Sunday, March 28, 2010

As Good as it Gets

I remarked to a friend this week that maybe this is as good as it gets. I miss him, long for him, need him, daily. But he's not here, and will never be again. And in between the missing, longing, needing, life goes on. Good things. Happy things. Fun things. Many many not so fun things as well. Life goes on, without Henry in it.

The only way to not miss, long for, and need him is to push him away. I wrote not too long ago that I am having some positive memories of him, some fond recollections. This fortunately continues, but unfortunately is far outweighed by the sadness. I still have regular and painful flashes of the pain and suffering inflicted on him by his treatment. His death, the days leading up to it are still seared in my mind. I am not willing to push his memory away far enough so that it is no longer painful. Maybe I'm not able even if I were willing.

Maybe this is as good as it gets. It is what it is. He's gone. I can't change that. I can't change what I did, or said, or thought.

So I feel like I should be working on acceptance, but I'm such a cynic I think it's bullshit. It is what it is, whether or not I accept it. I've always had such contempt for middle class ennui; now I watch myself beginning to sip that koolaid. She didn't marry the right guy. He didn't make it in his career. She got lupus. They can't afford the house/vacations/schools they wanted. My kid died. So here we are, living in a free society, with more money and health than 99.9% of all homo sapiens who have walked the face of the earth, and we're not happy.

I don't know where to go with this. I feel I've hit a bit of a wall, psychologically. Sometimes I want to take this bull by the horns, and do something that gives me control over it....write a book, meditate for a month, run a marathon. But I think my lesson is that there is no way to control it.


Katerina said...

As always, your writing is so incisive. And as always I have no advice. When I try to imagine being in your shoes (I have a 20 month old son and it breaks my heart) I always seem to resort to the same intensely bittersweet comforts: Looking at landscape, nature, the sky, feeling the rhythm of seasons. All this will continue while we're no longer around. There will be green grass and flowers in spring, long languid evenings in summer, colorful leaves in the fall, and bare branches, snow and darkness in winter. And then spring again. I don't know why, but thinking of this cycle makes me feel a bit more at peace with the end that will, inevitably, come - for me, for my parents, for my husband, for my little boy. Fond memories, expressing love to those close to us and living in the present is probably the best we can do.

...tom... said...


There is certainly one three word phrase in there I would wholeheartedly second.

"I can't change what I did, or said, or thought."

There is a bit of mystery in that thought.

As much as some of us think we know you from blogging here much as others might think they know you in real life . . .I am sure there is oh so much we do not know and probably never will.

That said, I do hope you embrace that 'grabbing the bull by the horns' thought. I am sure you would learn a lot about yourself, about Henry, about your family, about this crazy thing we call life and what it all means.

Anyway, {{{hugs}}} as always.


Colleen said...

Have you thought about seeing a trauma/grief counselor? It amazes me how much the thought process in response to a traumatic event tends to follow the same structure regardless of what the trauma was. I haven't been through what you have but I know exactly the type of thought process you're experiencing. Therapy has helped me learn to keep what is useful about those thoughts and move away from the parts that are unnecessarily painful and not productive.

A Doc 2 Be said...

I reread my own post, "Dear Austin" from March 26th... 24 years have passed... I still get tears in my eyes and still think it completely natural to want our children with us.

Time will get you to a point where the tears well less frequently, the pain is less intense on all days but the longing will always be there.

At least it has been for me.

Continued hugs and support from the virtual world.


pelican said...

I see "she married the wrong guy" and "he didn't make it in his career" as pretty different from "my kid died."

The first two are fixable, changeable, non-permanent ... albeit with a lot of suffering and risk to make those changes.

The last is permanent, real, fixed.

I don't know you, so I really don't know what your experience is and what you're fearing when you say "middle class ennui." But, from what you've shared on your blog, your experience of Henry's loss seems pretty damn real. I don't think you're drifting, bored, on the surface, or avoiding life.

Best wishes, as always, for you and your family.

radioactive girl said...

Loss of control is hard. Really hard. I can't imagine how it felt for you to have so little control over things.

I definitely think your situation is much different from "married the wrong guy" or whatever else. Those are choices and are fixable and there is a possibility to make a change for the better. They also aren't necessarily permanent. The person in those situations has control over how they handle it. You had to roll with it even when things were/are horrible. There are no choices you could have made to make things better, nothing you could have done to make any kind of real change in things. Knowing that is hard. Really hard. I know my cancer experience, while very different (and I am not trying to compare our pain because there is no comparison), seems to have many of the same thoughts/feelings attached to it. I am always amazed at how so many times you can put into words what I am thinking but can't seem to find the right words for.

As always, I am thinking good thoughts for you and wish there was something I could do to make this all better for you.

Snickollet said...

We are, indeed, in the same place right now, aren't we?

I find that it's just awful for me to acknowledge the finality of it all. John's dead. Henry's dead. They aren't coming back. And no amount of wonderful in my life, no amount of happiness, will ever fill that hole. That hole doesn't prevent me from feeling the joy or happiness, but it does make me feel at all times a little incomplete in a way that there is no way to fix.

I don't like the feeling, but I can't change it. It's that inability to change it that is crazymaking. All I can do is work towards some kind of acceptance, but I'm having little success in with that these days. Like you, I find that it feels like a bunch of b.s.

Thinking of you, as always.

muirwoodsue said...

I don't even know what to say but knowing someone out there who doesn't even know you cares and your pain is so raw - it hurts me to read it. I can't even imagine how horrible this would be. I have 3 children. Hugs and prayers to you.

ADB said...

It is so easy to say how it should be, how to cope with a situation like this. Yet emotions are strange, it doesn't work like that. The person you miss is not there. The pain of the illness before their passing remains, almost blocking out the good memories that preceded it all. One day at a time.