Here’s another place you don’t want to have to be apart of but when you do you’re glad it’s there. Valerie’s House is a local nonprofit in our area for grieving children and spouses, which was created by a woman who lost her mother, Valerie, when she was little. I had no idea this existed but someone close to me suggested it immediately, he lost his father young too. He said they were great people.
Driving there I felt really angry, by the time I got out of the car I was raging inside but this probably wasn’t noticeable. It didn’t help that I had to pass three ambulances with flashing lights on my way there. Those are also triggers I was unaware I had. My anger came from, again, wanting to be the donator, not the donatee. How am I even in this position I wondered. Haven’t I lent a helping hand my whole life? Shouldn’t that offer me an invisible forcefield of protection? No. It didn’t do anything.
I generally will force myself do things that are hard or uncomfortable if I think there is a possibility a greater good may come from it. So I forced myself to go into the house with the kids with the hopes that if my kids are surrounded by kids with dead parents maybe that would help? That sounds horrible.
My kids and I were separated into groups and they were a little apprehensive at first but they went by themselves. This was good because R can’t pee by himself right now, or sleep alone, or do Zoom alone, I mean literally anything. We are all glued together, 24/7. The kids went with their age groups and I went with other moms who are now widows. Some were closer to my age and two of them I actually “knew of.” We explained what happened to our spouse and did an activity about our struggle.
I think the thing that stuck out is for an hour, just one hour, I wasn’t the anomaly, I was “normal” and so were my kids. I haven’t felt normal in 21 days. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t feel normal like what you think or feel, but I felt more normal, or as normal as I was probably going to feel. It was interesting that we had all experienced trauma and losing our spouse but in really unique ways. Some seemed more traumatic than mine, others less traumatic than mine, but nonetheless all seriously traumatic. All total garbage and completely unfair and cruel.
Being a single mom is hard. Like 100% single. The dad is totally MIA to four children in a snap of a finger. Except their dad DID want to be here and he was awesome at it. It’s like the most wildly unfair and complex feeling ever. The division of attention is so difficult. I don’t want to slip through the cracks and neglect their needs. Jesse and I made sure we listened to them, spent time with them, spoke to them about worries, fears, hopes, dreams, and above all, were HONEST with them. That is at the top of the list on his great qualities. Difficult conversations happened in our house and it was very evident because at Valerie’s House we all had no issue speaking our truth. I think sometimes our style of parenting was conflicting with how people may have thought our parenting should have been- because kids are often shielded from painful truths. We did agree with this concept to a degree, because kids need to be kids, but thought it was asinine also because children are not stupid. They see adults, relatives, teachers, etc. mess up and to invalidate an adults mess up or error is to cause more of a problem as we saw it. Secrecy breeds more problems. I will miss that we had that as a team.
Now I have to do all of that alone plus regular obligations, plus some sort of grief counseling. I know if I regress from where we were our chances at appearing on the Dr. Phil show are going to sky rocket, but I am torn in 3 different directions with no solid help. I get a little here and there from family and friends but the constant day in and day out conversations and issues he took care of with the kids aren’t there- but they still need to be done.
C is into this show, which of all freaking shows, it is about people who died and came back to life 5 years later with a special section on a widowed spouse who gets her husband back too. What a selection of a show that is! I am trying to spend time with her, but it’s literally infuriating to watch. I have a trigger every 10 seconds because I know you aren’t going to magically come back in 5 years.
C has told me school pretty much sucks. She is finding also that everything is a trigger even if people are aware of what happened. On her first day back, her teacher had some sort of “write about something challenging that happened to you over break and how you overcame it.” That seems standard enough, but for us? Uh. My dad died? There was also a story they read about “dad frogs” and how they take care of the babies not the mom. It’s inescapable even if it’s not even slightly directed at us.
For my classes the other day, one practice BAR question was about a widow getting her husbands pharmacy medication and within seconds the next BAR question was about a man in a traumatic car accident with life threatening injuries. These hypotheticals used to make me think about the legal elements and how to solve them, but right now, I am thinking: hmm. Jesse and I are now BAR exam hypotheticals. Are we even real anymore?
Jumping to the next subject in my scattered brain. Jesse’s urn came today. The kids picked it out and it’s a large wooden box with a carved tree. I showed them the ashes and it’s interesting the amount of questions they have. Some are really sad and break my heart- like R saying he’s going to give him a controller so they can play their game together. Some are, just kid questions. “What are ashes? Does he still have to pee? If we talk to him is he going to reply?”
I took it outside to put it by our tree where Jesse built the kids a treehouse and began to cry immediately. His cat, Nymeria, who is usually patient, ran out the door with me to the tree. She probably feels neglected because she hasn’t gone outside much anymore. O ended up coming outside too and wanted to take a picture with Dad. Why is our reality that of you being a box. I cannot fathom it. I tried to keep myself busy again today but my brain is just so scattered.
Our friends came over and brought dinner and their reptiles for the kids. It was nice. We have the greatest of friends. I just wish you could be here too. O was the only one to really hold the snake. It reminded me of when we went to Vegas. You always gave me a heart attack and now she does as well. She is you in the female form.