Sunday, February 10, 2013

Opening the Door

I read back over my last two posts and noticed how drastically different my attitude and emotions were from one to the next.  While it's true that I'm still on a roller coaster when it comes to my feelings, I can honestly say there are many more highs than lows now.  I may have periods when I get down and even a little depressed, but these are few and far between compared to four years ago.  I've accepted what happened in my life and adjusted to the changes it caused.  Now I'm at a point where I feel like it's time for some changes of my own choosing.  The problem is I'm not sure what it is I want to change.  I love my family, friends, and my children at school, but I have to wonder ... Am I ready for a different job?  Do I want a new house?  Do I need to move to a new town so I can have a fresh start?  It could be one of these.  It could be all of these.  It could be none of these.  I haven't figured that out yet.  I just know I feel the need for change.

I've also been contemplating whether it's time to change my attitude about the possibility of a relationship in my life one day.  Sometimes I think I'm ready and want that again, but as soon as the thought enters my mind I get scared and slam the door shut on the idea.  I've had people tell me the only way to find out is to take the chance.  Others have told me it's not worth the risk.  I value the advice of my family and friends and respect everyone's right to their own opinion.  But I know ultimately I am the only one who can make these decisions, and hopefully I'll recognize if and when the time is right.  I came across a poem recently by Shel Silverstein that seemed to reinforce my thinking ...

"There is a voice inside you
That whispers all day long,
'I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.'
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend,
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you -
Just listen to the voice that speaks inside."

I've been told by others that I think too much - that I overanalyze everything I say and do - and maybe they're right.  Sometimes I wish I could be a little more spontaneous, even a little bit of a risk-taker.  When Trey graduated from high school I gave him a cd of Lee Ann Womack's I Hope You Dance.  I told him that was my wish for him as he began his adult life.  I've listened to that song again and wonder if now it's time for me to apply the words to myself ... "I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance; never settle for the path of least resistance.  Living might be a chance but it's worth taking.  Loving might be a mistake but it's worth making.  When you get the choice to sit it out or dance - I hope you dance." 

I know this isn't the time of year to make any major decisions, so I'm not planning to do anything right now.  It's even possible that some or all of these feelings will go away in time, though I really doubt they will.  In the meantime, I'll keep trying to figure things out and work on slowly opening my doors just a little.

"Each and every day is a given choice.  To start over, move forward, or change directions all you have to do is decide." ~author unknown

I Hope You Dance video

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

It's That Time of Year

Four years ago this month my mother went into the hospital for what was supposed to be a routine appendectomy.  She came out with a diagnosis of cancer.  Six weeks after her diagnosis, following a long battle with alcoholism, my husband took his own life.  To say this is not my favorite time of year is putting it mildly.  I prepare myself as much as possible for these upcoming anniversaires each year.  I try to stay busy and focused on other things.  But the thoughts are always there lingering in the back of my mind, and I know they will eventually come forward.  Sometimes I can tell when they are about to surface, so I do what I can to brace myself.  But at other times they come crashing in without warning and knock me for a loop.  That's exactly what happened this past weekend.  Things were going along very smoothly, and I thought this year was going to be different, maybe even easier.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  Without warning, all of the memories and feelings associated with this time of year hit and hit hard.  I have no idea what caused them.  Was it a song on the radio or a picture I came across?  Was it a sound or a smell?  Was it a trip to the gym or to a particular restaurant?  Was it something someone said?  I have no idea.  I just know it happened, and this time I wasn't prepared. 

Although I wasn't prepared for this to hit when it did, I at least recognized it for what it was - a "grief spasm" - which I have written about before.  According to the book Experiencing Grief by H. Norman Wright a grief spasm is "a normal, sudden, unexpected, upsurge of the emotion grief," and the best way to handle this out-of-control feeling is to "acknowledge it and wait for it to end."  I'm not sure how well I handled it this time, but at least I didn't go completely off the deep end.  I'm sure I said some things I shouldn't have said, did some things I shouldn't have done, went out when I should have stayed home, stayed home when I should have gone out, spent too much time alone, or spent too little time alone ... who knows ... there is no right way to handle it.  All I know is that as quickly and unexpectedly as it hit, it ended in much the same way.  For almost three days I felt as if I had gone back in time to when this all started.  I questioned everything and everybody in my life.  At one point I wanted nothing more than to pack up and run away so the memories couldn't find me.  I even went so far as to tell my son that I wanted to move someplace new where I could start my life over.  I didn't do anything drastic though, and on the third night it was as if someone flipped a switch, and I was okay again.

I doubt very seriously this was the only one of these episodes I'll have this time around.  After all, I still have the anniversary of the events in March to go through.  I can hope though that maybe it just came early this year and won't come again.  If it doesn't I'll be extremely grateful.  But if it does I know I'll get through it just as I have every time before.  And in the meantime, I'll try not to drive others crazy, scare anyone with my wild ideas, or run off to another country to live!

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do." ~Eleanor Roosevelt