Sunday, October 20, 2013

My Achy Breaky Heart

I have a billion and one things to do today.  I have a review to write about chocolate.  I know.  I am so lucky to get to taste chocolate and then write what I think about it... and get paid to do it!  But there are no words in my brain about chocolate right now.  I need to write a post to promote our Holiday Craft Expo coming up in two weeks.  And promote it on Facebook and Twitter and every other social media platform that I can think of.  But I have no words for that either.  My heart is full.  Achy breaky full.  So much sadness seeping out of it that I cannot stop the flow.  And my brain is paralyzed.  Having to arrange words into anything that makes sense right now seems so impossible.  But I need to write.  It's the only way to wash away my hurt.


Someone will probably think this post is selfish.  That's is. I am acutely aware that I am not the only one hurting tonight.  My entire family hurts.  My mother hurts as she cares for her husband in what has become the most unimaginable circumstance.  He lays in his bed, dying of cancer.  My step-dad hurts.  He's the one who is dying.  To say I can't fathom what he must be feeling and thinking is an understatement..  A month or two ago he was diagnosed with bone cancer and told he had about 6 months to live.  It was shocking and sad and we were not prepared for the news.  I guess no one is ever prepared for that kind of news. But we thought we had more time to say our goodbyes and get our relationship affairs in order with him.  To say the things we needed to say to a man who welcomed us into his home, even though we were not his children.  To hug this John Wayne-esque, giant of a man who was never big on showing emotion or public displays of affection.  All of the sudden, his health deteriorated and now we are, along with him, staring his death in the face.

I am not ready for this.  I am not ready to lose another person with whom I did not get the chance to develop the kind of deep, meaningful relationship I wanted to have.  I am not ready for my boys to lose the only grandfather they have had who was willing to spend time with them, JUST when he decided to quit being a hermit and start paying attention to them!  They were just starting to get to know him!  They were just starting to hear his hilarious stories and see his face light up when he talked about all of his life adventures.  They were just starting to earn nicknames from him, because he rarely calls anyone by their real name...he has a nickname for everyone. 

My grief over his passing is way more profound than I feel like I can handle.  And I have had to stop and figure out why his passing is affecting me to the point that I want to shut down.  I can't shut down.  People are counting on me to take care of them and help them.  My mom doesn't have the luxury of just shutting down and she truly needs and deserves to shutdown over this.  Why am I not able to be stronger this time around?  It's not like my step-dad and I are super close.  I love him very much, but we haven't had a typical father-daughter relationship (more on that later).  So why do I feel like I am losing more than I can stand to lose?  That sounds bad.  Like I'm saying I shouldn't be AS SAD that he is passing away because he isn't my real dad and we weren't as close as we could have been.  That's not what I mean by saying I shouldn't be so very, very depressed about this. I'm saying that the level of sadness and grief I feel is debilitating and it feels like there is more to it than my step dad's untimely and pending death.

I have to believe that this is less about his rapidly approaching crossover to heaven, which is truly a blessing given the extreme amount of pain he is enduring, and more about my feeling that one more time I am being left alone to deal with life.  I feel like my whole life has revolved around people leaving me.  I won't go into details. But it's happened a lot. And the hurt has caused has started to become unbearable.  I thought my real dad dying tragically and unexpectedly was pretty painful to sort through.  But now I am losing my other dad - the only one I have left and have struggled to develop a relationship with - and it almost feels worse than the first loss.  

Clearly I need to get over my own abandonment issues and focus on the good times that I had with my step-father.  I have some good memories of him.  He is a good man who had issues of his own due to his upbringing.  His walls were so high.  It took him until just recently to finally decide to let them down and start to let us in a little more and now he's leaving us. It doesn't feel fair.  I know...we all have our issues.  I just wish my family's issues would have been less detrimental to our having a rich and full "normal" life. The whole thing just really, really sucks and I'm not ready to say goodbye to one more person who means something to me. Oh my gosh, I can't tell you how NOT ready for this I am. 

And yes...I feel like a self-absorbed, whiny ass, drama queen for posting this.  Because my dad's cancer and death should not be all about me.  But the truth is, it is about me.  And about him.  And about my mom and my sister and my aunt and my sons and whoever else is affected by his disease.  Every single one of our lives is changing because my step-dad has cancer and is dying. And it hurts.  So I sit and write to process and heal and then I have to choose whether or not to share what I feel with everyone else or hide it away somewhere.  Who will I hurt by posting this?  I don't know, but I'm pretty sure there will be someone. Who will feel like I am seeking out attention?  I don't know that either, but I know sometimes I have a problem with that.  Who will just read the post with an open heart and identify with it and walk away with a greater desire to spend more time with their kids and grand kids so they don't have to feel like they missed out on one of life's greatest joys?  I hope many.  

Will sharing this do any good?  I don't know.  I just know it helps me.  And I choose to think I am not the only one in the world who has these kinds of thoughts and struggles.  So I guess I hope that when I make my personal issues public, it helps someone, somewhere, deal with a difficult situation because they know they are not alone.  So for now, this post will go live.  Because it's what I need to do to cope and to find some peace in my out of control life.