That was the thought I had ricocheting over and over again in my head as I left the gym today.
I know you’re still here. I know you know all of this. I know you see everything, but goddamnit. This is the only way I can talk to you, other than talking to myself and wondering if I’m crazy. This is one of the few physical things I feel I have to represent our connection. It’s not just words in the air, carried away by the wind, never to be heard again.
This is lasting. This can be printed out and held and hugged and cried on, and so I need to write it even though you know it. I need to make it physical.
It’s worse this year. And maybe worse isn’t the right word. I didn’t understand it as I left the gym. I haven’t understood it every time it feels like I backtrack to square one. What’s different this time is I’ve had time to talk to Jon and Ox and I’ve had time to be home and to read posts online and to try to figure it out because in my head there’s a problem and so I need to find a solution to fix it, only there isn’t a problem according to the internet. It’s normal. Worse is normal even though it’s not actually worse.
The first year you died sucked. It sucked so much mom. Every fucking day. Yet at the same time, it didn’t. I didn’t feel much of anything for the longest time. There wasn’t a point in feeling anything. I was on auto piolet a lot of those days. The only thing I had to do was survive.
I had to eat. I had to drink. I had to care for my body enough for it to not break down. And when I started taking CNA classes I had to study and learn and make good grades. Things I have always been decent at. It didn’t take effort. More auto piolet. Just do what needs to be done. No thinking. No emotion. Just do.
In a way, it was simpler than it is now. I cared about things less. I didn’t worry about a lot of things because I didn’t have the energy to care.
I’m past the survival stage. I’m past learning how to meet my basic needs without you being here. I’ve learned how to wake up with the pain. I’ve learned how to cope with the hard days where I want to break down and cry. I’ve learned how to breathe while I tend to an invisible wound I can’t touch or show anyone.
I’ve done all of that, and so now we’re going into year three. I made it through Mother’s Day. But Saturday is your birthday and goddamnit, I’m back to crying and feeling directionless and hopeless and alone and angry and sad and it sucks.
It sucks worse then it did the first time because the first time was about surviving. It sucks worse than the second year because I was in the middle of training for work and worrying about paying my bills and having a roof over my head and enough gas in the car and food in the kitchen since Warren was a dick and not paying rent. So, really, the second year was still the survival phase for me, maybe moreso than the first because at least in the first year I had the money you left me to cover my needs. It was more about figuring out how to drive to the store without screaming in emotional agony over doing it while knowing that you were dead.
The second year I had to donate plasma just to keep making ends meet. While I still had hard days, I was still more focused on becoming stable. I had to figure out all of my shit for work and not quit because there were a lot of days that I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I had to worry about becoming a stronger member of my team so no one dreaded working with me. I had to figure out how to support two adults on a single paycheck because Warren wasn’t holding up his end of the deal. It wasn’t emotional survival the second year; it was actual survival and I did it.
I moved to Nebraska because I was done figuring out everyone else’s crap. I moved here to take care of me, and I guess this is part of that process. I’ve been stuck in the first year of grieving for two years because for two years I’ve had to worry about survival.
I’m past that now, though, and so now I get to move on to phase two, which are the emotions.
I actually feel the pain this time and so now I have to cope with a whole new aspect of my grief and I guess a lot of people go through this.
There’s the expectation that surviving the first year means it will make coping with the countless additional years easier or more manageable or doable or something. It will be more “something” but painful was never on my list. That’s the reality of my grief over your death, though. I feel the pain more now because I don’t have to put all of my time and effort and energy into merely surviving. I have the energy to deal with the emotional aspect of it all and I almost wish I didn’t because I’m supposed to be doing better. I’m supposed to not cry as much. I’m supposed to be more ok and not have people worry about me or darken their days with my sadness and that’s not what’s happening.
I’ve gained two pounds of muscle and two pounds of fat since my last weigh in two weeks ago.
When my trainer asked how my eating has been going I said I’ve been inconsistent. On my days off I have the tendency to skip breakfast. If I eat breakfast I normally forgo lunch. I don’t eat my snacks like I know I should. Dinner usually happens, but it’s a crapshoot as to when. The days I work are a bit better, but not by much. I’m still not really drinking enough water, though I am doing better than I was last week.
So it’s not that I’m eating poorly, it’s that my body is freaking out and thinking that it’s never going to be fed so it’s holding onto what I do give it. Which, to be fair to my body, it’s not wrong at the moment.
When my trainer asked if I’ve gone to the dojo I said no because I haven’t. When he asked if I’ve gone to the gym near home I said no because I haven’t. Since my race two weeks ago, I haven’t done anything extra. I go to my training and that’s it and even then, I missed one of my sessions because I didn’t want to go.
I don’t want to go anywhere. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to talk to people. I don’t want to pretend to be ok when I’m not. I don’t want to explain why I’m not ok because it’s no one’s fucking business and even if I did, a vast majority of people wouldn’t understand and just feel awkward so it would be a waste of time and energy.
I mean, really, when someone asks you, “What’s wrong?” What are you supposed to say? “Oh, nothing. It’s just that my mom died. It’s cool though. Don’t worry about me. I’ll get over it.” No one is prepared for a super heavy answer like, “My mom died.” That’s not the answer they want. It’s supposed to be something small and manageable like a breakup or a bad day at work. They don’t want a real answer so why give one?
It’s like when people ask, “How are you?” “Fine” or “Ok” or “Good” feel like the only ok answers because 99.9999999999999999% of people are only asking out of social obligation, not because they actually want to legitimately know how you are doing emotionally.
I want to be left alone. I want to be alone. I want to make it through this hard time and I don’t want outside input on how I should or should not be getting through it.
My trainer has goals for me, but I don’t care. My work has expectations of me, but I don’t care. I don’t have goals for me. I don’t have expectations of me.
It’s almost your birthday. Nothing else matters right now. Everything else is insignificant and trivial and meaningless when held against the fact that you’re dead.
I woke up today. I showed up to training instead of canceling again. I need that to count towards something. I need it to matter that I’m trying as much as I am when I don’t have an answer for “What’s the point?”
If none of it matters, if waking up doesn’t count, then why even do it? I showered. I had breakfast. I got dressed and drove like a diligent, responsible adult. I parked within the lines in the parking lot instead of like a douchebag who doesn’t care. I need all of those stupid, small, little things to matter because if they don’t then why bother?
I want to know why there’s more anger now. What is there to be angry at? There wasn’t a drunk driver. There wasn’t malpractice. It was a shitty situation and we’re both doing the best we can now. What good does anger do? Why is it here, within myself? What am I supposed to learn or gain from it? Where is it supposed to go?
All of the posts I’ve read have helped. There was one about loving through separation. All of the posts were things I can relate to. They’re things that I feel now. It helps, knowing that it’s worse in future years for others, too.
It’s not regression. It’s not abnormal. It’s not a fuck up on my part.
The first year is about survival. The other years is about figuring out why you survived in the first place. What was the point of that horrific struggle? You’re still not here. You didn’t magically come back. You’re still gone and I have to go through all of these days all over again, without you, still, and they’re not magically easier because fairy dust doesn’t fix anything, so why? Why go through it all again, and again, and again, and again, and for forever again?
Goddamnit, mom, I wish I had an answer, for you, for me, but I don’t, and that makes me angry and frustrated.
I don’t want it to be your birthday again. I don’t want to not be able to call. I want an address where I can send a card and know that it will reach you and make you smile and feel loved because I still love you so goddamn much it hurts.
I want to be better even though I never will be and I really don’t want to be because that would mean whatever it is we still have will be gone. In a way, I love my grief because it’s you. It’s the result of our connection being changed by your death. If my grief wasn’t there or if it changed or didn’t hurt as much it would mean our connection when you were alive had been different and I would never want to change what we had. I’m ok with my grief because it means I had you in my life for as long as I did the ways that I did.
I’m in another wave, mom. I’m getting through it. At least I think I am. And I think it’s ok that I’m here. I have more hope that I’ll get through it than I did when I left the gym.
I don’t really know what else to say right now. I don’t have answers for you or myself. I guess I just wanted to let you know that what I’m feeling is ok and that I’m angry but I’m not angry at you. I’m sorry that I’m angry. I’m sorry I’m having a harder time than I think I should be. And I’m sorry I put that expectation on myself.
I’m trying to be understanding with myself and after reading the things I have, I think it’s easier for me to do that.
I love you, mom. Forever and for always.
With love ~ Your Angry Dragon