I'm overwhelmed and exhausted. I begin to notice stress manifesting itself physically. My hands shake a lot, and when I retire at night, my entire body shakes for a few minutes before calming into sleep. Hives break out on my scalp. My skin is duller, my eyes darker, and I'm putting on weight. I try to get a grip on all of these things for my own sake, but sometimes just don't have the energy or the desire to do something as mundane as moisturize.
I am getting help with Mom. We have an assessment with senior resources on Monday that will determine what help they can do for us, and at what cost. Mom is edgy about this, but I am, quite simply, burning out. One evening surprisingly cleared up for me this week, and I was ridiculously (and ashamedly) relieved to have an extra 2 hours to myself. To suddenly be able park my car and take a stroll and clear my mind was a luxury.
Hey! I have a Son! And a Daughter-in-law! They are on the road home as I write this. Brian & Courtney got married on May 19, and my head spins at how little time I've had to communicate with them. I haven't ordered wedding photos from their photographer yet; I haven't given them the address book I wanted to. I don't call enough, email enough. I'm banking that they're taking care of each other, while I take care of...whatever it is I take care of here.
This trip home for them is both a source of joy and great heartache for me. It will be his last trip home before he deploys to Iraq in October. I've had so many distractions that I've put his deployment on the back burner in my mind. Denial is probably more like it. I don't want to say goodbye to him for a year, could I just scratch this off of my list of things to do?
We are all gathering, tonight, at Courtney's parent's lake house. There will be BBQ-ing, laughing, and celebrating. I'm going to go enjoy my kids, and try not to feel guilty about what I'm leaving at home for 24 hours, ok?
A friend that I reconnected with on Facebook, Rachel, has been reading my blog and FB updates, and stepped up to help me out with Mom, recently. She took a lunch and dinner "shift" when I had to be out of town, and now her daughter is going to start dropping in and helping out. She has Mom covered until we get back tomorrow evening.
A coworker friend brought a big batch of cookies for me to take to Teri's family yesterday.
Another coworker friend fixed up a plate for me for lunch yesterday, a Filipino dish called Pinakbet. That was just crazy-nice.
Another coworker and friend that is currently undergoing chemotherapy, Sue, and her partner Cindy, honored Teri and Tim in the most unique way yesterday:
They named these wild turkeys in their yard "Tim" and "Teri." Sue felt it was a dubious honor as turkeys are, well, kind of stupid, but Cindy insisted that these are bright turkeys, and brighten up a day, like the human Tim and Teri do.
We visited Tim and Teri last night, and Brandi hauled out the laptop and showed them Tim and Teri Turkey. Teri was feeling like hell, had taken morphine for pain, and something else to counteract the nausea from the morphine, but still she laughed at her Turkish namesakes.
Another soldier's mother, Kathy, is cooking up something for Teri & Tim's freezer (we're back on the human Teri & Tim again).
I'm getting better at accepting and asking for help. I have to admit that I'm more likely to accept offers if they're "insistent." I'm not sure why we have a tendency to say, "no thank you," "I'm fine," or "we couldn't possibly"...even in the midst of our minds screaming "Hellllllp!!" The few people that I've let step in, despite the dozens of offers, are those that have had to put their foot down with me and have said "Dammit, I'm here and I'm not budging!" And I say, "well, fine!" and am instantly so relieved to have something taken care of for me.
I'm working on this. Most days, though, I myself don't know what to do. Other days, something comes up right-this-instant and I think, "dang, now would have been a good time to get some of that help."
I finally thought of something, and asked someone to do something: Kathy, above, is going to the farmer's market for me tomorrow, and picking up basil. Brian wants me to teach him how to make pesto this week, and where am I going to get that much basil if I'm out of town in the morning? So. Yay me. Yay Kathy. Yay teaching my kid to make pesto.
I can't thank you all enough for your cards, gifties, comments, emails, and your support. I have too much going, and even though I have so many great people around me, every word and gesture means the world to me; your card or note may just come in after a cry and a nap, or just when I could use a break from being alone with my own mind.
A distraction, a smile, a word, is often what we need to just get back up and get moving. And that's where I am, today. Tired, grieving, thankful, shaking, appreciative, happy, scared, laughing, crying, sick. I'm taking it one minute at a time.
For now, I just want to get out of here and hug my kid.
I'll let you know, tomorrow, what I/we need next.
Thank you, and much love.