Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sandcastles

Tonight (see this is why I never promise anything because I still can't get my head to want to finish the wedding post) we had our Sandcastles support meeting. James is really enjoying it and it does seem to help him a lot. Nicole puts up with it and me....well I don't want to be there. And me and my big mouth, I said that tonight. Out loud. And then I tried to clarify it (and remove the foot from my mouth, but no one had a Jaws of Life handy to help me out) by babbling on about how,"It's not you...it's me...you're all just really great..." and began to realize it sounded like I wanted to break up with them. I am sure they love me. I was trying to articulate how much it sucked to have a group like this, even though the group itself is helpful. I will stop there before that foot inches its way up to the keyboard.

Things we (or I) learned at Sandcastles tonight:

1. There is a guy there who looks just like Pudge Rodriguez and my daughter was thrilled when she got to hold hands with him at "group end".

2. There is nothing that is quicker to bring me to tears than a grown man crying for his wife. There was a man at my table who lost his wife to cancer. He has 3 children. He took care of his wife for two years. He is facing his first holiday season without her and she loved Christmas. He was talking about this to our "special guest" (a hospice worker) and he just kept breaking down. The two of us at the table with him just started sobbing. The hospice worker sat quietly while we cried and then said,"All three of you were related???" To which the woman next to me said, while I shook my head,"No...it's just so very sad." which, for some odd reason, made us all laugh. I think it is realizing the capability that each one of us still has to show empathy. Even while experiencing our own personal nightmares.

3. I can be cruel and mean in my grief. The hospice worker asked me what my plans were for Christmas. So far they have pretending that the holidays aren't coming. I said I didn't know, that I was afraid to get a tree, shop etc... (this is also where I stated how much I hated being there) and she, quite gently, asked,"May I ask how he died?" and I said,"You can, but I won't answer." Why do I talk like that? But it, for that second, really irritated me. Leonard and I (believe it or not, in spite of all my blog blabbing) were/are private people. I did not want this woman to know any of it. For now, I need to keep it...protect it.She was okay with it. I am sure she deals with others like me on a daily basis, being a hospice worker. To this day no one has ever told me that he is dead. I wouldn't let the police officer say it when he came up to me... I know it, but I haven't heard it. I don't want to.

The "crying man" ( I forget his name) came up to me and said after group,"It does get better. I may not look like it does...but I'm better." Which was really very nice of him.

16 comments:

Kathy said...

hugs...hugs....hugs...hugs...hugs.....hugs....hugs.....

Anonymous said...

It does get better, I promise. I know, I've been there too.

Diane from ywbb

Laurie said...

Much Love and Many Hugs to you Laura.
Another day that you have made it through and I have to tell you that I cracked up when I read the Jaws of Life comment. You still have it sweetie, your sense of humor shines through and I love you for it. You are not mean, some things are just too personal to have out in the open.
Protecting "that day" is something you can do to feel something is in control right now. Hope you have a peaceful nights sleep. Prayers are for you tonight.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

Shari said...

That's always hard when someone asks you a question and you don't want to answer. (I had a teacher who always insisted on the difference between "may" and "can". Kids always asked "Can I?" and he'd say, "Sure, you could...(or can)...but you may not." The class learned to say "May I..?"

You are not alone. There's a lot of people who care. Hang in there.

Hugs and prayers.

The girl left behind said...

That's not cruel or mean. I thought your answer was fair and honest. You are under no obligation to share any of yourself with anyone ever. Period. That includes what you had for breakfast this morning, let alone this very personal and painful thing. It was a very reasonable answer; please let yourself off the hook.

The day I found out my sweetie died, I was still at work for a few hours before I gave up and went home. I was distraught, in shock, out of my mind, really. The VP, whom I've nicknamed "The Weasel," because he earned that name, was interested in the drama and the gossip, not me. He'd stopped by my cube to ask me what was wrong and I told him my beloved friend had died. He gave me a creepy fake hug (we are not friends), and went on his way.

A few hours later, I'm in the kitchen talking to my friend and he barges in, and he says, "Any news on your friend?"

I looked at him, straight in the eye, and said flatly, "He's still dead." That shut him up. And when he left, my friend and I laughed; my sweetie would've appreciated the joke, without question. Grief + shock=no filter. Given that story, I'd say you behaved admirably. ;)

Emblita said...

You know, I probably would have cried with you as well. That was a really sad story from the crying man (god knows I have to hold back the tears sometimes when I'm reading your blog at work). But it also made me smile that you could all laugh at the situation with the hospice worker.

And I'm glad that you sometimes choose to share with us, even though you are a private person.

Hugs
Embla

camielmom said...

It does get easier. It really, truly does.

Love to you, Mrs. G.

M.

Swistle said...

When my aunt had cancer, she said, "This is a club I didn't want to join." I thought of that when you were talking about the group. It's good to have groups like that, and it's a great group---but not a group you wanted to join.

haylee said...

Dear Laura:

When resources are at a premium, the need to prioritize is critical -- to use them to your best advantage. Clearly, using your scarce energies for SandCastles was much more important for your family than you recounting your wedding day to us. So rather than feel badly, give yourself a pat on the back for making good choices - even in your grief. KUDOS to you! The wedding story will happen on it's own timetable so cut yourself some slack - what you did was much more important. When the need to blog becomes yet another burden in your life, it'll be time to re-set the parameters. I know I speak for others when I say that I look forward to reading about your day regardless of what that entails.

I so understand what you mean about the need for SandCastles - it's a crying shame that such supports would ever be needed. On the one hand, it's good that they're available yet it's sad that any family finds themselves needing them when you consider the high cost of admission. Similarly with children's oncology wards, they are great resources for children with cancer but tragic that any child need avail of them in the first place. I am sure they knew exactly what you meant and the "jaws of life" wasn't even a consideration. I laughed when I read that :)

Your response to the hospice worker was neither mean nor cruel -- I saw it as a level of "bare-bones" honesty coupled with some self-preservation and need for privacy. You're overwhelmed and at the end of your teether and you seem to inherently recogize that -- again, KUDOS to you.

The story of the "crying man" brought tears to my eyes but also renewed my belief in the power & capacity of the human spirit to feel compassion for others even when our own lives have been torn apart.

That you all could show such empathy for each other despite the reasons that brought you to that session surely is a good thing.

In my prayers....

Jess T said...

Thinking of you,
Jess

Marsha said...

Sending hugs.

The Stevens Family said...

Some people really don't realize what an invasion of privacy it is. They are genuinely concerned not gossipy. Your answer was not mean, it was honest and I'm sure that is the way she took it. Hugs to you today.

Betts4 said...

Sending thoughts your way. The last couple weeks have been tough and the holiday season is not going to be much if any fun. Just take it a day at a time. Lots of love and support is here for you.

Marcie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I just found your Blog and my heart aches for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your kids.

Gina said...

Hugs, sweetie.

And I find it really interesting that the hospice worker asked if you were all related, (huh?!) I mean, I totally would have thought you all were just expressing empathy with him.

Karen MEG said...

You're not cruel and mean - just honest. Maybe the hospice worker though you might want to talk in more detail. But you had every right to answer as you did.
That was good that you could laugh, and see the humour in the situation.
And it will get better.
I have a friend, in one of my mom's groups, she lost her husband very suddenly just after Christmas last year. Her older son is a few months older than my daughter and her youngest is just over one - so they were 2 and 11 months of age when their Dad passed. He also had a 12 year old from a previous marriage. I've seen her a few times since, and ran into her on the weekend at the grocery store. She's back at work, doing better; she's still adjusting as it will never be the same. But she is better.