Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How I Feel After 8 Months

It is now 8 months since my dad died.

It would have been better if I had written this at 6 months and then again written another entry at 12 months. That is it would have been "better" in my possibly misguided sense of symmetrical thinking. I am pretty certain I'll post something at 12 months so I guess this will just have to be asymmetrical.

I did write something at 6 months just not a personal report. I titled it "Throne of Grace" and on Dad's birthday I wrote "Conflict Makes Me Sad." I wonder if not posting meant something? At the time I thought there wasn't anything really to report. Maybe there wasn't.

Feelings, that is emotions, are funny things. In many ways emotion is similar to blood circulation or hair production or other involuntary systems. They happen and we need them.

I did pretty well for a long while after dad's death I think. There were the ups and downs and grief and and hurt and loss and relief and joy and sadness and despair and happiness. I think all that is pretty normal really. It is to be expected. It isn't to be feared or avoided but embraced and experienced just as every other part of life.

Not so long ago, and honestly I am not sure when, things have become more difficult. Maybe it isn't possible to know the exact date and time because maybe there wasn't really a true beginning. Maybe there isn't really an ending either. Regardless things have been different for a while. Maybe it was about the time of Dad's birthday. Maybe it was when we went to Dallas and I had the allergic reaction. Maybe it is physical or maybe it is emotional or maybe both. I don't know.

But I think I can describe how I've felt. Maybe I will eventually regret doing it. Maybe not. Maybe someone else will read it and benefit. Maybe not.

My friends do not need to worry about me or do anything. I am alright and I will be alright. My faith remains intact and my core is unchanged. So I am writing in order to document my feelings and to help me think these things through.

For one thing I'm kind of lost.

Oh, I have somewhere to go in the morning when I wake up and I have a few things to do. Later on I return here. I have a chair over here and I am sitting in it now with my laptop and my Kindle within reach.

Much of my stuff is still over at Dad's. Sometimes in the mornings I sit over there in the chair in my old room which was across from his. I just sit there and kind of think about stuff. I leave the little TV on there all the time and a light and the room is still comfortable. But the rest of the house is a mess. My daughter has done such a good job. Things are sorted an in boxes and some things are exposed and waiting on someone to choose or discard. There are little yellow stickers on the drawers and cabinets and closet doors and they all have "empty" written on them. I think about that word some.

Dad's room has a few things left in it. It felt empty from the time he left though. I used to keep to door closed. And for a long while every time I would walk by I would look into that door. But I haven't done that for a while.

I used to exercise first thing every morning and then shower and dress. About once a week I do my laundry. It may sound funny but I like doing my own laundry. Judy has made many offers but I just keep doing it myself.

For a while now though I haven't really wanted to exercise. I know I should but I just don't have much enthusiasm for it. Often I do go down there and spend a few minutes but I'm just not getting much out of it.

I don't have a real job. I have responsibilities. I have lots and lots of responsibilities. But if I don't show up it's not that big a deal. I think its good that I don't have a real job because I don't know if I would have managed to keep it if I'd been working for someone else.

A reporter came the other day. He interviewed my son for the most part. He got me to stand in the picture at one point but it was just for a little human interest.

Someone asks me something now about the business and I have to turn and look at my son. It reminds me of when my dad used to turn and look at me in a similar way.

I'm very proud of my kids and grandkids. They are all doing so well.

I have tried a few times to return to writing. But I haven't made much progress. I haven't been going to church either. There is some controversy there and it upsets me. I can't stand much upsetting right now.

I have been sad for one thing. I have not been very happy either. I write both of those things because I think they are different.

I have been anxious, too, and not anxious as in eager anticipating something cool but anxious as in a more or less permanent sense of foreboding and fearing some disaster of one kind or another. One interesting aspect of this anxiety for me is seeing other people more as patients requiring my care than as persons contributing to the warp and woof of my life (do you like that phrasing Annie?). Actually I have written about this previously - maybe more than once.

Well it could easily be argued, and I have done so, that I have an inordinate number of people in my life that require care. But that's not the issue really because it is more about me than them.

Here's the thing: It is this assumption by me of the responsibility for someone else's life or at least a portion of it.

I don't know why I am like this. Not everyone is. And sometimes I am not. I'll give an example. Let's say I needed a ride. Then I would ask someone to see if he could help me and if he could then I would accommodate my schedule to his. So if he said "I can pick you up at 9" then I would be ready at 9. Actually I'd be there before 9 because I wouldn't want to keep my benefactor waiting. I can't remember any times that Ive been late for something like that.

But now let's say someone asks me for a rid and I say "sure thing, I'll pick you up at 7." So I show up at 7 but the rider isn't ready yet. I wait and finally the rider gets in the car and says "I'm so sorry to be late." Then I say something like "Oh, that's alright." But I didn't really think it was alright.

I think to myself I ought to say that this pissed me off but then I think about it and decide that it isn't that big a thing in any event.

The other thing about it is that I get to viewing people as being needy. So instead of being happy to see people and feeling like they are adding to my life I become so distrustful that they just want something from me.

I'm not very sharp right now either. I won't give any examples but I've done some of the stupidest stuff lately. My thinker is just off.

I've written about the negative parts. But there's a positive for every negative. I cannot write as much about the positives. But I have many and they are really, really big. I am looking forward to several upcoming positives over the next several months. Eventually I will write about them. The house remodel should be done in a few months and that will be exciting and it will open another new chapter. But it will have its own negatives.

Have you ever noticed that the greater the positive the greater the corresponding negative? For instance loving someone has got to be up there near the top. But losing that someone is also down there near the bottom.

That's my 8 month report.


Lori1955 said...

Oh my, I can relate to almost everything you said. I know that feeling of being lost. After all, we were caregivers and now we aren't. Everything that once defined us is gone. Sweetie, I am worried about you whether you like it or not. Everything you have written here sounds like depression to me and I should know.

Annie said...

I love your phrasing, Terry. All of it.

~Betsy said...

I think we all go through things like this as a result of the years of caregiving. You especially - you were at this for a very long time. I don't think there are any easy answers and it takes a long time to get back into real life. Every time I think I am back, something happens or some strange thought crosses my mind and I am right back there again.

Hang in there, Terry. You're a kind man. (((hugs)))