Friday, January 19, 2007

Anxiety


It is Friday morning here. The kids are at school for a half day – it’s the end of the semester. The dog is napping. The breakfast dishes are in the washer.

There is just enough snow on the ground to show where the deer walk their secret, silent paths through the buckthorn and the oaks. The house is silent.

We are settling into the post holiday season that around here means birthdays. J just turned fourteen and K will be seventeen the third week in February. All of these milestones remind me of what has changed since we were doing the same just a year ago. It has not been an easy time for me.

I am seeing a family therapist to work on some of the issues that are bothering, or worrying me. The thing that I am most concerned about is not something that I will go into here other than to say that it consumes a lot of my mental and emotional reserves. Other things that I am hoping to gain from seeing this therapist are to better understand the grief process and to get perspective on how it affects me so that I don’t so much “react” to the environment around me, but with better understanding of my internal “turmoil” I hope to “interact” with the world.

I guess I am seeking more control over my life – something K would certainly see as a negative – stating frequently, and with great distain, that I am already “too controlling” and “need to LIGHTEN UP.” She may be feeling a bit sensitive herself as this is the part of the year when attention to school work and studying begins to really lose its appeal as evidenced by the grades posted on the school districts secure web-site.

I think that we are all a bit anxious right now. Perhaps for different reasons, but it is in the air. My anxiety finds fuel from many sources. This is the tax season and the first one where I will not have my MBA co-pilot sitting next to me. I have contracted with a CPA firm to assist me, but the preparation work is all mine to do. I will be filling out a “shadow” return using our familiar tax software in the hopes that I will be able to do it myself next year when things have settled down a bit.

I am also still struggling in my role as solo-parent. I question myself constantly about my actions. Am I doing enough? Am I too intrusive? Am I supporting enough and in the right places? Am I giving them enough independence so that they will actually learn how to make decisions and grow? Without C to be my “mirror” I feel that I am operating blindly much of the time. Trying to use either K or J for that feedback is like looking into those curvy funhouse mirrors and trying to extrapolate a non-distorted image from that. Doesn’t work very well.

I have people that I can call on to help me with this, but they are mostly living far away and are not here to see or feel the day-to-day interactions that make up our family’s world. It is this sense of isolation that I struggle with and one more thing that I hope this therapist might help me with. I don’t expect her to show me a reflection as much as I hope she can help me with strategies for coping, or point me to resources that can help me learn this new role.

And finally, I need to start cleaning, sorting, separating, and planning for the moving on of C’s things. Some of it will be easy – boxes of junk that she and I accumulated as we lived our lives and moved from one house to the next – the kind of stuff one saves in a junk drawer only to be emptied into a cardboard box on moving day that somehow never quite makes it into the designated junk drawer in the new house. We have several of those.

Harder will be her clothes, her mementoes, the secret things she saved throughout her life whose importance was known only to her. How does one set something like that free? Should I set up a series of card tables and invite her family over to take what they wish? Should I carefully wrap and box it all to be set aside in some secure storage site for someone else to worry about? Should I silently dispose of it while praying for forgiveness? I don’t know, but the need to move through this process is growing in me. My anxiety nibbles at my toes while I dream.

4 Comments:

Blogger lime said...

seems like some of your questions are the ones all parents have anyway but yours are magnified 100x by all the other stressors in life plus by the huge shift of relationships in the wake of C's death. you're wise enough to knwo how to ask for help and where to find it though and although it's likely a very bumpy road i'm sure you'll do well.

if i may be so bold regarding C's things that you want/need to sort through. Once you've determined what you want to keep for you or the children offer the rest to her family. perhaps it could be regarded as a peace offering by her sisters.

11:12 AM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger Sister Spikey Mace of Desirable Mindfulness said...

Lime beat me to it. As long as you and your kids have what you need, that's paramount. If you can stomach it, invite the family over. As one who was completely left out of the memento distribution of my sweetie's stuff, and will have to beg yet again for the one small thing that would mean the most to me and mean nothing to everyone else, I can tell you it's been the source of great pain and sadness to me. If you don't have to, don't be that guy.

As for the anxiety, I hear ya. The acupuncture and the vacation seems to help. Speaking of which, I think I recognize that picture...or at least its cousins further north.

7:10 PM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger Limey said...

yes, without belaboring the point...like sister said....an example was when my grandfather died 4 months after my grandmother. my dad banished everyone from their house then called some guy who carted away everything dad didn't personally want...including things like my grandfather's WW2 uniform. i realize that was dad's reaction to grief. but....ouch.

9:28 PM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger Cheesy said...

P~~ adored the way you described the deer tracks... just lovely visions.
May I share what I did? After about a year, I went thru alot of B's possessions and made a little box for me..stuff that just made me smile and think of him... then a box for each of the kids, things that they made him or I thought they would enjoy later.
Then I just boxed up the rest and took to his family. I let them sort thru and told them to donate anything they didn't want. It made it easier for me to let it go. I didn't have to make the absolute final decision.
Just a thought... hugs...

7:56 AM, January 22, 2007  

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