Tag Archives: grief

On The Topic of Loss

I lost my mom in February. It’s been tough, but I made it to where my days didn’t consistently have reminders that she was missing.  Christmas hit in the stores, decorations, wrapping paper and music. I can’t look at them. They hurt to look at. Last Christmas was one where I made an effort to decorate for my mom because she didn’t want to for herself. And then she died on her birthday the February after. I can’t stand the thought of Christmas time as I make my rounds through the different aisles at work.

Then Saturday happens. I wake up groggy to the urgent concern about my father’s health. Rapid breathing, loss of oxygen and increased heart rate.  They give him some painkillers to combat it. He’s suffered a traumatic brain injury 15 years ago and kept beating the odds. He couldn’t say he was in pain. He couldn’t have a conversation or see, or do the things that lots of people do. All we could do for him was tell him exciting things and give him music and food. 15 years of slowly degrading health, requiring 24 hour round the clock care. When my mom passed, it became even painful to visit him. To be reminded of the things she did and that I was not getting anywhere close to completing or even taking on such daunting tasks. So when I get a call Saturday and I get to the nursing home and find him still beating the odds. I visit for a bit. He’s not responsive. Not too atypical as of late. I hang around til it seems things are leveling out. We are waiting on someone to come do suction. I get hungry and need to go as well as have an online test to take. I leave. Half an hour later, I get a call. He’s passed. And all of the moments of the past 15 years culminate in this. And as I told myself that my mom would have to go at some point and no time is easy, I too remind myself that my father isn’t immortal. I comfort myself with the thought of him being his whole self with my mom in Heaven.

Then today gets to be a bit hard because we go to the funeral home and start working things out. Turns out it gets to be another night of tragedy. As my uncle too releases his mortal coil. The man who has supported me in trying to lift me up out of my depression. Offering me resources of which I would not be able to ever have otherwise. He loves in a weird way, in an almost middle class sort of way. In that he sets high standards and goals and does what he can to help you meet him. He has certain ideologies in which he expected me to also identify. But his love was never truly conditional. And now I feel left reeling. No mother. No father. No supporting uncle. I have my fiance and her family. And a very unstable ground on which to walk.

Nevermind the other losses recently. Other uncles and aunts, my brother. This is the one in which I see no way out. I’m certain there is one. There always is. But it doesn’t take to my heart. I don’t see the way out. When my mom passed, I saw the way out through my dad’s brother, the one who passed away tonight. When I learned my dad was very sick and was placed on hospice. I only hoped that I would be given support long enough to recover on my own. When indeed my father died 2 days ago, I prayed that God protect my family. And now there’s this. I turn to God and I don’t know what to ask. I cannot expect anything. For everything I expect goes foul. I thought last year would be the worst year for a while. When I tried to take my life. I suppose it is only well that was last year. I’m now being treated for bipolar disorder fairly well. And if I wasn’t. I can’t say I wouldn’t be trying to take my life again.

I know others out there have it worse. But I just need a fucking break.

 

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The Curse

My mom once said our family was cursed by God for some great atrocity someone a couple generations back committed. She lost a lot of siblings. Had bipolar children, one who became a drunk and occasionally hurt his wife and kids. Then my dad had his accident.  Then my mom broke her leg. Then when I moved away and the only companion my mom had was my dog, my dog got cancer.  Then my brother died. She could still hear him sometimes. Him and one of her sisters. Now she’s gone too. And my dad is in the hospital again. For like the 18th time.

The reality of the situation is that the numbers tell me my dad will die. My thoughts tell me he’s a tough guy and he’s gonna make it through. Reality does tell me if he lives, his quality of life will drop even further. I’m almost ready for him to die. I want him to be with my mom. I prayed in the temporary trauma unit that if God was going to take my father, make him go painlessly and know that my mom would be there to welcome him if he had any fear.

But now I’m at home, just having finished an assignment and trying to convince myself that I do need to go to work tomorrow, especially with it being a new job and all. But fear and conflict has taken hold of my heart. When my mom was in the hospital before she died, I knew she lived through the worst and was gonna be just fine, she was getting better and everything. One night, the fear of losing her seized me entirely and I fell apart, only to wake up the next day and everything was good. It was the day after that though shit hit the fan.

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to expect right now. Certainly feels like a curse. Throw my bipolar in just for funsies and you’ve got everything you need for a turbulent life. I used to minimize the amount of trauma I’ve endured, convincing myself it wasn’t really bad because it could get a lot worse. Now I’m just starting to feel broken.

Still Around

I owe myself a proper commitment to this blog. To the time set aside for breaking down things and putting them into proper perspective. I wish this was the time that I would truly hold to that. I don’t expect it though.

I’ve been around a lot lately. Just as much watching life happen as being a participant (sometimes unwillingly). What can you say when you’re troubled and have a list of bad things happen one after the other. I still am not over my mom’s death. I suppose that’s human. I’m not destroyed every day, in fact I can even listen to The Beatles most times without crying again. But there’s a lot up there in my mind. I lost my job because my sleep was practically gone.

I’d wake up and start passing out at the wheel almost immediately on the way to work. I’d pull over and just be right back into unconsciousness, struggling to come to for hours. Occasionally seizing awake to call work and update them on how late I’d be. Really endears you to employers (don’t try it). I’d spend up to five hours in my car, not running, in Texas heat, with just the windows cracked enough to ventilate. I would be frequently drenched in sweat before I fully came to a functioning place.

It’s strange. I guess I have always had sleep troubles but they’ve gotten a whole mess worse since my mom died. I remember lots of dreams. In particular I remember the one I had the day of my mom’s heart attack. And the number of nightmares I have had since involving her only continue to grow. But it’s scary when you find yourself passing out at the wheel regularly. I didn’t even always know I was passing out, I would actually feel my eyebrows straining my face before I realized my eyes closed. Just a reflex my face was making in an effort to open the damned things. Strange feeling, that.

Now I’m jobless. A year ago I paid a visit to jail. Shortly after I met a wonderful young woman who still somehow stands by my side. My one constant through this it might seem. I’ve seen the inside of a funeral home more than I ever care to for the rest of my life. I’ve been dealing with demons for a very long while and that has left some pretty nasty scars. They won’t be the last, but I’m not going to fear them.  In spite of all this disaster, I know I have God on my side. And He’s not always going to give me what I think I need, or maybe he will but not in the package I expect. But He’s never going to let me down.

I know that’s why Aaron means so much to me. She’s my best friend and excellent spiritual counsel among other titles. I’ll never be able to convey what she means to me, and maybe she’d say the same. So I’m glad I have her on my side too.

I sorted out some things that have been plaguing me a bit this week. Feel like I have a clear head today, can’t say I will tomorrow. I have a huge task list and not the least of which is find a new job. But I guess at least for now I have found some sense of peace, and just thought I’d like to write that down again. Maybe it’ll be months again before I post. Hopefully not. Maybe I can actually have interesting stories or something actually insightful instead of just vague words to match a vague mind.

A few scattered things

I’ve stopped trying to write recently. Lately, it’s been more or less a thought of something I should do. A thing I should return to. And, I started and scrapped posts a lot in the month following my mom’s death. I haven’t even pulled up this once in the past month. 3 months since her death. Not sure how far I will get to in writing this, my meds should have put me under a while ago, maybe writing will fix that. I’ll post whatever I have if I start to go under, but it’s probably all scattered anyway.

I’ve been crying half an hour tonight. These come and go and the reality of who I am and the fact that I’m less and less normal occurs more and more. I have vivid dreams, I guess that’s uncommon, I frequently recall mine. I always have. I still remember nightmares I have had when I was young, non recurring, just one time things, some very docile. I also remember good dreams from when I was young, as well as weird dreams. From before I started elementary and throughout. I have memories from then too. Some I know I was under the age of 3 simply because I know when my parents moved us to that duplex in San Antonio. All these things are highly unusual. Maybe they all were indicators that my brain was a bit off. Instead it was seen as me being gifted. I never felt especially gifted. I felt like I was told I was gifted and thrown in with the kids who actually were.

Ever since I was 10 and my dad’s accident happened, I have tried to prepare myself for his death. Sometimes I thought I might have some sociopathic tendencies because at moments I welcomed the thought of his death, and didn’t grieve things other did. But, I was young, that stuff is traumatizing. I don’t have anyone to talk to tonight and I can’t really stay focused. My point is. I have dreams, vivid ones.

The night before my mom’s heart attack, I had this dream. Post-apocalyptic in nature. I was seeking shelter after a few people in my group got sick and died. I found this big church that was expanded out for some ways, a real survival colony thing. They offered food for work. I settled in, there was a bartering system, you got a meal a day, plus a certain amount of vouchers based on how much work you did a given day and the nature of it. There was something of an exchange for these vouchers as well, so that if you had scavenged something useful, it could be bartered for in a sense. The exchange was in a former grocery store. The area where they have meats and things that are refrigerated. The open former refrigerators laid out the contents of would you could spend vouchers on, you could also get an extra meal or a better meal if you would rather. But I was interested in all the board games that had been accrued.

Anyway, during the course of my stay with this group, I learn they are recruiting people for defense because they are actually at war with another group. They stop recruiting, stop asking and start forcing us to learn to fight other people. It’s during one of these assemblies that the doors bust open and the group that they are at war with barges in and starts shooting first, no intent on taking names. I’m able to dive out a side door, a few others following me in the chaos. I sprint, not looking behind me and I’m caught, snapped back into a small alcove of this hall, I am about to scream when my captor quickly turns me to face her, finger to her lips. She reaches into a bag slung across her and throws out a few little black marble looking things. At this point people who had followed me in from my own group fleeing in terror are running by getting gunned down. I hear a hiss and this girl hands me a bandana covering her own mouth with one and running yanking on me to follow suit.

Long story short, she helps me escape, she’s associated with another party altogether and has been saving people she found interesting. Was my board game collection that had piqued her interest.  Her group’s settlement is out of the mall. She’s got good folk, and she’s just a scout of sorts. The group realizes that I’m a man keen on keeping up the spirits, whether it’s helping people regain mementos, singing about a long lost time, or leading prayer. She saves me again escaping the mall, telling her I owe her twice now. Her name is Avery, I suppose I should mention that. She winks and nods her finger as if to jokingly disapprove.

Well. We hide out, our group splinters. We eventually have to make another run for it. Reaching into her bag again, she’s got me covered and will catch up later as she turns to divert attention with some other trick up her sleeve. Except she dies. I don’t rightly recall what happened to the rest of the people we were trying to escape from. But I ran to her. I held her as she is heaving her last breaths, her eyes distant, not knowing I was there. It was then I awoke. I wasn’t perturbed by this dream, this sort of thing is very regular actually. That one I thought was sort of fun. But it was the morning of my mom’s heart attack. In actuality, my mom had already had the heart attack by the time I awoke, but I had already gone on to work before getting a couple calls and scurrying off to check on her.

It was rough while she was in the hospital. But I kept telling her she would get out soon, because she would. Improvement every day, no indication of damage. Was just having a hard time coming off the respirator, doctor says it’s because she’s a smoker. I tease her about it. Keep her face cool with wet rags. She tries to worry about work, I do my best to not let her. Boldly keeping appearances up at the hospital, falling apart in fear at home.

Then they try to take her off the respirator after so many days of improvement and doing well. Something goes wrong, back to the respirator. She’s high on meds when I see her this night, her eyes won’t focus, but she’s trying to look at me. I tell her I love her very much and she’s gonna quit smoking when she gets home. I tell her I know it sucks she couldn’t come off the respirator and she nods. My girlfriend’s parents assist me with anointing her with oil to aid in healing the sick. I let her get rest. I go to work. Get off work, and have a migraine. I go lie down in the pitch black of the bathroom in the floor for an hour. Go up to hospital a little later than I intended. Bad news. But we don’t know what yet. I was gonna tell my mom happy birthday, I remembered this time. I wait around maybe 15 minutes with my family before we get news. It sounds foreign to me what’s being said, but I know it’s bad. I can’t bring my thoughts to focus. I’m already thinking of what I’m going to tell my mom about how I insisted smoking was bad, because this was a scare. I come back to the conversation when they are asking if things do take a turn, do I want them to try everything. Yes, there’s not even a question in my mind, of course.

Then 10 minutes later a doctor comes out and talks about things that I definitely don’te understand, my aunt with some experience with this asks questions about certain levels, I get the idea it’s worse. I suddenly feel very sick. Doc says what they are trying to do right now and leaves. My aunt looks at me and says she’s very sorry. In that moment I knew my mom was dying. This was a real fear from the previous week and it was here. I call my girlfriend and tell her to have her parents there too. I fall apart.

Eventually we go back to the room. And there is a nurse. I swear she looks exactly like Avery. And the room spins and I just latch to the idea that she’s here to save my mom. But she doesn’t. Complete organ failure for no explainable reason, and she’s gone, on her birthday, just like that.

I’ve been working through it a lot. And things like that, the Avery thing, I can’t tell if they are always real. Like I have a distrust for my brain from years of mental health issues and hallucinations. But I frequently recall my dreams with great detail and some memories don’t fade well either.

I keep telling myself my mom would have died when I was older anyway. I’m just getting it over with so I can be there for when someone else loses their mom. It doesn’t brighten me up, obviously. I remind myself I was lucky to have as much time as I did with her, that some people have more tragic stories.

And there’s chunks of peace and overall good grief work and progress. But right now, a lot of anxiety in this moment, but writing about that was a focus for something at least, my meds are finally starting to sink. Maybe I can catch the needed sleep before work