Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Possibly Thinking Too Much

First, I want to say a big thanks to all of you for your condolence messages, here and elsewhere. Hugs, both physical and virtual, have been mighty helpful to me through all of this. No matter the emotional upheaval that can ensue from romantic entanglements (and you know I’ve had plenty of those) it doesn’t come close to losing a parent.

There have been a number of thoughts that have struck me over the last few weeks since Dad’s death, and I am going to share those in this post. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts later, but these are the ones that hit early on and stayed with me.

I was surprised and somewhat amused at something I learned from Mom on the drive to the funeral. As we passed a jogger, I said what I always say, “Run! Run for your life!” Mom told me that Dad never passed a jogger without saying, “He/she must be being chased by somebody.” I found it interesting that, even though different, we both had standard sayings for the passing of a jogger.

I come from a long line of oh-don’t-bother-yourself-about-me types, and I have come to the conclusion that we are just a bit too much that way after Mom told me that she woke to find Dad dead in the wee hours of the morning but didn’t call anyone (including myself or FU) except the hospice nurse until after 7:00 a.m. which she figured was a decent hour for making and receiving phone calls. Really Mom? You didn’t want to bother anybody? Really? Actually, I can kind of see her not calling me as I’m a few hours away and not able to get there very soon, but FU is a few minutes away. I know he would have wanted to go over and sit with her as she waited for the hospice nurse and the funeral home personnel (or whoever it is that comes for the body). But no. She took care of it all by herself and then started making calls once it was acceptably late in the morning. (Though really, if it isn’t a serious situation don’t call me at 7:00 a.m., okay? Thanks.)

This whole oh-don’t-bother-yourself-about-me thing is something I have been dealing with in my therapy sessions with Freud for several months now. He said to me at one point (jokingly), “I do believe if you went to the ER gushing blood from a severed artery, and some guy came in with a possibly sprained ankle, you’d tell the ER personnel ‘no, no I’ll be fine, take care of him first.’” I replied (only half joking), “Well, of course, I could just tie a tourniquet around my arm and wait my turn. I don’t want to be pushy.” And now? I haven’t been to therapy since August. I screwed up, and didn’t get appointments scheduled ahead of time, and he got all booked up for September so I don’t go back until mid-October. Now, some might think that the death of a close family member would be reason enough to call one’s therapist to see if one could get squeezed in for a session without having to wait another month, but not me. Nope. Even though I feel like it might do me some good to talk with Freud I just don’t want to be a bother to him or his office staff by asking for special favors EVEN THOUGH he has encouraged me to do just that in the past when I’ve been going through rough patches. Part of me keeps saying “CALL! You need to talk to someone about this.” The other part says, “Well, you’ve waited this long so you might as well wait until your next scheduled appointment.” I will say that I did call my pastor the morning Dad died, and I did go spend two hours with her that day pouring out my emotions so it isn’t as though I haven’t had someone to talk to although I felt really bad about taking up so much of her time.

W and N were both real torn up over Dad’s death. N’s reaction didn’t surprise me much. Under his tough young teen veneer is a very emotional core. I know this. When he told me, “This is too hard. I can’t live through this.” I was actually prepared. I told him that I understand it feels that way, but that we can and will get through it, that we’ll always miss Grandpa but the pain will not always feel as sharp and the only thing we can do is allow ourselves to feel the pain in order to work our way through to the other side. W surprised me by telling me that he felt that my dad was more of a dad to him than his own ever was. He said his dad was rarely around and seldom did they ever talk. It was the first time I ever heard him say anything about his family that was less than glowing. It took me aback just how much W has grieved and continues to grieve the loss of my dad. I have spent a good deal of time trying to help both N and W through their grief, so much so that I sometimes wonder when it will be my turn to grieve and receive comfort from them, or W at least. In one of my less than stellar moments recently I even said to W, “You know. He was my dad. It would be nice if I could be the one that can be all broken up about for a while instead of the one who has to go around comforting everybody else all the time.”

My concentration level is down to near nothing since Dad died. Also, insomnia has become my constant companion which I’m sure doesn’t help the concentration level. When I do manage to get to sleep I dream wild, vivid dreams like the one a few nights ago where I was doing water ballet and having to perform my first solo. Strange.

I have more thoughts than time right now so I’ll stop. For now. More later. Maybe.


Jeni Angel said...

I am similar in that I always put others ahead of me. In fact, I feel uncomfortable if the focus is on me (and that's what I've been talking about in therapy).

I think, though, it's frustrating when something like this happens because it's one of the very rare times in life when we want someone to put us first, think of how we must be feeling, yet it never seems to happen. And it's baffling because we think "how many times have I been there for? Don't I get just one?"

The thing is, we never ask for anything, always put others first, so they are ill-equipped for this. They don't think about us, because they never have to-we never let them.

TS, I know the phone isn't your thing, but please, please text or email me to talk. I get you.

I love you. I am sending good vibes your way.

Val said...

Yeah I know - I love to play the hero, which makes it awkward when I'd rather play the damsel in distress...
Ditto the offer for ph, TM or email!
Love you honey,