...and failing miserably.
I'm not sure what I was thinking a couple months ago when I registered for two classes (instead of my usual - one) and decided to get a part-time job. Most of the students in my program take four classes at a time (though they're all working toward a degree and I'm not) and work jobs, some of them full-time. I thought, "two classes and 20 hours a week - no big deal, right? Any normal person can handle that."
That's where I went wrong. For a moment I lost sight of the fact that I'm no longer a normal person at all. I don't know what I am exactly, I just know I'm not normal.
I love this metaphor written by another grieving mother and blogger, in which she compares the loss of her daughter to losing a limb, and her resulting state to that of an amputee. I don't want to convey that she means losing a child is like losing a limb - I can safely say both of us would've rather lost all of our limbs than our children - however she so clearly describes the fact that losing a child is a wound that will never completely heal. Though we may try to move forward, we will be forever impaired.
When I registered for my classes and applied for my job one of the thoughts I had was, "it will be good to be super busy in April." April is such a difficult month and I thought that by filling it with things to do I would be able to make it go by quickly, without having to dwell on the anniversary of the accident or Peter's birthday or Easter (the day of my kids' wake). Wrong again! No matter how I try to distract myself, I can't hide from or escape those difficult days. I spend just as much time grieving, only now I have 800 other things I should be doing.
What a mess I've gotten myself into. I'm not exactly sure how to get out of it.
What I've learned is that I can't take on as much as other people. Two classes and a part-time job may not seem like much, but for me it's more than I can handle. I just don't have the mental energy or life force or whatever you want to call it to get things done. So much of my energy goes into holding myself together so I'm not crying all the time, there isn't a lot left for everything else.
I hate admitting this. I hate feeling like I'm using my kids as an excuse for not being able to get things done. But it's the truth. No matter how much I hate it, it just is. I am impaired and I imagine I always will be.
I'm a perfectionist in a way - in the fact that if I can't do it perfectly, I won't do it at all - and I don't want to become a quitter. I will get through these classes (though I may not get A's -ARGH!) and I will not quit my job. I will, however, try to find ways to not get myself into this situation again. Maybe I'll ask for a reduction in my work hours and be more mindful when planning future classes. Maybe the title "grieving mother" would qualify me as a student with a disability and I could have extra time to finish my assignments. Probably not, but you never know.
For now I need to go finish an assignment that was due yesterday (as I mentioned in my last post, I didn't make it to class because I was too sad) and start a project that's due this coming week.
There is one small thing I have gained as a result of losing my kids that "normal" people may not have. That thing is perspective. I know that even if I dropped out of school today and quit my job tomorrow, none of that really matters. The only thing that matters is being with the people you love. Unfortunately, I learned that too late. I'll never forget it.