06 May 2009

Today is hard.

Today is hard. My litany of complaints is no different than anyone else's. The specifics might vary, but it's the same old stuff: I'm tired, I'm worried about my job, I continue to fret about Maddie's behavior, I wish that Riley weren't chronically constipated, I fear that my condo will never sell, I'm stressed about getting ready for our Florida trip (even though I'm seriously excited for the trip itself).

Oh, and I miss John. 

Something made me think of wedding anniversaries last night. I don't remember what. The milestone dates since John's death have generally not been any harder for me than other days since he died, but our anniversary is the exception to that. There's of course no guarantee that if John had been healthy, we would have stayed married for years and years and years. Everyone wants to believe that theirs is the marriage for the ages. My feeling that John and I would have been that doting, still-in-love-after-fifty-plus-years-together couple is the same feeling that everyone else has when they first get married.

But I never got to find out. I never got to have that unfold. In fact, I never got to experience the regular old ups and downs of married life because three weeks after we tied the knot, John got his terminal diagnosis. I wrote our thank-you notes in the chemo ward. I remember sitting on the couch in our apartment the day after John got his diagnosis, looking down at my still-near-perfect wedding pedicure and thinking, "The paint on my toenails isn't even chipped yet. How can this be happening?" So trivial and silly, but true.

And yet things do happen and they did happen and so our entire marriage was cancer this and chemo that and MRIs here and CTs there and tumor markers and acupuncture. It was also love and support and caring of the highest order, because like any major stress in life, what John and I went through was the kind of thing that either brings you as close together as two people can be or completely drives you apart. Clearly, it brought us together, which just solidifies my feeling that we would have celebrated many years of joy and sorrow together if that had been the hand that we'd been dealt.

What this means for me is that my lack of an anniversary brings up a lot of bitterness for me, and I get unbearably, irrationally jealous of people who are celebrating any anniversaries, but especially milestone anniversaries: 5, 10, 20, 25, more years. I want to be celebrating like that. Wedding anniversaries turn me into a bitter, grief-bloated shrew. Not that today is even my anniversary! Or a friend's anniversary (that I know of; if it is: happy anniversary)! It's just on my mind, for whatever reason.

My dad's arrival tonight will make things easier. My dad is great. He is probably the best listener I know. He is completely without judgment and always supportive and encouraging. It will be extra-great to have his help on the trip down to Florida on Friday. Of course, I have trip concerns, too; my grandmother, who is 90 (!) and lives in an assisted living facility in Tampa, has had in the past few days a sudden onset of memory issues. She's having trouble, for example, remembering basic things like what floor her apartment is on. I'm so glad we planned this trip so that she will get to see the twins and we will all get to see her but it could be a difficult trip.

For now, though, on with the day, grateful for the catharsis of the blog.

44 comments:

Rach said...

I'm sorry today is hard. I hope tomorrow will be better.

Katherine said...

So well said . . .and I share your pain. I got to be married to my wonderful husband for nine years before his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. He's been gone for three years now. When I see those announcements in the paper of the couples celebrating 50 years of marriage, I no longer think "what's their secret?" Instead I think, "They were lucky." I do believe Don and I would have been together for the long haul . . .we just weren't lucky enough to have the opportunity.

Hope your trip to Florida is relaxing, fun and restorative.

Jane said...

Sorry you're having a hard day, and sorry you didn't have the opportunity to celebrate those milestones with John. It sucks, and you're allowed to feel bitter about it.

Hope tomorrow is better.

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Maybe I'm weird (duh!) but...

Do you ever feel that things start looking bad right after they get really exciting? Like, that this could be related to the thrill of getting the book contract?

That's how it often is with me. I get some free space, fill it with something exciting, and after a little I start to feel yucky again. Maybe it's that I don't feel I deserve happiness/satisying work/good luck/love/whatever.

(No matter how good things get I know I will still deserve good dark chocolate).

I'm sorry you're feeling cruddy today. It totally sucks that John died, and the economy is in the toilet. You deserve better.

(And you are making it better!)

Hope it is some comfort that if my example not relevant, at least someone is nuttier than you. :-)

X

Supa

Susan said...

I like Supra's response ;) It makes sense. High and then the low. I'm glad your getting extra help with your dad coming in. I can't imagine the pain you talk about....listening to you say your manicured nails hadn't even chipped before being slammed and turning your whole world upside down. You have come a long ways and John would be proud!

Anonymous said...

I had a good marriage that turned cruddy, so it's certainly different than your experience, but I find myself pissed at people who have wedding anniversaries all the time. I want something I didn't get, too, and it makes me irrationally angry at people who have stable relationships. Not the healthiest attitude in the world, and I work against it, but I so relate to what you've described. And chocolate just doesn't help this one. Hang in there. (Insert platitudes here.)

Lyndsay said...

I'm sorry Snick. I hope a dose of Florida sunshine helps a bit.

cv said...

I'm sorry you're having a tough day.

As for me, I'm a cynic - I believe that even the people you see quoted saying lovely things to one another after decades of marriage have challenging relationships and struggles. Maybe it is my way of pooh-pooing other people's happiness but it keeps the jealousy at bay.

On a related note, I'm jealous you have a dad - not to mention a dad who is a great listener and supportive of you in so many ways. (I'm glad I haven't pooh-pooh'd that - you deserve to have him.)

See you later :)

Pam said...

Snick, I really don't know what to say, but I am sorry you are having a crappy day. I have to agree that this is the low after the high of the book deal. Not that I am trying to downplay it, but I think you understand what I am saying. I am also sorry you didn't get the chance to be married to John longer. I bet you guys had a stronger marriage than a lot of people do. Take care of yourself and enjoy your trip to Florida.
Pam

BTW, I am going through a similar stage with my little guy (I think I posted it yesterday) as you are with Maddie. Frankly, it sucks, but I think along with everything else, it's a stage and we will get through it. I just try to remind myself he's only 3, he's only 3. I know it doesn't help, but I feel your pain.

Sadia said...

I'm sorry. I can't imagine what that must feel like.

Melissa in Grafton said...

Hi Snick,

I'm jealous that you have a great dad too. My eyes welled up with tears as you were describing your dad, and I wish I had that kind of love and support from mine. My dad's a self-absorbed, well, jerk (god forgive me for saying that).

Your posts always give me so much to think about, and it's hard to comment on all of your poignant, wise observations. At the end, I often find myself asking: would I be handling this situation as well as she is, if it were happening to me? And I honestly think I wouldn't be. Even though you're really hard on yourself, I admire you for your ability to work through it somehow -- and your talent for then sharing it so eloquently with the blogosphere! :)

Gotta share a tip for the constipation issue. It was making our life a living hell with our three-year-old son. One word: Benefiber (green bottle). It's somewhat expensive (but I buy it cheaper on amazon.com in the large containers). Stir 2 - 3 tablespoons into a drink like OJ or apple juice, and it dissolves completely (or you can even sprinkle it into pancake batter, etc.). It's just a soluble wheat fiber, so it's not a chemical laxative, and therefore totally safe to give every day. Just keeps things moving along easily and naturally. My pediatrician recommended it, and it saved my sanity. Run down to CVS and buy some right now! ;-)

Hugs,
m

Anonymous said...

Try lactulose for Riley's constipation. It's worked wonders for my daughter and is safe for daily use (i.e. Riley's bowels will not become dependent on it.)

Heather Marie said...

You are coming to my part of town! I live 10 minutes from Tampa! You will love it here.

I hope tomorrow is a better day for you. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry things are weighing you down today. I hoe the trip will be the breath of fresh air you need to feel rejuvenated.

My 2yo was chronically constipated for months. Months and months, well, basically his whole life from when he started really eating food. And I would try all the fiber things. All-bran bars, tons of fruit, fiber-enriched everything. It was driving me crazy. Finally I went to the doctor about it. She listened to what I was feeding him and said that maybe it wasn't fiber, but fluid that was low. Did I feel like an IDIOT. He never asked for more to drink. I assumed that a baby wouldn't let himself become chronically dehydrated - he'd drink. But he wasn't. He wouldn't finish his drinks at mealtimes and never asked for between meal drinks, and I guess he just wasn't getting enough. So I upped his fluids and voila! He poops! Maybe something to try with Riley. Or maybe you are cleverer than me and have already tried it!

Shinyung said...

Oh, Snick, your post made me completely tear up. Hang in there. John was very lucky to have you.

Cat said...

I hope tomorrow is a better day for you...

kate said...

Sorry you're having a bad day. I'm sure Florida will help. I used to live in St. Petersburg and there are a lot of really fun things to do there. I don't know what kind of free time you'll have, but the Dali museum is amazing! If you're planning on beaching it, Fort de Soto beach is the best! Enjoy your vacation!

Watercolor said...

Hugs.

Krissy said...

Hi!

Just checking in on you and your blog (we miss you over at HDYDI!) and saw the bit about your grandma...if you have any questions about her memory loss, etc. please feel free to email me. krissyevanswork@yahoo.com

I worked as a gerontologist pre-kids and specialized in Alzheimer's and related dementias. Just wanted to reassure you that Alzheimers does not have a rapid onset, and that there is probably something else going on (ie medication, sleep issue, heart issue, environments, etc.)

I am sure she will adore your kids...It is so good for kids to get to be around older people and vice versa.

Single Parent Dad said...

Like you anniversaries have never really affected me, well, any more than any other day really. But I have just learnt that our wedding anniversary falls on the same day as father's day this year. That might be a little more difficult.

Pam said...

Snick,
Just thought of something that helped my 3 year old with constipation. Raisins and prune/apple juice. I could only find the prune/apple juice in the baby aisle. It's made by Gerber and comes in a 4 pk. (4 - 4oz. bottles). I didn't think he would like it, but he LOVES it and it works wonders. I also watered it down. Hope that helps.

Lyn said...

Hello there - regular longtime reader and I think first time commenter....I noticed you were going to be down in the Tampa area this weekend - well, it is gonna be a hot one! At least from now until next Monday, forecast is sunny, hotter than hell (90's) and no rain, very dry!! (low of 70.)

There's your friendly local weather report.

I live in Tampa Bay area and we have been in a heat wave for a couple weeks.

I hope your visit is a relaxing, safe, and fun trip! Bless you

Dr. Smak said...

Hoping your days get easier soon.

Anonymous said...

Like all the others, I'm sorry this is so hard and hope you feel a bit better soon. Oh, and congrats on the book contract!!!

Paula

Caustic Cupcake said...

"Bitter, grief-bloated shrew" might be one of the best phrases ever written.

Sorry you're having a bad day.

What A Card said...

Thinking of you!

MetroDad said...

May tomorrow be a brighter day. Thinking of you.

Jamie said...

New poster not new reader. I also have a cronically constipated child she is on Miralax, and has been since she was a year old. It is the best stuff on the planet. I tried all of the other things mentioned and never worked consistantly. It is over the counter but we get an RX for it so we can get it cheaper. It is safe and we could not go a day with out it. She pooped everyday and was still constipated before we started using it. Amazing stuff (I do not work for them). Start small in the dosage and gradually move up.

Renovation Girl said...

I can't believe that after a beautiful, heartfelt post like this, my comment is going to be about poop...but Builder Boy has had issues for years and we went on Miralax (I think someone else suggested this, too.) It's non-addictive and works like a charm. It totally helped with potty training him, too. Even Remodel Man is on it now (and he'll be so glad I shared that with the blogosphere!).

And Terribles Threes is much more accurate!!! Have fun in Florida!

Oh, my grandmother had dementia for years before I had my son and she had very few moments of clarity...when she saw my son and held him at 8 weeks old, she was clear as a bell. Recognized all of us (and there were a ton of us there) and knew everything was going on. Kids have an amazing effect!

angrycanrn said...

I am with you here. My anniversay would have been May 3. We would have had 6 years this year. As it was, we at least got four.

Unlike you, I got to enjoy those years without dealing with illness. Hubby was happy and healthy one day and dead the next, so I didn't have the drawn out goodbye to undure.

We just weren't lucky, I guess? At least I have his three and half year old twins to keep his memory alive forever.

I wish you luck and peace.

Kathy

ps. Not sure if it made your list of outings for your book, but the Firestation is also great (just let them know in advance) Police station is another.

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Discovered a new blog (by the previous commenter!) and thought you might appreciate this post:

http://angrycanrn.wordpress.com/2008/11/15/calgon-take-me-away-please-please-please/

mames said...

so sorry for the ache. thinking of you and hoping having your dad and his listening will give you some reprieve.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry that you will never get to celebrate another anniversay with your dear husband, but please know that your sharing your life with us makes those of us that will, appreciate it even more and makes us more aware of how lucky we are to have another one with ours.
Saturday will be my husband and my 24th wedding anniversary. Other than business trips and a couple of over-night hospital stays, we've never spent a night apart. It hasn't always been bliss though. There were periods of time where we questioned if we liked each other any more. I don't think we ever let it go as far as to question our love though.
These days, I get nervous every time he leaves the house. Will he be OK out there. When he goes to sleep, will he wake in the morning. I know it may sound crazy, but It's just like when the kids were babies and you wake them up to make sure they are still breathing. I can't imagine life without him or him having to live without me, but I know that it could be reality and I cherish every moment. I'm so sad when I hear about a friends marriage ending just because they want their freedom. I just don't get how people can throw away a life together when so many people are cheated of that and would give anything to have just one more day.

Anonymous said...

I hope you get to take time while in Florida to walk on the beach and feel at peace with your memories.

Holly said...

Interestingly enough, I, too, will be in Tampa this weekend visiting 90 year old grandparents. (We moved away to MD almost 3 years ago and it's very hard to see their decline each time we visit them.)

May your weekend be filled with joy.

And know that I pray for your peace and joy all the time, even if I don't comment or email you to say so.

Have a wonderful trip. And a blessed Mother's Day.

Crash Course Widow said...

Today (or this week, actually) has been a crap, hard one for me too. Fortunately nothing to do with wedding anniversaries, which often get me cranky too...just "normal" life crap plus the usual grief flare that reliably seems to occur the week before Mother's Day, which (along with Anna's birthday) is one of the only/few reliable, bad grief triggers for me. Hooray.

Here's wishing you some extra vibes to make it through this week with a bit more peace than you had today. Hugs.

django's mommy said...

Boy, the Grief Beyotch is really spreadin' the love this week!

The poignancy of your memory of looking at your toenails... ah, Snick. I wish you could have had that good, long relationship with John that you both deserved. It sucks.

I've had a rough week this week as well. I don't know if it's birthdays/Mother's Day or if it's post-relationship blech, or if... it's just another day without my husband, which sucks.

Sending you virtual chocolate.

Sandi said...

I'm going to Vegas with a close girlfriend for my anniversary.

LeftLeaningLady said...

I would like to say something really profound to make you feel better, but I doubt there are words in the universe. I hope this down time doesn't last long.

However, my bff's daughter (5) has been constipated most of her life. Everytime she pooped it took hours and was HUGE and she always cried and it was awful for everyone. My friend took her to a gastrenterologist (sp?) who was 10 days older than God and told her that the child would be fine on a laxative. That he had patients who'd been on them for 20 years! Great doctor, huh?

My friend was not happy with that answer and took her daughter to a nutreopathic physician. Now the entire family is eating better and the daughter is pooping every.single.day. But it is work. They've removed all MSG and dyes from their diets. Yellow dye #5 is apparently HORRIBLE for you.

But she also puts fish oil in both kids' morning juice. They can't taste it and it works great. (Plus it is good for skin allergies)

Deal with the things you can and hope the rest falls into place.

Good luck!

Roads said...

I'm sorry that ambush caught you. It's remarkable how these emotions find you when you least expect it.

Just today someone was talking about their 25th Anniversary travel treat -- and eventually I made the connection and worked forwards to 2012. Which was kind of pointless, since we didn't make it to #10 in 1998.

There's no logic. As you imply, there's time gone missing, but we have to make the best of the alternate reality in which we live today.

Still sucks, though, sometimes.

Rev Dr Mom said...

I don't have the same kind of grief to deal with, but I totally get the feeling cheated when others are celebrating anniversaries. When I look at couples who've been married a long time, and how comfortable they can be together, I get very nostalgic and sad, too, wishing I could have a relationship like that.

I hope that someday you will find that kind of love again. It won't take away your missing what you didn't get with John, but it can still be special.

Anonymous said...

Miralax for the constipation. Was truly a miracle for my son.

Anonymous said...

Snick - if someone else hasn't posted this, be sure to ask your grandmother's nurse if she's been checked for a UTI, which can cause sudden onset disorientation in elders.

Anonymous said...

That is nice that your father is visiting you. I lost my dad 3 years ago unexpectedly (brain hemorrhage) and I envy people who can spend time with their dads and watch them interact with their kids. My kids don't have either of their grandfathers. While it is difficult to miss the anniversaries and other milestones with your husband, you are still blessed to have your dad.