Tuesday, December 3, 2013

An update on the FUBAR situation...

Lately I've been thinking a lot about my last post.  And before I get into that, I need to thank you all so much for continuing to comment and send your love, thoughts and prayers.  I'm amazed by your constant support, even when I write so infrequently.

My last post was honest and sincere and truly reflected where I was at that time, but it's so damn negative!  I hate being negative - even in this crazy life I live.  I know that in many ways I've been dealt a shitty hand, but I also know that I have so much to be grateful for and I've got no business moping around feeling sorry for myself.

Losing my kids was and is a horrible, terrible, unimaginable (even to me - still!) experience that I will never "get over".  It will forever be part of who I am.  But I don't want it to define me.  I want to make the most of the life I have left,  even though I can't be with them.

What I didn't realize before is how difficult it would be.  And not in the ways I imagined.  I miss them every minute of every day.  If I let myself think about them too long, I can become a sappy mess of blubbering sadness at any given moment.  But I don't.  It's not helpful.  When I'm home alone, I do allow myself to be sad, but when I'm at work or with my friends I hold it together pretty well.  My coworker jokingly calls me a "cold-hearted bitch" because he cries more often than I do when we talk about my kids.

Missing them is awful, and at certain moments and in specific situations it can be overwhelming.  But at this stage the hardest part for me to deal with is my utter loss of identity.  When my kids died, I was a stay-at-home mom.  Being Kate and Peter's mom was my full-time job and, really, my life.  Sure I did other things, spent time with friends, worked a part-time job, etc, etc. but if you asked me who I was I would have told you I was a mom.  Being instantly stripped of that identity and function as a human is what still has me dazed and confused.

At this moment, I'm not exactly sure where I fit in to this life.  I'm not like anyone else I know.  And I guess what's becoming most challenging is that I don't know who I want to be.  When I married Ken I thought we'd sort of start over and that I could re-create myself as I'd always wanted to be - a wife and mother.  Unfortunately, that didn't turn out the way I had hoped but I'm gradually learning to accept that.

So here I am.  My life is basically a blank slate.  I can do whatever I want (within reason) and be whoever I want to be.  But I haven't a clue of what or who that is.  And that is the hardest part.  It's scary and lonely, yet hopeful all at the same time.  And also scary.  Did I mention it's scary??  I'm scared.  Fo realz!

The good news is this:  I'm in a much better place today than I was a year ago or even six months ago.  Things have improved.  I have amazing friends who are always supportive, I have a great family and I have a job that I truly enjoy.  I have no idea where my life is going, but I'm hopeful that good things will happen or, instead,  that I will be able to create a life of purpose, fulfillment and joy.  I don't know what any of this will look like, but everyday I get out of bed and give it my best shot.  It's s sort of shot in the dark, but at least I'm trying.

Years ago, when Kate was two and Peter was 10 months old, I realized that my marriage to Steve was headed toward an inevitable end.  I was completely terrified.  I never thought I would be divorced, and the idea of being a single mother in a city where I knew almost no one was beyond frightening.  Someone gave me a little metal figure with an inscription on the back.   It reads, "When nothing is certain, everything is possible."  I'm holding onto that one.  I'm not certain about a damn thing, which means there must be a whole lot of possibilities!

Monday, August 19, 2013

FUBAR

In my last post I believe I mentioned that I wasn't planning to blog regularly until I had something good to write about.  I haven't written in over a year.  So... as you might imagine, I don't have anything good to report.

Believe it or not, things are worse.  I'm not sure how to begin, or what to say so I'll just put it out there. I'm single again.  I have not had any more kids.  I'm starting to lose hope of ever having a family.

I've been wanting to write for a long time, but for some reason I've been afraid to.  I somehow feel that by typing these words and letting all of you know what's really going on, I'm admitting defeat.  I also feel like writing about my life makes it more real.  I wake up and live this life every day, but I still try to pretend that somehow, someday it's gonna get better.  Maybe it's time to face the truth.  I don't know.

I don't want to give up, I really don't.  But I'm tired.  Not "I need a vacation and a script for Ambien" tired.  More like "I'm tired to the depths of my soul, I don't think I can continue swimming upstream anymore" tired.  

I'm almost 40, my kids are dead, I'm single and I need to find a real job.  I need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.  Except I'm already grown up, and all I've ever wanted to be is a mom. That hasn't worked out so well.  My life is truly fucked up beyond all recognition (FUBAR).  What do I do now?  Any suggestions would be appreciated.  For real.

When I started this blog and wrote regularly, writing helped me get through the dark and scary times. After a couple of years, I thought things should have started getting better so it became harder and harder to admit that they weren't.  That's why I stopped writing.  Well, that and the fact that every time I updated my blog, my parents called me because they were afraid I was planning to off myself. (Listen, Mom and Dad -  I'm not gonna off myself.  Settle down now.  I love you.) 

I don't know why I thought things should get better.  Maybe because that's how it works in the movies.  Things get rough, the main character hits rock bottom, there's a music montage and everything starts to get better.  I can't tell you how many times I've wished for a real-life music montage.  As soon as I find the right song, a film crew and a good make-up artist who can make me look 10 years younger and 20 lbs. thinner I'm gonna get on that.  Maybe that's the key to turning everything around.  

I suppose there is some kind of lesson here.  Unfortunately, life isn't a movie.  There's no script (I wish there was so I'd always have something witty to say) and, sadly, there's no guarantee of a happy ending.  I love a movie with a happy ending.

I also love books with happy endings.  And I love memoirs.  I love reading about people's lives and their struggles and how they overcome them.  I especially love when I know things will work out in the end, so I can read the bad parts knowing that everything is going to be ok.  This will sound strange, but I've often wished I could read my own memoir and find out how it ends. Maybe then I could relax for a change.  Maybe I wouldn't lose hope.  

The truth is, I can't give up.  I still hope and pray and sorta believe that someday things will get better. Maybe someday I'll find some kind of happiness?  Am I being stupid and naive?  Sometimes I think so, but if I lose hope, then what do I have?  Why the fuck would I get out of bed every day?  There has to be some reason.

Maybe I can write my way through this and who knows... maybe someday I'll have something good to report.  There's no telling.  But don't feel like you have to keep reading.  If and when things get good, I'll make a big announcement  and you can go back and read the dark and scary parts knowing it's gonna get better.  ;-)  I really hope it gets better.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Are you sure the world isn't over?

This past Friday was the 3rd anniversary of the day my kids were killed in a car accident. Three years. THREE YEARS!!! I still don't get it.

In some ways it feels like yesterday. In some ways it feels like it was 300 years ago. It doesn't really matter. I still don't get it.

I started this blog so I could let people know how I was doing. There were and are so many people who care and who worry and I wanted to let them know where I was in my grief so maybe they wouldn't have to worry so much. I also wanted to have a place where I could share my feelings and thoughts so I could get them out of my head and not feel so alone. For a while blogging really helped. I just had no way of knowing that life after the death of my kids would be this difficult.

I chose the name "Callapitter" because I loved the idea of the callapitter turning into the butterfly just when she thought the world was over (and of course I also loved the way Peter said "callapitter"). I knew things were bad and that losing my kids was some sort of horrible awfulness that cannot even be imagined, but somewhere in my soul I thought that things would get better. I thought that, initially, this blog would be a place to release the dark and disturbing experiences of grief, but eventually I would have more positive things to share.

Here I am, THREE YEARS LATER, and I'm still convinced the world is over.

It is so hard for me to share this with you. I'm not the type of person to complain endlessly or be negative all the time. I try, I REALLY TRY, to find the bright side in even the worst situation. But at this point I can't. There is no bright side. My kids are dead. The end.

Here's the real reason I haven't blogged in forever: I can't stand to be this negative. I feel like a big fat jerk for complaining when I have so much. Some people have nothing. I am not one of those people. Therefore I am a jerk.

But here's the thing: I am trying so hard to move forward and turn my life around after this truly devastating loss, but it's not fucking working!!!!

Let me cut through the crap and be specific. Many of you have inquired, hinted or suggested that maybe I should have more kids. Maybe that would help. I agree with you 100%.

I am a mom. I have always wanted to be a mom. When I was 13 and all my friends were saying they wanted to be teachers and doctors and marine biologists (because for some reason everyone wanted to be a marine biologist in the 80s), I said I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. My high school teachers teased me because I was going to spend a shit-ton of money going to college when I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I can't help it. It's who I am.

Problem is, at this point, I'm a "childless mom". That term is all wrong. That's all I have to say about that.

So 18 months ago, as you know, I got married to a wonderful, amazing man who I love very much. I thought, "This is a new beginning. We're gonna have kids. I can be a mom again."

Now don't get me wrong. I know in my heart of hearts that having more kids is not going to take away the pain of losing Kate and Peter. I can't replace them and I will miss them with every ounce of my being until I someday see them again.

I do believe, however, that having more kids could add joy to my life which might help balance out the pain and sadness. I also think Ken and I could be pretty good parents and maybe have some kind of nice, happy family. Trouble is, it's just not happening.

I realize that 18 months isn't really that long when you're talking about trying to get pregnant. I also realize that I'm getting old. I'm not older-than-dirt old, but I'm old enough. I'm old enough that doctors say wonderfully sensitive things to me like, "at your age, you can't afford to wait a year before considering your options. You just don't have that much time left." Or, "we have to look at your ovaries to see how many eggs are left in your egg reserve. At your age, you may not have enough eggs left to actually get pregnant". Gee thanks, I appreciate that. Assholes.

So 18 months in I have spent many hours in doctors' offices having every test imaginable. The tests show nothing. I have something called "unexplained infertility". Like I couldn't have figured that out myself.

I mean, I guess it's good they haven't found anything wrong, but the recommendations are the same as they would be if they had found something wrong: extremely expensive, hormonally charged, crazy-inducing fertility treatments that are rarely successful. Sign me up!!!

I apologize for the extremely sarcastic tone of this post. I'm angry. Very, very angry. For once, I want something to be easy. Really, I just want my kids back, but that's not going to happen. Did I mention I was angry?

Ken and I are at the point now where we are considering our options. All of them. We are fortunate, we have options. I know that.

I also know it's not a hopeless situation, but I feel hopeless a lot of the time because I'm so damn sad. I miss them so much. SO MUCH!!!

I do hope to someday blog again more regularly, but I won't do it if I don't have anything good to say. For now just know that I am still swimming and I'm still trying to find my kids, wherever they may be. I occasionally still have moments where I feel them around me or I get what I consider to be a sign or an "after death communication". To end this horribly negative post on a more positive note, I will share my most recent experience.

Ken and I recently spent some time in Australia and New Zealand with my brother (who lives in Australia). We did a lot of hiking in New Zealand, which may quite possibly be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. One day we were hiking in the Southern Alps near Mt. Cook when I looked to the side of the trail and saw this:



Yes, it is a heart made of rocks with the letters K and P in it. No, I did not put the rocks there and no, it is not photoshopped. I swear. I can't explain it. I can only say that on my worst days, it's things like this that give me a little bit of hope. So thank you, Kate and Peter.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

still swimming...

I've had this song stuck in my head since yesterday. I think it's because that's exactly what I'm doing to try to make it through the holidays.

It's been a difficult year for a number of reasons, and December is never easy. I haven't written in so long (I didn't even realize how long until I logged in today) but so many of you are still posting thoughtful and encouraging comments. THANK YOU.

I wanted to let you know that I am still here and I'm swimming the best I can. I haven't had the energy to put my thoughts into coherent sentences in a long time which is why I haven't been writing. I'm always hoping that will change and I will be able to get back to doing this regularly.

Again, I thank you all for staying with me even when it doesn't seem like I'm still here. I wish you much peace, joy and love throughout the holidays and may we all have a Happy New Year!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

An update on surrendering...

In the weeks that have passed since my last post (it's hard to believe it's been weeks already) I've been struggling with the whole idea of surrendering, or accepting what happened to my kids. For the first two days, every time I'd try to get myself to make peace with my kids' death the resulting experience was anything but peaceful. It literally felt like someone very strong had kicked me in the chest, sucked all the air out of the room and then tied a noose around my neck. I'm not lying. I could not breathe. I could not think. I could not surrender.

After those first couple of days I sort of gave up on the plan and instead decided to accept the fact that I couldn't accept the facts. I decided that my version of surrendering would be to acknowledge what has happened and admit that I will never be able to handle it. I have come to the realization that I will never be ok with it. I even came up with an acronym for my condition. FFU. Forever Fucked Up. That's just the way I am and the way I'm gonna be.

I have to tell you something really weird. Even though this is a completely bass ackward way of surrendering, it sort of worked. I started to notice a change. Even though I can't accept something that happened almost two and a half years ago, I can accept the person I am right now.

I can't explain it completely, but in the past few weeks I've started being kinder to myself. Instead of constantly fighting my situation or trying to change what has happened I allow myself to "indulge" in my sadness - if I don't feel motivated to do anything, then I don't do anything. If I feel like feeling sorry for myself then I throw myself a pity party. If I want to be angry and jealous because my friends' kids are growing up and mine aren't, then so be it. After all, I'm FFU so I might as well learn to live with it.

This may sound like a great increase in negativity, but strangely it doesn't feel that way at all. Instead of putting all of my energy into trying to change things that cannot be changed, I have started taking care of myself. I find myself thinking, "well, this is your life now - what can you do to make the most of it (or at least make it bearable)". That thought has proven to be far more constructive that something like "this cannot have happened!"

I think I finally began to understand the changes that have been happening when I took some time to do yoga tonight. Yoga is something that was very important to me a few years ago. When I started freaking about the possibility of getting divorced, a therapist recommended I try yoga to help me stay grounded and keep breathing. Yoga truly changed my life. I became healthier, more confident, more calm and I experienced a peace I hadn't really ever felt before. Since my kids died I unfortunately haven't put forth the effort to do much yoga at all.

Tonight I decided that in order to take care of myself in my FFU condition and make the evening more bearable I would find some Netflix yoga and commit to completing one session. After I stopped beating myself up about how much strength and flexibility I have lost in the past few years, I allowed myself to breathe and actually feel my body. My energy and the energy in my house changed dramatically. I felt a peace I haven't felt in years. I am crying tears of relief as I type because finally, FINALLY I have found a little bit of peace! (non-substance-related peace, that is) It may be fleeting, but for now I'll take it.

I feel that I owe Shirley MacLaine a great deal of gratitude for sharing her idea of surrendering on the Oprah show. Her words really stuck with me and even though I wasn't able to surrender in the way I thought I should surrender, I was able to surrender to something. Just as she suggested, surrendering is very powerful.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Surrender...

I was just flipping through the channels when I decided to watch the last half of Oprah's most recent interview with Shirley MacLaine. I used to think Shirley MacLaine was a little crazy, but now I'm not so sure (though I'm pretty sure I'm a little crazy, but that's beside the point). She said a few things that really resonated with me. I felt I needed to share.

What first caught my attention in this interview is that Shirley mentioned she no longer attends funerals. When Oprah asked her why she replied with something to the effect of "well, none of us die so why go to a funeral?" According to her beliefs (in a nutshell), souls don't die, they just shed their bodies and move on to another state of consciousness. From there they can decide whether or not to incarnate again.

Anytime someone talks about their belief that souls don't die, I get a little excited. It's like somewhere in my deep pool of sadness a little bit of hope bubbles up. I don't really want to get into a full-on discussion of my feelings about reincarnation right now (maybe in a later post) but, suffice it to say, I've considered the possibility.

At this point in the interview I was somewhat glued to the TV, feeling quite emotional, hoping to hear something helpful. It's not that I think Shirley MacLaine is some "enlightened being" (who knows, maybe she is?) or guru I want to follow, I just believe that we can learn something from everyone.

After more reflection on Shirley's life experiences and accomplishments, Oprah asked her what her biggest life lesson has been so far. She replied that she has learned to "let life happen". Then she used the word "surrender".

It's hard to explain why the word surrender had such a huge impact on me, but when she said it I had a major realization. It hit me that for the past two years, three months and twenty-seven days I have used every ounce of energy I possess to fight against reality. Every moment of every day, both when I'm awake and when I'm asleep, I'm thinking "this didn't happen, my kids can't be gone, there must be some mistake!"

Hundreds of times each day I say to myself in my head or under my breath "I just want my kids back, please give me my kids back, I'll do anything - please!" All I do is fight, fight, fight and I'm getting angrier and more anxious all the time. Just this afternoon I tried to take a nap and woke up in a complete panic. It has to stop.

When Shirley said "surrender" the word sounded like a vacation (I know that sounds strange, but stay with me for a minute). Surrender, to me, seems like a land far, far away in which I might be able to rest. I thought, "if I could just give up this fight and accept what has happened maybe some of the anger, stress and panic will subside, at least temporarily".

I have to tell you that accepting what has happened to Kate and Peter is not something I want to do. It's not right, it's not the natural order of things and I fucking hate it. But I can't fight it anymore. I certainly can't change it because, let me tell you, if I could I would have changed it a long time ago.

So I guess my next step needs to be finding a way to surrender. I have a feeling I'll last all of five minutes and then be back to my usual fighting, but I think that's ok. Maybe the next time I try I'll be able to last six minutes instead. Maybe eventually I'll be able to find some peace . I'm not convinced, but it can't hurt to try.

Maybe if I can "let life happen" something will shift or change and I'll be able to move forward. Despite my best efforts to move forward, I'm currently stuck in some sort of holding pattern of relentlessly negative emotions. Something's gotta give. Maybe it's me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm still here...

...which is the first thing I say to my therapist every time I see her. She always asks, "How are you?" and I always reply, "I'm still here" with a tone of annoyance in my voice, frustrated that some act of God hasn't yet taken me out. Typically she'll respond with something like, "well I, for one, am glad" at which point I roll my eyes and groan.

I have major guilt about the fact that I don't want to be here, but it doesn't change how I feel. I know there are many, many people who love me and are doing all they can to help me be happy, but I miss my kids terribly and each day seems to be more difficult than the last. Whoever said grief gets easier with time was full of shit as far as I'm concerned. Seems to me it only gets worse, at least that's how it feels at the moment.

I can't believe it's been almost three months since I posted anything on this blog. I'm sorry if I worried anyone and I appreciate all of your messages and support. At the time I wrote my last entry I had gotten so busy with school and work that I unfortunately had no time to do anything extra such as sleeping, breathing or blogging. Somehow I made it through and managed to do well in both of my classes. Since then I have reduced the number of hours I'm working and the number of classes I'm taking to preserve whatever sanity I can.

I'm fairly certain that, in addition to the fact that my kids are dead, my extreme busy-ness is the reason for my current funk. If you remember, a few months ago I declared that I was going to do whatever I could to try to "find" my kids and for the first time in a long time I felt hopeful. I was so hopeful I was almost excited. Sadly, my intense schedule squashed those hopes, at least temporarily.

Instead of doing something constructive, like reading, searching or meditating, I starting spending any spare time I could find in a less-than-sober state. Don't worry, I haven't become an alcoholic or drug addict and I'm a very careful and responsible person, but I have put a lot of effort into self-medicating and numbing out. I know some of you are probably horrified (especially my parents - I imagine my phone will be ringing in a matter of minutes), but I have to politely ask you to give me a break. I realize drug-induced altered states of consciousness may not solve any problems, but I do occasionally find a few hours of peace. I often feel like I'm living in hell, so it's nice to take breaks periodically.

For the past few days I've felt like I'm facing a decision, like I've reached a fork in the road and I need to choose a path. I can either continue doing what I'm doing - struggling through each day and rewarding myself by numbing out - or I can try to make some changes that might actually improve my life. I have to tell you that the first option sounds a whole lot easier than the second, but I know it's getting me nowhere and it's actually making me feel worse. I'm not exactly sure how to go about the second, but gradually I might be able to figure something out.

I am feeling good about the fact that, for the foreseeable future, my schedule will be much easier. I should have enough time to start reading and trying to "find" my kids again. As ridiculous and far-fetched as this whole idea may sound, it is the only thing that gives me hope. There HAS to be more out there, we HAVE to be eternal beings, or this whole thing called life is a bunch of bullshit. Just sayin.

I also hope to write more. I never make any promises because I know I could get busy again and not have time, and the last thing I want to feel guilty about is my blog. When I'm not writing, it's generally because I'm having a hard time and I feel like I'm only complaining. I don't want my blog to be one endless rant of "Woe is me, life sucks". I don't want to write if I can't say at least something positive.

But writing does help - it allows me to get my thoughts out of my head where they tend to bounce around and get distorted - and, thanks to all of you, it makes me feel less alone. It also makes me feel accountable. If I tell everyone I'm gonna make changes, I feel like I should do that.

So I am still here, wherever here is. And I'm hoping here will get better.