Today is June 14, 2017. It is the last day of school for this year, and it’s been the worst to get through to this point! I feel like this whole time I’ve been jacked-up on Red Bull: on a constant buzzy high, shaking, making erratic moves, my brain can focus one minute really well, and the next I’m doing something irrational just because it feels good. This is me at home while my two teenagers have had to continue on in their freshman and 7th grade school years after my partner and their Dad died in the beginning of October 2016. I don’t know how my kids managed to put in full days of school, homework, and their sports – they have my full admiration and respect. We have each been affected by his death so differently, and I’ve been trying to keep up with my kids feelings, all the while getting my own shit together in this new, raw existence.
At this time last year, Jon had just celebrated his 54th birthday, and he was putting on a brave face managing his cancer treatments and still working full time. The man never stopped moving. He still considered himself to be getting better, all just a matter of waiting for that clinical trial or the next drug to be approved. His weight had just started to dip. In the cancer world, weight changes can signal many things. At 6’2″, it was always his goal to stay around 195-200 pounds in between chemo weekends that occurred every two weeks. With his wrestling background, it was a training schedule he could wrap his head around. Unfortunately, his right side was bothering him where his original 2013 surgery was located, and we refused to think it was more cancer, only a change in scarring. He was not able to eat as usual, and when he did eat his side would hurt. It was a vicious cycle of his wanting to do something good (eat), but then getting a bad result (pain.) Scans at doctors’ check ups could not identify any specific change, as scarring can mask cancer, and his insides were such a mess. He pressed on, and his weight began staying below 190.
For the past 30 days, I have been taking a grief writing course called Refuge in Grief by Megan Devine. Every day is posted here in my Glog. This writing course kicked my ass with daily writing prompts, and lead me to take a hard look at where I’m at with my life and grief since Jon’s death last October. Just like my kids having finals at the end of their school year, I too, have been working on finishing my course and gaining some knowledge. I learned quite a lot, all the while, real life was going on around me. The writing and real life intertwined, of course, and I’ll summarize for now by saying a few words – I need to calm my tits already! There were times that I was super-stressed and sad all over again in reliving past events and feelings through this writing. It was overwhelming, and my family and friends got a bit worried about me. To all of you I say “it’s okay that I’m not okay!” My grief moments are a part of me, and I appreciate your reading and in general dealing with my highs and lows. Thank you! I hope that now that my kids are out of school and I’m back to posting my own writing prompts as they come to me, I will start feeling more settled. I want to be purposeful in several areas of being a good: mom, daughter, friend, and cyclist! Literally, the bike rides have helped better manage my anxiety, and I love the cycling community! Since we are not moving, the kids and I will start making this house a home together. And I’ve decided that I will just chill on “looking for that person”, but I think it’s funny that I keep “finding” good people out there. I am grateful for these new friendships, and I welcome the laughter and adventure that makes me smile. More of that, yes please! ~Paula