Monday, September 28, 2009

More on Saying Good-Bye

I'm still on Chapter 22 of Experiencing Grief by H. Norman Wright. I've been stuck on this "Saying Good-bye" business. I don't feel like I need to say good-bye to Mom. Maybe it's the Christian understanding that it's for a little while. This is not a good-bye because I'm going to see you later. On my last day or the last day we will be reunited with our fellow believers who have gone before. I have no urge to say good-bye because that was the first thing we did when Mom died. Maybe it helped that for weeks I knew the day was coming and maybe it helped that each day I saw Mom closer and closer to death.

I still feel a lot of pain thinking about those days and weeks but the window of time that can bring up the pain of experiencing her dying and my grief gets smaller. It's at once smaller and more intense. Saying good-bye is not any source of pain. Good-bye is where joy lives. Mom's death means Mom is alive in Heaven with Jesus, our Lord and Savior. She is safe, whole, healthy, happy, and worshiping the Lord God Almighty in person. What a thrill to know with all my being that she is there!

I do understand that for many people this is not the experience of grief. That there is no joy mixed with sadness. The same journey of grief is taken and there is no hope of a tomorrow by faith. So with the sure hope of my journey someday ending with my home with Jesus where I will one day see my Mom and all who have gone before I am ready to turn the page to Chapter 23 and find out "How Your Life Will Change".

This is from a visit from Mom's brother and sister-in-law and nephew along with her twin and family. It's about 21-22 years ago judging from the size of my nephew, in the back row with the cat stuffed animal.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

More Necklace Scarves

This one is set aside for a gift and the one just like it on the loom. Then I'll get back to fundraiser looming!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Headaches, hiding, and permission

The headaches have abated somewhat. I realized I may be been adding to them by my fear of the generic meds not working. There is a process to get meds that work approved and I'll pay a higher co-pay but it's better than headaches. Pita, but that's more on my doc's part than mine.

Mostly what I feel like lately is hiding. I don't want to socialize. I want to come home and hide. It may be headache related or maybe I'm having an introversion attack. Don't know.

I do know that Chapter 22 of Experiencing Grief by H. Norman Wright is titled, "Saying Good-bye." I'm so not there. He recommends writing a letter to express what I've learned from grief, what's been difficult, what my loved one meant to me, and what I think we didn't get to finish. Well, hm, blog anyone? I'm not thinking I need to write Mom a letter to help me work through my grief. I'm more feeling that at this point it's a matter of time.

Also in this chapter are two questions. One is, "Have you given yourself a certain amount of time to grieve?" The other is, "Have you given yourself permission to stop grieving at some point in the future?" Those give me pause for thinking. I don't think I've set a time. I more think as the author advises that an open ended end to grieving is more natural than setting a timeline that may not meet my needs.

On permission to stop grieving...I hadn't really thought about it. I figured that the intensity of grief would gradually decrease, as it has, to the point where the grief is harbored with memory rather than something considered daily, weekly, or monthly.

So, there are two good-byes to get to. One is the good-bye to Mom, the other is to grief. The chapter holds more but I'll have to get read it again before I have much to say. I'm still pondering the two questions rather than the two good-byes.

It was Confirmation at church this weekend (how totally non-traditional of us to not have it on Palm Sunday, Pentecost, or some other spring date!) I missed the service because of a ripping migraine. I thought I'd post Mom and Aunt J's confirmation photo:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oh gosh

It's almost been another week. I was hoping to read another chapter and have something to write. I'm on day 9 of migraines. 3 meds later and they still are not solved.

I have been knitting. During the day I can knit quietly on the couch with a very simple pattern.

This is a "necklace scarf". It's a very quick and easy knit on one of my smallest looms.

And another in black:

And, the one started this afternoon in "stained glass":

I have two more colors to try. If I can't read and think at least I can knit something simple.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The eyes have it

For most of my adult life I've been sure I looked way more like Dad than Mom. And it's true, I do. But the other day I was fishing an eyelash out of my eye. As I backed away from the mirror I got of glimpse of myself-just my eyes. I may have been 6 or so inches away. Surprise! Mom's eyes looking at me. The color is different. Mine are blue and hers were green but so odd to see so clearly-these eyes are from Mom. I'll have to dig out a couple photos and crop to the eyes to see if it's as obvious as I think it is.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Memory? What memory?

Last year at work was crazy busy with IEPs. I lost count of how many I wrote and hosted. I know that covering my 12 IEPs and 2/3 of the 30-40 speech IEPs kept me in IEPs at least once and often twice a week. I'm the special ed. teacher and I write the IEPs (Individual Education Plan). (This is an important statement.)

A student moved away-to another school in district and is now back. I remember sending off his file with notes on assessment and, "he needs an IEP asap, so sorry, family moved."

I have been waiting, waiting, waiting for a copy of the IEP since he re-enrolled at my school. Finally it shows up in our computer IEP data files program. I'm reading it thinking that I can easily implement this IEP. I wonder who wrote it and why am I not familiar with whoever thinks like me?

Then I check the multipurpose and notes pages. I always put "meeting minutes" type notes on the "notes" page and a summary of assessments plus an expanded write of up present levels of performance on the multipurpose page. So, I think other people might do the same. No notes, ok, no problem, some IEPs are straightforward. Multipurpose page? Yep, oodles of notes. Mine. Assessment data, present levels, yep-all here. (Important statement from above, "I write the IEPs"-one might think I remember them.)

I only have the vaguest of memories of this IEP. Certain things are familiar but that I wrote an entire IEP and we held a meeting and signed paperwork is gone from my head. Five weeks after Mom died I had held the annual meeting for this student.

It's a bit crazy feeling to not remember. I keep telling myself it was the grief and the stress I was under last year. It's normal, it's normal, it's normal. Still feels freaky.

As far as I can tell other goofy, freaky, or weird grief and stress effects include this and probably other memory gaps, having difficulty with forward planning, the oddest lack of a sense of time, and losing things. I've been loose with time management for a lot of my working life but I always get done what needs to get done. Now I'm fighting to make sure I get done what needs to get done, scheduling it, and documenting what I'm doing.

I've always misplaced things but could normally find them. Just in the last 24 hours I've printed two sets of papers for different groups of children and can't find them. And the lack of a sense time passing? Never has been me. I've always been punctual. I've always known about how much time has gone by. I've always know what day it is and what day of the week it is. Don't always know the date. Now? Um, no.

Wednesday evening is choir. Wednesday evening has been choir for about 15 years. Two Wednesday's ago I knew it was Wednesday but it felt like Tuesday. (don't even ask what Tuesday feels like) I knew I had to go to choir but I also knew it was Tuesday. So, I got in my car and went to choir. As I pulled into the parking lot the right amount of cars were there but they looked wrong. I almost turned around and went home but decided to go in just in case half of my brain was right.

Sure enough, it was Wednesday and we did have rehearsal, and I stayed even though it felt like Tuesday.

So, here I am thinking I'm moving forward pretty well and, yes, I am. But there is a lot of evidence that grief and stress have changed my brain a bit. I'll be happy to get to a place in the future where my mind isn't playing tricks on me and that moving forward from grief doesn't have so many residual effects.

This Mom photo...I've had several people tell me not to keep photos like this one that remind me of how mom was toward the end of her life. Like I'm gonna forget this? I get it-remember and remind myself of who she was not what disease made her. Displayed photos are of hale and healthy Mom. But, this Mom is part and parcel of the grief, stress, and moving forward. I need to remember, too, why my grief is what it is and why it's ok that I struggle with memory, planning, and time management. It's ok.

Pointsettia, to give me a time reference on the above photo. Dec. 08.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Well, ok then....

Read the details.....Some how, regarding letting go, I missed this, "regrets, unfullfilled expectations, anger, the lifestyle you used to have, or even a routine." None of these ring true for me.

I think for me it's more basic. It is the "stuff". What to do with the things that belonged to the woman most precious to me. Perhaps the key is in not rushing myself. Over and over the author reminds me that it's my grief, my time, my process. Letting go, like everything else, will happen when it happens.

From spring '08, I think it's lysianthus but I'm not sure. I am certainly drawn to purple flowers:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Letting Go

This is the 2nd part of chapter 20 of H. Norman Wright's Experiencing Grief. Mid-chapter he talked about time frames to be aware of and earlier in the book it was to know that anniversary dates of all kinds can be difficult.

This is the first time he's approached letting go. The time frame mentioned is 12 to 18 months when good days outnumber bad days. I think I'm already there. I still can't get through church without tears but I'm ok with that. I can control the tears a little more so I don't soak 4 tissues-just one. It's those darned 3rd or 4th verses of most hymns!!! Today we sang, A Mighty Fortress which is not one of my weepy songs. It could be but I'm not going there.

So, letting go. I thought I was okay with the concept and how I'm doing. I'm not as okay as I thought I was but I recognize this is a process. I mentioned to my sis that we never finished cleaning out Mom's room. I'm not really in a hurry. I more wanted it on her list somewhere.

I'm not sure what letting go looks like. Does is mean her room is packed up? Does it mean I've repurposed her room? Does it have anything at all to do with things? My time is much the same in schedule as it always has been but I have much more free time. That doesn't feel so much like moving on as a natural change.

I guess I'll be finding out as I go. On to digesting the next chapter.

A young Mom, if Sis is an infant this is 1960:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Time flies when you're back to work....

I can't believe a whole week has gone by without a post. That means I've not been reading several blogs either. I'll see what I can do to catch up with both of those situations tomorrow.

Random photo of a sign I liked in New Mexico: