and gentleness. I am in a very hard place, but still...

In His Grip!


Monday, December 7, 2009

5 months

It is 5 months today since Keith claimed his place in heaven. Two days ago would have been Keith's 39th birthday.

I think that I handled Saturday considerably well. The kids had a tough time while we were doing what we decided we would do to commemorate Keith's birthday. The plans we made were the kids ideas with just a little tweaking.

I do believe that it is finally catching up with me today.

I miss Keith so much still. I know, how can I not?! We were together for 18 1/2 years. That doesn't go away in only 5 months.

It just amazes me how I was crying every single day just a couple of months ago. I have been at a point during the last few weeks where I don't have the need to cry every day. It's even been a few days in between. Then I have a day like today, that actually started yesterday morning during church.

I am emotionally drained. I am crying a lot. My heart feels like the wounds are fresh and new instead of healing.

The thoughts going through my mind are jumbled, yet racing. It's like a movie playing in my mind of what I saw and experienced on the day Keith died.

I'm putting one foot in front of the other. I just can't see where I am going through my tears.

Father God, please guide my feet today. I can't seem to find my way. Please carry me because I can't. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.