Posted in grief, healing, widow

I can’t fix it.

I think the best place to start with this post is to begin with an apology. I apologize ahead of time for the disorganization of the writing I am about to share. I also want to apologize for the hiatus. COVID-19 entered our worlds and boy did it shut me down. I haven’t written a single word since it all began though I feel like I have had a lot to say. So I am writing again. I am going to give it another go to get back to what makes me feel good and what I feel I can do to truly help others.

That is where I will begin this writing….helping others. I have always felt like my purpose in life is to help others. I have a desire to make a difference in others lives and though the way in which I have thought about doing these things have changed, I still believe that is what I am here on earth to do. I used to think I had to be apart of something “bigger” than me in order to make a difference in this world. I wanted to be apart of some big movement, or make a global impact and that is how I was going to make a difference. Then after I lost Pat, I felt like I was going to make a difference with other widows. But I unfortunately had to make a living and support my boys and get a job to pay the bills. I have been a high school counselor for the past four years and this has taken me away from my trying to help widows, though it has also filled the need to make a difference in peoples lives.

You see, these kids that I work with struggle with so much. I want to make it better for them. I want to take away their fears, their pain, their sadness, but I can’t. I can’t fix it for them. I can’t tell you how many times I go into my administrator and ask for a magic wand. A magic wand to make a difference in these kids lives, a real difference. There has to be something I can do to change the environment, or culture, or toxicity that our children are growing up with in this age of social media. I want to fix things for my own children as well. I want everything to be smooth for them and for them to genuinely be happy, good people. I don’t care about academic accolades or monetary success in life. I want them to simply be happy. Whenever any of these people, my children at school or my children at home, are in pain, I am in pain. This is who I am and how I am; for good or bad. My point of this is that I always want to help others.

The problem is that I struggle with helping myself. My life has changed so much since Pat died. It has been 6 1/2 years and yet there are still so many wounds and so much collataral damage that came from the whole experience. But I don’t want to admit that. I continue moving forward and being strong and handling things as it comes. When inside I am boiling over with emotion, confusion and anger. None of this I want to show to the world, and sometimes not even to myself.

Before Pat died, I was always an emotional person. I would cry at Kleenex commercials and Family Feud when the families won, but I had control of my emotions then. Since he died, and really probably from the time he was diagnosed, my emotions have grown stronger. I feel so much more now than I ever did before. It is something that is difficult to explain to people. I feel people’s pain and their happiness and there is no controlling it. I feel their happiness, I feel their sadness. I feel connected to others in a way I can’t explain. Every emotion is just larger than life. I have been ashamed or embarrassed by this because I thought it meant that I was weak….something I NEVER want to be considered. It’s not a weakness though. It is simply part of the new me and it is who I am. This affirmation or acknowledgement of who I am doesn’t make things easier though.

This has become a problem simply because in feeling everything so deeply I am often left feeling as though I am not helping anyone. This goes against everything I want and everything that I am. I feel like I am wasting all that I have to offer others and a little bit insignificant. Nothing I do is helping and the pain keeps coming and I keep getting overwhelmed with emotion that I can’t release because I am afraid to show what I am feeling. A vicious circle that needs to stop.

As I stopped for a moment to reflect on why I was feeling so empty, useless, and beat down, I went for a walk. As it has happened in the past, I ended up walking and crying throughout my neighborhood as I realized what I was feeling, wanting, and needing. And here it is… losing Pat has left me feeling that I HAVE to do certain things. I no longer have the priviledge to go out and do something I want to do without having consequences. I have three children to support, I have a home to maintain, I have a future to save for. I do not have anyone else to fall back on or push things onto. I am doing this alone. I am not complaining about this, just making it clear, that I am a solo parent who has to provide for the family. This limits me in my choices. And sometimes, well often times, I feel trapped. Not having choices or options can leave you feeling pretty isolated and alone. Nothing that I used to do that made me feel good matters anymore. I don’t write, I don’t read, I definitely don’t go out with friends, I’ve stopped exercising, or even watching t.v. I start and end my day wanting to go to bed.

First thing in the morning, I am counting down until I can go home and put on sweatpants and crawl back into bed. When I get home, I want dinner to be over so I can clean up the kitchen and head off to bed. Not a real exciting way to live. I have lost any enjoyment in my job, for it has simply become that, a job. I am counting down to retirement ( many years away ) and wishing for a vacation all alone by the beach ( not happening). None of this is what I wanted for myself, for my children, and definitely nothing I promised myself after Pat died.

I promised to live my life that I was blessed to have. Live the life he would have wanted to live, or wanted for me to live. I didn’t want to take a single moment for granted, or waste a breath on this earth to anything that did not fill my soul. Life is too short for that and “somedays” don’t always arrive. I wasn’t going to sit around and just pass the time so that someday I would have what I wanted, or to go after what I wanted in this life. And yet, 6 1/2 years later, here I am.

I have tried so many things throughout this wonderful grief process in this world of widowhood to make things better….to fix it, but I have arrived right back in this spot anyways. I think I have been trying to live the life that “I” think is right for me instead of doing what God has planned for me. I keep thinking I can do this all on my own. I should know by now that that does not work. So as this year is coming to end and a new year full of hope and possibility is on the horizon, I am going to take a new approach to things in my life. I going to try to live the life and walk the path that God wants for me. I am going to listen to my heart and to my gut to make my decisions rather than my hard headed stubbornness that I usually rely on. I need to change something or else nothing is ever going to change.

So its my approach that I think I need to change. I am going to stop worrying about “somedays” down the road… Easier said than done…and I am going to start taking care of me now. Right now, where I am in the moment and listen to what God is telling me. He will lead me to happiness and joy even if the path doesn’t make sense to me in the moment. I have to believe that. I am not one for resolutions, but rather I like to look for a FOCUS for the year; something to works towards. This is what it needs to be…I want to take this year for me; to follow my heart, my instincts and find the happiness I know I deserve. I can’t continue down this same path I have been going because I have found nothing but sadness going that way. This is where I am starting in 2022 and I can hardly wait to see what comes my way.

One thought on “I can’t fix it.

  1. I went through very much of that same thing about 5 yrs after my husband died. I ended up in bed much of the time I had off and I did not want to leave the bedroom. This lasted for me several years. Now 12 years after his death, I seem to be pulling out of it, but now without help. I have done some unconventional treatments and they have made a difference for me. Grief is hard! You don’t follow anyone else’s schedule. Nothing anyone says can change how you feel. You can just snap out of it because it has been, “long enough.” I wish it was all that easy. Keep your head up. You will find your way through your grief, but it will not be quick or simple. I pray you have support of all your guardian angels!

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