Before I write all that is racing through my brain and body today, I must say THANK YOU! Thank you to everyone who was able to join us in some way on Thursday to celebrate Russell and give him the best send off we possibly could. One of Russell’s deepest fears was that he was never doing enough. And that at the end of his life, no one would care. THANK YOU for helping us make it crystal clear that Russell was deeply cared for and that he had done enough. WELL DONE to us all!
As the kids and I move forward into what our new “normal” will be I am doing all I can to help us talk, cry, sleep, laugh, be silly, be sad, be angry, simply BE whatever it is we need to be in every single moment of our day. I have had many conversations with them every day about all of being gentle and honest with ourselves and each other. While there are many others who I know are deeply grieving our loss of Russ, our kids are my #1 priority.
I am being very vocal with them and others that I am giving us a full 6 months of doing exactly what we need to do for ourselves in every moment of every day. We may need less time or we may need more but 6 months seemed like a good place to start. I am using a move that I understand is used in wrestling, that of tapping out. When a person has had enough and concedes temporary defeat, they are allowed to “tap out” and be released from the hold they are caught in. My kids and I will be using this when any part of a situation just becomes too much. No explanations are being asked of them (or myself), we are simply to tap the other on the shoulder or arm to leave the situation and do whatever we need to for our own healing and peace of mind.
The grieving comes in such fast waves at times there is simply the need to keep all focus on breathing in order to take the next step. Giving ourselves permission to “tap out” and just walk away from something that threatens to drown us may be one way to keep ourselves sane in a world that just makes little sense anymore..
Soren has also suggested that we each create a 6 month bucket list. I love this idea for us and we will be sitting down in the next few days to each make a list of the things we most want to do. Our lists will do doubt include trips to visit family and friends we have reconnected with; places we want to see; new things want to try; old things we want to return to; and lots of other things as we choose to focus more deeply on living a passionate life.
As I move forward there is so much I look forward to and yet much of it remains firmly in the future as today’s menial tasks continue to seem monumental. Here are just a few things I look forward to.
*I look forward to the day family and friends events that are mainly joyous occasions. For now, as much as I need family and friends, each gathering has such deep threads of memory that I frequently hit walls of grief that want to knock me to the ground.
*I look forward to the day that someone saying they are suffering from allergies doesn’t leave me wanting to drag them to the ER. For now, I sit with letting go of the fear that I missed something critical the week before Russ went to the hospital.
*I look forward to the day that I am tired because I’ve spent a full day working at Avalon. For now, taking a shower and getting dressed leave me exhausted. Actually just the thought of them sometimes is too much.
*I look forward to the day that the kids feel like they can just be kids again. For now, I wish people would not ask them what their future plans are. None of us can make a decision past are we going to leave the house most days. And I wish that no one would say to Soren “You are the man of the house now.” or say to any of them “it’s your job to take care of your mother right now.” They are my children who are very lost as they grieve their father. Their entire lives are one giant memory of being connected to Russell. I am doing all I can to not shove them into adulthood or into roles that in no way are theirs to fill. We are gathering lots of support around them so that they can simply be sad and angry and confused and whatever else they need to be. I am their mother and it is my job to take care of them. They love and support me, but it is not their job to become an adult and “take care of” me.
*I look forward to the day that all I think and do is not in reference to Russell’s final journey. For now, I keep thinking “a week ago this is what happened.” Fridays used to be a great day for me filled with farm, family, teaching, great times. Now, Fridays are a very, very rough day as they all feel like stepping back into a rabbit hole.
*I look forward to being able to work at any task for longer than an hour without feeling exhausted. For now, I feel like if I have accomplished one or two tasks I have had a successful day.
*I look forward to being able to play cards again (one of my favorite things with my family) without thinking how strange it is without Russ’ unique strategic twists. For now, playing cards is not really one of my favorite things to do and just makes me feel very sad.
*I look forward to wanting to cook again. For now, I am so thankful for the meals being brought to us and all the gift cards folks gave to us so we can grab something out. For now, just cleaning the house enough to be able to cook is a mountain of a task.
*I look forward to writing of more than this particular journey. My muse whispers thoughts of other things and other paths to explore. For now, my voice comes out with stories of Russ and our journey with and without him.
*I look forward to the day that simply writing a blog and sharing with whoever most wants to hear it is enough. For now, I feel a driving compulsion to share with EVERYONE in every electronic way that I can. Writing a blog for people to chance upon reading isn’t enough. I feel compelled to write a blog; post on facebook; send out emails; in every way possible send out the my thought threads to folks around the world.
* I look forward to the day that conversations and being with people is more important than writing as much as possible. For now, my dragon butterfly muse is much, much more in charge of my waking day.
*I look forward to the day that I can simply breathe without each breathe needing an extra long, very consciously made exhale. For now, I have to remind myself to exhale audibly or I find myself holding my breathe and feeling as if I will faint.
*I look forward to the day that I can play with my kids and have us just be happy. For now, we find our joy in snippets of time and are happy to have at least those.
So, for the next 6 months know that we are walking each step, taking each moment (a day is even too big of a commitment) slowly and as gently as we can. We will be committing to do those things we most want to do and allowing ourselves to feel it all. We will be “tapping out” without explanation when we simply can’t handle any situation. We will be living our lives as well as we can and encouraging others to do the same. We will be sleeping as long as we want and napping whenever we need to. We will be eating when we can, whatever sounds good. We will be exercising, playing, working, grieving, celebrating, crying, laughing, traveling, hibernating, yelling, silencing, breathing – living a life that is WELL DONE.