I’ve got what I am fairly sure is a mucousy-preschooler-provided cold and a bad case of depression; I am skipping church because I know I would be useless with the kids in Sunday school, and during worship I would just sit there and cry, and comfort and teaching would just slip off instead of sinking in. Deep sadness creates a Teflon-coated bubble that nothing and nobody seems to be able to pop but me, and that’s a choice I cannot seem to make today. I need outside help….which God generally sends in the form of people, and I am avoiding them.
I am still angry with God — He may not have caused Mark’s death but He knew it was going to happen, didn’t stop it and seems to think we can keep going; and He sure knows we are being given what feels like more than we can handle even now. We have risen, collectively, to every single challenge life continues to throw our way, but I can personally feel my infrastructure crumbling (getting sick twice in 2 months tells me a lot, too). I have begged God for help and asked that He fill me with His peace, joy and energy because I cannot opt out.
So much of life we MUST do, we must respond to: take care of Sally, be there for Sarah, go to work and serve our clients, take care of our cat, love our family and neighbors. What am I to glean from the fact that I have less joy with every passing day? That I feel flattened? Where is God? Is it time to turn to medication (I’ve been trying really hard to rely on endorphins from exercise, getting outside and my generally good disposition)? I can’t even summon excitement over a New Project (which usually helps me a lot): planning a vacation to California this summer, to celebrate Sarah’s upcoming graduation. Maybe in part because I know it will be financed by money we were refunded by VT for Mark’s tuition; maybe in part because I know we will all be wishing he was with us the whole time. Will we ever have unqualified joy again, joy that isn’t weighted with grief? The constant discord in the world around me – I can barely stand to look at Facebook, quit reading newspapers when Mark died – adds to the feeling of living in an alternate, very dark universe.
I promised honesty. I just can’t imagine any of you wanting to read this. Be prepared for me to give a future report on anti-depressants.
I’ll try now, for my sake as well as yours, to inject some good news. We do feel that God has been at work in some ways, to take some of the edges off.
Sarah – Sarah made it onto the Dean’s List at her university this past fall, for the first time ever, and she could not be prouder (which is what matters most). Her light shines more and more brightly. She’s busy-busy-busy and quite stressed by all she has to accomplish before she graduates in early May, but we all know it’s all good and important stuff…career skills stuff, life skills stuff. She’s pretty darn awesome. And she’s inherited the writing gene; she writes in her journal as I do, to process her grief.
Sally – Steve’s mom sort of folded in on herself during her two month stay in rehab. When it came time to release her, we weren’t sure leaving the second floor (skilled nursing) was a good idea; she’d actually adapted to it and there was concern that another change would rock her little boat too hard. So it was that or assisted living on the third floor — returning to her apartment on the seventh floor would have involved 24/7 caregivers. When we toured the assisted living floor, we were shown some studio apartments as well as a 1 bedroom unit, which we knew she would prefer in terms of size (but management had promised that one to someone else). I prayed for a 1 BR to open up on the front of the building (the one we’d seen was on the back, with a charming view of a roof vent) and apparently 50% of my prayer was in alignment with God’s plan: she got the 1 BR we were shown and it’s actually adorable…and she doesn’t really care about the view. And so far – it’s been just shy of a week – she has not complained one bit about the caregivers who come every morning and evening.
Sally’s best friend, BJ, a neighbor on the 7th floor who also lives with progressing dementia (but had flatly stated she WILL NOT move to assisted living, ever), expressed surprise and envy over Sally’s new digs. Little did BJ know I was also praying for her to be Sally’s neighbor again (and BJ would be safer this way), and now another 1 BR has opened up – and it’s hers if her family has their way – just a few doors down…because the occupant suddenly passed away. I’m feeling slightly queasy about that particular prayer, TBH.
Steve – while he feels pretty “meh” most days, like me, his business is strong and stable. He got an offer of sorts, which is too vague/uncertain to expand on at this time that – if nothing else – is a nod to the value of the practice he’s built over the last decade and a half.
A few glimmers in the dark.