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Monday, June 6, 2011

Punch drunk...

"There are people who make things happen, people who watch things happen, and people who don’t know what the hell happened".- Unknown

Usually I’m one who makes things happen. Today, I don’t know what the hell happened.

It really all started yesterday evening. Maybe it was because I had been with the girls all weekend and was feeling worn out. They had been sick and had grossness coming out both ends for three days straight. More likely, it was grief that I have put on the back burner letting me know that it has not forgotten about me, though I would like to forget about it.

Yesterday I started having a feeling of dread come over me. Not sadness or despair or anger. Not loathing or melancholy. Just dread. I couldn’t really pinpoint what it was all about until tonight.

A series of small setbacks happened today that under normal circumstances would’ve been easy to deal with. But today for some reason they all seemed overwhelming and insurmountable, and underneath it all was a sense of dread. As is my usual custom, when I start feeling deep emotions I turn inward and pull away from others. The new guy noticed right away- long before I even acknowledged to myself that something was going on. As is normally the case with a new relationship we went down a path of wrong assumptions and miscommunications. I continued to pull inward instead of just saying what was on my mind, which is that the one year anniversary is around the corner and I flat out don’t want to deal with it. I feel like I need 6 more months if I’m being honest- this year has gone by so very fast.

He felt more and more edged out and didn’t know why. I was trying to spare his feelings and not harp on my issues over my dead husband. Which only backfired, leaving him feeling left out and me feeling confused about how my consideration for his feelings was the wrong thing to do. Sometimes I feel like the deck is stacked against us; we are in a new relationship at the hard part where you are learning each other’s idiosyncrasies and communications styles, then add to that the fact that we live 300 miles away and only see each other occasionally (not exactly how a normal relationship develops), then top it off with the grief monster. So while all of this was rolling around in my overly analytical and apprehensive brain, I got a call from my mom. She’s been having hip pain that won’t go away. She was on her way to get an x-ray today since the medication they’ve given her hasn’t helped. I got off the phone with her and immediately went into doom and gloom panic mode. I was sure she had bone cancer and was going to die. I was even picturing how the phone call would go in which she would tell me that things looked bad. Crazy, I know. She called me when it was done and said they want to do an MRI to look more closely but it does not appear to be anything serious, or at least life threatening. Then some irritating things happened at work that only added to my work load, and bothered me on a level it never would’ve if I wasn’t already worked up.

So there I sat trying to finish up my work for the school year, ruminating on where I went wrong with the new guy (despite the fact that we had managed to get back on the same page), if my mom was gonna die, and how I was ever going to finish the work I should be focusing on when they just added to my plate. And down the spiral went…dread was closing in big time.

The kicker of the day was that I had to leave work and go straight to a meeting to finalize plans for the 5k in honor of Andie. Ever since yesterday when this first started creeping into my psyche, all I can think is “Why did I sign up for this?” And that’s where the dread started. I’m feeling like I don’t want a yearly reminder that requires months of planning ahead of time…I’ve worked myself into a situation that will require that I devote a couple of months a year before the anniversary to thinking about him. I should’ve left well enough alone and just had to deal with the one day of the anniversary. Way to go, overachiever! Lately I’ve had the overwhelming sense that I just want to move on. I want to shut the door on this old life in a way and start over. I want to run away from the pain. Not very brave of me, and not very strong- but it’s the honest truth. I’m just so tired of having his death be the focus of my life. It feels so heavy all of the time and I want to cast it off.

I walked in the door 11 hours after leaving my house this morning feeling drained, obliterated, and incoherent. I felt emotionally exhausted and couldn’t really do more than sit on the porch in a stupor while the girls played.

And that’s when all of this finally came together in a flash of insight.
I finally saw how I got from point A yesterday evening: dread
To point B tonight: punch drunk*
Maybe I can sleep it off…

1. Showing signs of brain damage caused by repeated blows to the head. Used especially of a boxer.
2. Behaving in a bewildered, confused, or dazed manner.


  1. i read something that for some reason keeps making me chuckle on another widow board late last night...i felt like a lunatic laughing out loud- someone just wrote as their tagline, "i'm all grieved out, ready to live, and ready for love." the all grieved out part is what gets me every time...there is just SO much grieving that it's almost comical at this point.

  2. the 1st anniversary of my husbands death was in March. About 2 weeks before I had a really rough week - the anticipation always seems to be worse. When the date came around,it was no big deal. We met up with his family that morning and had lunch and then I went to dinner with friends. I knew he would rather me enjoy myself with friends than stay home with the kids, feeling sad after they went to bed. Hope these words are encouragement for you that this week will get better!

  3. I know exactly what you mean. It's what I call a "psychological concussion." I think trauma can rewire the brain a joke. I know that my functioning is qualitatively different than it used to be. As our psyche heals and copes, new connections form while others atrophy. I would love to see brain scans of my brain five years ago vs now. My frontal lobe would surely look somewhat altered. After a traumatic experience, the day to day can leave us feeling beat up because we haven't completely healed yet. Daily stress is akin to pushing on a bruise. After a while the whole limb gets sore. So in a nutshell, what Im saying, is given everything you went through, it's probably "normal" that you feel punch drunk. And believe me, I know its hard sometimes.

  4. I push so hard I feel like an elephant. Dumbo.