I haven't been in the mood the write lately. I can't really pinpoint any particular reason why, just that I didn't feel compelled to do so - which is kind of sad, since several significant events have passed by. I have had plenty of weighty thoughts rolling around in my head, things I wanted to document and so forth, but the act of sitting down to write about it just didn't appeal.
Things got tough beginning in December. My aunt Susie passed away unexpectedly - shortly after Thanksgiving. I spent most of December in a state of numb shock. About that time, Owen began to have some significant behavioral issues. He was going through cycles of anxiety, OCD, angry outbursts and crying episodes on an hourly basis. It was hard to keep up and know how to comfort him and calm him down. It is hard enough to parent as it is, so it is a thousand times more difficult when you yourself have to really focus on relating to what the child is feeling and helping from that perspective. It is a MILLION times worse when your child is dealing with anger, anxiety and depression, and you have to go 'there' to feel the very things you know can take you over the edge again. I'm sure it is akin to an alcoholic passing a drink to a friend and catching a whiff of it. I find it difficult to be around anyone struggling with their own demons - I am fragile enough myself that I feel I could lose any ground I've gained - each and every inch I've crawled away from the abyss.
So today I write because Owen is gaining ground. Each day brings its own challenges and Owen has multiple meltdowns, but he also has a very good handle on describing his feelings and has shown, periodically, some effort in trying to manage them when things get intense. Owen has begun psychiatric testing at the university. I am anxious to see what the results will be. He should be finished by next week, and then we will know where to go from there. He has been seeing a therapist for the past several weeks as well.
So today I write. I've experienced a small victory. Yesterday's date has been a black mark on the calendar for the past twelve years now. Yet, for the first time, it passed by as just. another. day. I helped each little boy write that date on top of their schoolwork yesterday, and...it was just a date. Owen struggled with what each number meant, and Colin struggled writing the number four. Rylan was happy because it was a 'special day'. I turned inward and smiled a wry smile - if she only knew.... To Rylan, 'special days' are dates that have numbers that repeat, like 2/2/16 for example. So to her, 4/4/16 was really cool because 4 x 4 = 16. To me, it was now just another day. We did schoolwork. We drove to my psychiatrist's office, and I had my routine appointment while the kids had lunch with Dean. I didn't mention the date to my doctor - because it didn't even enter my mind. (victory!)
Today I write...after my appointment I joined Dean and the kids for the rest of lunch, Dean returned to work and the kids and I proceeded to the community pool, which was a reward that Owen had been doggedly working to reach by earning stars for working or sharing without fuss and argument. On the way to the pool we passed by the cemetery where several of my relatives are buried. The kids were commenting about how 'that place' must be full of bones. Well that didn't sit well with me, so I detoured and drove the meandering road through the cemetery to the area where the headstones bear the names of my grandparents, great grandparents and great aunt and uncle. I told the kids, "these aren't just bones....these were people. People who were family members and friends that meant a lot to the living. That is why they are here. It is a way to honor them, and remember them". It then occurred to me that I have no idea where the final resting place of my aunt is. She was in a casket for the funeral, but it was my understanding that she was to be cremated after wards. It is her mother and father that are my grandparents I mentioned, so I imagine her ashes are most likely in that cemetery. Rylan commented on how she missed aunt Susie. I miss her too. I still can't believe that she is gone. Her two younger sisters, my SIL and my nephews are all in Ireland this week for Spring Break. As they post pictures on Facebook, I periodically find myself wondering why Susie is not in the picture. Aunt Susie and the other two have been collectively known as 'the aunties' for as long as I can remember. The three of them did everything together. It has been very difficult for all of us to come to terms with Susie's unexpected departure, but my other aunts have taken it especially hard. I am glad that they have this week away to breathe a little and maybe take some comfort.
Today I write because spring is here and it is time for renewal. I feel better emotionally than I have in a long, long time. I know now that Owen has the resources and the help he needs. I am proud of the way the family supported each other as we dealt with the stages of grief, and with the mundane task of dispersing a lifetime of possessions. As I type this, I look out my window and see a metal decorative spinner, rotating gently in the morning breeze. And I think of Susie, knowing that she once enjoyed looking at it as well.