Unfortunately, there is a large push to medicate through both processes, to dull the senses while time runs its course. I have always been wary of popping pills to solve any problem. I believe firmly that alarming sensations occur for a reason and point to a something that needs attention. I choose to use holsitic and herbal remedies to help my body, mind and spirit find balance in both pregnancy and grieving. Since Father’s Day, I have valiantly battled the waves of intense heartache with Rescue Remedy, Reading, Ruminating and Reflecting. (Regular R&R is for stress. Grief needs a little herbal help and verbs; words with action – and twice as many. I need RR&R&R&R… PLUS the regular R&R. Good thing I like alliteration so much.)
Feeling so overwhelmed and disconnected gave me an idea: I unplugged everything. I closed my laptop. (Although I did leave this note, so people didn’t think I’d finally imploded with sadness.) As difficult as it was to admit, I couldn’t handle my children, my social media, even my relationship with my boyfriend anymore.
Let me take a minute to tell you about this guy: He’s hilarious, talented and intelligent- never have I seen such fortitude and integrity in my entire life; he’s also an addict. He quit heroin cold turkey, without telling anyone. THAT is what I mean by fortitude. He went to rehab, worked the steps and works on himself every single day to do better. His attempts at transforming himself have helped shine a light on my own shadows. Though not an addict myself, my father was one, my sister is one and the father of my son is one, too. My dad had 10 years sober when he died, Danny will have 4 in August. (You can find and follow his Skateboarding, Surfing, Sober self at TBH on Facebook and Twitter– my sister is almost a year clean and can be found as SavageSoberSister on Twitter and Tumblr.) I figure anyone who has gotten (and stayed) sober must know at least something about hitting “reset” on life, becoming more compassionate towards oneself and others and redefining a new life by choosing the next best thing, every chance that arrives.
So, despite feeling like a total asshat for somehow working myself into this position, I took a note from Big Book and took the step after realizing I do NOT have a grip on my life: I asked for help. As silly as the difficulty of it may seem- the first and hardest thing to ask for was a simple hug when I felt myself shut down. This is normally the point where my insides are raging and I somehow manage to appear completely composed and still. I don’t want to be touched. I don’t care about a thing. I hold myself together on sheer will and think about ANYthing else until the feelings subside. But finally, after nearly two years of sitting completely poised and still, holding my breath and my emotions… I let go: I lowered my head. I let myself finish the thought, “It’s not FAIR.”
I cried. Sort of.
What really mean I finally made some sort of slurpy, snorting noise into Danny’s shoulder while he reminded me, “It’s okay to cry.” To which I instantly responded, “But I don’t want to!!” and started sobbing hysterically. The sheer patheticness of my response made me want to punch myself in the face and rock myself to sleep at the same time. I guess that just illustrates the duality I’ve created – the train of thought created by love and the train of thought created by fear. I decided to punch fear in the face instead (Don’t fear change, change fear, right?) and accept a damn hug… and maybe even the fact that there are things I can’t control. JEEZ, I can be hard on myself.
I also asked for help with managing my ever-growing Facebook page. I got the courage to ask a wonderful mama whose comments I always enjoy for help in keeping the posts and pictures coming while I take a breather. (Thank you, Chelsea! 😉 So far, it’s been fantastic. I can rest assured that Facebook Timeline won’t completely digest all of the efforts put into my social media while I literally ignore the shit out of it and let someone else take the reigns. Talk about the freedom of letting go! I haven’t watch movies, listened to the radio, (okay- I did keep up on my Words with Friends. E-Scrabble is effing awesome) or even leave the house until Wednesday, when the family went to our local weekly Farmer’s Market for some air, vegetables and hot kettle corn.
Spending time with my family reminds me that life is a constant cycle, and that sometimes, it’s easier to connect both to myself and to others when I unplug from the various screens in my life. Seeing the change in the produce at the market is a simple reminder that “to everything, there is a season.” I have to make sure that I don’t get caught holding onto the winter of losing my father and forget to celebrate the summer and and the vibrancy in the new lives I’ve created with the man and father that is still present with me, no matter how far from present from ‘me’ I may happen to be, myself. I have to give the guy credit for that. He stands like a centenarian tree in the moments when my walls crumble and the floodgates of emotion unleash.
I’ve come to accept that I will always miss my dad. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly accept his death. I drove by his old shop today and was drawn to it like a magnet. I looked at the closed garage door for maybe the 10th time in my life- and that’s after having worked for him twice, for years. I still expected it to open. I will die a little inside when it does under someone else’s name. But it, like my heart has been, is closed, cold and locked away- vacant for lack of the same bright spirit that made the person and the place so special.
Transition is arguably the hardest part of labor- and I daresay I’m not through it emotionally, yet. But I have a great emotional doula in Danny. I have a family that understands my pain. I have strangers, new friends and old friends I haven’t spoken to in years, like you, that leave words of encouragement that come when I need it the most. But labor pain is the only type of pain that our bodies can feel that is natural, good and productive– NOT a sign something is wrong; just a sign than something is really, really changing that requires all else to stop so we can focus and bear with it. It helps to have support- it helps to ask for help.
I’m learning here, people… progress, right?