don’t want to go to sleep

Tomorrow is the first of 9 days away from work.  It is so much needed that it almost makes me dizzy to think of it.  I have so much studying to do that I think about how quickly the days will pass and I’m bummed.  Then again, I’ll be with my small fries.

I can’t beat that.

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small stuff…

I’ve written several blogs and deleted them or abandoned them in the ether of my storage on here.  Some days I really want to write, but can’t find the words that feel true.  Other days I just don’t have it in me to put another word down.  Then I thought perhaps I’d just start small, let out a little and see how it goes.  Now I’m not so sure.  Too many thoughts pinging in my head perhaps?  Or too many worries niggling away at what little motivation I have.

One of the other financial aid counselors is leaving and what is high pressure and stressful already will get much, much worse.  I still keep seeing Marcus everywhere.  Like some ghost memory and yet, when I look at his picture, I still don’t feel like it’s real.  I am suffering in my statistics class, barely able to keep my brain together long enough to push through the formulas and kind of get it right.  So when I scored 100% on the quiz last night, I didn’t know what to think about it.  The house is a mess and our little guy is sick.

The tension in my teeth is a permanent companion now.  I’d say friend, but the headache that goes hand in hand with the pressure in my jaw seems to undercut it.

Maybe none of this really makes sense and I know it’s random and scattered.  That’s how I feel these days.  I haven’t slept well in a week.  Of course, I don’t sleep well at the best of times, so perhaps it would be more factual to say that I haven’t slept enough in a week.

So that’s as much as I can muster.  I brought work home this evening and dabbled through a portion of it.  Now I’m deciding it’s time to give up, get some sleep and perhaps make it through another day tomorrow.

How quickly can November leave?

the kindness of others

I am completely in awe about all the wonderful posts people have placed on Marcus’s FB page.  How odd that social networking is allowing my sister in law to let all of the friends and family know what is happening without having to make endless painful calls.  And we are able to share stories and even view the infamous video of him singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” in high school.  I know that he would be very happy to share it with all of us who didn’t get to experience first hand all those years ago.  It brought the biggest smile to my face and seemed to shine a light on what I most want to feel now – happiness that we were family, even for a brief bit of history.

My boss and I talked about the reality behind grieving – that in a way we aren’t sad so much for the person who has gone as we are for the hole that has left in our lives.  I’m sad for my sister in law.  I’m sad for our family… for his family… for his friends… for my boys.  I’m sad that family dinner will not be the same with his humor gone and I know that hole will never be filled, because we aren’t him.

I’m sad for him, too, because he had a lot of life left to live.  He so much did not want to leave Colleen.  He had things he still wanted to do and he had times when he was incredibly scared, knowing that suddenly old age was an unlikely future for him.  Today I had to stop and think of how they did have a great life together.  Yes, it was too short, no matter how you add it up or quantify it.  I really think that what they had was great.  He loved and was loved.  He has so many people who miss him deeply.  That is a life that was well worth living.

I’m not good with death.  Maybe that’s a weird thing to say because, really, who is good with death?  I know it is a part of everything – that as I age, this will happen more and more – still I am not good at understanding it.  I’m not a religious person, although I feel some spiritual leanings when I consider the whole of nature.  I don’t subscribe to the concept of some organized, structure religion, so I don’t have that to lean on during times like these.  Losing someone who is loved leaves so many more questions.  I wonder if I won’t question right up to the end?

I miss him.  I miss the person he was.  I miss the love that he shared.  I miss the stories and the random moments of song.  I miss how he could easily crack himself up.  I miss his times of irritation when my sister in law was sick and she needed her mom, yet how he loved her so incredibly much.

So even though I don’t have some organized basis for saying this, I will put this out there into the electronic ether for him:

Bless him and keep him.  I hope there is something wide, wonderful and beautiful waiting for our energies when we pass too.  And I hope that all of us find that place together, for more laughter and song.

grief doesn’t seem to follow rules

I’ve been having internal arguments (and some that I extend out and ask Todd about).  How do you pin down and quantify how much you’re “allowed” to grieve?  Is it wrong to want to begin healing and finding a way back to some sense of rightness – because everything feels so wrong right now?  Why does moving on and finding something to smile about feel like a betrayal of him, when he really loved to make us smile and laugh?

Why did I sit at my keyboard, unsure if I should report that I wouldn’t be in to work tomorrow or just toughen up and go in?

Why was he alone and was he scared?  Was he mad?

Todd keeps it all quiet and inside, so I’m just trying to figure things out in my own way.

When is too young to die and when is it just “life”?  Is almost 15 years of marriage enough?  What about 20 – 30 – 50?  Is it easier when someone is terminal or really elderly?  What about frailty?  What will the autopsy say?  Did he suffer (and I can’t stop thinking that it’s probably yes, no matter if it was physical or if it was the fact that he couldn’t hold her again)?

Why do I feel like I want to hide from sympathy and want to yell at the world that it isn’t fair?  I’m not the one who needs the sympathy and support.  I am a supporting character in all of this.  I’m dreading work, but I need to get back in there and put that face on everything – get back to the routine of doing all things and making that paycheck.

How is she going to be able to figure things out and keep moving?  I know she will.  Logic says that she’ll do it, that she’ll pull together the pieces of her heart and each day will pass and she’ll keep doing what she needs to do.  One by one, the milestones will fall down – one day, one week, one month, the first family holiday, their anniversary, then his birthday and Christmas, and a year, then more.  It won’t feel like it’s getting a bit better, though.  Not for a long, long time.

I don’t want to place this thing on her – the permanent assignment of grieving widow.  I want to be able to give her what she needs from us and I don’t understand what it is.  I’m simply no good at this.

What do I say?  What do I do, when there’s nothing I can really do?

And I miss him.  Not in that “see him every day” kind of way… but in that “family dinner” way that we’ve had over the years.  13 years of us being family.  It’s kind of tiny, isn’t it?

We gave him a season of “Arrested Development” for his birthday one year.  It always seemed perfect, given his sense of humor.  It cracked us up when we were in the store, just thinking about them watching it and laughing.  He tried the Brussel Sprouts Jones Soda one year, during a holiday dinner.  It smelled awful, but he was game and tried it anyway.

After the first surgery that took 1/3 of his stomach, he showed us the staples.  I wanted to make him something yummy – like a roast turkey milkshake – so he would be able to enjoy it with us again.  I did the math, back then in April, and thought about the odds and how I wondered if he’d make it to see his birthday.  Then I started to truly believe he was beating it because we were outside the daily living of it.  He was a big guy, with a tummy that jiggled when he laughed (usually at the end of one of the crazy stories he was telling us).  Last week we heard that he’d gain a pound up from 135.  It struck me that he was so thin, but it was such a wonderful thing to hear that he’d gained weight.

We didn’t visit because we were sick.  And that sounds so feeble now.  What a stupid reason.  When someone’s white blood cell count is bad and infection is dreaded, it seems smart, doesn’t it?

I look at the pictures of them together and every single one is smiles.  Every one.  Even here in the last week.

Where does that energy go?  There is the law of conservation of energy.  Where does it go?  How can you be a smiling, loving human being one minute and gone the next?

I don’t understand.

what do I do?

I feel so helpless.  There is nothing we can do to help my sister in law, to ease her pain.  I find myself talking to Marcus, asking him to give me some idea of what to do to provide her comfort.  He loved her so much.  His final act showed that he loved her beyond the pain.

Her heart is broken.  I can’t make it all better.  We can hug her.  We can be there, sharing in the memories and the laughter over all the humor that made Marcus who he was.  It just doesn’t feel like enough and every time I try to figure out what to do, I only feel all the more lost.  Nothing seems like enough.

It all seems so unfair.  Even worse?  All the news coverage about it.  I wish they would just stop.

Live and Laugh

This will be brief, then I’m going to go love on my family.

My brother in law passed away this morning.  He lost the battle with stomach cancer, but he NEVER gave up and NEVER gave in.  I know he was scared.  I know my sister in law wanted to tell the cancer to get lost.

We will miss him so much.  He told us all to live and don’t put things off… don’t expect that there is time in the future.  He loved Colleen so much and she returned that love with all of her being.

That’s what makes this life worth living.

kick me when I’m down.

I was given poor information by the advisor a short while ago.  No, I do not have 5 classes left after the one I’m in…  I have 6.  The class that I was worried about is not eligible to be counted.

At the rate I’m going, I’ll be starting my degree over again within a month or two because things will keep cropping up.

I thought I’d be more upset about this, but really?  How can I be?  Upset won’t change the facts and so I’ll be retaking the one poor grade on my transcript for this degree and it’ll make me look better anyway…  in a strictly academic sense, of course, since this degree has added about 30 lbs to my “round” frame.

I really don’t feel kicked.  In some odd way, I think I knew this in the back of my conscious brain and I was waiting for it.  Now I have to figure out how I want to work this.  I still want to graduate in 2011 and it can happen, only now it will be December.  That sounds nice, don’t you think?  A lovely Christmas present to myself and my family – graduation.

I was working with one of my co-workers today and it was lovely, helping her to learn about what a student goes through when they come to university.  She’s never attended university and here she is, working in a university financial aid office.  I think she’s perfect for our office – nice, friendly, mellow and very, very conscientious.  She is concerned that she won’t be able to pick up everything.  I want her to know that I believe in her 100%.  She can do this.  Time will pass and she’ll come to understand all the bits and pieces.  When she was hired, the PTB (powers that be) neglected to factor in orientation and training about the university itself.  And she has been struggling a bit with things that the rest of us (grizzled) long-time students take for granted.

So I’m changing that.  And she might register for a class.  Yay!!  I think I veered off too much into personal stuff while I was walking her through everything, but I wanted her to have a feel that life happens while our students are in school.  That’s just how it is.

I’m sending out this wish into the ether – please don’t let her give up and please help the PTB understand that over the long term, she’s a great investment.  kthx

Well, I’m heading to bed.  I’m tired and I’m still noodling over Bren’s parent-teacher conference tonight.  I’ll miss his teacher when he moves on to a new grade and classroom next year.  I feel like we’ve come through a huge part of Bren’s growth and development with her.  She truly is the best.

good night to all who might be haunting the ‘net this evening,
moonfire