Currently not the me I will be~

It’s disturbing.   Perhaps someday I’ll look back on this particular aspect of grief and find humor in it but as of this moment, it’s anxiety provoking.

Fireman Nick and I are on our way to Key West FL from Connecticut and as I drove yesterday I happened to glance at the mileage indicator which caused me to flip up the visor to see when Pink Magic is due for an oil change (which I wisely prepaid upon purchase).  Which caused me to exclaim loudly “Fuck!” as I realized I’m 2000 miles overdue.  Which sent me into anxiety when I considered our tight travel schedule over the next couple days before arriving at our destination and the more than likely unavailability of a Ford dealership being convenient and available.

Grief.   It’s a physiological happening, among everything else,  and I’m seeing it play out viciously in my life.   I’m keenly aware of it and strive to counteract it but my efforts fail miserably in all directions.

The forgetfulness is rampant.  My brain synapses are clearly misfiring and it would be almost fascinating to me if it weren’t, as I said, anxiety producing.

I know I need to get oil changes on the car every 5000 miles.  I’ve had one done since I bought Pink Magic and a tiny note is penned in the upper left corner of the windshield to remind me of the next one.  Somewhere I also wrote a note as a further reminder.  Here’s the thing.  I don’t even remember where I was when I got the first one done, or where the paperwork is from it.  Probably in my files.  I know where my files are at least but the physical and mental effort involved in searching inside of the files for the paperwork is beyond me.  And pointless really-why make the search?  Bottom line is, I need to make an appointment post-haste for the next one.  Which requires figuring out where we’ll be for a long enough period of time to get the car unhitched from my T@b trailer to get it into the shop.  I won’t bore you with the mental energy required to get that all in place.

I could be, and some part of my brain is, in awe of how this grief is playing out in my brain.  At some point far in the future, when I care again about such things, and if such a thing could be done, I’d be interested in seeing a live-action shot of my human brain, highlighting in bold colors what happens to the brain when the person it belongs to is in survival mode.  All I can imagine now is a snow globe being shaken furiously up and down and back and forth unceasingly.  That’s a much more gentle picture than it feels but it’s a start.  Possibly.

Phone calls.  So many loving, supportive people (and I’m blessed with many) check in on me and I love and need those phone calls and I make a mental note to myself and save the calls so that I can return them.  Then forget to check my calls so that I can return them.  Or I forget to call in the first place until the name of the friend/family I want to call places front and center in my mind and I want to call them but it’s the wrong time or I have no emotional energy so I don’t call right away and then I forget to call until their name places again.

Emails, notes, cards (when snail mail can reach me).  I read them, make a note to myself to call or  write in return and promptly have no idea where I put them, even if I put them in a place where I won’t forget them, or, in the case of emails, forget to go back to them.  Yes, you say, send an email immediately in response.  That sounds like something the old me would have done.  This me, which is not the new me, it’s just the me I am currently, stares at you blankly as you suggest that, acknowledges your very obvious solution and mentally folds up at the energy required to immediately respond to any communication and, oh yes, also promptly forgets the conversation in which you offered that very obvious solution.

As I’ve traveled from California after Handsome Husband’s death, a trail of sometimes cherished belongings have been left behind.  It has often taken me months to realize I’ve lost whatever was lost, then another thought to acknowledge the emotional value of said belonging, and yet another to consider the emotional value, a space of moments to feel anxious about the loss and one more to balance the loss with the affirmation of “it’s only a thing”, and one more to let the loss go.

Traveling as I do, full-time, has always required organization externally as far as our space, now, of course, my own space (writing the word “my” is in and of itself an emotional tsunami for me).  My brain patterns adjusted accordingly to living our traveling life and I could always lay my hands on whatever I sought and my mental file of what needed to be done was sharp and on target.

This isn’t life-threatening, I know that.  None of this is and to that I say, thank god.  But so much if it is important.  I need to keep my car in top condition so that it runs smoothly so I don’t break down on the road which, believe me, you don’t want to see the results of that happening.  My T@b trailer needs to be in the same good shape and, well, that will definitely be a process of learning because it isn’t a matter of remembering with that one but a process of learning in the first place. I count my blessings that I’ve  even remembered to hitch it to my car.  Maybe I should weld it permanently?

When Handsome Husband died, he took with him, along with my emotional peace and security, a world of knowledge and skill sets.  If I forgot something, he remembered it.  We were a great team, made stronger together, and we made this traveling life work well.  There’s a huge learning curve for me now, both in remembering what I already know how to do, and in learning the how-to’s of all that is my new life.   The old me feels anxious about the remembering, intimidated at the new learning, and overwhelmed at how much I’m stumbling and falling and not remembering either. (And yes, I do acknowledge the new things I have learned to do which I never thought to know).

I know that I’m forgetting, so I do use reminders to remind myself to remember to not forget to write it down and put it in a place easily found and seen so that I will do whatever it is I need to not forget to do.  It can be right there in front of me and I can stare holes into it to remind myself and not only do I not remember it, I’m not even really seeing it in the first place.  You can stand directly in front of me and we can have a discussion about something I’m realllllly interested in, and seconds later I’ll recall none of it.  It gets embarrassing.  Or it would if I had the energy to be embarrassed.   I’ll ask for some help or clarification on any given problem when not only is it not actually a problem, but it needs no clarification because the answer is directly in front of me and when that is pointed out to me my only response is “hmmmm”.

This new not the real me just the current me exhausts and concerns the real me who is inside of this shell of me because I need to create a life for myself and have to create a life for myself and I’m traveling and need to be on top of things and all I can think of even as I write this is how really I’m not thinking at all I’m only feeling and that should be alright but I need to think of at least the most basic things and I try to think and remember I really really do but it doesn’t seem to be working, does it and the anxiety builds and I wonder how on godsgreenearth have I managed to drive across country and buy a car and buy a trailer and network and visit our kids and attend his family reunion and plan and carry out his memorial service and lay a foundation for this new unwanted life of mine and be on the fucking road South and then North and then West when I can barely remember to brush my teeth in the morning and all that is in my mind and heart and soul no matter how hard I try otherwise, is the idea that he is dead and gone and the fucking knowing-ness that he will never come back to me and this is it the rubber meets the road and I just need to drive and drive and drive and hope (though I don’t have any real idea of what hope even is) that I have enough sense somewhere in me that will keep me at least safe and the rest of it will get figured out one way or another and who…

I was going to write “who cares anyways?”  A terrible thing to write.  Lots of people more than care and I love them for that.  I wish I cared.   I know I’m supposed to care so that people won’t think I’m depressed or self-pitying and that’s another whole argument for which I have no energy.  Maybe a deeply buried part of me cares but the conscious me cares only to the extent that I am, yes, supposed to care.  Also, I need to breathe.  I need to write a note to remind myself to breathe and hope that I can find that note.  It’s all so bizarre, really.  Remind yourself to breathe, Alison.  Remind yourself to drink water.  Remind yourself to exercise.  Remind yourself to be open to life. Remind yourself that you can do this.  Remind yourself to not be overwhelmed at reminding yourself to do all of everything that is necessary in order to be healthy, to function, to keep your life functioning, to fucking live.

And it’s funny because it all sounds so simple and I’m complicating it and over thinking it and all I really need to do is get the damn oil changed.




9 thoughts on “Currently not the me I will be~

  1. relax..for right now, you have your son nick with you, now..relax..he will help you are in training camp..just relax for now, & be with your son, if you can.

  2. Its not “how on godsgreenearth” did you do all that. Its that you did do all that and you are still doing it. You are so strong and amazing. Maybe remembering now to get the oil changed is a message to go get it done, and kick back wherever you are and breathe. Love and hugs to you.

  3. Hi Alison…it is just after 5am here in San Antonio, Texas. I’m a light sleeper, and I awakened to what sounded like pitter patter of little feet on the paper that is taped down protecting my newly-painted garage (my suite) floor. Concerned that it might be one of my daughter’s boxers who hates cats (I have two) I quickly reached for my cell to bring light to the situation. Three of my four my pets (I have two cats and two little dogs)were curled up asleep on my bed. Mandy my daughter’s boxer was not in my “suite”…how could she be…my doors are shut??? Phew, relieved…but what was it that sounded like claws on the floor paper???… Mimi, my other cat was not asleep on my bed…but cats’ paws don’t make that sound with claws as they walk…they have little pink pads on their paws…uhoh, was it a mouse?was it a rat??????😞 Oh, God…I thought I saw something crawl out of one of the many boxes and bins that surround me. Was my scared mind playing tricks on me??? Whatever…now I’m freaking concerned, so I turn on the light…Mimi Cat is over there…was she the cause of the sounds I heard??? I don’t know…but now I’m scared, and have a new stupid problem…an unwanted roommate??? Had a meltdown yesterday…looked at everything surrounding me in my space and became overwhelmed…I need to be looking through these many boxes and bins that hold the stuff of what defines who I am now. I need to be organizing this new place of mine to make it lovely, and livable…so I can get on with my life. BUT I don’t know how, or have the energy to, or even want to deal with this crap. I used to be the “I- can- do- anything- that- needs- to- be- done kind of girl. Huh, “used to be”. So… now I sit on the edge of my mattress on the floor and give in and let the tears flow and the sobs sob. Have not had one of these in a while…it was due. Pity party, I guess…my life has changed big time…and now I’m hating that fact…hating that this is how I have to live now..wondering if I do…don’t have the money to live well…don’t like being a burden, if I am… don’t like not being independent, the way my old self was… don’t like that it was my dear husband’s time to die…hate that more than anything. And so…I cry…and cry… and cry some more…and then I pray, “God, I need your help, I don’t know how to do this…show me how to do this…please.” I sit quietly now, thinking…I know what needs to be done, but cannot do it alone. So I decide to get away from it, go do something else. Long story short…my wonderful daughter, Amelia, I have three daughters, came home, we had a talk and she was my answered prayer… assuring me it will get done, everyone will help, and it will be a lovely and organized place for me to live. So, Amelia and I, and my grandkids began first emptying the space then arranging and organizing the boxes and bins in categories back into my space, and then Elizabeth, second wonderful daughter, and her family came over to help. So, now there is some organization to this chaos that surrounds me, (thank you, family) I have a plan, and I’m grateful that God is listening and does answer prayers… just the way you want them answered …sometimes. So, now I’m awake too early, and wondering if there is a mouse or rat living in here with me…??????!!!!!!!!!??????? Can’t sleep anymore, so I decide to check my messages, and find your post, Alison, a welcome sight. Reading your words, I relate and empathize, ’cause I totally, totally, totally understand…just hang in there and know you’re gonna make it after all…Hugs, Grace 😊

  4. Bobbie said it right, just relax this to shall pass. It is not so bad to have car 2000 miles overdue for oil change I did it many times, went as long as 8000 thousand miles. Be gentle to your self. Next time you are in New Jersey I would like to stay in my home for a couple days or week if you are not allergic to animals.

    Last year when my dog slammed me down at I ended up with a broken pelvis, a collar bone and a tail bone, and he hospital discharged me 4 hours later where I wasn’t even able to walk. On the camp ground I asked two guys to walk me to my car all I could do is just shuffle my feet. Their wife’s came and were trying to talk me from driving when they found out that home was one hour and half away, but what choices did I have.

    My cell phone was left in the cabin because and asshole cop who showed up on the scene of accident was more interested of scolding me over and over for not having my dog on the leash, than getting my cell phone from the cabin. I asked this idiot 3 times to get my phone and he plaid stupid like he couldn’t figure out of 3 cabins which one was my. Even though I told him “the one in the center where the white car is park and number 95C”,

    So once in the car I waited when the people I ready to leave, I proceeded to back up, and since I was not able to turn my head because of a broken collar bone, I back into a tree. I moved forward and straighten out the car and tried it again,. and back into a tree on the other side of the car.

    It was a nice lady who works the switch board in the hospital who drove me to a camp ground. She felt bad for me, I kept calling people fro 3 hours and was unable to get anyone to come to get me. While I was laying on the stretchers in the ER I prayed to Jesus to help me get home. When this lady got me into her car on the dashboard there was a picture of Jesus, wow, would have that been an coincident, I believe not.

  5. You know, Alison, that you can pull into any Jiffy Lube, Sprint Oil, Dobbs Tire and Auto Center…whatever the version of quickly oil change place is available in whatever town you are currently passing thru, and they will do an oil change in 30 minutes or less! It doesn’t HAVE to be at a dealership…yes, I know that you pre-paid for oil changes, but, in a pinch, you can use any other “oil port in a storm” and your pink car will not suffer from it! Maybe when the next oil change is needed, you will be in a place for a couple days instead of flying thru!!

  6. I hear and feel your pain and confusion in this new world you have been propelled into. I now realise that even though I thought I was functioning, I was not. In 46 days it is a year since Vic died, and my pain is no less. Lots of hugs and warm thoughts!

    • Tersia,
      I remember saying often to the women in my support groups that the first year in grief is a re-living of the previous year, almost as if one were there again. Living, anticipating, every moment of panic and joy and love and pain, until the one year day finally dawns. I hope you and Vic’s boys have something beautiful planned to give recognition to that day. (I’m sure you do!).

      May love ease the heartache~

  7. It is not necessary to live up to a previous “you”. Just be with who you are right now, at this moment. And take care of that “you.” None of us are at our best under great duress but we need to be compassionate with ourselves, as much as we are with others. With time the old you will return, although changed in some measure.
    Meanwhile, the car will not croak for an overdue oil change. If you schedule it, everything will be taken care of and will work out just fine. Stop, breathe 3 times, and keep going. Pause and breathe several times every day. Whatever happens, your son is there to help. That is why he is with you now.

    • Gwendolyn,
      You know how much I love you, I hope! Nick is the perfect traveling companion and I’m blessed beyond measure to have him here with me, helping me transition into this new life, and hopefully, helping him bring some of his grief out into the light of day.

      I’ll stay in touch, no matter where I am~
      all love,

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