Monday, April 20, 2009

Waiting to get back to normal

If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said that the previous year (Spring 2007-spring 2008) had been the hardest and most stressful of my life.

What I didn't realise was that the worst was yet to come. Those 12 months were a picnic compared to following 12.

I can now say that the past 2 years have been the hardest of my life. Hmmmm. I really hope I'm not here in another years time saying the same thing!

When I take stock of what those 2 (and a bit) years have involved, it's not surprising I feel a bit wrung out by it all -

Promotion for me (most people would say "isn't that a good thing? Maybe, but I also found it really stressful)
Career change for R
Buying our first flat (in a painful drawn out process which took 8 months in total!)
Finding out a month after buying the flat that we were both to be made redundant from our jobs
R then moving jobs twice in the space of a few months
Me having to stay in my old job for a year getting rustier and rustier til I was finally given the chop too
Me reacting to all this by questioning my faith in the strength of our marriage. (And thankfully we came out the other side stronger for it)
Me moving into a job where machosim and bullying was the norm, hating it so much I became depressed, and decided to quit with no other job to go to

And just at the end of all that, my Dad died.

A few weeks later, I started a new job. It isn't perfect, but I keep telling myself it will do for now, I cannot have any more change in my life!

Tha daft thing is, I still think to myself often "I just want things to get back to normal". Yet I know that having gone through things like that, there is no going back to normal. Life has to develop into a new kind of normal. There is no way anything will ever be the same again.

Well, if I can't have things get back to normal, I'll just have to settle for "I can't wait for life to develop into a new kind of normal". Not so snappy is it!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I was really shocked at how difficult I found the aftermath of what would have been my Dad's 60th birthday. I am having to reassess a few things in life I thought were true and fixed.

  1. I thought I wouldn't miss my Dad when he died. Upset, angry, guilty, frustrated maybe. But I never missed him when he was alive, so how could I miss him dead?
  2. I thought I wouldn't ever be so irrational as to be affected by dates and anniversaries. If someone is gone, they're gone. Why should it being a certain date make it worse?
  3. I thought that I'd be upset when he died. Then I would travel through grief, in a linear process, until eventually, I felt better.

I also realise, hard though it is to accept, that I have felt utterly thrown at times, by the loss of him as a "point of reference" in the world. And also the loss of the ideal that one day he may have turned into a supportive, sane, sensible man. He's dead now. He can never turn into that.

So for 3 weeks after the 1st of March I was basically a mess. Interestingly that's when I took to writing a bit on here. Since then, with a little help from a bereavement counsellor, I have realised:

  • I have every right to grieve, and to feel like shit from time to time. It doesn't make me pathetic, or weak, or selfish and thoughtless.
  • The Dad I really really miss sometimes, never really existed. I'm mourning the loss of the chance that he might have one day changed.
  • No wonder, with all the change that has been piled on me in the past 2 years, I thought I was going a bit mad.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been feeling MUCH better for acknowledging this. It's radiated thoughout all aspects of my life. I've been more confident at work, more content with my home, just generally more at ease. So I was a bit surprised when at about 7.30 this evening, without warning, I seemed to fall into a pocket of grief. All the familiar feelings are there, present and correct. It feels a lot like homesickness. It's hard to describe.

And I can't believe, yet again, I was so dim as to think I was through the worst! I really need to remember that I am going to zig and zag through it in the coming months. There are no straight lines.