Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016: Let's Get it Started

2016 started less stressfully than I feared.  When last we spoke, I had this weird seemingly conflicting feeling about not wanting to let go of 2015 because despite it being a big old pile of shit year-wise, it was MY big old pile of shit, and also contained within it my last memories of being with Leslie and holding her hand and kissing her head and saying goodbye. 

And despite my reassurances to myself that in fact December 31, 2015 was "just another day" it carried with it decades of meaning..."this is the last day of this year...you will start anew next year" and starting anew meant starting fresh...with Leslie not by my side.  And that was sucky.

And ultimately...like birthdays or New Years past...when the moment that the old year metamorphosed into the new...absolutely no meaning or feeling or loss or gain was conveyed, just as I'd "known" it wouldn't, and if I was a little more subdued than New Years past, I can perhaps be forgiven, but ultimately, it wasn't as painful to actually realize 2016, as it was anticipating ending 2015. 

If that makes any sense at all.

Lily has started this new thing where she only sleeps until about 3:30 - 4:30 in the morning every morning.  I'm not in love with it.  The plus is that if I get to her before she's fully awake I can typically lie down next to her and cuddle her back to sleep.  The minus is...she doesn't give any indication that she's actually awake.  I must sleep relatively lightly, because the rustle of sheets and the change in breathing are typically all I need in order to know that when I creep quietly down the hall to check on her I'll find her sitting up in bed smiling cheerfully at me. 

Last night she slept until 3:15 or so.  I fell asleep next to her until about 3:30.  I crept quietly away and slept until about 4:15 when she woke up again.  Lather rinse repeat...I was back in bed by 4:30 until my alarm woke me up at 5:30. 

We talked at group support about "giving ourselves permission to grieve".  The idea, essentially, that it can't always just be about taking care of the kids emotional needs, we also need to be able to process (I brought up "Oxygen Mask", "please secure your own mask before helping others", that sort of thing).  The facilitator I think made it too black and white.  One of the members in the group was really struggling and I found myself irrationally irritated with the soft-spoken discussion leader and leaping in. 

Everyone in that room is in a "similar" situation.  It's one thing to psychologically give yourself permission to grieve.  To me, that's far easier than the actual "execution".  Yeah, I'm fully permitted.  I've already decided that when I'm sad, I'll let Emma see it, and so what?  Frankly, I think it's good for her to see that I care, and that I'm sad.  I think it normalizes it for her.  Gives her permission to openly grieve too.  That said, it's like anything.  I can give myself permission to have a couple beers at night, but exercising that option means not being able to be 100% if Lily wakes and needs me. 

There are lots of things I can choose to do, but choosing one thing sometimes means avoiding/ignoring/neglecting another.  Life's way more complicated than just...'choosing to do X'.  But I do get that if you are the kind of person who really hasn't allowed himself/herself to grieve...you should.  Even if finding time for yourself is harder than what most people might think.


I'm going to get a tattoo. 

I'm doing some...soul searching.  I've always wanted a tattoo.  I just never had anything I felt strongly enough about that I wanted to mark myself up permanently.  And then when the kids came...I don't know...I think I just sort of felt it was frivolous.  And it probably is.  But frivolous and having to explain that shit to Leslie...and frivolous and not having to answer to her...well those are two different things. 

I want something that symbolizes a psychopomp.  A butterfly was initially what I was going with.  Then I considered a raven.  Now I'm thinking of an owl.  Apparently the owl is specifically something that is spoken of in Polish folklore as a carrier or guide of souls to heaven, and Leslie was...very Polish.  So it seems fitting.  Also I'm thinking of having "Isaiah 41:10" or part of that text "I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" added because it's something that Leslie drew strength and comfort from, even going so far as to raise her right hand when she would struggle to breathe walking up the stairs to our bedroom so that she could take God's hand and accept his help. 

I'm still a ways off, but I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts or suggestions, even tips for how to work with a tattoo artist to get the design you want, or how to find a really good tattoo artist. 


Finally...I'm looking at trying to by a laptop shelf for  my treadmill.  I talked about choices above.  Sometimes my choice is to exercise.  Sometimes it's to read.  Sometimes it's to write or play guitar.  But I find I don't have time to choose all of the above.

I want to write more.  If I can do that and get my exercise at the same time?  Well...that's just killing two birds with one stone.  One choice/option I don't have to turn aside from in order to pursue another.


  1. Tattoos are a lot of fun :) Best way to find one is do some googling and check out their online portfolios. You can book a consultation with them and after that they'll work on artwork for you. Depending on how popular they are you might have to wait awhile. Luckily I've always found that tattoo artists are very honest about what kind of work they are / aren't capable of doing well, since they each have their own style. It's one of those things you don't want to go cheap on, but I've also had great work done by people who aren't regarded as the "best" in town.

  2. I just ordered a cycling desk for my office; I'll let you know how that goes. What about an owl perched on an opened "right hand?" I like this post. It is multifaceted. And I can answer questions with concrete advice, help solve a solvable problem. We don't get many of those in this life.

  3. I remember sending that scripture verse (Isaiah 41:10) to Leslie to encourage her. She also really liked Isaiah 41:13. I have secretly thought about getting a tattoo, but decided that a 72 year-old lady getting a tattoo is ridiculous. Imagine what my family would say!!!!