Today is a hard day. And even as I type that, even as I thought those words while I was in class earlier, I don’t feel like they fit anymore.
Early in my grief, they did. The days were hard. And in a way they still are. But it doesn’t feel right anymore. Just like calling the days “bad” in the beginning wasn’t right, “hard” isn’t right either. They’ve evolved into something else, something other, but I don’t know what that “other” should be called yet.
Today is a grief day. Today is a day where I woke up from a dream angry, sad, and hurt and still got up and made breakfast and went to class where we reviewed for our test tomorrow. Today is a day where I cried on the way to my sports bar. A day where I made a detour, bought a pack of cigarettes (another two weeks free down the drain) and sat at the park I normally go to and cried until I felt ok enough to force myself to eat something because no matter how much I don’t want to, I need to eat. I need to intake or I really will get sick with how active I’ve been.
I guess it started with Tuesday evening. Tuesday evening hurt.
I mentioned the central services technician position I think. It’s a position my contact at the hospital sent to me, encouraging me to look into it. I did. I liked what it was about. I liked the future growth potential it had. It seemed like a job created specifically with my INFJness in mind. I allowed myself to think about how great it would be to have that position.
Tuesday night, after pushing hard through jujitsu, after three rounds of live sparring in my new gi, which I did manage to get both blood and sweat on since a scab on my hand got rubbed off, I bowed off of the mat, went to my gym bag, looked at my phone. I saw an email from the hospital. I read it, this email informing me in detached auto-generated sentences that the position I had subconsciously already accepted had been filled.
For fuck’s sake, Universe. I can’t even go back out and train again because I’m so completely and utterly spent from the class I just did and you’re going to throw this at me now? At the end of my night? When there’s nothing left in my body to give into throwing a fist at the wall? When the only thing I can do is hold my sweat soaked gi to my chest and let the silent tears soak into it, too?
These weren’t the tears that were supposed to be in it, damn it. Tears of failure weren’t supposed to be the tears I cried. Feeling like something was taken away from me when I never had it to begin with wasn’t the feelings I was supposed to feel. This wasn’t the email I was supposed to get.
Why do you keep doing this to me? Why isn’t mom here for me to cry to? Why isn’t she here to help me keep going when I constantly hear no from the outside world?
Why? Why, damn it! If you can just tell me why and show me how it all works out in the end, I would be ok, but you’re not. I’m having to hope and pray and constantly keep a positive mindset when it feels like everything is personal and about me not being good enough in some way.
It took me longer than normal to pack up my stuff and leave the dojo. It was hard to keep all of those angry, bitter, defeated feelings from spilling over. I got to my car and sat for a minute, I gave in a fraction to the emotions. I let them have a little bit of time, just enough to try to get home.
On the way, I stopped at Dairy Queen. It seems stupid, irresponsible. I shouldn’t be spending money. I know I shouldn’t. I didn’t care. I had told Warren after our conversation on Monday that I would. I can’t remember why or how, but somehow we got onto the topic of ice cream, or chocolate… something like that. We both mentioned how having one of Dairy Queen’s Blizzards would be great. I had said I would pick two up for us the next day as a thank you for him not taking time off and for fighting through his depression for me and working full hours at his job again.
So fuck you, Universe. I went and I got ice cream like I said I would. I went inside and I made myself interact with people because I’m not going to sit in my car and cry over something I never had. I’m not going to cry over you taking away a chance I wanted.
I stood there in my gi pants, black shirt, pretty much dripping sweat and didn’t care that I was ordering ice cream and looking totally counter-productive to whatever workout I had just done.
Me: Fuck you, Judgemental Person Who Isn’t Really Judging Me. You have no idea what’s going on inside of my head right now.
It was an angry, swarming rat’s nest inside of my chest. I kept swinging from crushed, to angry, back to crushed. I couldn’t find anything in the middle. I couldn’t find balance or clear perspective. All I could feel were the extremes and in the center of it all was the fact that mom isn’t physically here anymore.
I eventually got the blizzards I ordered. I texted Warren to let him know I was on my way home with ice cream. I drove home and the whole time the only thing I could think of was, “How did mom do it?”
How was she a single working parent of two kids? How did she not break down after dad left? How did she hold everything together? How did she take us to band practice, and weekend competitions, and all of the other things she did and still have dinner ready for us? How did she not go insane from the stress of it all? Who did she talk to after my grandmother died? Who did she turn to for support when things didn’t work out? How did she keep going when all she heard was “No” or “You can’t”?
Did she ever doubt herself? Was it ever hard? Did she ever feel like giving up?
How did she do it?
I made it home. I parked my car. I made it inside without dropping either of the ice creams. And in my hurt, injured state those things, those small accomplishments meant a lot to me.
When Warren came downstairs he asked how I was.
I told him about the job being filled. He listened to me voice all of my frustration and confusion about my emotions and my almost desperate questions of how did mom do it?
I don’t remember a lot of our conversation. I guess that’s sort of rude of me. I know he was trying to be helpful and supportive but all I could feel was the swirling in my heart chakra as I tried to figure out where to go from where I was.
I had just been punched in the face, again, by Life. Was I going to let that stop me? Was I going to take my hit and sit down and say it was too hard, or was I going to fight back, hit back and show that I am good enough, that this wouldn’t stop me, can’t stop me?
At the time I knew that I would figure it out. I knew that I would find another way, another job, another something. I knew I still had classes to go to, certifications to earn. I still had other jobs I was waiting to hear back from, and I knew there was a second CST (central services tech) position that I could apply for. But in that moment it still sucked and I hadn’t gotten past the “this sucks” part.
After a bit I went up to my room where I applied for more positions at the hospital. I emailed my contact to inform him of my additional applications. I then decided that the day was done and went to sleep.
I took Wednesday as a rest day. No boxing, no dojo, no running, just class where my brain got beaten to death with EKG pathologies. After class, I went to my sports bar where I studied and made flash cards and found interesting sites online to help me study.
I eventually came home and studied more. Lots of studying.
I went to sleep. Woke up at 3 am, went back to sleep, and had my dream which is what made today what it’s been.
In the dream, I was with Corey. We were going to go to one of his friend’s houses, someone I didn’t know. I drove my mom’s old car, the one she had for forever, the one I learned how to drive in. I remember in the dream I was supposed to clean it out, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. It wasn’t super bad or gross, but it wasn’t clean either.
Corey and I went to his friend’s house and ended up sitting at a table. Corey’s friend asked him about the new position Corey had recently accepted. Corey talked about it. His friend was super interested and congratulatory.
He turned to me then and asked me what I did.
I told him I was in school for medical stuff since I was changing careers because my mom had died. He said something dismissive like, “Oh. That’s nice,” then went back to talking to Corey like nothing I had said mattered.
I was pissed. Seething. I stayed quiet while they talked like I wasn’t there.
Corey ended up saying something to me like would I mind cleaning the car before we left.
Me: Can you give me a fucking trash bag then?
I didn’t care that I was rude. I was pissed. You can’t be dismissive of me and then ask me to do something for you like I owe you.
Corey’s friend made some comment about wasn’t I over reacting a bit or being rude.
I totally blew up at the faceless stranger in my dream saying that it was rude to be dismissive and unsupportive of someone trying to better themselves and that if he thought my reason for changing careers was lame that he could go fuck himself. I then proceed to walk away.
That’s when I woke up.
I woke up angry and hurt.
I knew today was going to be rough. I still got up and made breakfast even though it took me longer to do than it should have. I took my time showering instead of rushing to make sure I got to class on time.
I didn’t care if I was late. Being late was better than not going at all and with how rough my grief was I wasn’t going to skimp on making sure I was ok. I would get through today, but I would do it at my own pace in my own way and if that meant I was late one time to my class when all we were doing was reviewing I was fine with that.
I actually ended up being on time. Not early like I have been, so I didn’t get time to cross stitch, but I was there five minutes before anything started and didn’t miss any of the review.
After class is when the emotions decided they had been patient enough and that they deserved their time, which is why I went to the park. I cried not so silently. I’m sure it looked like I was emotionally distressed but no one running or biking on the trail that runs along the park stopped or bothered me, which I was actually grateful for. I didn’t really want to explain what I was feeling mostly because I didn’t understand it myself. It was still just a blob of “stuff” in my chest.
I reached out to Chrys and we chatted for a bit. I told her about my dream. I told her about the jobs and how it was frustrating and discouraging to constantly hear no when I wanted things to work the first time.
She told me about her life. It was nice to connect with someone. It was nice to be reminded that life still goes on and four-year-olds still get sick and have to stay home and have endless energy that I’m totally not jealous about missing out on. I messaged my younger brother, too, and told him today was a hard day and that I missed mom and that I guess everyone is right about grief never fully going away. It just feels like it’s been so long since I’ve had a day like this that I had forgotten that I’ll have them.
March 4th is the 11-month mark. The closure it gets to that day the more raw and wounded I feel. March 23rd I scheduled a therapy appointment because that’s the day it all started. That’s the morning I woke up to, “Mom’s in the hospital. The doctor’s don’t think she’ll make it.”
March 23rd marks the two weeks of hell I crawled through, holding mom’s hand every night while I slept in the hospital chair listening to her breathing. And then, eventually, the days will progress to April 4th and I would have survived my first year without mom being here. Physically here.
I keep having to remind myself that it’s only physically that she’s not with me. I know she’s with me spiritually. I felt her Tuesday night while I cried in my car asking her how she did it. I asked her how she held it together all those years and even though I didn’t get an auditory answer I felt her presence around me as if I were being hugged, as if she knew that it was hard for me and that if she could make it better she would.
I don’t want March 4th to come. I don’t want time to keep progressing forward. I was so worried about the holiday season and surviving my birthday and Christmas and New Years. I forgot there were days after those days. Harder days. Days I haven’t let myself think about, but they’re almost here and they’re going to come regardless of if I want them to or not.
I feel like those days are going to be days where my spirit continues in its transformation. Painful, agonizing days where I adjust to reality again. Stark reminders that all those events I have memories of actually did happen. They are real. These dates are significant because they have had such an impact on who I have become since that time.
Jon and I may go to the beach. I know his birthday is going to be hard for him. March 28th. His first birthday without mom. I survived mine. Jason and Jon still have to survive theirs. It’s another first for them so close to the first year. I wonder if it will be harder for them. And I guess there really isn’t “harder”. It’s going to be different for them because they’re different people.
But in this instance, different doesn’t mean better. It doesn’t mean worse, but it doesn’t mean easier, and there’s a part of me who desperately wishes I could take away the pain for them. I wish I could protect them and not have them hurt from the loss of mom.
But I can’t. And not being able to makes me feel helpless. Powerless. I love my brothers and there’s nothing I can do.
A lot of this sucks.
Today isn’t a bad day. There have been positive moments. I’m going to go to the dojo and train. I’m going to study so I can pass my board test next Friday. I’m going to keep moving forward, but right now today is painful.
Right now today is a grieving day where I hurt and no one can take away that wound. No one can heal it or make it not be there. This is a scar, new, red, sensitive, and at the moment it aches as my soul continues to adjust.
I don’t have a name for these days anymore. They’re different than what they used to be, and I think that’s progress. I think this is a positive change. Not necessarily “good”, but healthy and worthy of being acknowledged. It’s frustrating though because I don’t know how to describe it.
Painful feels better than hard. So maybe I’ll go with that until something else presents itself. Something more “right”.
Today is a painful day, and I’m still getting through it.