Grief

Now Comes the Night

One Year Later from Emily Ty on Vimeo.

 Celebrating the life of my Dad … One year later.

Unsettled

It’s Thursday night. And even though I had the evening I had for myself (knowing that Hubby had prior obligations that kept him from staying in tonight), I find myself with nothing to do.

I had planned on knitting all evening, but didn’t feel motivated to do so. I had also planned on cleaning out the closet and dressers to donate more clothes to the Salvation Army; which I only partially finished. Then I tried my hand at playing some online games and didn’t quite feel myself get into the rhythm, so I just gave up. There’s nothing on TV and no new movies to watch on cable.

So here I sit with my laptop on and a blank page beckoning me to type some meaningful words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs. Yet I don’t know exactly what to say. Well, except maybe this:

It’s been a difficult year.

And yet as much as I’m trying to move forward with my life, I somehow can’t seem to take anything bigger than baby steps.

I struggle to remember if it was this hard to “get over” my failed IVF — the loss of a total of three “would-be” babies — as it is to “get over” the death of my father. The lines are so blurred these days. But I do know I’m in the same place that I was close to five years ago when I pretty much gave up hope of ever having biological children of my own.

Oh yes, I’m in that deep dark space below. And it sucks.

I’m not sure if these feelings are magnified because of an upcoming anniversary date this Saturday or not. What I do know is that this restless, unsettled feeling is very unnerving. And I wish it would just go away. But somehow I just know that it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

So if you got a moment … and I truly don’t mean to be such a pity-party right now … but if you can spare a few seconds, could you say a quick prayer or a positive thought my way just so I can make it through the next few days? Because I could really use some bloggie love right about now.

 

Like the Deserts Miss the Rain

A year ago on the 28th of November, Hubby & I drove back to our Chicago apartment after spending a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with our family. Upon arriving home we found our 20-year old cat, Rain lying right by her empty water container. She was meowing weakly, but incessantly, letting us know that she was not feeling well.

The last time she was that vocal was when she had fractured her femur and was in a lot of pain. But that time, we knew that she was “fixable” and a large amount of cash later … she was healed and back to her usual self.

This time … well, this time we knew. We knew she was becoming diabetic. We knew that she was slowly going into renal failure. But we also knew that she was well past her life expectancy for a medium-haired, domestic runt of a cat.

So we did what we thought would be best for her. We took her to an emergency vet clinic, who confirmed that Rain had gone into acute renal failure. We were told her prognosis was bad. So sadly, Hubby & I made the decision to let her go peacefully.

And even though I was devastated by this event, I would later find out that Rain had inadvertently given me a gift. She gave me the gift of acceptance to know when to let go of the ones I love so that they can pass onto the next world.

And that gift proved to be valuable over the next week as I learned to accept the inevitable passing of my Dad.

Rain … I know that this past year I’ve spent mourning the loss of your Grandfather. But know that not a day goes by that I don’t miss the unconditional love you provided. You will … and always will be my first and favorite “furbaby.”

 

I Remember

Hi! How was your Thanksgiving weekend, readers? And for my neighbors to the north, hope you were able to cash in on some of the US’s “Black Friday” deals … or do you even have any sales like that for the day after the US’s Thanksgiving holiday? Yes, I’m just being curious.

My Thanksgiving weekend was good: Got to spend time with Hubby’s family on Turkey Day. And on the weekend, managed to eek out a few great savings from Black Friday; both locally and at the “big box” shops. But the point is, I managed to check off a few people off my Christmas list.

More importantly, my favorite college football team managed to win the all-important “Biggest Rivalry in College Football” game. AND we got to watch the game at a bar & grill, hanging out with my two cousins.

These two girls — the youngest of my Dad’s nieces (and close to 20 years younger than me!) — have seriously been the support I’ve needed this past year while dealing with my Dad’s passing. Maybe it’s because, like me, Dad had played an important part in their lives; many times being the father-figure that they’ve needed. And as we talked throughout that day, I somehow managed to remember how much my Dad’s passing has affected them as well.

I forgot how my Dad would stick up for them if their mothers (my Dad’s sisters) gave them problems. I forgot how Dad would manage to sneak them some cash when he thought no one was looking. I forgot how much he loved to play with them, and as they got older, joke around with them. I forgot.

So to my two cousins, who miss my Dad as much as I miss him … know that I remember and that I’m forever grateful that you two always manage to check up on me when I need it most.

******

And Rain? Don’t worry, my darling kitty. I didn’t forget about today either. I can never forget the day that I lost my first and most favorite kitty in the world. Hope you’re up there keeping Dad company ….

 

Sunsets and Sunrises

I can’t believe I actually have time (and energy) to write today. Perhaps it’s the fact I’m en route (and in the air), anticipating a nice reunion with Hubby. And the fact that I’m kinda caught up with work things for now. Either way, I’m feeling somewhat inspired today.

I flew out to Southern Georgia this week for a training session at a regional hospital in the area. It was a one-day session, so ultimately I should have flown back yesterday evening instead of today. Except the closest airport to this town was approximately a 3-hour drive. Even if my session ended when it was supposed to end at 5 pm, I would have never made it back to Jacksonville, FL in time to catch the latest flight back to Detroit. So instead, I’m catching the earliest flight back to Detroit today. Non-stop, of course! 😛

Since my flight didn’t leave until noon, I thought I’d take full advantage of being close to the ocean. Just like I did a couple weeks ago when I was down in Miami (South Beach, baby!) But since I had a limited time, I thought … what better way to dip my toes in the water by watching the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean? So early this morning, I sat on the beach to watch the sun hide behind clouds; watching the clouds progressively change hues. It wasn’t the best of sunrises; definitely not any type of “golden hour” scene. But it was beautiful, nonetheless.

As I sat on the beach, I reflected on how much I still love the ocean; still love being around water. And no matter that it was cloudy and that I felt drops of rain splatter onto me, I felt peaceful, content and – for a brief moment – happy.

I knew sometime in mid-July that, despite being on medications, my clinical depression had started to resurface. (Which, if I would have read back at some of my previous posts, I might have realized this a lot sooner.) The precipitating factor – or rather the event that forced me to re-seek treatment – was when Hubby & I officially moved all our stuff from Chicago back to Detroit.

It makes sense, looking back now, that I would need to feel weighted down by everything; to feel the constant fatigue associated with depression. It makes sense now why I couldn’t even to get out of bed; why I couldn’t stop the racing thoughs of anxiety that would keep me up at night … or, at the very least try to relax.  The truth is that in the span of a year, I had lived through many stressors that could have easily sent any other person running up a mountain, only to jump off the cliff.

Not that I’m saying that my stressors were any worse than anybody else’s stressors. (After all, I’m not writing this to complain about my life.) I’m just stating the facts.

I look back at 2010 in awe of myself; of having survived through one of the most stressful years of my life. (And by that, I do mean that there were both bad and good stressors.) “But why am I feeling so miserable now?,” I remember asking myself in the beginning of August.

I had no answer at that time, but today I realize that this was exactly what happened when dealing with my depression the first time around. But that time, it took three years after my failed IVF to realize that I hadn’t even begun to deal with my loss. At least this time, it only took 9 months from the last major life-stressor to realize I needed help again. And two months from mid-July to finally do something about it.

I’m slowly beginning to feel the fog lift. And by slow, I think of the “Slowsky” turtles in that one TV commercial (who, coincidentally, just recently had a baby … WTF?). Over the past year, there have been moments of bright colors scattered amongst the other days of gray. There were those days where I felt brave enough to face the world amongst those other days where I just didn’t want to deal with anything. But it seems like that those moments of happiness – brief as they can be – are happening just a tad more frequently than before. And I guess that’s something to be proud of.

One thing is for certain … even when the sun goes down in life, it eventually rises again. Here’s hoping for brighter days ahead.

*****

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Hail …

Whew. What a football game! And I swear … that 4th Quarter nearly gave me a heart attack. But what a way to kick off the first-ever “Under The Lights” game at Michigan Stadium.

And I’m so glad we were there. Except …

Except on the ride home — while basking in the afterglow of an underdog win — I suddenly felt a pang of sadness.

Today, Hubby & I decided to visit Dad. But before then, we decided to head to one of our favorite Detroit-area pizzerias. As I “checked in” to the restaurant on foursquare from my iPhone, I felt another pang of sadness.

While at the cemetery, Hubby and I had our usual “conversation” with Dad; telling him about what has been going on, even though we knew he could see us from above. We told him about the amazing come-from-behind Wolverine win. And we told him about eating at one of his favorite pizzerias for lunch.

And as we told him about these thing, I felt the tears roll down my cheek. Because I missed him.

I missed how we used to go to Pizzapapalis for special occasions like Father’s Day 2010 … the last time I “checked in” on foursquare at that restaurant.

And I missed how Dad never failed to call me after such exciting football games (or any other sporting events) to tease me that he was there at the game … even though we both knew he was just watching the game on TV while sitting in his recliner.

It amazes me how much one can miss silly things such as these … when you know it won’t happen again.

Thanks for the Wolverine win, Dad …

Yada Yada … and Then Some

See? I don't think my niece, Kairi is ready for Fall either!

Sad but true … tonight was the first night I stepped outside my house since Labor Day.

It’s a good thing Hubby made it a Dinner & A Movie kind of night, otherwise I would have likely stayed at home in my pajamas as I had done all week long.

What can I say? I love working from home … well, at least when I’m not traveling for my job. And seeing that I’ve spent the past few months “grounded” at home, doing all web-based “virtual training” all day in my home office … sometimes I see no reason to step out of the house.

I guess it’s also a good thing it was a short week.

But seeing that the weather in Metro-Detroit has been pretty much crappy since Monday, it’s probably best I stayed away from the annoying drivers who can’t seem to figure out how to drive in the rain.

I mean … really, people. We live in the Motor City, we should all know how to drive like mail carriers: Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet — yada yada …

As if I don’t have enough to whinge about, here’s my biggest gripe for the day: Today I put on a pair of jeans for the first time since May. Although I was (very) grateful that they still fit (whew!), I was more upset that this meant we were one step further away from summer.

Can you tell I don’t want the warm weather to disappear?

I don’t know why I’ve been feeling like this lately. I mean I truly love Autumn and everything that surrounds the beautiful season … but it’s almost as if this year I’m dreading it.

I’m beginning to think that it’s not that I no longer like the coming season, but rather I don’t like thinking about what comes after the leaves fall from the trees and the bitter cold starts to settle in. After all, I’ve never been much of a Winter person.

Maybe it’s because Autumn means I’m one step closer to Thanksgiving … to the weekend when my beloved Rain passed away. To when my Dad first entered the hospital that first week in December. To when he passed away.

It doesn’t seem possible that it’ll be a year very soon. Yet it almost seems a lifetime apart. There are some days I’m perfectly okay with things; okay with getting on with my life.

But then there are those other days … days like this past week … where the emotions are still so raw; so painful to even think about. And although those moments don’t happen as frequently any more … when they do, they seem so much more intense.

In any case, I know that time doesn’t stop for grief. If there is anything that dealing with the emotions of Infertility has taught me is that life keeps moving on despite the all hurt and pain.

Too bad it only took me ten years to discover this. <smirk>

So here’s what I plan to do to keep moving on: Tomorrow I’m gonna enjoy going to the Big House for the first night-time Michigan Football game. (Woo-hoo! Go Blue!) And Sunday we’ll go watch Hubby’s younger cousin peform with his HS Marching Band at one of the small-town parades. And Monday? I go for my first guitar lessons.

So yeah … maybe getting myself (and keeping myself out of the house) will do me some good.

In the mean time … maybe this video will inspire me to embrace Autumn in Ann Arbor …

Round Peg, Square Hole

I admit … I haven’t been doing much since being back from vacation. Which I suppose is a good thing. I’ve done a lot of reading lately; definitely more than writing.

Which is a shame, because I do have some fun pictures from vacation to share with you. Unless, of course … you’ve seen it on my personal FB page! 🙂

Instead, I’ve been on a reading kick. I finished “The Castaways” while in line at Universal Orlando. And yesterday, I just finished “The Help” … a book I had wanted to read before seeing the movie. Today, I start “The Solitude of Prime Numbers“.

I’ve not felt inspired to write lately, and I’m going through one of my phases where even FB or reading other blogs doesn’t sound appealing to me right now. What I do know is that it likely has to do with those emotional peaks and valleys I’ve been experiencing lately.

I’d elaborate more but … quite frankly, it feels like I’m beating a dead horse.

So instead … to honor the “retirement” of Steve Jobs from Apple, I decided to post one of the company’s older commercials; one that I have always loved. And seeing that there are many times (especially lately) that I feel as if I see things so much more differently than others, I figure that this should be my inspiration for the day.

Resolution of Happiness

Apparently, even after 25 years to this day, Emily the Groupie is not dead.

Oh yes, everyone … Emily apparently has some life in her just yet. At least after this past weekend, anyway. And what a weekend it was.

It started out innocently enough. Hubby & I drove to our Chicago apartment on Thursday night, knowing that we were going to see my favorite band, INXS perform Friday night at a casino just 20 minutes outside of the city center. As we drove around the parking garage Friday evening, Hubby pointed out the freight elevator at the far end of the structure. And as I looked over, we both noticed that the large elevator door was opening.

It was kind of a surreal moment, watching this group of people step out of the freight elevator; it almost appeared as if they were moving in slow motion. Actually, as I think about it now … it reminded me of the beginning of the 1982 “Don’t Change” video. What I hadn’t noticed — initially, anyway — was that it happened to be all the members of INXS. When it finally dawned on me, I was too stunned to do anything but smile and wave at them from inside our car. And I managed to get a big grin and wave from a couple of them.

Now … why didn’t I do the original “groupie” thing and jump out of the car at that time? I’m not sure. I think it was likely because I suddenly felt shy; felt intimidated by them. Which is ridiculous, right? Seeing that I managed to track them down a couple of times in my youth.

Except now, I was older. I had experienced things since those younger days. I was brave back then; not intimidated by doing silly things, not afraid to be different or unique in front of other people. Now … after experiencing sadness and disappointment, I had become afraid of rejection … of being laughed at or singled out.

I’d say that all of that sadness and disappointment and rejection (and not to mention, feeling isolated and and certainly singled out) came from my experience from Infertility, but the truth is, such emotions can come from a culmination of things. I say this now … after wrapping up my IF journey … only because when looking at everything that happened over the past year (loss of a job, birth of another new family member which didn’t come from me, the sudden loss of a parent, etc), I’ve felt every single one of those same emotions I did when in the depths of Infertility depression. Just not as intense.

Why am I telling you all this as I’m referencing my younger “groupie” days? Well, it goes back to that initial encounter in the parking garage before the show. And my mind telling me — based on my past experiences of sadness and isolation — that I would just be making more of a fool of myself be putting myself in the position to be possibly rejected.

My husband chided me for not “running” after them; saying that I should have been more aggressive. And it’s because of him that after the concert (and knowing exactly where the band would be exiting the venue) I found myself running up to the band and asking for a quick picture with them. While I originally got the standard “The band needs to hit the road” comment from their snooty band manager, two of the members took the time to take a picture with me. So yes … I was elated. And I felt myself gain a little more confidence in myself.

So flash-forward to the next day in Detroit, MI. (Yes … we did buy tickets for both locations. Don’t judge! ) After passing the band’s tour buses twice on I-94 back to our home in metro Detroit, we headed down to the Fox Theater for another night of great music. (In fact, if you ask my opinion … I’d say their Detroit performance superceded the Chicago show.) But seeing that I was in such a “lucky” streak, we took a couple of the band’s older vinyl records and an old photo from my first encounter with the band to get autographed.

At the end of the show (and with the little confidence I gained from my most recent encounter), Hubby and I hung around the back of the theater waiting for the band to surface. However; unlike the previous night where I had them all to myself, there was a crowd of other fans lingering around.

“Never gonna happen,” I thought; but since Hubby kept egging me on, we persisted.

Really, I only wanted one person’s signature. I wanted Andrew Farriss, the brains behind the band, to sign a photo of myself with my brother & LJC next to Michael Hutchence. I wanted that particular picture signed because — while Hutch was the main focus in this picture — the picture caught Andrew sitting quietly on a curb behind us in the background. To me, it’s such a serendipitous shot; especially since Hutch, Andrew’s songwriting partner and best mate, was always out front. While Andrew, the shy genius always avoided the spotlight. Since Hutch was no longer around, it just seemed appropriate that I try to get Andrew to sign my favorite photo. Besides, although I fancied Hutch to the nth degree … I secretly had a thing for Andrew; knowing that if we ever crossed paths and became friends, we’d have a lot more in common than I would ever have with Hutch.

I still had my doubts that I’d ever get that signature … especially since Andrew wasn’t one that liked crowds. That, and the little confidence I had from earlier seemed to be dwindling by the minute. But just as I was about to throw in the towel, I spotted an old HS friend who’s sister took us to one of the last INXS shows before “Kick” blew up. I think all of us had the same thought: that we’d never get the chance to talk to them. But now that I had friends to talk to, it made it worth my while to stay. In fact, within a half hour or so the tour buses left … as did the remaining crowd surrounding the theater.

Hubby had then left me alone conversing with old friends to get our car from the structure. While waiting for Hubby arrived with the car, HS friend and I stood talking amongst ourselves. A few moments later we noticed a flutter of activity next to us. HS friend nudged me and said, “There he is!” And a few feet in front of me stood Andrew Farriss. Stunned, but unwilling to allow myself to freeze up again — fearing that I’d be rejected again — I quickly walked up to him and told him my story about why I wanted this particular picture signed by him. And graciously, Andrew signed it.

Unfortunately, no stunning conversation or spark of friendship ever occurred from that encounter. Yet I felt extremely lucky and … happy. It’s something I’m just now realizing I wouldn’t allow myself to feel since the passing of my father 8 months prior. Even back then, I was only starting to allow happiness back in my life after a sh*tty year and after years of unresolved Infertility issues.

My happiness was something that apparently my Hubby noticed later that night. He smiled at me as I told him the story of what happened when he had left to pick up the car. When I finished he turned to me and said, “See? There’s the Emily that I remember. The one that I fell in love with the day we met.”

While I know our love is stronger now than it ever was back then, I couldn’t help but reflect on Hubby’s comment. I couldn’t help but remember who I was back before Infertility came into my world; before experiencing sadness and disappointment. And what I recalled was — despite teenage hormonal tendencies — I was a happy, free-spirit who loved meeting new people. And I loved having fun while experiencing new things. I was confident and daring; and I didn’t care what anybody thought of me.

And even though it had taken awhile to surface this past weekend, I realized a part of that Emily still existed inside. I understood that I could still be that same person I was so many years ago. I recognized that — despite thinking that the “groupie” part of me died many years ago — I was still, and will likely always be “Emily the Groupie.”

*****

Related Posts:

Hello. Meet Emily the Groupie

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Needing INXS tonight …

(Pssst … look over to the right for some awesome concert pics! –> )


 

Go Fourth … And Be Happy

First of all, Happy Birthday, USA !!!

And second … Really? It’s July 4th already? When did half the year slip away? It’s been a crazy couple of months here in ApronStringsLand. Busy with work, busy with traveling. And — I’m not gonna deny it — busy in the emotional end of things.

Yesterday marked 7 months since my Dad unexpectedly passed away; a feeling I’m still trying to come to grips with. Everybody has said that it will get better as time passes, but it seems to me that I feel more emotionally drained as the days go by.

This past week, Dr. Bro came into town. Amidst the hectic schedule I’ve had for work, plus the added pressure of being at a local onsite hospital this past week … I had been just a leeetle stressed.

Okay. A lot stressed. Especially given that I knew this was looming over my head this past Tuesday.

But the real reason Dr. Bro came into town was to surprise the “little” cousins (who aren’t so little any more … they made me a margarita, for Pete’s sake!) who had organized a pre-4th celebration to coincide with the local city’s fireworks. He wanted to be here to be with Dad’s side of the family; to spend time with us, because — if he’s feeling anything like I am — he wanted to feel closer to Dad. Unfortunately, he could only stay for two nights; and the second night had been for the party.

It was a glorious night; spent barbecueing at my Aunts’ backyard … which just happens to be next to a lake.  Oh, and did I mention that they just happen to be located behind the park where the fireworks are held every year? Needless to say, we had the best seat in the city! The family had a blast, especially the cousins who were able to eat (and — ahem — drink) to our hearts’ content.

Afterwards, on the drive home I suddenly felt this wave of sadness take over. The best way I can describe it is the melancholy I would feel in my youth (and even to this day) whenever I had to say good-bye to out-of-town family after spending a wonderful amount of time (a weekend or even an entire vacation) with them. I’d suddenly feel lonely and wish we could stay together forever.

I chalked most it up to the fact that I got to spend such little time with Dr. Bro this time around. He spent his one full day helping Mom search for a new car, while I had to work at an onsite location the entire day. And since I had to work again the next day, we would have no chance to spend any quiet time alone.

The other part I chalked up to missing my Dad. After all, I think he would have totally gotten a kick out of the “cousins” doing the cooking and the serving; would have loved to see us kick back and have such relaxing fun together. Which, of course, had me spilling some tears for a bit.

Flash forward to yesterday … Mom, Hubby & I went to church and then to the cemetery to bring some flowers and visit Dad. I knew that Dr. Bro had visited him the day after our party; which I can only imagine was a toughy. (At least I live closer and can visit Dad more often.)

What I hadn’t expected was to see pictures of my niece, Emilia Grace, taped to my Dad’s gravestone. And the minute I saw the picture of my Dad holding his granddaughter, I fell to tears. I knew how much my Dad loved kids, so seeing that picture broke my heart; especially since we all knew that he’d never be able to physically hold his grandchild and play with her.

And, although these days I try very hard to let my Infertility get the best of me … seeing that picture also reminded me that I was never was able to give him the grandkids that both my parents deserved. And if I did have any kids, he would have had at least a good 13 years to spend with them before he died. But instead, he only got to see and hold his one grandchild a few days after her birth … and then three weeks later, he was gone.

I know that a lot of these emotions are stemming from the fact that my birthday is coming up. And that it follows an unfulfilled wedding anniversary date and yet another major holiday. But really … when does this get better? When can I finally see more bits of happiness than shades of blue?

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