Two hours ago we should have been landing in Seattle for an adult weekend away. We should be well into our trip up to Canada as I type this but we aren't. I am sitting at the table typing away as Riley and Cooper play video games with a friend who is sleeping over.. because we stayed home.
The decision to cancel our trip was mutual and I am trying to be ok with it, since it was mostly my anxiety and fear that lead us in this direction.
Cooper is having surgery in 19 days and I have to keep him germ free and healthy until then. So, the thought of even taking three days away and leaving him in someone else's hands made me cringe and lose sleep. Blame it on my control issues and I know we have time to take trips later.. (this doesn't make me any less sad that we aren't going today.)
It has been 9 months since Jay passed. Somedays we do ok and others not so much. I realized not to long ago though that I have spent so much time hovering over Riley that I haven't stepped back to look at my own emotional situation.. and man, what a shit show that is.
Here is what I realized. I need help because this Mommy is broken too.
I noticed that I am struggling when it comes to parenting Riley. I don't want to yell, I don't want to take things away, I don't want to punish him because he's been through a lot! Logically, I know this isn't ok. Logically, I know that my seven year old can see right through this disadvantage and often runs with it. Logically, I know that every kid needs structure and discipline no matter whats going on. However, my heart isn't on that page yet and I don't know how to get it there.
Don't get me wrong, sometimes he pushes far enough and I get on him.. but then I spend hours in my room, in tears because I don't want to yell, scream and discipline. Are you see'ing my cycle yet?
I am see'ing a therapist now, the same therapist as Riley. I am being open about this because maybe someone else will see this and understand that it's ok to talk to someone. It's ok to be broken and it's ok to want help. I feel like the stigma that surrounds therapy or anti depressants is ludicrous, so here I am.. sharing me, with you. ( for the record, I am not on antidepressants because I would like that to be a last resort.. however, I am not against them.)
In therapy I have learned that I am angry with Jay (which I have known..) but how deep my anger really goes is scary and something I need to come to terms with so that I can be able to let it go.
I am not angry with him because of our divorce or the hate we spent spewing at each other for years.. but more because of how he left us, in this situation and how broken all the pieces are. Including my own..
You see, Riley isn't a burden to me. He never has been and there have been several times I had to step up and be his everything. I have always done so because being his mommy and being a decent one has always been my priority. This time though, I feel like Jay broke us both and those pieces can't be put back together which makes me angry. I am angry at every milestone he isn't here for, I am angry that he is missing holidays and birthdays but mostly I'm angry that I can't tell him I am angry with him.
I am working through these things but I am also learning what triggers them. Never in a million years would I have guessed that looking at Riley and see'ing a facial expression or a certain tone could rile my insides. Never would I have guessed that see'ing so much of Jason in Riley would make my heart ache and miss him and I would have never guessed it would make me mad. Yep, it makes me mad!
Mad that for the rest of his life he will hear things like, "You look just like your Daddy.." or "Your Daddy would have been so proud of you for..". I learned that this makes me mad because these are things I grew up hearing and unless you have ever been compared to your dead parent, you don't really understand the proper response to these statements(their isn't a proper response, ever.) ... The responses to these statements are usually awkward silence, a half assed "thanks" or a "really?" but what you feel inside is hurt. Inside, you feel a void that can't be filled. Inside you ache because you realize in that moment how much you're missing because of the absence of that person. (Remember a few months back, I blogged about how Riley's loss was probably going to mix up my own mommy and daddy issues?! .. Well here they are, folks! Grab some popcorn, it's going to get good.)
I know that anger is part of the grieving process and I feel like I am spending a lot of time in this part of the process, so therapy will be good for me. I know that working through this with someone else is also beneficial for my own mental health.
My therapist gave me a homework assignment this week. I have to write a letter to Jason. I have to put the things in my heart on real paper and tell him why I am mad at him. I have to tell him how his absence is affecting my ability to parent, how his absence pisses me off and how this life isn't being very fair. I have to write this letter as though I have the ability to hand it to him. For whatever reason, it's harder then I thought it would be.
It's cathartic to put my feelings here. It's comforting to know that when I want to, I can scroll through our progress of the last nine months and smile, cry or embrace some of the shit we overcame. (the week from Hell, when the water heater broke and I stepped in warm, runny dog shit.. all in one day?!) I can imagine that once I start my letter, it will also be cathartic.. but getting started is a struggle. It has to be done by Monday. (insert procrastination face here.)
Aside from the anger, I am getting through the rest of my days just fine.
I am so thankful for Sean. Thankful to have such a loving, understanding husband who can distinguish between my love for Jason and being in love with Jason (which I wasn't anymore and hadn't been for a long time.) I am thankful that my husband knows without me having to reassure him that me being sad over Jason's absence is because of the presence he had in our life and that Sean misses him to. I am thankful he supports my need for therapy and offer's encouraging words.
Just like the other storms I have endured, I will make it through this one too and so will Riley. He has some strong parents left here to get him through this crazy stuff.. and I am glad that I know myself well enough to know that I can't fix me on my own, which means I can't keep strong for him until I fix my own stuff.
Being a parent is hard. Always. If you don't have kids yet and you think it's a walk in the park.. You're a dumb dumb. Though being a parent is hard, being a broken parent to a broken kid is harder then you could ever imagine. Being a broken parent to a broken kid and holding it together is like walking into a gun fight with a butter knife without the ability to hide behind someone or something.
We will figure it out.. probably not in any kind of timely manner.. but we will none the less. (: