Friday, December 11, 2009


We have been holed up because of that horrific snowstorm that swept the Midwest this week. It all started Monday when the boys and I left late for the 200 mile drive to the new house/town/school. This was because it was my oldest son's 17th birthday and he wanted to go to his old school as his friends had celebrations planned and gifts to give. But I needed to get the boys back to the new school so too much work wasn't missed. Anyway, we started out late, 10:30 p.m. or so because my son was taken to Buffalo Wild Wings for a birthday dinner from his girlfriend. I was a bit concerned about starting so late because the storm was predicted but the snowfall wasn't supposed to hit until the morning hours. We reached it about midnight. And I then spent a white-knuckled three-hour drive on the highway with only semi trucks to keep me company.

I couldn't see the highway well because of the wind and drifting snow and it was so dark. All of us out on the road were only going 45 mph and the limit is 70. It was also the first snow of the season and so I wasn't that confident about my winter driving skills since they've been shelved the past eight months. But we got there in one piece.

Tue. school was canceled, as well as Wed. and Thur. So much for trying to get the boys there. Our town received over 12 inches of snow. Back home in Illinois, there were no school cancellations but I don't think they got the same amount of snow or the blizzard conditions to go along with the storm.

The boys behaved okay while at home. Sam was off on Thursday and home early another day because of the weather. Except for my youngest refusing to get out with us on Thur. to go to Walmart, there were no incidents.

I felt depressed, despondent and down (DDD) most of the time. I'd forgotten hair conditioner as well as my hair dryer so I said forget it to showering a couple days and even stayed in my pjs all day on Tuesday. I read and did some knitting (halfheartedly). We have never had Cable and on Tue. I spent the entire afternoon watching a Discovery Chanel program about ghosts that aired three episodes in a row. Then there was a program about some ghost busters going around the country and visiting the most haunted sites. Another day, all of us watched a quirky sci-fi monster film called Tremors starring of all people, Reba McIntyre.

Some of the DDD might have had to do with the weather. I absolutely hate the winter and cold and snow and dark. Plus we are in a home where there isn't much there that is ours so we are lacking what is familiar to us in terms of possessions. Then it is the holdiays and it is sad to not be able to decorate (since all my decorations are somewhere in a storage shed), or to have money to spend on gifts and good food. I spent a lot of time sleeping too, although I hope I can pass this off as making up for all the sleep I've lost over the past years.

Today the boys went to school but I had to deal with transferring records from the old school and doing so made me very dejected. I spent the morning in bed reading and was not motivated to get up and do anything like wash dishes and go through the large bag of old mail I'd brought with me. I needed to do some shoveling so we could get the van out of the garage and getting out into the cold sunshine and doing something physical felt good.

We took off for home for the weekend right after school since my last day at the big box store is tomorrow and my oldest is going to the Bears/Packers game this Sunday - the tickets were his birthday gift from his girlfriend. My youngest was snippy and negative the ride home. By the way, we saw 30 cars and trucks in the ditches within a 20 mile stretch of highway and 12 more after that - and this is two days after the storm! As we got closer to home my resistence to the move started to give way and I found myself questioning whether it really is in our best interests to move. So in addition to feeling BBB, now I am grappling with whether I should do my best to stay here, even though finances will be exceedingly tight. Both boys feel they are ruined scholastically since most of their credits won't transfer from their old school to the new one and all the work they have done this year will be wasted. They also feel very behind and frustrated with their new classes since they came in at such an odd time.

Enough of all this. I am weary and bone tired even though this week I didn't do much of anything. My head is spinning and I just want to go to bed. I spent a lot of my time thinking about the boys this week and my heart is breaking for the hardships they have had to endure. If only we could have made it until they'd finished high school. I am very angry at my husband dying when he did. We have suffered more than enough! Change is hard enough under better circumstances but coming off of so much grief and loss, it is hard for my sons and I to be positive about this move. I found myself feeling irritated and mad at Sam because he took the job out of state, even though I know it was a survival strategy. But still. I also felt homesick for what is familiar to me and known (and that was only spending four days at the new house and in the new town). I wish I had the personality where I felt excitement about this new beginning and all of that, but I just don't. It is part of my pessimistic nature, my age and all the loss that has just multipled the past years since my husband died. Is it possible for people experiencing grief to turn on a switch within to feel positive and upbeat about the changes they are facing, including the unknown? I personally just don't think grief, loss and change are a compatible combination.


  1. Maybe it's time to start listening to what your heart is whispering to you and acting on it.

    You need to start taking care of YOU. That may sound selfish, but how can you be a good mom or a good partner or a good friend or a good YOU if you don't?

    What is it that YOU want? What would complete you? What would make you happy? A new marriage? A new job? Being the best mom you can be? Having a fulfilling career? Feeling safe and secure? Making lots of money? Having lots of friends? Being around people who are familiar to you? Fill in the blank _________.

    I don't need to tell you that sometimes life sucks. You know that firsthand. But, as Gilda Radner once said, "it's always something." And I guess we all have to work with that. I personally don't believe that time heals all wounds. Time does nothing to take away the grief of losing someone. The only thing that happens over time is that we learn how to live differently - and hopefully effectively - without the one who has passed.

    So - as someone who reads your blog daily and cares about you (even though we've never met and most likely never will), please think about what would make YOU happy and what would make YOU a better mom to your boys. And then act on it. Life threw you a huge curveball with the death of your husband (actually, two huge curveballs if you count your subsequent divorce) but those events don't have to define who you are. Instead, they can enrich the person you've become. And - based on what I've read so far - I think you were a pretty great lady to start with.

    Jenny S.

  2. There is no doubt that change is hard, especially when doubt creeps in. Do whatever you feel is best for you and your sons. One of the things I see that is making all of this so hard is having to make quick choices when you are unsure. I wish that you had had more time before making the big decision about relocation, especially since you had just left your home and downsized. If possible, I wish for your sons that they could have finished the school year where they are, but ... that isn't the choice selection you have in front of you. Are there guidance instructors at the new school, and I wonder if they could help the boys in any way adjust? It's tough being a teenager, and then all that they've been through, makes their teenager attitude worse, and then you have to deal with that on top of everything else.
    It's almost like one thing compounds another.

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  4. Jenny and Debra (I don't know where the Maureen McCormick thing came from but I like her and read her book so will leave it in) -

    Your non-judgmental and thoughtful responses mean a great deal to me. They brought me to good tears and are leading me to "ponder" some more.

    Jenny - You said it very wisely that time doesn't heal all wounds. I liked your Gilda Radner reference, that life sucks but that the bad stuff doesn't have to end up defining us. That whole paragraph is so good I'm going to copy it so I have it to reread easily.

    Debra - I am feeling upset at having to make such quick decisions and coming off my belief that I didn't make good ones in the past, it is making it hard for me to just jump in with one now. I procrastinate by nature and feeling such added pressure isn't helping. And I am afraid of making poor decisions that will result in further, future hardship. But as you pointed out, sometimes we don't have the luxury of time, etc. Our decisions end up being based on the circumstances and situation that surrounds them...