FullaBella's Journal, 29 November 2013

Friday - November 29th. Intermittent sleep continues to control my schedule as I'd grown so accustomed to only doing it in two hour intervals for so long and remaining in bed past 3am had become long forgotten memory. While I am doing well to avoid turning to alcohol to numb me through this process I did take an extra muscle relaxer this morning to help me return to bed at 4am and stay there until 8am. Much needed rest but I woke, noticed the sunlight then looked at the clock and panicked until I remember not needed; Cutty wasn't waiting for medication or meals. Mushy did get her pill late and I may consider moving her 12 hour schedule up a bit. I like being awake early but maybe not 3am unless I plan on taking up a paper route.

His obituary should be in the paper today. I will walk over to the newspaper office and get several copies to mail to his family out of town.

Just as I have related so much of my food habits and weight loss to metaphors and correlations, I am doing the same with this loss. I have been thinking about 'timing' and the intervention of the universe.

It may seem shallow but I compared it first to the Keurig this morning. I remember thinking so many times when it first came out how 'well, that would be fine for a person living alone but I can't see it for more than one person.' And yes, it made sense in an office setting because I did know the aggravation of walking into the break room to always find the coffee pot empty and thinking 'do I want it that badly?'. So to have finally decided to order and receive it less than a week before he passed .. well, you get the idea. While the individual pods seem pricey, so was the expense connected to pouring 3/4 of a pot down the sink day after day because I'd make a whole pot not knowing how much I'd want (when he was in the hospital).

Another timing thought yesterday, Thanksgiving. When I told him the 'kids were coming and I was cooking' he insisted I order a long table and folding chairs for the meal. This was when he still planned to be here. I'd said 'we can make it work with the ...' and he'd barked 'stop arguing and do it, please.'

As nine of us (twice as many as expected) set around that table (plus another) as a family, rather than eating on our laps, sitting in the floor, etc., me at the head of the table now as I began to assume my role as the surviving Matriarch, I would look at them and then up toward the heavens and say 'you knew, didn't you.' Because he, himself, would not have been able to sit up at that table. Had he been here, he'd have had to watch from his bed.

And he would have been miserable with 9 people filling a room typically occupied by just us (and Mushy of course) Just as I'd pondered cancelling it earlier this week to protect him from that anxiety, I had to connect the cosmic timing of his passing.

Even the decision to proceed as planned with the dinner was arrived at using his form of logic, ala, 'What the hell, you've already jumped through hoops to get the 40lb bird thawing in the fridge, what are you gonna do, open up a soup kitchen that day?'

And bittersweet, while we did have some great Thanksgivings before he became so ill, they always had that typical family drama. Back in the day Cutty drank he was a very happy drunk at first but would turn a bit aggravating toward the end of the day. He'd never be mean to me, or perhaps he was but I was too obtuse or hardened after having grown up in a household of similar examples, but his daughter never managed to grow her '90 proof suit of armor'. She'd allow him to reduce her to tears every time.

And after he stopped drinking I finally recognized he was as uncomfortable with large groups of people as me. We were both genuine introverts and preferred our solitude. But as he hadn't spent a lifetime of skillfully stuffing his emotions into silence with food, he'd lose his patience and bark at someone anyway. More tears. As he grew sicker, it grew worse, until we just did not have people over for 'Thanksgiving'.

I remember last year, at Christmas, thinking 'that one' could possibly be his last (and I was right, something I realized just now as I typed that) I tried to have a 'day' without attaching all of the holiday sentiment day. So instead I labeled it the 'Cutty Family Snack and Game Day'. I wasn't trying to be irreverent toward the true meaning of Christmas. I just wanted to have a good day with his family. It wasn't. He was irritated and projecting it on all around, hence my hesitation at whether to proceed with yesterday when the expected guest list somehow doubled without intention.

But, to repeat, bittersweet, it did not end in tears or hurt feelings. Without him here to blast the TV at us for being too loud (or laughing) or having to rush everyone out as soon as they put their fork down, we laughed. We told stories about him. We shared experiences and memories. We laughed and danced and for the first time in a long time I saw a look of relaxation on the faces of those around me. Maybe they saw mine. I was a Mother Lion with my Cutty; his feelings came first above all, but I knew the toll it took on me as well as those around him. Walking on eggshells wondering when 'Gramps' was going to explode has been the standard operating procedure for so many years that I could see them looking back at his chair waiting for his reprisals.

I knew the eggshells were here for the grandsons. They were such easy targets for him. They were in total shock to be 'dancing to loud music with Nana in the kitchen.' We've never done ANY of that, ever. I am not sure if they are as bad a dancers as me or just did it because I am. We looked like fools. My youngest grandson actually smiled and relaxed. It's a new era in Bellawood.

His father died one day before him years ago and the way the Thanksgiving holiday always moves around to accommodate the last Thursday in November it was the '25th'. He outlasted his father by one day. I can imagine he tossed in a 'I beat ya on that one, Pops' as one of his final breaths.

More timing comparisons. I'd already planned to close the store this weekend anyway for the holiday. For the first time in about 5 years I could actually phone my friend and say 'hey, let's go shopping and lunch' without inconveniencing his daughter to have to sit with him on her day off from work when she'd like to do the same. Yet, my friend went out of town to visit her brother. I caught myself thinking 'really, of all times' and then had to remind myself this wasn't that 48 hour pass I had back in August, this would be for the rest of my life.

It's odd. Very odd. It's as if (another reference to time) my watch broke. To have spent the so many years on such a rigid schedule this absence of the internal clock brings me both panic and relief. While I wonder about 'being on time' it also feels, yes, I'll say it, like a release from responsibility. How many times have we used the excuse, 'I'm sorry I'm late, my alarm didn't go off'?

As so many of you have encouraged me, I'm not doing anything I don't want to do right now. The other night someone stopped to visit and when they couldn't get me to the door they went next door where my step daughter lives and asked my son in law to notify me they were here to see me. I was sitting in the back, in the home, with my step daughter, wearing our silly socks and drinking hot cocoa. I told the SIL to say 'she's resting'. I didn't feel like visitors.

More time relations - I believe the 'old school' rules for widows exacts a year of wearing black and being in mourning. How ironic as 90% of my wardrobe used to be black but as I began morphing into a new me the past year I began wearing more color and discarding the black. Does this give me an excuse to go shopping or the power to make my own rules?

I was also thinking about when he was in the hospital a few weeks ago, the night I made myself NOT go to dinner, NOT have wine, NOT fill that time with activity. The night I made myself SIT here and appreciate the quiet and serenity of my own home without the TV blaring and oxygen machine whirring and BiPap machine humming and his constant 'I want, I need' requests. That was the universe telling me 'learn to relax in your home alone.'

I finally understand it. Rather than that feeling of 'I'm actually free of responsibility this evening, I should be out shopping and doing something' I also connected that many times the reason I did want to go elsewhere, when he was here, was to escape all of that chaos of the TV and machines. My bathroom and backyard provided that at times but many days I wanted more.

I realized that this morning. It's 9:30, sunny, not unbearably cold outside, yet here I sit. No urge to run off. No anxiety to escape.

This may read callous or it may be read with understanding. As the old saying goes, it's my journal and I want to recognize everything I'm feeling.

Thank you for so many wonderful, kind, compassionate, supportive, and heartfelt comments on my journals lately. I am not obtuse to the one sidedness of my interaction here as I have not read nor commented on yours. I appreciate your understanding and patience with me as I work through this phase and promise I'll soon resume a more balanced interaction in our friendship here. For now I'm having to have so many listening conversations in real life it's a comfort to come here and pour out my thoughts. And you are all so special to me for allowing me to do so, I'd even, yes, let you hug me :-)



Thank you for sharing your memories and for continuing to just be yourself in all of its rawness at the moment.  
29 Nov 13 by member: Josie Ann
You are handling this all very well, Bella. Reading of how you are making it through this process is both an honor and a gift. I have no doubt you will grow gracefully into your new identity. And there is no shame in being thankful some peace. I'm certain that Cutty would want it that way, too.  
29 Nov 13 by member: evelyn64
It's amazing to read your journals, to see how your mind works and to listen to your ruminations. You are not callus or unkind or unfeeling. You are simply sifting through memories, and feelings, coming to grips, coming to terms and it is wonderful to share this with you, despite the underlying sadness. I am so glad you are taking care of yourself. xxxx 
29 Nov 13 by member: sarahsmum
Thank you sharing and teaching how to share your feelings! 
29 Nov 13 by member: Neptunebch
That's it.... come here ((((HUG!!!!))))) :) I swear Bella, I know you are grieving and your mind is traveling back and forth from memory lane to recent events and the near future ... but you are so eloquent in your journals, that I hope that you consider writing that book. Just thinking out loud. Take care.  
29 Nov 13 by member: Mom2Boxers
What a gift to have made your oasis in the back yard- finished and beautiful where Cutty could enjoy it and now as a special retreat for you. 
29 Nov 13 by member: sharonfriz
What a gift to have made your oasis in the back yard- finished and beautiful where Cutty could enjoy it and now as a special retreat for you. 
29 Nov 13 by member: sharonfriz
beautiful Bella, once again the Rock of Gibraltar (did I spell it right?)!! I love that you were able to relax and dance and wear toesie socks and ignore the world. Dont forget to DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF EVERY DAY!!! You have been, and you are, and you will continue! its like I have a looking glass and even though the images are fuzzy I am watching a beautiful butterfly blossoming. Spread your wings Bella dear! Shake them out! And SOAR! Keep on doing what you are doing....and as always......you do it so well! Love ya Bella Dear! 
29 Nov 13 by member: PKs Grammie
The journal was definitely read with understanding - we all know (because of your great journals) what you were going through. It doesn't diminish the loss you are feeling or the love that you had in your heart.. Glad you were able to get some good quality time with the family.. 
29 Nov 13 by member: erika2633
Things always seem to happen as they need. Relax as much as possible and accept that grief is a process you can take in manageable little pieces when you are able. 
29 Nov 13 by member: HCB
Seeing time in a continuum, they tell me, is a human trait. Time bends in on itself and stretches in wide ranging circles and does all sorts of amazing feats.... So, the best time to be in is the NOW. It's the only real thing. Your heart has been readying you for this moment for quite a while. Breath in to it, sister, and enjoy - make room for all the beauty of this gift - the present of NOW. Your yoga will support you. And yoga is more than the physical movements you make on the mat. As the first of the yoga sutras states: "Now the yoga begins." This sutra has many understandings. My favorite is that "NOW the yoga begins", meaning that it begins anew each moment because each moment is NOW. I'm not preaching, just sharing what has helped me. Namaste Bella. Much love. 
29 Nov 13 by member: Sweet Ce
Thanks for letting us hug, but it sounds like we're not going to dance (given your reflections above). Great thoughts .... Real thoughts .... healthy thoughts.  
30 Nov 13 by member: glen


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