It’s late. To me it’s Sunday night. My laptop says “it’s technically Monday.”
I’m still awake but I need to be awake in a few hours for work.
I can’t sleep.
I am about to face the hardest week.
It comes to me in flashbacks.
How I felt.
How you looked.
All of it.
You were taken away from me too soon.
I want you back.
I need you back.
I need you to hold my hand one last time
And tell me everything is going to be okay
Or just tell me you love me.
There’s still a hole in my heart from you leaving me.
Her voice echoes in my head
I can still see the snowflakes
And I can still hear your voice telling me, “You better go before it gets worse.”
Even though your mouth never spoke those words,
I knew it’s what you would have said.
But at that point, you had lost your voice.
I hate that I remember
All of it
I feel numb.
I had dealt with this.
I was stronger than this.
Do you think about me?
Are you still with me?
Do I sound needy?
Because I need you
A little girl needs her daddy.
It’s been a long year.
Today’s blog post title is inspired by “For Blue Skies” – Strays Don’t Sleep
Ps. If you haven’t heard it, the song is beautiful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWKP1SwHVqI
Well hello blog, it’s been a while.
Have you ever had a moment where you are laying on your bed, staring at the ceiling, and suddenly it feels as if the walls are caving in on you? You feel a tightness in your chest and your breathing becomes difficult. In other words, they are my precursors to a full blown panic attack (which I have not had in nearly a year).
When I visited my doctor last Wednesday, he was proud of the progress I have made. He says I am cognitively aware of what is making me anxious lately and that is important.
Us anxiety-ridden folk are wired differently than the average human. Here are a few things I have had on my mind:
- I hate myself.
- Well, I’m proud of the person I am, but I hate the way I look.
- Maybe I’ll never find someone who will understand me like I will need them to.
- Grownup dating sucks.
- I hate dating.
- Maybe I’ll give up dating for a while.
- Maybe I’ll be alone forever.
- I need to exercise
- I don’t have time to exercise
- Does running away from my feelings count as exercise?
- Or running away from my thoughts?
- Why can’t I sleep at night
- I need sleep.
- Work is exhausting
- I love my job though
- But I need to go back to school
- School is going to cost money
- I don’t have money
- My car has problems
- I have to pay for bills and insurance
- And my credit card bill makes me want to cry.
- Maybe I’ll be broke forever between bills, school, and student loans.
- Maybe I’ll volunteer to take my mind off school
- Volunteering is taking up all of my spare time
- What is spare time?
- I don’t have enough time to spend with my mom
- What if something happens to my mom just months after my dad passed away?
- I’m not ready to face that.
- I miss my dad and wish he was here for me to talk to
- Especially about things like my check engine light
- Or just here to give me a hug when I feel like my world is breaking down.
- I can’t breathe.
- I have so many things to do and I am behind in all of them
- And it’s the summer. Aren’t I supposed to enjoy my summer?
- I still can’t breathe.
- Okay, maybe I’ll smoke a cigarello to make me feel better.
- My doctor says that’s avoidance so it probably won’t help with anything
- I shouldn’t start smoking.
- I’m crying.
- I feel alone.
- I don’t know what to do with my life
- Or with myself
- Maybe laying on the floor will help
- My heart is racing
- Breathe in… breathe out.
- I have emails to check.
- I should make a to-do list.
- And check my agenda.
- I forgot to breathe.
- Breathe in…breathe out.
And this is only to name a few. Writing out my thoughts often help and I hate that I have stopped to take the time to do so either here or in my journal. Life isn’t easy. Growing up isn’t easy. And I am in one of the biggest transitional periods of my life. It is okay to stop and take a day or a moment just for me. It’s okay to say no to certain situations. It’s okay to feel anxious. This feeling won’t last forever.
The funny thing about depression is that it consumes you.
I lied. It’s really not that funny.
Just a moment of weakness – if you’d call it that. When the thought crosses your mind, it won’t escape you.
You’re paralyzed by the thought. You sit there, frozen in time in space, or so it seems. You don’t want to say the words, but they’re resting there on the tip of your tongue, “he’s gone.”
It’s not that you don’t think about it (because really, when aren’t you thinking about it), but rather you’re thinking about it more. Suddenly.
I can hear him saying, “why do you bother coming home if you’re just going to sit here and do homework?”
My goodness, that used to bother me. I used to resent him for even asking that. I mean, I came all the way home to be in the same room as him. Why was that not enough? Now I’d do anything to hear him say those words because the anger I felt would not be nearly as great as the emptiness I feel in my heart right now.
My thesis professor asked me today how I was doing in terms of losing my father.
You know, today has been the long time in a long time that someone has asked me that. Not that I want to be asked this all the time (because I really don’t), but it made me feel as though it was still valid to be going through the grieving process three months later. I told my professor I used to call my dad every day. He said that must be a difficult adjustment. I nodded. I didn’t have him to call when I got off the plane from NYC. I didn’t get to tell him about my trip. Or tell him I won a bursary. Or tell him that I’m stressed about school.
I miss how he would buy me wonton soup when I was sick or make my mom get it for me. I talk to him as if he’s still around, sometimes. I miss his snarky comments. His stupid jokes. And his big hugs.
So before I either go back to studying or to sleep, I’m gonna lay here on the couch, just for a moment, with one of his favourite blankets and just breathe. Showing weakness (if you’d even call it that) is not a bad thing, for it is from weakness one can build remarkable strength.
Grief hits you in waves. One minute you’re having the time of your life with your best girlfriends, and the next minute you’re feeling an unbearable feeling in your heart.
You feel empty.
You’re screaming inside, but the sound won’t be heard; it can’t be heard.
I miss him during moments when I least expect it.
Like the moment when I took my pack of cigars from new years out of my purse and put it in the glove compartment because I felt bad for even having them on me. I thought of the look he would have given me had he been there.
I think about how my licence plates are going to need to be renewed soon, and how he’s not there to guide me through what is probably an easy process.
My mom made me make his cookies the other day. We used to make them together. I still have his hand-written recipe. It was our thing. Even when he got weaker, he still sat in the kitchen with me and made sure I did everything right. And I felt so frustrated because he wasn’t there to tell me what to do. We never followed the recipe exactly. So I felt blind trying to make them without him. They turned out better than I expected, I’ll admit. But I wish he was there to help me make them.
I only hear his voice when I’m dreaming. And that’s the worst part. Part of me loves sleeping because of the rare time I get to hear his voice. Another part of me tries to avoid sleep almost as if I’m protesting that I only get to hear it when I sleep.
I miss him every day. Some moments more than others. This was one such moment. And I’m sure I’ll have many more.
With 2015 literally two sleeps away, and knowing I will be wine girl wasted tomorrow night, I thought I would take this time to write a letter to myself reflecting on the past year.
Dear 2014 Me,
Well, what a year. You started off the year with your great friends Ryan and Susannah and will be ending the year with them as well. Seems appropriate. At least this year, you can drink. Although you couldn’t last year (but did anyways), I’m glad you will be choosing wine as your beverage of choice to ring in 2015.
Can I just say I am so proud of you? You have grown so much in the past year. Maybe not physically, (damn 5 foot 3 forever) but as a person, I have seen you become such a strong person inside and out.
You got off your medication for panic disorder. Although you hate how it destroyed your metabolism, it reinforced those neural connections and since being off them, you can count on one hand how many big panic attacks you have had. You have learned to control your emotions and feelings of losing control. And after the year you’ve had, that is impressive.
You gained weight. Happens to everyone. You cried about it. Many times. But you know what? You did something about it. You got a personal trainer. That takes courage to stand up and say “I need to make this change for me.” You lost more than 15 pounds. And even more so, you’ve maintained it. That doesn’t happen to everyone and the confidence is radiating off of you. Keep up the good work in 2015.
You got a car. And your license! I am so proud of you for standing up to your dad and telling him what you wanted. You acted maturely and gracefully, and look! He gave in and made sure you got your first car. You got your license the day you booked your test. You worked so hard in practicing and yet another time that hard work has paid off. You got your insurance and your plates in the same day. You learned to drive on the highway and not be scared. You monogrammed your car (essential). This may seem like a childish accomplishment (as many people achieve this at 16/17) but things worked out in your favour with this stepping stone in place. Because after this, you needed that car. You needed your license. With this, you were able to come home more frequently as your dad got sick and needed you around more. And seeing him happy to see you every time made all the gas money spent worth it. You were able to be at the hospital with him, or be with your mom when she needed rides or moral support. You could use it to commute back and forth without having to rely on the ever-changing bus system. In 2015, I hope you use your car to take your mom to all the places she’s always wanted to go like Niagara Falls, or to visit family in Quebec.
You went through so much in such a short amount of time. Losing your dad was the hardest thing you have faced yet. It was something you always knew you would have to deal with, but no one knew it would happen so soon. Remember, everything happens for a reason. There is a reason you were meant to be in Brantford on November 19th. I hope you look back and be happy you were there to hold his hand and say goodbye in his last hour. I hope you laugh about the fact that he didn’t want anything like a funeral or a visitation (just like he never wanted to celebrate his birthday) but you threw a celebration of life together anyways because you wanted to honour his memory. I hope you think about the all the people who came despite the weather, or sent cards or messages in any way. Know that he loved you with all his heart, and even though he won’t be there to call every day, you will always hold his memory in your heart.
Within the same time period, a two and a half year relationship ended. You witnessed someone change before your eyes. You felt a lot of feelings. You also didn’t feel some feelings. And you know what? That’s okay. People change. Feelings change. Sometimes the person you think you’re going to be with forever doesn’t turn out to be that person. Only time will tell what the future truly holds for you two, if it holds anything at all.
November was the hardest for you. I think you will always look back on that part of your life and will forever be proud of yourself for how you handled yourself. You lost your dad, had a relationship end, and still maintained work and school all at the same time. I don’t even know how you did it, but you did it. I know you are still fighting the emotions that come with the aftermath, but know that you have the strength and support system to make it through.
Well, 2014 me, I should wrap this up soon. You need your beauty rest if you want to be functional tomorrow night. But let’s recap a few things:
You learned a lot this year.
You became a university senior.
You joined a sorority and found the true meaning of sisterhood. Hold onto these girls.
You found out who your true friends were.
And who they weren’t.
You made so many memories.
I look forward to seeing who we become in 2015 and what crazy shit we’ll do being 22. Cheers to a great year, and cheers to another.