Running on Empty

Hours. Weeks. Days. Months.  Time has ceased to really have much meaning anymore. All measurements of time have fallen into the hours category. I climb from one hour to the next.  These segments of time elapse into days, stacked together, joined, into weeks eventually turn into Months.

I know time is passing.  I am fully aware of it.  I am smothered with a sense of ambivalence about it.  I just don’t give a shit.

Accepting your gone is not an easy task.  I forget you’re gone and say things like I have to ask Mali first or mechanically turn down the street to her school.  I look at her school mates with envy.  Envy at them growing up.  How lucky their Mom’s are to have them.  Then guilt for the envy. Envy is not even in my repertoire.  I realize I am human.

Back to the title of this discussion.. if time doesn’t matter and you find yourself in zombie mode, going through the motions of existing, there isn’t a way for a person to get anything out of our existence, to fill the inner well of humanness that we share with our fellow Earthlings.

This is no way to live.  I can’t absorb nor can I give.  It’s a problem.  Humans can live on varying levels of existence and are capable of living in crap or high with the breath of Angels on their back.  It’s a choice.  I think I fell through the cracks.



A Moment of Clarity

On Tuesday I went to Mass.  Since Mali passed I have struggled to go Mass regularly.  I felt so unworthy of being in the presence of all the God in his house and the love I always felt at my parish, coupled with the loss of my ever faithful Mali who loved attending Mass.

Guilt. It added to the burden of losing my child.  You see, in my heart I felt like I failed God. I prayed for many years for God to bless me with a little girl. I would make promises that if given a little girl I would try to be a better parent. I would love her like no other child.

It took 12 years to conceive that child. When she was born she didn’t cry.  She just looked around, being cradled in her father’s arms taking in the world of where she was just born.

She left this life the same way.  Quietly, cradled in her father’s arms.

I have ruminated over the last 22 weeks the why’s of her death. Why did she chose to kill herself?  Why didn’t God intervene and save her?  Did I not provide well enough for her?  Was she angry with me, so angry she couldn’t verbalize the words enough to talk to me?  I made it about me and not her.

I will never know why she did what she did.  That question only God knows the answers to. God and Mali.

At Mass that Tuesday I knelt in front of a statue of Out Blessed Mother, weeping and praying after lighting a candle for Mali’s soul. I demanded she show me a sign of her presence in my life. That she intervene in my pain and lessen it. Imagine that, in my madness, I was demanding a miracle from a woman I greatly adore and always looked up to.  Who I knew damn well was with me always.

After Mass was done I got in my Jeep and went back to work.  I held the same defeated look on my face.  After work I went home, exhausted, sad, in anguish  Not unusual for me.  I just wanted to go to bed.

By the time Friday morning came, I was sick.  The medicine I am taking makes me sick every time the dose gets raised.  I called my Manager and stayed home.

One of the fire and rescue crew that responded to the 911 call is a friend of mine.  We had been chatting that day about the Suicide Prevention Walk that would be the next day and I was giving him the details of where to meet.  Out of nowhere I decided to ask him for the details of the work they did on Mali, in trying to keep revive her.  I had been wanting to ask for sometime, but thought it would be too painful to hear.

He assured me of the work they did.  How hard the crew worked to bring her back. I asked if she suffered in the process.  He replied he didn’t not believe that she did.  He also reminded me that at the moment she died she was already surrounded by the love of Jesus.

This was profound for me.  Something in his words changed my heart.  I felt less burdened by my the constant pain I had been feeling the the last 22 weeks.

I went to Mass at noon.  After Mass concluded I got a lot of hugs from my fellow parishioners.  These also were different for me.  It was as if God and Our Lady were working through these people to comfort my aching heart.  One of these Parishioners had a book in her hand.  She handed it to me.  She said she had bought it a few days ago and read the first 3 chapters and something struck her that she wanted to give me the book to read.  It wasn’t meant for her but for me.  Confused I accepted the book.  It is called 7 Lessons from Heaven.  How dying taught me to live a Joy filled life by Mary C. Neal, MD.

After I left the Parish, I went to meet a woman for lunch who was a Nurse at the hospital I also work for.  We went for a walk before lunch in the neighborhood of the restaurant.

She too had lost a child that was about the same age as Mali about 10 years earlier.   They both went to the same Catholic school system in our city.  She also had another daughter who was a classmate of Mali.  She sat behind Mals in chemistry.

We talked for a couple of hours about our girls, how they died, our feelings about anger and anguish.  Another weight was lifted from my heart after hearing her story and sharing mine with someone who understood the deep, searing pain of childloss.  We both had working mom guilt amongst other similarities.

After I went home I analyzed all the experiences I had that day with these 3 people and came to realize my “demand” from Our Lady was heard.  She intervened and sent me three wonderful people to ease the burden and pain in my heart.

Saturday was the first day I did not cry in 22 weeks.  I felt joy blossom in the shattered brokenness that was left of my heart.

I am still trying to understand everything that happened on Friday.  All I know is I was right where I needed to be.  God has put many people around me in my blindness and anguish.  My family, work family, strangers, new friends and all I can say is thank you and feel blessed.



Autopilot and Fog

Autopilot through a fog is not a great way to go through your day. No matter how unwilling I am, that little brain mechanism winds itself and makes you go about your day.

I cannot remember the last time I slept well. My bags have bags underneath my eyes.

The numbness that has taken over my existence is a heavy, clingy weight that I cannot remove.  Nothing is the same without her.

I try to be positive and oh how I pray.  I never prayed for myself much. Mostly that I could do God’s will through my hands and not kill one of my patients.  My prayers were reserved for the clergy, the suffering, the marginalized, our military and first responders.  My family I always pray for.  All of them

Today I pray just to have enough strength and faith to get through the day.

The stress of grief is taking its toll.  I find it extremely difficult to smile. When I do it’s fake. I hate fakers. I turned into one. I’m exhausted.  A lot of days I just want to throw the fuck it switch.  The medicine I am taking to help get me through this makes me sick.  My thoughts are with her.

My silver lining are the people who have my 6. The ones that just patiently allow my grief.  They don’t have to say anything. They listen when I think my heart broken and battered already, is about to rupture. Quiet hugs with no words are the best.  They remind me I am still here.

My other silver lining is Our Most Blessed Mother. She has held me up even when I push her away. She is always with me. I am blessed with my family, work family and my friends.

Upright and breathing is my new motto.

Things that were

A multitude of days have gone by since Mali has left us. Reflecting back on where I have been in the last 5 months looks like a desert and I have managed to make a deep hole right where I stopped since that terrible day on April 8th.

God has blessed me with life and I have kept my eyes closed to it. I have preferred the capsule of despair instead of life moving by me, digging in a little deeper each time someone tries to compel me to join the living again.

How long does grief last?  In a nutshell it’s a lifelong process that each of us must endure alone. It’s a cross we carry.  If we allow it someone is always there to help carry when we grow weary from the weight. How blessed is that?  All those angels that were put on earth that keep coming back to see if I am ready yet.

The person I used to be is gone. She died right along with that precious, sweet girl this past spring. In its place, a new person.  A shell ready to develop into someone else. The basics are still there along with the memories of the almost 15 years I had the privilege of being Her mother.

So, a second chance is given to move on without her.  I know I have to get out of this hole and put the sand over what was hers and I hate the thought of it. The only consolation is, whenever I am ready, that opportunity to move forward is waiting for me.

The sun is shining today.  Fall has begun to set in and maybe today, I can set aside the things that were and for the day join the living again.