Thursday, April 25, 2013

Move, Moving, Moved

Somewhere, flying over central Canada, Patrick made up his mind. He decided that we would sell the house and move out of town, to the country.

I'm a country girl at heart yes, but I've come to like and appreciate the perks of living in town. An abundance of running water that does not need to be hauled, or fears of the well going dry, for example. A grocery store only a block away. Shopping is close at hand, and we have decent choices as we live in a fair sized city. I adore having a fence that contains my wild dog and adventurous children.

But the neighbours are so close to us. It's noisy on our street, especially in the summertime. We have some especially rotten kids across the street that scream all the day long (ages 5 and 8). Our next door neighbour runs his stinky diesel truck outside our bedroom window half the night and smokes us out.

So lots of pros and cons to moving out of the city.

We had barely set foot out of the airport and back into our busy lives before Patrick had found an acreage he fell in love with. We went out and toured the property (or as best we could as it was covered in snow) and looked at the new house. Big house, all one level and did I mention big?

We bought it.

Then we had to sell our old house. That entailed a frantic weekend of cleaning, sorting, painting, tidying, hauling away and donating, staging and keeping the kids off of everything.

It sold in an hour for a fantastic above-asking price.

This all went a little fast for me. I had barely gotten used to the fact that he wanted to move, much less the part that we sold our house, bought a new one and WERE moving.

I freaked out a bit. I don't like change. At all. Not even a little bit.

I packed the house up around kids. My dear father brought his trailer in and we moved out of the house. There was lots of swearing. My father isn't exceptionally patient. So there, yes, I come by it honestly.

I drove in by myself the next day and cleaned my house for the last time. And I suppose it was my house. I bought it before I had even met Patrick. He had moved in with me as he had been renting prior to that.

I said goodbye to my house. The sanctuary that housed my injured body and shattered mind after my accident and divorce; where I healed. The place I first lived with the true love of my life. The home we brought our children home to. The cute little house that we were bursting out of the seams in. I locked the door and walked away.

Right into my parents' house. Of course we couldn't get into the new place until weeks after we had to be out of the old one. Of course, I liked the continuity. Every time I move, I have to stay with my parents waiting for possession of the new house. But of course, I've never stayed there with children and husband in tow.

My parents lasted about a week. Then they decided to take advantage of house sitters and left on an epic road trip. I was in charge of my two children and dog, and their two high maintenance dogs. On a farm in the middle of nowhere. I took the opportunity to stress clean every surface in that house.

Then finally we got the keys and started the long process of moving into the new place.

I love it here. There isn't a thing I would change about being here. I lived in the country most of my life, and Patrick too so it was truly like coming home.

All that worrying for nothing.

Sadness Continued

Tragedy struck once more after we buried my husband's father.

The next night Patrick's grandmother took her last breath and died peacefully in the same hospital.

We weren't expecting that call at all. Off we went back to say our goodbyes once again. I've never seen anyone "at rest" before, but it wasn't as horrific as I imagined. Gone were the tubes and wires and blinky lights. All that was left was a 90 year old woman who was no longer in pain or missing her youngest child. She looked very peaceful.

We extended our stay to attend her funeral. It was a different feeling surrounding the proceedings that day. Although sad, she had lived a long, rich and fulfilling life and it had not been cut short in any way.

It was twice as hard leaving Patrick's stepmom behind as we walked into the airport. I've become so close to her this past year; I knew how hard it would be for her without Patrick there at the house. He really does have a calming presence (unless of course, you happen to be married to him; then that 'calm' feeling is occasionally debatable).

Anyway, it was hard to leave her behind. But she did fly out and stay with us for a while a few weeks later, so that was nice. The kids absolutely adore her. And the timing was perfect, as my darling husband had decided that we were selling our house the moment we got back home.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spring That Never Was

It wasn't easy to write the last post. It wasn't easy to lie in bed at night and wait with one ear open to get The Call.

The Call came in the middle of the night just days after I wrote the last post. Finally, it was over. The battle lost. Another victim of cancer taken far before his time. It was as awful as I could imagine it to be; his son and wife in attendance. Alone together after he passed.

I flew out to be with them. I didn't know what to expect - but it wasn't a family of calm individuals working together to arrange a funeral. I expected so much more, well, grieving. But everyone was well in control of their emotions.

I know now that that was all mostly shock and a coping mechanism for the people closest to him. Things have since gotten much worse.

I hadn't been to a funeral before. I didn't know what to expect. It was awful. Truly awful. A man's life had been reduced to ashes that fit neatly in a granite box. I was faced with emotion that I didn't know existed.

I knew I didn't get along well with this man, the father of my husband. He didn't care much for me and made no attempt to get to know me better. I responded in kind. He wasn't openly hostile to me, but his disdain was palpable when we were forced to spend time together. I would count the minutes until he left. Or until I left. I hated being at his house.

But after putting his pictures together in a timeline (for display at the funeral) I realized that he had a rich and full history that I knew nothing about. He was a whole other person, more than the cranky-pants man that made my life miserable when I was around him.

His wife and son saw him in a completely different light. His friends told stories about him. I regret not getting to know him better while I had the chance.

I cried at his funeral. I cried for his suffering. No matter how I felt about him, he did not deserve to die like that. I cried for my husband who had no tears for himself. I cried for his wife, the woman who loved him, thorns and all. Her pain, anguish and the all-encompassing emptiness now that the love of her life is gone.

It's been over three months now. A lot has happened in our lives since then. I've resolved my personal issues with his passing, and have moved on. My dear husband has just begun to start his grief journey.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cancer is Hell

My father in law is dying of cancer.

I won't go into what kind.  It doesn't matter now; every organ in his body is filled with tumors.  He is getting to the final days, recently given 'days to weeks' to live.

My husband is 3000 miles away from home, sitting with him around the clock in his palliative care room.  Watching his dad wither away from lack of nutrition and disease.  Watching him writhe in pain, listening to his confused speech.  Watching the result of cancer in the brain take away who his dad is and leaving dementia in its wake.  Watching the effect it all has on his stepmother.  Trying to be strong for her sake.  It is a nightmare.  A living hellish nightmare.

I am safe from this sight, safe in my own home with my children.  Far from his dying dad's side.  Yet I feel like I should be there to support my husband as he supports his stepmother and his father.  I feel helpless.  I feel his pain in his voice when he calls to talk to me and the kids.  I feel guilty for caring more about my husband - his emotions, feelings and pain - than I do for my father in law.  I feel tired, alone and overworked, going on five months of single parenting while maintaining my home businesses.

I feel angry.  Angry that my husband has to watch his father dying in agonizing slow motion.  Angry his stepmother demanded he be there for his father's death.  Angry that he has worked the entire winter without a day off and has twice now flown out to be with his dad for weeks at a time.  Angry that our children are asking for their father and I can't tell them when he'll be home.  Angry that when he does come home, fresh from his father's funeral, he will go straight back to work and not be heard from or seen until springtime.  Angry that cancer has deprived us of husband and father, and ultimately depriving us of my children's grandfather.

I have to soon explain to my extremely bright three year old what death is.  I have to carefully lay out what happens when a person dies and not scare her in the process.  I have to answer her four million questions that will be never-ending.  I will have to shush her never-ending fountain of talk about her grandfather when her father is present, lest it upset him.  I have to leave my children with my chronically ill mother (who recently came out of MS remission, and is in no shape to chase toddlers around) and fly out to partake in the funeral proceedings.  I will watch my husband crumble into grief.

I've tried to think about what I would do if it was my father who was dying.  My mind is so repulsed by the thought nothing coherent comes of it.  I suppose that is answer enough.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Has it Really Been a Year?

Wow. It totally has.

It's been a crazy busy wonderful stressful year.

My son is 16 months old. My daughter is 3.5 years old. They are both wonderful and doing well. Growing, talking and keeping me on my toes and my heart full to bursting. I'm so proud of them.

I didn't have postpartum anything. I have hyperparathyroidism due to a tumorous gland. It's benign but was wreaking havoc on my body. I'm 25 pounds lighter now and eating much healthier.

We're currently losing a parent to cancer and that's been tough. But we're still here and moving forward.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Terrible Two Blues

On top of dealing with postpartum issues, I've also been thrown into the abyss of toddler development hell. We're live at five and rocking the Terrible Twos.

I love my daughter dearly and it breaks my heart to see her so out of sorts. I feel guilty for my part in it. I'm so out of sorts myself that she's picking up on it and acting out. She's also at the stage where she has opinions (and strong ones) but isn't able to express herself clearly. Her frustration quickly boils over into screaming. And throwing. And telling me off in no uncertain terms.

Power struggles ensue on the daily. Every morning starts out promising. An hour into the day I'm staring at this precious little one in front of me wondering where the hell my sweet BB went and what on God's green earth I'm doing wrong.

Everything is a fight, and I mean everything. Getting dressed. Not throwing her toys. Leaving the TV alone. Leaving the dog alone. Every time I leave the room she strips her brother naked, even if it was only for 30 seconds. Brushing her teeth results in a full-on molecular meltdown.

She won't eat. I'm guessing this is the result of pesky 2 year molars starting to move around, but I'm not entirely sure. BB gets hungry and bitchy, but barely manages a mouthful before she tells me she doesn't want it and either throws her plate or feeds it to the dog. Sitting at the table to eat? Sadly, not happening. We used to sit at the table for dinner every night as a family; it's all but impossible now.

So mealtimes are a nightmare. Preparing, cooking and serving said meals can reduce me to tears. Especially when both kids are crying and need me and I'm frantically trying to get a meal to the table only to have two noses turn up at it (my husband and daughter's). I eat when I can, usually standing at the counter or on the run.

I knew taking care of BB and her infant brother was going to be madly and terribly busy, but it's not how I expected. There are moments of pure chaos where all the world is going to pieces and both kids are screaming for me; I fantasize about running away. There are moments of blissful peace where BB is content and we can play without meltdowns while the baby either watches or sleeps.

I knew being a stay at home mom was going to be hard at times, but it's getting ridiculously difficult. Today I told Patrick that I'd had enough and I want to go back to work. He thought I maybe need some extra help with the household chores. It's not the chores though. I don't find laundry, dishes, cleaning or making meals all that difficult. It's doing those things around the kids' needs that gets difficult. It's hard to clean (or do much of anything) with a hungry baby in your arms and a screaming miserable toddler hanging off your leg.

Having an extremely difficult day with BB translates into me staying up late to finish chores that didn't get done during the day. Then I stay up even later to get some blessed alone time where no one is touching me or demanding of me or needing me for something. According to my highly intelligent intensive googling, this is known as being 'touched out'. That sounds vaguely dirty to me, but right on point.

I know this is just a rough patch we're going through. This too shall pass.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Haven't Perished, I Promise!

First, I must apologize for being absent for so long. I have no excuses other than being pregnant started to be difficult and then ta da! I had a baby and it's been busy and hectic ever since.

In the last few weeks of pregnancy I wound up in the hospital on five separate occasions. Once for excruciating stomach pain, once for false labor, then bleeding (that was fun), sky-high blood pressure and the last visit for false labor again. I gave birth via c-section to a bouncing baby boy at 38 weeks. He's perfectly healthy and growing like a weed (and also now three months old).

My sweet daughter adjusted well to the baby and took him in stride, but got swallowed up by the terrible twos and is being quite obnoxious to me. She's great with her little brother but mommy is public enemy number one these days. It makes me tired.

Also? I have issues.

I had the baby blues really bad after having my daughter. I expected it to hit me again after having my son, but they never came. I didn't have any weepy episodes or soaring emotions. Well, except one. Two months into this crazy thing we call new motherhood, I became angry all the time. Never at the baby, but my husband, daughter and dog were victims of my raging anger issue.

I'd be perfectly fine, then something would set me off and I'd be yelling and fuming, stressed to the max and feeling very anxious. I have to apologize to everyone who's ever had any postpartum issues. Like Santa and M&Ms, they do exist. I turned to the internet for help and realized right away I didn't have PPD. The symptoms didn't fit. I gave up for a while and continued struggling in daily life. Then I looked up anger as a symptom of PPD and I had my answer - postpartum stress disorder/syndrome. One website called it postpartum adjustment being that it usually strikes due to stresses of an addition to the family and hormones.

My hormones? Are crazy and not apparently very forgiving of a c-section. I made an appointment with the doc and decided that I would take pills or anything he suggested to get a modicum of my life back to normal while my hormones sorted themselves out. Over that week of waiting to see the doc, my body started to finally sort things out. I've had moments of anger, but they pass quickly. The biggest news is my other emotions are coming back. Instead of feeling either numb or angry, I'm feeling a whole litany of feelings now.

At the doc appointment, he prescribed a mild antidepressant to help me until my hormones return to normal. I'm terrified of taking it while nursing so I haven't, but the funny thing is, I haven't been feeling like I need a pill to calm down. Maybe knowing it's available to me is helping.

In the meantime, I'm really enjoying my children. My days are extremely busy, but filled with good stuff and light.