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Posts Tagged ‘loss of family’

001I lost my temper today. I haven’t lost my temper in ages. It felt so odd, to be angry. So out of the blue. The situation was justified: I confronted a jack-ass who thought he could just park his semi truck across all four of the parking spaces in front of my office while he ran into the fast-food place across the parking lot to eat. He didn’t even apologize, but he did move it.

Then I snapped at an innocent broker before I’d calmed down from the confrontation.

What is wrong with me? This is the old me. The me when I was when buried under stress. The me before antidepressants.

I decided perhaps I had not been meditating and praying enough (you know, we all fall out of habit, and we all blame guilt for our actions). I reasoned that I would come home tonight and plant all the flowers I bought since the weather is cool and will remain cool for the next 10 days, at least. Gardening always relaxes me. Gardening is wonderful therapy.

Except… it wasn’t. I snapped at both of the dogs, for being dogs. I almost snapped at my husband. I just felt so… so… angry.

Gardening may be therapy, but it is muddy, dirty, work, and by the time I climbed into the shower, I was wondering how high my blood pressure was. And then I cried. Big sobs. Real tears.

I don’t cry. Antidepressants dull that reaction, and I don’t like to cry. But I couldn’t stop it, and I didn’t want to – because, suddenly, I understood.

I am getting on an airplane Saturday to fly to Reno. From Reno, I will make my way to Ely. 21 years of grief just washed over me – everything I lost that lived in that little, dusty, town. My mother. My sister. My father.

The trip this time is a trip to celebrate a milestone, but that milestone is, in itself, a contributor to the circle of grieving. My sister’s youngest child is graduating from high school and turning 18. She was almost 3 when her mother died, and has no recollection of her mother. None. She barely remembers my father, her grandfather.

I am dreading this trip, but I don’t want my niece to feel that it is because of her – it isn’t. She is outside of the equation and is the reason I want to go. I want to be there for her, and for my sister. She’s blood. She’s family. And I will be there to see her receive her high school diploma.

But – God. Why can’t my sister be there? I would have taken this girl on, if I could have, but she had a birth father somewhere and her stepfather was extremely leery of me after I took Chrystal on (we sort of kidnapped her when she was 10).* My father, while he was living, feared the birth father would try something. Moreover, we did not want to alert Child Services to the status of any of my sister’s children, throwing them into foster families. So, my niece stayed with her step-dad and his new wife.

That’s her story to tell, and she did tell me. She’s a smart girl. She’s got her mother’s moxie. She’s in a good place right now.

Going back to me and the lashing out.

I counseled a young woman in my office the other day. She recently lost her father, suddenly, and it has thrown her for a loop. I advised her that it never ends. You just learn to work around it. You won’t know what triggers it. Suddenly, you’ll be standing in the middle of a grocery store, crying. You’ll smell something. You’ll have a mood change and then you’ll look at the calendar and realize what your spiritual body already knew: it’s the week of an anniversary.

I’m going back to Ely, and it is the fifth anniversary of the week we held my father’s memorial service. My sister’s 57th birthday was Sunday. I’m watching my orphaned niece graduate from high school and turn 18. I’m loading up a truck and bringing the rest of my inheritance home, specifically the furniture items. Visual items.

And I’m lashing out in anger, but it’s the grief that is talking. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I’m more likely to write out what is going on inside of me than talking about it – or than most people will confess to feeling. I’m writing this, not to hash out my sorrow and grief, and to play “poor pitiful me”, but to tell you – the reader of this blog post – that it is OK. It’s natural. It’s grief. It’s a circle that will never be broken as long as you live and feel deeply.

Wish my mom was here tonight so I could talk to her about this over a bottle of cheap red wine. We used to change the world with a couple glasses of wine. God, I miss her so very much. 21 years.

21 years of dreading a trip to Ely.

*I need to clarify this. Chrystal was the only one of my sister’s children that was a true orphan, in that her birth father was dead also. Originally, we left her with her step father, with her sister, because my father didn’t want to break up the family. I think he was reeling from the fact that my sister’s son’s father came and picked him up from the reception following the funeral without any notice. It was his right: his son. But it was very clear within a few months that Chrystal was miserable. She was going on 10. So my dad arranged a vacation trip for her to come to visit me, and for me to go to a lawyer and get custody of her. Meanwhile, Chrystal determined that if she was coming to visit me, she would request that she stay with us. So, somehow, she both ran way and we kidnapped her. It was a mutual agreement between us and a ten year old girl who decided the first day that she would call us “Mom” and “Dad”.

PS – I know good people who work in Child Services. But there have always been the horror stories, and we were determined that none of my sister’s children should end up in that system. They’ve suffered their own trail of grief, but none of it has been at the hands of the State. Whether you agree with that or not is irrelevant to me. I’ll suffer none of my family to go into that system so long as I have breath.

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