I spent many years in high school feeling left out. During my senior year I was not only suffering from depression, but I was also overweight. The depression caused me to isolate and withdraw from my friends. As prom season came around, I was left with no friends and no date. I always thought, if I weren’t fat, a boy would have asked me and if I wasn’t depressed, I would have had friends to help me negotiate a date. I did not go to prom and that was one of the saddest nights of my childhood.
That took decades to get over. I remember in college lying to some friends about having gone to prom because I couldn’t face the humiliation that I didn’t go.
My daughter is gorgeous. She is tall, blonde, thin and beautiful. She is the daughter that, this chronically overweight person needed to have. I can look at her and feel the beauty that I never had. She, of course, doesn’t see it, but that is another post for another time.
She has struggled with friendships. Like my #1 son, they are/were both loud and in charge like their mama bear. We call this the Northern Jewish personality; it works well around certain populations, specifically, Northern Jews. My son struggled in high school with friends and then found his people at Jewish camp and at college. My daughter has found friends at camp and at Jewish youth group, but has struggled with her school peers, in a similar way that her oldest brother did. (The middle brother does better with the more reserved gentile people, so he does just fine with this homogenous community in which we live).
I am rambling on because tonight is a school dance. My daughter has made some wonderful friends outside of school and is with them now. She didn’t want to go to the dance because she doesn’t feel good with her school peers. But, she did want to go to the dance because it’s what everyone is doing; new dresses, hair and nails and the all important pictures.
I was just on Facebook and my feed was flooded with pictures of those attending the dance. Several of my friends’ kids are at the dance and I was privy to their pictures. I got sick in my stomach as I did when I did not go to prom. That was 1983, there was no internet or pictures in real time. I eventually did see pictures of the prom I didn’t attend and ached as I gazed at each photo trying to get a taste of what I had missed. Now, it can’t be avoided; there are photos everywhere at every minute.
I just had a wave of aching for my #1 kid who also felt this way. I am aching for his pain, for his feeling left out and for my inadequacy at soothing him. And, now he isn’t here and I can’t comfort him. I feel like there were so many times when I could have been there for him, eased his pain, given him more unconditional love. I always wonder had I done that better, would he had made different choices and still be here.
The ache hurts so much. My ache, my daughter’s ache, his ache and my ache for them. My ache for not being able give him what I fear he needed. I think I am giving it to her, but it is still so so painful and so scary…I couldn’t control his destiny, how do I know what else will come to be?
Need to write. Too lazy to write. Is it lazy, or reluctance?
So much in my head.
One thing is my body. I am in such despair. It is hot. I walk, I sweat and am miserable. Clothes are horribly wet and sweaty. I’m embarrassed and uncomfortable.
I use to be a Summer person. I am now not tolerating Spring and it’s early Spring too. Between allergies and sweat and fatigue and warmth I crave the cool of Winter and that is not me.
My clothes don ‘t fit. I’m uncomfortable the way I feel and look.
And this is just an added layer to grief. Is it to ‘distract from the grief? Let me be miserable in my body, fret the weather and beat myself up to be spared the real feelings of the grief.
So, two nights ago when it was really warm out and I was very uncomfortable I tried to not eat with that in mind. I made it until 9:30 and had my hands in M and M’s.
Yesterday I had texted someone only to have my hands in trail mix (with chips) shortly after. I did not eat last night. So far today I’ve eaten well. I felt like double-dog-shit this morning. No idea why, had taken a Zyrtec last night, was it hormones. I had a flash of the detox and remembering feeling poorly when I started. I am hardly detoxing, unless my body is so dependent on the junk that the most minor change set up the fog. That wasn’t it, but what I did appreciate was being in touch with the detox feeling; I don’t remember the feeling, but I remember once that bad fog was over and it was mostly the caffeine, the good felt damn good.
What would it be like to feel good? To enjoy the weather? To go back to feeling light on my feet? To be active and enjoy it? Do I fear I don’t deserve this joy? Do I fear that taking care of me shows I’ve let go of taking care of him?
I can’t take care of him.. Is the grief the only thing left to say I am taking care of him? What does it mean for me to not be miserable? As if to say eating healthy and not carrying around this physical weight will bring back me? It won’t. So, why eat healthy if I’ll still be miserable? Clearly my poor soul isn’t making the connections. I am so miserable in my body. And yet, I can’t allow myself to be less miserable? Is this what I feel I deserve?
Or is it all a bunch of bull shit? I just eat and eat to numb. I can’t tolerate feeling and then I eat and the byproduct is one big fat unhappy me, and unhealthy.
It’s so hard to sort through because this has been me for 52 years. I suffer and eat. I struggle and eat. I am anxious, sad, scared, frustrated and I eat. I am now enduring the most pain one could ever have, of course, I eat.
Even the public have given me a free pass. When I complain, people say, it’s okay, you deserve it, it’s the least you can do. Is that permission to eat myself to death?
Is that what I am doing? A slow painful binge to death? I can’t do it. Whether I want to go on or not, people need me. I can’t do to them what he did to us. So, what? just keep eating until I burst?
The problem is that where I am now, not about to burst, but pretty damn uncomfortable is effecting my life. I feel it physically and emotionally. I am not happy in my body.
I was telling a friend about yoga and how my body is in the way. I can’t do positions that I used to do because my body has changed. My very large belly is keeping me from doing many moves; I was telling the friends it’s as if I have eaten myself back to a pregnant belly. Is that how I carry him? I this weight, these pounds, this fat, is this keeping him close?
It certainly keeps me feeling restricted and tight and constrained. My body is keeping me this way and I am creating this. It is so sad because there is so much to grieve and I am wasting time and energy on this. But this has been me, always. I always will focus on food and fat instead of what is really important. And in my most desperate of times, who would expect anything different?
He is gone. He is not coming back. He has left us a family of four. And, am I making up for it by carrying my fifth part on my body? I don’t know, I just wish I could stop. I wish I wanted to stop. I wish I wanted to feel healthy as much as I hate feeling this way.
A year ago on this day it was a beautiful sunny March day. The daughter was home from school having a mental health day and the #1 kid was home from college for his spring break. On a whim the three of us went to a park with waterfalls. We walked and took pictures and it was really nice day. The last picture I have of #1 son is from that day. He left here on Sunday to go back to school and then died early the next Saturday morning.
We are coming on a year. The Hebrew calendar’s year anniversary is this week (I don’t know why, nor do I understand the different calendar things, but it’s neither here nor there) and on the Shabbat (Sabbath) of the anniversary of anyone’s death we observe yahrzeit. Our family will attend our synagogue and when it gets to the part for the mourner’s prayer they will recite his name before we say that prayer.
YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THIS SHIT FOR YOUR KID! YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE A FREAKING MEMORIAL PLAQUE AT THE SYNAGOGUE WITH HIS NAME ON IT THAT WILL BE LIT BECAUSE IT IS HIS YAHRZEIT. AND YOU SURE AS HELL AREN ‘T SUPPOSED TO LIGHT A FREAKING YAHRZEIT CANDLE THAT WILL STAY LIT FOR 24 HOURS FOR YOU KID. IT’S JUST NOT RIGHT!!!!!
But, guess what we will be doing this Friday, see above.
I’d much rather hike to the water fall with him than observe the year anniversary of his death, but no one asked me.
I’ve had so so many thoughts and emotions on the daily. Always…I had the memory of “the call” the other day. The call that changed my life. I hadn’t replayed that call in my head for several months so I just lost it when the memory came back. That is a call that you don’t EVER want to get, and really, if you’ve had the call you shouldn’t ever replay in your head; it’s.just.awful.
My head keeps wandering to the water falls….we were sitting next to each other on this huge rock. He was tired and quiet. I later found out that there were things troubling him that visit that he hadn’t shared with us. So, I go back to that moment and worry that he was stressing about those issues and it makes me sad. It makes me sad that he sat there and was troubled. I want to remember it as a happy day, but it makes me sad if he was troubled.
There is not a fucking thing that I can do. All this bull shit about being happy despite your troubles, I keep seeing that in memes and crap. Are you kidding? how do you rise above this? Sure, I have had happy moments, but it’s just not the same.
Here’s to getting through the year…….almost……barely…..
Today had some rough moments. You kept popping into my heart in weird ways, or maybe I just reacted in weird ways. I was sitting in the dining room and saw a photo of you that I haven’t looked at a lot. In fact, it is a family photo with all of us clowning around. I thought “that WAS my happy family”. No family picture will ever be the same; will ever be my whole family.
Then we were outside in the cul de sac with all the little neighbor kids. I told the young moms that I had probably spent hundreds of hours in that cul de sac. I saw you riding a bike, and yelling at your sibs and playing with the neighbors. It was so hard. It is so hard.
Your college friend is is town this weekend and wants to see us. Another one of YOUR friends coming to see US without YOU. We all share the grief and need to be together. G-d dammit, why aren’t you here.
Oh, and I got some really stupid texts from one of your favorite relatives. I want to send them to you so we can laugh about them together.
This missing is unbearable. Again and again I have to reboot my mind because it still doesn’t feel real. We are coming on a year. I am dreading the entire month of March. And it’s not like anything changes or gets better after. It’s not like you took a year abroad and will be back. This trip abroad you are on will never.ever.end.
I am aching.
I miss my old self. The self that would get up and move her body on a regular basis. The self that would try to make weekend plans and look forward to them. I miss being excited about things. I miss wanting to do things.
I don’t like the self that spends most of its time on the couch. The self that has to resurrect all its energy just to empty the dishwasher. I don’t like this self that thinks about what everyone else is doing, mostly being active, and I’m not.
Someone was asking when I would be able to join her in an activity that we used to do. First I was so angry, leave me alone, I’ll get there when and if I get there. I’m sure there was no malice in it, she just missed having me there as a friend.
Shit, if I had a dear friend that was vanishing from society, I’d be worried too. I’d probably try to encourage her too. But, being on the other side, I don’t want to be pulled out. I don’t want to be called on a regular basis. I don’t want to be asked to do this and that…..all the things I used to crave and love to be asked about.
I miss my self. I miss my son. I miss the family that I had (even though I complained about all the noise and the work involved). I miss my old life.
How do I accept and go forward with this life I have now?
It certainly wasn’t happy. It was far from happy. In fact, it SUCKED.
And, it’s really hard because the past two birthdays were fantastic. Two years ago was the big 50 and I celebrated hard and long. A girls weekend in NYC, a work celebration with mimosas, a big lunch celebration and then a fabulous combined 100th birthday party with the hub (where kid #1 facilitated a surprise visit from my sister for the party)(he was so damn excited and proud of himself. He did a lot of surprises (good and bad) and damn I miss them).
Last year, my birthday fell on a HUGE snowstorm. I was supposed to be going on a knitting weekend with my girlfriends. Due to the snowstorm we had to cancel, but myself and three friends stayed at a hotel though the storm. It was a fabulous weekend; we knitted and laughed and drank and watched movies and played games and trudged through the snow to the only two restaurants that were open. Those were both perfect birthdays.
Believe me, I had NO high hopes for this one. I didn’t want to do anything. Friends were lovely and tons of them asked me to lunch, dinner etc. I just didn’t want to do anything.
I slept way too late in the morning (after #3 went to school). I then got up to tons of texts and messages and cried for hours reading them. Often when people are nice to me it makes me cry, I don’t even know why, but I cried the whole freaking morning. And then some more and then some more.
My saving spot is work. I get to work and get out of me. It is such a break from me and my grief and my crap. I love going to work.
And, here I sit, three days later sobbing some more. The stupidest little thing happened and I just wanted to tell him. Just dumb stuff. I find things all the time that I want to tell him or show him. Most of them are really stupid like he hated hair that was super long. Whenever we would see someone with grossly long hair we would send each other creepy pictures that we snuck of the person with gross hair. He would make fun of everyone; the the other day my thoughts went to one of his snarky comments about someone and I wanted to tell him that they were doing it again. Today I learned that someone lives where one of his old friends lived; I can’t tell him this stuff. I can’t hear his reaction. I can’t see him or talk to him or hold him. So, I cry and I cry. And I avoid chores and house things. And, I eat and I don’t move or treat my body with health. And misery begets misery.
Grief, depression on top of grief and depression. It is feeling very very dark right now.
I haven’t written. I don’t know why other than depression is a heavy blanket under which I lay (I always struggle with the past tense of lie, so f- it if this is wrong). I have been feeling more grief and depression of late. We did have a nice family trip with another family in December and I wasn’t too depressed then; it’s hard to be depressed when my biggest decision was pina colada or strawberry daiquiri and the only thing that I looked at for a week was the beautiful ocean.
On vacation I had grief; missing my boy, imagining his craziness on the trip, knowing his bond with the family we vacationed with and general grief. But, I think depression ramped up as we left the paradise and made our way back to reality. And, it hasn’t stopped.
#2 kid was home for a month from college. It was so nice to have him on the trip with us and he is just so funny. For the rest of the month he was around some, but also working a lot. By the last week, I barely saw him between my schedule and his, but he was there. He came home from work at 10:30 each night with tons of energy and starving. If I had been the good mom and prepared food (mind you he is now a strict vegetarian), he would dig in, otherwise it was cereal, bagels hummus and pretzels. I so enjoyed his bouncing in, sharing nothing of importance with us and falling into the purple chair in the living room, a coveted spot for both the dog and me, that he managed to reserve for late night tv sessions. I struggled to stay awake and spend time with him; it didn’t matter what nonsense he and the hub put on the tv, (the last few days was all Family Guy), it was just so wonderful to be in his presence.
And then, on Sunday, he left. He had the nerve to return to his second semester of college and play his own life. I get it, it’s exactly what I wanted to do at his age, and yet, the ache is overwhelming. His presence filled a little something. It didn’t mask the grief, but softened it a bit.
The daughter, who has been sick, was actually away when he left. Despite some troubling stomach issues, she was able to rally and go on a youth group retreat which was fantastic for her. So, Sunday night, it was the hub, the dog and me. We were smart and met some friends for dinner, but the sadness was stronger than it’s been for a while.
That night, I was thinking about our early dating years, and thinking “weren’t we enough for each other?”. I think about our friends who don’t have kids and wonder about how they complete one another. I’m not saying that the marital thing isn’t working, I’m just feeling such longing for the family that we created.
I see young families and ache. I see young moms with young kids and know their angst; I know how hard it is and how annoying the kids can be and how they crave their alone time and I want to scream STOP- it isn’t so great on the other side. I miss my kids, I miss the chaos and G-d dammit I miss he who isn’t here.
He was a pain in the ass as a kid. Shit, he was always a pain in the ass, but he was SO MUCH FUN as he aged and came into himself. I miss that joy, that laugh, that silliness. His mind, crap the shit that came out of his mouth was sometimes unbelievable, I would say “who thinks that stuff?”. It was crass and crude and brilliant.
How could G-d take someone with so much potential? There was so much he could have done, so much good despite the somewhat crazy recklessness. His heart was in the right place, he cared so much about people, he wanted to be a Special Education teacher (ok, then had second thoughts because of the salary)…..but how could G-d take this thoughtful, caring kid and allow people like Donald Trump to lead our country?
I really think G-d was on sabbatical in 2016 and his replacement sucked. (I don’t even know if I believe in G-d, but it just got a lot easier thinking that the good loving G-d wouldn’t take my son and his replacement was some Trumper who is evil and heartless).
And, that’s where I am today…some kind of grief, depression filled existence that I try to numb with food which is an entirely other post…..and people keep telling me I am strong-WTF????