To Think About It, Or Not To Think About It


Some days, the only way I feel like I can get through is to just stick my head in the sand and not think about anything I don’t absolutely have to think about at that moment. Whenever I do this, though, I inevitably feel guilt over being weak. Strong people confront their problems and face them, right? They don’t ignore them and save them for later. They deal with it head on. But when I try to deal with it head on, I feel overwhelmed. I feel lost and scared and anything but empowered. I just want it to go away, want it to stop being real.

I’m sure there’s a balance, I just don’t know what it is.

I tried reading articles on the psychology of grief and stress, to see if I could find data on different coping techniques and how well they work for different types of people. I even read up on some kooky cosmic self-help type theories. Of course, no one has the “right” answer. No one can take away the pain of losing my dad and grandparents, or the stress of worrying about everything else going on. Sucks that they don’t, though.

I guess I’ll continue on with the head-in-the-sand technique for the sake of self-preservation until I can’t anymore…then I’ll try to figure out something else.

It’s Coming


It’s only 12 days away. We looked forward to it every year, you and me on Sunday. Last year, Mama finally got to go with us, and the three of us were there for the final day.

I can’t believe this will be my first Masters without you.

I want to go, and I want to go with Mama, but I’m so scared I’m just going to sob the whole time. How can I possibly be at Masters Sunday without you? I’m terrified, and heartbroken, and dreading it. I can’t imagine not going, but going without you is even harder to picture.

This time last year, you were starting your countdown. Right now, you’d be telling me who was playing and asking for final decisions on what days we were going (besides Sunday, which was a given). We’d be finalizing plans about the girls staying with Granny, and you’d be telling me to make sure I had comfortable shoes that weren’t too old and ratty. You’d already been looking at weather forecasts.

I haven’t watched golf since you died. I tried once, and I just couldn’t do it. I remembered you in your chair, the night you died, saying “Good shot” to the TV between doses of morphine, and I just couldn’t do it. I’m so glad I don’t have broadcast TV anymore because I know I’d be seeing the promos for the tournament now.

It already feels harder than my birthday. I don’t know how I’m going to get through the day without you. Just thinking “Masters Sunday” sends me into uncontrollable sobbing fits, and I sit here gasping for breath. It feels like knives in my stomach. You NEVER miss Masters Sunday. You shouldn’t be missing it this year. That wasn’t the plan. You were going to take the girls when they got old enough, and Sadie would have been old enough to go next year. How can I show her Masters Sunday without you?

We looked forward to it every year, but now I think it’s going to be one of the hardest times of the year for me. Masters Sunday without my Diddy. God, I hate that phrase…it just seems so unreal, so implausible. Knowing it’s true, knowing that will be how I spend the Masters this year, and any year after this, is crushing. It’s so hard to type through the tears, but it hurts so much I have to find a way to get it out before it kills me. But nothing will make it feel better. You are supposed to be here, and we’re supposed to be in Augusta together, and this year we won’t be. And we never will be again. Nothing will fix that.

I miss you so much.

Pregnancy Number Three – 28 Weeks


I am 28 weeks today. That means only 12 weeks to go.

TWELVE WEEKS.

Good gracious. I don’t even know what else to say about that.

Late Nights


I’ve had more late nights recently. Late nights working, late nights not sleeping because pregnant hip/leg/back pain makes every position uncomfortable, late nights because I’m stressed and cannot turn off my brain. Late nights trying to figure out what to do next, late nights missing my Diddy, late nights wondering how to fix everything.

Unfortunately, most of these late nights have been followed by fairly early mornings. Early mornings of meetings, early mornings of appointments, early mornings of just having to get up and get things done.

The late nights plus early mornings have lead to less sleep than I would prefer, and less time available to write. When I don’t write, I can tell a huge difference. I miss it. I miss the feeling of release when I get something out.

But at least I’m being somewhat productive. I know I need to find a balance between being productive and being worn out, but I feel a little more confident now that this balance will come.

Baby steps.

Pregnancy Number Three – 27 Weeks


Yes, that does say “27 weeks,” and yes, my post last week said “25 weeks.” I had to edit it later to note that I can’t count, and that I was really 26 weeks last Friday.


Sweetheart, now you know why Mama didn’t become an engineer.

We’re almost in the third trimester, which seems so surreal. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever, but over the past few weeks, it has struck me just how fast this time is flying by. I should really start taking belly photos sometime soon. Sorry, being a third child and all, you’re probably going to have to deal with fewer photos and a flaky mom…I’ll try to make up for it with snuggles though, I promise.

I finally created a baby registry for you today. I haven’t bought anything for you yet, and I honestly haven’t spent too much time thinking about what we need. Every time I start thinking about it, I get stressed because I realize we need to get stuff down out of the attic to see what we already have before we go buying anything. I swear we’ll actually prepare for you before you come, but we’re just kinda slow with it (third child thing again, sorry!)

It was pretty fun starting the registry. I’m sure we won’t need much with you, but since we’ll get a discount on purchasing items off the registry ourselves, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to make one to keep track of what we need and take advantage of the discount. I tried to go through and list everything we could possibly need, and even a few things I’m not sure about (could be in the attic or loaned out…I really need to get on that), but after I went through everything I could possibly think of, there were only about 10 things on the list. See, your Daddy gives me a hard time about keeping things, but now I think he’s glad I kept so much, so we don’t have to go out and buy much to get ready for you.

I hope you don’t take offense that you’ll have so many hand-me-downs. I mean, I know you won’t care when you’re a baby, but when you’re old enough to maybe read this, I hope you’re not offended. We do plan on getting you a few new, special things that will be just yours, but really, you don’t need a brand new baby swing. I hope that when you’re old enough to read this, you appreciate our attempts at being frugal.

I’ve been thinking a lot about your personality this week, wondering if you’re going to be an anxious baby or chill, if you”ll like to snuggle or want your space, if you’ll be silly or serious. I wonder if you’ll fall asleep anywhere like Ruby–who once fell asleep on the floor while Daddy was yelling at a football game on TV–or if you’ll despise sleep like Sadie– who, even if she didn’t have a biological reason for trouble falling asleep, I suspect would still absolutely loathe it. I wonder if you’ll be sentimental like me, Sadie and Granny, or if you’ll be attracted to the glittering newness of modern things like Ruby and your Godmother. Only time will tell, little one, but I can’t wait to find out.

I’ve also been drinking a lot of water. It’s weird…all my life I’ve been completely addicted to Coca Cola, and had a really hard time limiting my intact with my other two pregnancies, but with you, it’s almost like you’re forcing me to drink water. I actually get caught by the sudden urge to drink a big, cold glass, which has never happened in my life until you started living inside me. I want fruit and veggies all the time, and buttery pasta and spoonfuls of peanut butter (my two favorite things to eat in my other pregnancies) sound horrid to me now. I wonder if you are going to be a really healthy eater, like how your sister Ruby loves “cold and fresh” fruits and vegetables.

It’s so very sweet that you don’t wake me up too often at night to go pee, and I really do appreciate it. It’s really helpful that you don’t kick my bladder too much, although I suspect that has a lot to do with your positioning. I’ll attribute it to your kind nature for now though.

I wish I had more to say about how you are right now, but really, since you’re still on the inside, it’s hard to find much to say. Just know that I love you and I cherish every single day I have with you, my baby. I’m looking forward to these last few months of carrying you around all the time and keeping you safe in my belly, and I’m really looking forward to meeting you. I love you.

Working as a Freelancer During Grief


In some ways, being self-employed has been a blessing since my dad passed away. My schedule is flexible, so if I break down in the middle of the day and need to go wrap up in a blanket on the couch and cry for a while, I can usually do it.

In other ways, it hasn’t been so great. During the time I wasn’t working at all, I also wasn’t making any money either. Then trying to get myself back into a frame of mind to be creative has been difficult as well. Even getting myself into the mood to just be productive has been tough.

I don’t know what to say to my clients about all of the delays. “Sorry, I know I said I’d have that mockup to you today, but I was sobbing in bed clutching a childhood toy for three hours this morning, trying to get a hold of myself, so it looks like it’s going to be tomorrow” would likely not go over very well. And even the most understanding client loses patience when projects are several months behind schedule. I wish I had someone else to turn projects over to, but the truth is that I’d have no way to pay them. I could keep a portion of the final project payment for myself before sending the rest along to the other freelancer, but with so little work completed for such a long time, I need every one of those payments.

I never realized how completely overpowering grief could be. I never realized how much it could effect my ability to do even the smallest thing.

My dad passed away just before Christmas, and I’m only now getting to the point where I can actually sit down to work and get something accomplished. To illustrate my point: I logged a total of 18 billable hours of work in the entire month of January, and in February, it wasn’t too much more than that.

No wonder I’m so behind, right?

Keep in mind though, that for every billable hour of work logged, there was probably another hour of answering emails and then another hour of crying on my keyboard. And, since I’m 6 months pregnant, add in another half hour for pee breaks and/or rummaging around the house for food to satisfy random cravings. So, I consider each of those billable hours really representative of about 3.5 hours of “attempting to work.”

Now, this month so far (all four days of it), I’ve logged almost 30 hours. Granted, much of that time has been working on a website update that involved lots and lots of time spent backing up files, which is more passive than active work. But I’m finally…finally…starting to feel like I can sit down to a task and get it completed without breaking down or losing focus or getting totally overwhelmed. Pee breaks still have to happen, of course, but I can deal with that.

A good friend mentioned to me that some people get two months off for family medical leave or bereavement. I don’t know anyone who actually gets that kind of time off, or what percentage of their pay they receive during that time, but I think it’s an excellent idea. Unfortunately, as a self-employed freelancer, there’s no one to give me that time off, and when I’m not working, the work isn’t getting done. Which means projects gets farther and farther behind, and no payments come in when work isn’t being completed.

Honestly, if it weren’t for my mom helping us out financially, I have no idea what we would do. Mama, you know I can never thank you enough. I have no idea what people who don’t have family to help them out would do in the same situation, and I’m so thankful I’m lucky enough to not have to find out right now.

Even though it has been difficult to deal with my grief while trying to help support my family on my freelance income, I am glad that I’m not trying to go into an office every day. I can pick my girls up from school and cuddle with them on the couch for a bit, and they lift my spirits like nothing else in the world. They’ll catch me crying at my desk sometimes while I’m trying to work, and bring me a Kleenex, then climb up into my lap and give me hugs to make me feel better.

…And that is priceless.

One Day at a Time


I don’t know if it is because I’m kind of in a haze today after staying up way late into the night working, or if I reached the limit where my brain just decided to go numb to protect me…

…But I don’t feel awful today. Stressed out? Yes. But not so bad as other days. Not terrible and overwhelmed to the point of feeling hopeless. Not great, but certainly not anything like what I’ve been feeling lately.

**pause**

So as I was writing this, I had this really weird feeling of calm. Even more than I felt when I first sat down to write. I could hear the words in my head telling me “You’ve got this.”

But it wasn’t my voice.

It was his.

Thank you, Diddy.

What Would You Say if You Were Here


I wonder a lot what my dad would say if he were here. If I told him how I felt, and what I was going through, what advice would he have? For a while, I thought I knew, and I could hear his voice in my head.

I can’t hear it now.

I have recordings of his voice, and I know what it sounds like, but I can’t picture what he would say. I can’t bring to mind the words he would use. I can’t imagine what advice he would give or how he would handle my emotion. He and I never really talked much about emotional topics, but he always had answers when it came to logistics. For a while after he died, I could imagine how he would approach the logistical issues I was having, but now I can’t even do that.

I can’t imagine what he would say. I can’t imagine how he would tell me to fix this.

I can picture what he would say to my girls. I can hear him asking about school, congratulating Sadie on her spelling test grade and laughing at Ruby’s detailed listing of her lunches for the week. I can picture him hugging them and smiling with them and taking them outside to play in the sand trap.

I can’t picture what he would say to me. I feel like he would know what to do, and he’d have a great answer, even if it was one I didn’t want to hear. But I just don’t know what it would be.

I wish so much that I could just talk to him. He wouldn’t even have to give me the answers. I just wish I could talk to him, and know he was listening, and have him respond. I wish I could hear his voice say new words. I wish I could ask him what color he thought that dress was. I wish I could play him that song that the girls like so much now.

And I do wish he would tell me what to do. I wish I could ask him about the weird noise the van is making. I wish I could ask him about what Kyla might have done when hooking up the speakers that makes the odd whiney sound. I wish I could ask him more about how was dealing with losing Pepa.

I just want him back. It hurts so much to know that it’s never going to happen. I hate the huge hole he left. I hate that empty space that used to be him. I’m so scared of all of the things that I need to do in life that I didn’t even know I needed him for until he was gone.

What would he say if he was here now? I just wish I knew.

I’ve Already Passed Down my Pinterest Obsession


I’ve mentioned before how Ruby likes to sit with me and browse Pinterest. Her favorite thing to do is search for “Rainbow Unicorn Cakes” or “Baby Bath Tubs.” She’ll sit there, pressing the down arrow key, gleefully commenting on how cute she finds each image.

Tonight, she asked if we could look at “baby beds,” so we sat down and searched “Cribs.” After a few minutes, we revised our search to “Princess Cribs,” because, let’s face it, this little girl has some rather frilly and expensive taste. She was loving it, and drooling over each image in no time.

As we’re scrolling, we pass a very fancy silver and purple nursery photo, and she delivers this gem:

“Ooooh, look at that GORGEOUS bedding set! I just LOVE the color scheme! And the chandelier…SO ROMANTIC!

I am simultaneously filled with pride over her vocabulary and appreciation for color, joy over her ability to make me smile and laugh no matter my mood…and a sense of awe over how exactly we ended up with a five-year-old who speaks like she’s thirty.

I love my girls <3

Not Enough


I am trying.

I am trying to work. I’m trying to take one thing at a time, and force myself to be proud of each little accomplishment. I’m trying to see each small step as progress and not be too hard on myself when that progress falls short of my expectations or hopes.

But it is not enough.

A little progress each day is not going to satisfy my clients. It’s not going to get them to stop emailing me, asking for a status update. It’s not enough to finish a project and get paid. It is just never enough.

I am trying to be social, and talk to my friends and family more. I’m trying to reach out for help when I need it, and I’m trying to figure out what the help is that I need. I’m trying to put aside all of my fears and doubts and anxiety so that I can be there for the people I care about for celebrations and support. I’m trying to be strong and put on a brave face.

But it is not enough.

I’m missing out on valuable time with my older relatives who may not be around much longer. I’m missing parties and get-togethers and celebrations for friends and I dearly love and who have always been there for me. I’m making people worry about me and send me messages telling me that it’s really ok for me to ask for help. I try to be proud of the little things I have been able to do, but it is not enough.

I’m trying to be there for my husband, who I have decided is an emotional sponge in the sense that if I am stressed or depressed or tired, he is going to feel the same way. I’m trying to be strong for him, and put on that happy face so he can be happy too. I’m trying to give him the affection he needs so he knows that I love him, even though I really don’t want to be around anyone most of the time.

But it is not enough either. He still seems sad, and down, and exhausted, and I don’t know how to help him. I don’t know how to make him better.

I’m trying to be there for my girls. I’m trying to be involved and engaged and make sure they know that it is not their fault that I am sad so much. I’m trying to make sure they know that I love them and I do want to hear about every microscopic detail of their day. I’m trying to make myself play every little bizarre pretend game they come up with, whether it’s “Mom, you’re the daycare worked and I’m the mom bring my little baby to daycare for the first time…but we’re on Mars and you’re a Martian” or “My sister and I are getting married, and yes I know that is illegal, but we’re just pretending and you’re invited to the wedding,” just so they know I want to have fun with them. I’m trying to comfort them when they get sad, and I’m trying to figure out how to best help them through their own grief. I try to tell myself that at least I’m getting up with them every morning and spending time with them and helping them get ready for school (even if I do go back to bed as soon as they leave) and I try to tell myself that I’m still spending quality time with them every day, even if it is less than any of us would really like.

But it is just…never…enough. They get upset because I’m “no fun” and their friends’ mothers take their kids to the park. Sadie especially immediately gets upset if she sees me crying, and then I have to figure out a way to get myself over it and help her at the same time.

Right now, I don’t feel like I’m ever enough for anything, or anyone. My best has fallen too short, and I just can’t wrap my mind around any possible way to get it back to where it is enough.

I’ve gotten out of almost every responsibility that I possibly can at this point. I’ve let things go that just couldn’t be maintained, and I’m still not enough. There’s nothing else to drop. And it feels like there’s nothing else in me to give.

I’m trying to tell myself that I will get better and I’ll figure out a way to be what I need to be to fix everything. I’m trying to tell myself that there is a solution, just out of my reach right now, that I will stumble upon any day now. I’m trying to reassure myself that it will come, and I just have to be patient and make it one day at a time until the answer is there, and then everything will be ok.

But it is not enough.