Thursday, June 20, 2013

Series of Firsts

When depression takes hold, life is a much bigger struggle that small things become a huge victory – getting out of bed in the morning, getting dressed, eating, taking a shower, cleaning even a little, small ordinary tasks…  And we take these as victories cause it means we haven’t given up on life.  We remember that we were happy and we can be happy again. And that’s where I am right now.  

I follow The Bloggess via twitter and she talks about depression and anxiety and honestly is one hilarious woman.  One of these twitter conversations about depression, a link/retweet was to someone who compared depression to weather (sorry I can’t remember the guys name).  He says that depression is real just as the weather is real but just like we have no control over the weather, we have no control over our depression (well there are drugs and therapy but sometimes that masks or just helps us deal i.e. those small ordinary tasks).  Often we have to hold on and wait.  Wait as others wait for the gray stormy clouds to roll away (although here in the desert it’s a happy view to see them roll in), we wait for our depression to roll away.  We may get a short period of clear weather and sometimes the clearness lasts longer.

My year thus far has not been stellar as stated in my previous post but other things have happened to which made it even harder to hold on.  Any sudden death of a loved one is hard but when its someone who had such a huge influence and impact on your life like a father, it hurts so much more.  And that’s who I lost, my dad.  My world shattered, hell my whole family’s world shattered (and we are still trying to piece our new world back together).  Simple tasks are impossible to even fathom (I wandered in circles trying to figure out what to pack). Thank goodness for friends and neighbors and co-workers who come in and help in whatever way they can (even if it means an over abundance of sweets… boy we got a lot of cookies and such).  

Display board I made for Dad's memorial - snippets of his life with his family
 Of course when something like this happens, all you want to do is get home instead I got stranded in Chicago due to serious rainstorms that flooded major portions of Chicago… and then wait for 7+ hours (and sis waited 5 of those hours with me) for my luggage to then find out that it got sent on to Madison after all…. I may have lost it at that point, tried so hard to keep my shit together but in such circumstances, one can only hold on for so long…. I got home and eventually had my luggage because of a sis who did exactly what dad would have done; retrieve me, despite the long drive (made longer this time due to the flooding).

Before Dad’s death, grandma (dad’s mom) had a stroke and she was doing okay for a 94 year old who just had a stroke… She had all her facilities about her, but had a hard time talking and couldn’t move much.  She was at the point that she could recover or not.  She would not recover.  She learned of her son’s death (dad was seeing her everyday after her stroke and well his death was all over the local news so mom and sis decided to tell her) and she fell apart.  So four days after her son, Sis and I saw her for the last time and she died while I hugged her for the last time.  We arranged to get her back to California (she was cremated) and I think I did what she wanted.  Granted at this time she’s just ashes and how would, ashes know but one still wants to honor our loved one’s wishes.

RIP Grandma... It was a perfect day at the beach.
I have never dealt with such heartbreaking hurt in my life.  Dad’s memorial may have been the hardest day I have ever faced in my life.  It also marked a change in our family, we have a new normal, and a series of firsts, firsts without Dad.  And the first being my 35th birthday.  Hard to feel up to celebrate when just four days prior was Dad’s memorial… but a good friend of mine did take me out to dinner (nephew too).  And then the llama show which I mentioned in the previous post.  I did get gifts, they weren’t wrapped (well mom did wrap a late one that I just got recently).  Sis got me yarn to knit a sweater.  Actually I noticed the shopping bag of yarn and thinking mom was going to do something for the store, I asked what was going to be done with it.  Which she then handed it to me and ‘Happy Birthday…’ The family doesn’t need to hide my presents cause normally I’m not home in WI for my birthday…  They were just gathering my presents which mom then planned on wrapping them all and mailing it to me. Yarn did become a sweater – an awesome sweater in fact with buttons that mom got me.  Got the pattern for my bday last year from another knitter, hotazzknitter.   

Delancey Cardigan in Cascade Superwash 220
  I also got the most ridiculous present from my nephew… He likes to pick on me about my love of unicorns when I was young.

Ridiculous slippers from Think Geek
Recently it was the first Father’s Day without a living father… and our family will have a lot of firsts and friends/collogues who have lost close loved ones say yep the firsts are the hardest… seconds a bit better then it’ll just be random when it hits…  Grief is random really.  I was okay for a bit when I got back to Vegas.  Had a big to-do list, went back out to the field for a rotation… but then no work and my to-do list is much smaller which means no easy distractions…  But back to those victories in the small everyday tasks.  And even a little beyond that.  I started volunteering at the Nevada State Museum (link) where I’ll get to analyze artifacts like ceramics.  I get to expand my lab/collection skill set which I say is a good lovely thing. 
And the biggest thing that is helping me hold on during this gloomy time is friends and family.  It’s amazing what a difference it makes when you know that there are people that love and care for you and are there for you.  To distract, to be a shoulder, to be a network connection, to just be…. And for this I love everyone of them back. 
So that is my tale of woe… but also perseverance.  

Yes I do take lessons from Doctor Who... Been re-watching Doctor Who as of late... (this is from casualfanatic's tumble page for copywright type stuff)


Picture of the environment I worked at for my last job (that is a NASA satellite in the background)