It’s been a while since my last post. Life over the last couple of months has been really dark and painful and upsetting and I’ve had to process a lot of emotions that have taken their toll on me. Bear with me as I sort through this.
In mid-August, my Uncle Jack passed away, after a long illness. I have not been close to my relatives for many years, but remember many happy times spent with him, my Aunt Peg, my cousins David, Sharon and Gail, and my sister Laura (and our parents) when we were kids. Every summer was spent in Powell River, BC at our Grandma Rosie’s house, at their house, or up at their cabin on Powell Lake. The cabin was a true cabin…no power or anything, an outhouse instead of a bathroom, but all the fun of exploring in the woods, swimming, sailing, fishing, boating…you name it. It was an idyllic way to grow up and the memories I have are priceless.
I don’t remember how old I was when it happened, but my Uncle Jack was injured badly in an accident at work at the Mill that saw him burned quite badly, including on his face and he lost sight in one eye. He always wore glasses after that which covered the one eye with a dark shade, but he was always still Uncle Jack to me. Kind, smart, funny and a good man who was well liked and well respected.
When I divorced my first husband in 1990 and basically cut ties with my parents and sister, I also lost touch with that part of my family. I won’t go into details, but “divorcing” my parents was the best decision for me at the time and I have no regrets about it. I went for years with no contact with my mom or dad, my sister was in Toronto and I think we might have touched base once or twice over the course of many years. I was fine with all of it. Then came word that our Grandma Rosie had died.
My sister and I went to the funeral, picking up our mom on the way (now divorced from our dad for many years) and driving up to Powell River. It was my first contact with my mom in years and oh, so very awkward. I was dealing with the beginnings of my Fibromyalgia being a real problem in my life, so stress was a huge part of my flares, and I was still learning how to manage them – poorly I might add. When we arrived, my Uncle Jack and my cousin Dave both made me feel like nothing had changed and that I was as welcome then as I had always been. It was such a relief to have time just washed away, and to just feel like part of the family again. My mom and I remained distant though and I admit to not trying very hard to bridge the gap, as neither of us seemed very receptive to trying. At least my Uncle and my cousin made me feel included and I’ll never forget that.
After Grandma Rosie’s funeral, my contact with family drifted apart again, aside from an email or two with Dave and Gail, to keep in touch. Which brings me back to the recent passing of my Uncle. I knew that he had been ill for a while. I’m also friends with Gail on Facebook and she sent me a note to let me know of his passing. I was sad, but not heartbroken. He’d lived a good long life and his illness was only causing him pain and misery at the end. The shock of death came just over two weeks later. I was on Facebook, spotted a post she had written, read it twice to make sure I understood it, and then got a quick note from her…my cousin Dave, her brother, my Uncle Jack’s son, had died suddenly while piloting his plane to Powell River to visit Aunt Peg and see how she was doing after his Dad’s passing. I was absolutely stunned. How could this strong, vital, outgoing and caring man be gone?? And so soon after his dad? And my Aunt Peg, suddenly losing her husband and her son…it just crippled me.
I found a couple of articles in the local Powell River news and it appears that mechanical problems caused the plane to crash, but not before Dave managed to steer it away from an apartment building and into an empty area behind the building, so the only person affected was him. He died instantly, no suffering, but I struggle with what his last few minutes must have been like. Did he know what was going to happen? Did he think about his wife, his kids, his Mom? Did he cry out for God? It haunts me. I’ve never really experienced death before…no one I’ve been especially close to has passed away, and definitely not tragically, so even when my Grandma Rosie died, I didn’t cry, and I wasn’t particularly upset. I think it’s because Dave was young and this crash was so sudden and so tragic that I’ve had trouble dealing with it.
So, in this past couple of months, I’ve had to deal with the deaths of two people I love. I’ve also been stressing about my sister who is in her third battle with cancer. My two adult children are dealing with their own stressful situations, and once a mom, always a mom. As much as I try not to, I can’t help but worry about them. As a Christ Follower, I try very hard to put my worries in His hands and then leave them there, but my nature IS to worry, so that’s an exercise that happens over and over and over. Too bad I don’t burn calories with that one.
I have a dear, dear friend, whose husband is going through some health issues, so I worry about that too. I also ended up with a 4 day Trigeminal Neuralgia flare-up that was so bad, I was almost clawing my face off. I saw Dr. Leong and we switched up my meds, but now I’m at the top end of what I can take for it. There’s nothing left and no higher doses I can try. Dr. Winston, my pain doctor, wants to do a Botox injection, but since the meds ARE working, for now, I want to save that for when the drugs no longer help. After that, I think it’s the Neurosurgeon. Dr. Leong also wants an MRI of my face done (and I may have already mentioned this in a previous post – my brain doesn’t remember a lot lately).
And the final stressor in my life, albeit a good one – we take possession of our new house on Friday, Oct. 14th!!!! The movers are booked for the 19th, we’ve started weeding through the house and getting rid of things. I hate purging, I’m so sentimental about stuff, but it has to be done. Ray and I are both hoarders to a minor degree, so we’re cheering each other on as we get rid of things. We’re also planning on ways to make the move as easy as possible for this little princess so she doesn’t freak out too badly:
Oh, and to top all of this off, Ray was gone for 10 days to Ontario, to visit his mom for a couple of days and then to spend 8 days with his dad Peter while Peter’s wife Linda was away in Switzerland for 2 weeks. Peter has suffered a series of mini-strokes that have affected his ability to communicate. He’s also recovering from knee replacement surgery. Linda is his caretaker and needed a break, so this was a great opportunity for Ray to spend some quality time with his dad. They both really enjoyed themselves…Peter has a book he uses with words and pictures and he has some words that he can say…mostly, it’s a disconnect between the brain and mouth and the things he wants to say don’t come out right. They would go out for lunch on occasion, watch movies, go for walks (good rehab for Peter’s knee) and just enjoy each other’s company.
This trip was planned quite some time ago and I got word of Dave’s passing the day before Ray was scheduled to leave. I had wanted to go with Ray but I knew that the flight would have done me in and I’d have spent the first part of being there doing nothing but sleeping to catch up (5 hour flight + 3 hour time difference + fair amount of driving from his mom Lorna’s place to Peter’s place = crashed out Pamela). Dealing with Dave’s sudden death with Ray leaving was so, so difficult…I had time for one good cry before Ray left which helped but I was left with so much pent-up emotion at the same time that I’m sure it contributed to me sleeping for the first two days Ray was gone. I was a mess.
And finally, because I’ve been in so much pain physically and because there was such a huge emotional onslaught, I made the very painful decision to end the three engagements I was a part of through the Patient Voices Network. One I had just started and they were very understanding (the leaders sent me a lovely card and gift card), one had yet to start and they were able to find a new partner, and one is wrapping up soon, and they want to keep my name on the project to honour the work I’ve put into the project to date. I was very pleased about that. I hated having to do this, it feels like another defeat, but I just don’t have the energy or brainpower to keep going right now – especially with this move coming up. When I spoke to the coordinator at PVN, she told me that self-care is the most important thing they emphasize and commended me for recognizing what I need right now. I can come back to it when I’m ready, so that’s what I need to remember.
Anyway, I think this whole post is probably a mess…just like my body and brain. I’ve been trying hard to treat myself well. I’ve had three wonderful massages over the last month and I have 2 more scheduled before we move. I have great coverage through my insurance benefits, so I try to get at least one massage a month. This time, I’m getting a few in a row, so I can try and get this body feeling good. Sleep has been pretty good overall…lots of weird, WEIRD dreams, but at least if I’m dreaming, I’m in the deep sleep zone where I should be.
And apparently, since I keep babbling on and on, I just need to end this post abruptly, or I’ll keep going and going and going… so remember:
there is always hope