Highs and Lows
To have a high you must have a low and to have a low you must have a high. This makes sense however it totally sucks. This is a similar post to the one I have which is “What goes up must come down” but it is a little different.
You see the other day I was “on fire” to quote Alicia Keys. I was feeling organized. I had accomplished a few things that were lingering and causing me stress. Once I had those done I felt like I could fly. A feeling I haven’t had in a VERY long time. I would say around 2 years. We found out we were pregnant in February of 2011 and although one of the happiest days of our life it is definitely when things changed. I was tired and up to the other day I have felt some kinda of exhaustion that just put me out of my game. Out of my norm. Up until 10 months ago I was OK with the new norm but 10 months ago it felt like any hope of me feeling “good” again was just going to either not happen or take a long time. That comment alone was depressing. The whole time I was having this amazing feeling I could hear in the back of my head…watch out Lyss…don’t let yourself hit bottom from this…and then I hit bottom.
Nothing particularly bad happened I just hit bottom. What goes up must come down. As I said to one friend…”I can feel myself slipping”.
I have been trying to figure out how to fix this. How can I “stay” happy. How can I set cruise control at the “good” feeling.
I am reading a book through a book club at work called “The Clean Coder”. In a nutshell it talks about professionalism in the Information Technology(IT) discipline. In IT we have to give estimates on how long we think work will take us. It ends up being such a big stress on most of us because once you give an estimate…people expect you to be right…to keep that exact original estimate. So some people try to work harder when things happen and you realize your original estimate isn’t what is true anymore…some work overtime to try and still meet the originally set estimate. You say “I will try to still make the estimate”…or “Yes!…I will make the deadline” (even though you know realistically it just won’t happen) and we exert extra energy to do so. We get exhausted and we get sloppy…we write crap code and/or crap tests. You may be asking…OK Alyssa…that is all good but how does that apply to your life. Let me explain…
Maybe if I put realistic expectations on myself…maybe that will help me stay happy consistently. If I set a goal for myself and life happens and I’m unable to meet my goal…I should be able to move the date right? I should give myself slack. Now keep in mind…this is ME we are talking about. I do not like to disappoint anyone, especially myself. I am my worst critic and I am harder on myself then ANYONE could ever be. I am also very stubborn. (those in the peanut gallery can keep their mouths shut thank you ;-)) I have yet to think about how I am going to do this and keep this mentality because this is ME we are talking…*shiny object!!!!*…yes I get distracted easily.
Jay was the reader of the family. He read all the time. I think it helped calm him…plus he loved to learn things…he loved to know what he was talking about. He was very hard to argue with because he was almost always (sorry honey…can’t give you all credit) right…or atleast you could not argue because his answer was logical. He made friends with almost everyone he came in contact with and I think alot of that is because he knew alot of things. He was well versed in many topics. It was one thing that I loved about him. So maybe I’m on to something. I’ve started to read more for the work book club and just to learn more and it seems to calm me. If I’m calm I can think…If I can think I can focus…and if I can focus I feel good. Well there you go folks…I think I got it. Thanks for “listening”…now let’s see if I can put this to practice.
I think I have said before that since May 9th I am attached to my phone. Prior to that Jay would say I already was attached but since May it has been a different attachment. It is my communication with the outside world. It is essential I have it with me at all times because if Aaron is sick or in trouble and not physically with me, I am the only one to take responsibility. I need to be able to be reached. In the same regard it makes it the scariest thing I carry with me daily. Memories from May 9th are attached to the phone. Not the exact one I have now…like many things from that day and prior, it has been switched out.
Yesterday morning after I dropped Aaron off at daycare I called to talk to my mom. I was talking to her about something and then without any warning my mind switched to May 9th…when I called my mom to tell her I was on my way to the hospital because Jay fell. As I have told people before and maybe blogged here…when I got the phone call I knew something was very wrong and I expressed that to my mom as I drove to the hospital. She told me (like a good mom would) to concentrate on getting to the hospital safely, that if something bad had happened Aaron still would need his mom. I love my mom because she was right and I truly believe that statement alone is one that got me through those initial hours of questions, answers and deep grief that I dealt with and felt. It may also be why when my mom and dad got to our house and I walked up to her I literally fell into her arms. I never knew that feeling of just falling into someones arms until that day. I needed my mom as much as Aaron needed his. But I digress.
After I got to the hospital and was aware of the situation I called my mom to tell her Jay had died. Her response…like many was…”No Alyssa…No No NO! I don’t believe you! It can’t be true!” For some reason, this morning I went back to that conversation. The emotions flooded back and it felt like a conversation I had just had. I felt weak…I was scared and apologies to my mom, I couldn’t talk to her anymore.
These flashbacks need not have warning and that is what makes them so hard to handle sometimes. I honestly wish there was a way to control them but like many things in life, there is no control so it is best to not even try.
Now or Later
A friend said something to me the other day that got me thinking. Paraphrased he said that it was good I was going through the emotions now…it would pain me now or pain me later…but it would pain me nonetheless so I may as well work through it now.
I’ve heard more people say that as I have gone through my grief, it has brought people back to their loss…to their grief. The loss of Jay has brought back the feelings they once had. Do you know how scary that is? This pain I feel sucks. I don’t want to relive this over and over. This feeling of loss sometimes shakes me to my core. I don’t want this raw feeling of pain to hit me every time someone loses their husband…family member…or friend. I’ve done it once…that was enough.
So how do I try and make this pain dull. How do I make it so that I don’t relive this pain over and over. My only answer is to work through it. To blog it. To face it head on and not let it “die” inside of me. This itself is not easy but nothing in life is right? I think that is what my friend is saying. I’m working through it now so later it isn’t as bad. I just hope and wish I can work through it enough now to make it easier later.
I thought for sure after Jay died that he would come to me in my dreams. Tell me things that he wanted me to know…that I needed to know. To be honest…I wish he would come to me and tell me three things…1) how to fix the satellite tv in our bedroom 2) his password to the main computer and 3) how much he loves and misses us.
#1 and #2 are really the ones I don’t already know…#3 I know…but I wish I could hear him say it. I wish I could see his eyes light up as he talked about how much he loves Aaron…how much he loves me.
Unfortunately as much as I try to dream him into my dreams it doesn’t work that way. In fact it is just the opposite I think so I try not to dream about him in hopes he comes to me instead. This afternoon while Aaron and I were taking a nap…I think he did just that.
There were no words to describe it…just a feeling that he was there. Aaron and I had fallen asleep in the chair. In my dreams…”someone” had come close to the chair and kissed us both on the head and kind of hugged us. It felt SO real. I woke up and I was calm…happy even. It felt good. It felt right. At the time I didn’t really think about “who” it was, I was just enjoying the feeling. And then as I sat there it hit me. As I came to the realization I panicked and I wanted to remember more of my dream. Did he tell me something? Did he leave us a message? All I remember is him kissing our heads and feeling a hug. I miss his hugs. They always grounded me. I always felt better after a hug from him. They calmed me.
As I read those last 3 words I typed, maybe that is exactly what he intended to do. Calm me. In his own special way say “Lyss…calm down…it will all be OK…I promise”. Interesting.
Times have changed
I am awake at 1:30 in the morning. I am sitting in my bedroom as Aaron sleeps in my bed all cuddled up and snoring. For the first time in a long time I am unable to sleep. Not one of those “I’m tossing and turning in bed cannot sleep” but “I am wide awake cannot sleep”. Maybe I cannot sleep because I know I have a busy week in front of me. There are many moving parts to my week that at the moment are making me anxious. Some of these things are minor…others are pretty big. Let’s see if I can get them all out of my head.
Trash…I forgot to get the trash out to the curb last night. The garbage man doesn’t come until the morning but my mornings are so crazy with Aaron to begin with. I would go do it right now but my bedroom is right above the garage and I would rather keep a sleeping baby then get the garbage off my list. This just means I have to remember tomorrow morning. Anyone who has a baby in the house knows that it is essential to get the garbage out each week.
The house…We are going on week 6 of the first floor renovation. We are starting the “fun” phases of the renovation this week so that is good. I am ready to have my kitchen back. And yes to those who have asked…I am actually going to cook. If this experience has taught me anything is that cooking at home is a good thing.
4 day work week…these 4 words together put a smile on my face. I am really hoping daycare is still open on Friday since I have the day off from work. If so…I can either choose to be very productive with the day and do stuff around the house, etc or I can sleep. Maybe I will try to do both.
Aaron…The allergic reaction on Friday was enough to exhaust me for the whole weekend. The mothers gut instincts kicked in and I just knew that we were not dealing with croup. As he struggled to breath the one thought that kept going through my mind was…”I cannot lose you, Aaron.” I feel that is part of being a mother but I go there right away because I have already lost so much and to lose anything else right now…especially Aaron may just send me over the edge. I’m scared at what this allergic reaction means…what it will add to our lives.
Easter…Jay and I always just did our own thing on Easter. It was nice. As with all the holidays we are doing something a little different this year. I am excited and scared at how I will handle it.
There…now I should be able to sleep right? HA! I just thought of a topic I want to do all on its own so this one is done…on to the next.
Life goes on
Yep…Life goes on…with or without people it goes on. Your life can totally suck donkey but it goes on. People still get married…they get divorced…people still have babies…and get pregnant…people still have parties…and have good times. You may have imagined doing one or all of these things with the person that died but the truth of the matter is you don’t get to…but others do…because life goes on.
I can’t change that others lives go on…it is how the world and life works. Nor should I…I mean seriously to tell others…don’t get married…don’t get pregnant…don’t enjoy life…how selfish is that??? Now I would be lying if I didn’t say in those early days…ok let’s be real…quite often when I see someone post on FB or hear news of happiness for someone I want to say…don’t do that…I’m sad…my life changed…I’m mad…you shouldn’t live your life. I’ve said it many times in my head. And every time I think it I catch myself and I think “wow Alyssa…stop it…not everyone is in your situation…don’t put them there.” But its not easy because I’m lonely…I’m sad…and I am pissed off and damnit everyone else should be too. Perspective has left the building…let me get him back a sec and then I will continue.
I have an amazing support group…my family is always there for me and my friends are the best people in the world. They help me out…take me out…go out with me…listen to me…calm me and yet I am lonely. How can that be you ask? Because when I go to bed…I am alone, my other half is gone. My best friend no longer cuddles to me…I can no longer cuddle to him…he is gone. All of the thoughts that I don’t dare tell my famly and friends…I could tell Jay and now he is gone. The person that gave me so much strength in my life is physically gone and yet my life goes on…others lives go on.
This is not intended for those around me to stop posting stuff on FB…please do not take it that way…or for people to stop telling me good things going on in their life. Because the reality is…life goes on as it should. This blog is meant for you to begin to understand the thoughts that go through my head…through those that grieve as I grieve. It is hard…there is no other way to put it, but I will make it through and live on because that is what Jay wants.
The silent cry
In the last 10 months I have gotten really good at crying quietly. The reason this comes to mind today is I did it yesterday after I received something in the mail from Wells Fargo.
It started with Aaron…because when I would cry and I was holding him he would start to cry. It would break my heart. The last thing in the world a mommy wants to do is make her baby cry. Unfortunately I have not figured out a way for Aaron not to hear and/or feel my body’s reaction to crying because if I am holding him and silently crying he can still feel it and he cries. I love the tenderness of my little boys heart.
But in the situation of yesterday, I grabbed the mail as we got home. We were still in the car so Aaron was in the back seat. While we were still in front of the mailbox I opened up the letter from Wells Fargo. I was on the phone with my mom at the time as well…and as I read the letter I quickly told my mom I had to go and then we sat there for awhile and I cried…silently. Aaron was jabbering to himself so he was occupied. I could be sad and noone was the wiser.
At work, as far as I know, I am pretty darn good at crying without anyone knowing. I will read something…or a thought will cross my mind and it can so easily set me off. I can have tears rolling down my face and to my knowledge no one really knows. I am sure to an extent the people around me can figure it out but I don’t make a scene and that is important to me. I don’t want pity. I don’t want attention. But I can’t help but be sad. I can’t help but need to cry…even if at the time I am silent.
He is the one man that is ALWAYS on my mind. I hate leaving him at daycare but I love picking him up. I look in the window at daycare when I am picking him up and if he sees me I get to see this most amazing smile come across his face. He is such a cool little dude. He is the one person in my life that I know will always love me. I have made it my lifes mission to remind him every chance I get that I will always love him and he is the most important person in my life.
I cringe thinking about the day I have to explain where his daddy is and what happened. The thought of having that conversation makes my stomach turn. I remember one of the first things my dad and brother said to me in those first days after Jay died and it was “Don’t worry Alyssa…we will help you teach Aaron everything he needs to know.”
Jay and I always said that my brother would be the one to teach Aaron how to fish and my dad would teach him how to golf. Jay would teach him everything else he needed to know to be a good man. Every day I fight with how I can do that since Jay isn’t here to do so. I can only hope Jay is helping me and guiding me in what he envisioned for Aaron.
Aaron will be different than many of his little friends. I will be different than many of his little friends mommies. I don’t want to be different. I don’t want him to be different. But the reality is that we are.
June 7th, 2012…I drop Aaron off at daycare…I drive up 86th Street and make it to work. I’m driving Jay’s Rav because after May 9th I didn’t want to be in the drivers seat of the Camry. Being driven in it was OK but even then it felt like the car of death. You see that was the car I drove to the hospital on May 9th. That was and will be the last time I ever drive that vehicle.
4 weeks after Jay’s death…in those 4 weeks I had done so much…so many things I never thought I would have to do. I wrote thank yous…I filled out life insurance paper work….I woke up…better yet…I got out of the chair. (because I had not been back up to our bed yet) The Pastor at the funeral told me that I should not go back to much earlier than 4 weeks after Jay’s death but that if I went much more than 4 weeks I was denying reality. In true Alyssa form…I went 2 days prior to it being a “month”. No use in denying reality right?
I felt “OK”…I felt if I could send an email to my co-workers (which I did) explaining that I was back but that I didn’t want any questions about the situation I would be OK. I got in the elevator at work…I got off on 3rd floor. I walked to my desk…got my laptop out of my bag and logged in. I sent the email to my department and thought…”I can do this”. I can’t remember exactly how long I lasted that day…I think it was 3 hours. I cleaned out my email…caught up on stuff…and then the realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I would never get an email from email@example.com ever again. Email…that is what took me down on my first day back to work. I felt miserable…I was embarrassed…I felt like I was being crazy. I went home early that day. Then I got to thinking…ever since Jay and I worked at different companies, we almost always sent each other a “good morning” email. It was just something we did. It was our little way of saying “Made it to work ok…have a great day…I love you”. Just like I couldn’t sleep the night of May 9th…did I really expect to go back to my normal routine at work and just be “OK”.
Some of Jay’s co-workers…his friends…will read this and go…”OH…this makes sense now” as they read this next part. Those in Information Technology jobs will love how I relate my job to my life…
I am a software tester…I try to break software written by a software developer. I went to school to be a software developer…computer information systems degree…basically a computer science degree without calculus…because calculus is stupid. LOL! Back to the story…I try to break software code…but the developer in me likes to analyze the defect I find so I can help the developer fix it. Its a sickness. 🙂
So back to the real story is that I saw this problem of not getting an email from Jay as a defect in code…but I was going to fix it I just had to figure out how. Easy…I will email his co-workers…they will never have the jay.h.taber part to the email address…BUT it is a @wellsfargo.com email address. Defect fixed…tested and closed. I often think this same mindset is why I am able to go back to see Jay’s co-workers. It is a part of Jay I don’t want to lose. And lucky for Aaron and I, our wellsfargo “family” has been wonderful to us…without them I would be lost.
Usually when I blog I have a title before I start. I warn you that today, I have no title as I start the blog. That means complete randomness out of this head of mine. To be fair that is kinda how my brain works anyway and how I talk so let’s see what happens.
This past week I worked really hard on cleaning out Jay’s office. My “new” office. I have to tell you that hasn’t been easy. I have had to keep reminding myself that he isn’t coming back. That it is OK to put his stuff in a box and look through it later. That if I don’t know what a specific cord does to just put it in a box and figure it out later. I have opened up the doors to my new office and kept them open. Aaron isn’t quite sure what to do but is LOVING sitting on one side of the french door (that has a window in it) and having me or anyone for that matter on the other side looking at him and him smashing his face against the window part and laughing. It is so amazing to hear Aaron laugh and enjoy life. I have kept the office doors shut since May 9th just because I wanted to keep the smell that was in there. The more I am actually physically in the office the closer I feel to Jay so I guess I don’t necessarily need the smell. I purchased a new book shelf for the room and so the other day I moved the one that was in there to the first floor. I had a friend over but at first I was determined to get the shelf to the first floor all on my own. I could have…but it was nice (and MUCH easier) to have her help.
Doing things on my own…by myself…that has to be one of the hardest things to get used to the past few months. Yes I have Aaron but that is not the same. There are times that I wish I could be irresponsible or a better way of saying it is care free. I wish I had Jay right here to talk to. I miss his work stories…I miss his over-reactions on certain things…I miss always being in the know on current events. OK…maybe I don’t miss being in the know…I miss Jay telling me things…teaching me things.
Yesterday was kind of a sad day. Nothing specifically made it sad, I just spent alot of it looking back. As I thought back and looked at everything that has changed it was a little overwhelming. All of the obstacles Aaron and I have had to overcome. I look back at how much I have changed as a person. I have done so many things that I NEVER thought I would have to do… learn…decide by myself. I have changed.
I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize myself. I look different…I feel different. You might say that is just part of the process…the journey…it was inevitable and this may be true. That said, it doesn’t mean that I like what I see…or how I feel. I struggle daily with how I see myself and how I feel. I will go as far to say that minute by minute I struggle. I look at myself and say…”What the hell Alyssa?”…A thought will cross my mind and I say “Really Alyssa????”
I am not the same person I was on May 8th. I am different. And maybe some day I will learn to be OK with that.