Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rock in a hard place

Hello dear brother and sisters,

A few weeks ago, someone -- I think it was Sherm -- copied me a message to a friend in which they referred to me as the rock of the family through Dad's death and all of that. I had appreciated that, as I had tried very hard to just make things work for everyone. I have certainly had plenty of times to feel grief and loss very deeply during all of that, but I have not taken time to process it very much. I've spoken more recently of needing time to process those feelings but of the conflicting need to finish dealing with practical things. Somehow, until quite recently, I felt capable of doing what needed to be done and that my persistence would get me through.

Somewhere about the time that Ian and I went to get Nicky from Canaseraga, I began to have a nearly constant sense of dread and inability to feel that I could get through what needed doing. I don't recall feeling like this for any sustained period (more than a couple days or so) since I was in my twenties. In that period, I had stomach aches almost constantly, could not eat much, and although I never had it diagnosed, I was certain I was getting ulcers. I don't believe I've ever been genuinely suicidal, and I am not so now, but I am having a very hard time dealing with how I feel. I feel like retreating from all my responsibilities, I dread having to go to meetings that I used to at least want to participate in, and I have felt what must be something like panic attacks several times. Things that usually give a sense of satisfaction, don't. My stomach rumbles and I don't feel like eating. I can't seem to set aside a sense of panic and focus on what needs doing. And, as Ian said to me recently, "my hug-o-meter is really depleted". I think this all sounds very much like the classical description of depression. Mike and Audra had come on Sunday and we had enjoyed spending some time together. We planned to do some work on our house Monday and Tuesday.

I had really been feeling badly about Doris Simpson, as I wrote in my last entry here, in part, I think, because it all ties in with losing Dad and our whole situation. It may have had something to do with this sense of being unable to cope as I normally do. Our mortality and limitation just seems to invade my every thought. Then yesterday happened.

Shortly after I had taken Ian to the bus-stop yesterday, my pager went off for a fire, and the address listed was "next to 14 High Street". I dressed quickly, dreading the possibility that it might be Doris Simpson's house. Arriving at the Fire Hall, I drove one of our engine's to the scene and saw a huge pillar of white-gray smoke coming from Doris' house. Suffice it to say that I helped put out the fire, including running nozzles from our ladder truck, and assisted the fire investigators. All the while, though, I was thinking about the fact that cousin Floy's things would be in among the rubble that would just be hauled away, and of how such a loss to Doris, who is in a nursing home, would hit her. Several people at the fire said to me "well, at least she wasn't in the house when it caught fire". I said to at least one of them, "but she may wish she was in the house".

So I didn't catch up with Michael and Audra yesterday, until almost 2:00 in the afternoon. They did come to our house and do some painting that I've not been able to get done, and we all had dinner together and enjoyed talking for a while. But I'm up and at it again today, with a rumbling stomach, a racing mind, and a nagging feeling of being overwhelmed.

I'm thinking of all of you, and take comfort in knowing that you care for me. I will keep on keeping on.

4 comments:

gdeecee said...

I finished typing that entry within the hour, and then the sun came out and Nicky needed to go outside. I had already told Jeanette how I've been feeling, and she's been supportive all along. But now I've gotten some of this off my chest with you (although none of you have read it yet). Maybe now I can get back to normal, whatever that is. At least maybe my stomach will settle down . . .

shermaniac said...

Doug,
I know what you mean about the debilitating ... well, it's probably like troubled families (happy families are all the same, unhappy families are unhappy in their own way). Sympathetic and all that, feeling some of the same, but it's unique to each person. One thing that's probably universal for most of us is that a burst of sunshine, blast of the right music, brilliance of fall colors, or whatever can help us shake, at least for a moment, our melancholy.
I see you're in chat land so I'm going there.

musiclover said...

Oh my brothers!
I wonder how Berta and Carol are dealing with the whole picture. We certainly have a common thread in both Dad and Mom. Stong and fierce in intensity.
I love you and send you hugs.

gdeecee said...

Yes, sunshine helped some yesterday. Then getting through a meeting I had been dreading (church trustees) and sleeping through the night, and I feel much better today.

I hope we can get together at Hanukka/Christmas, and talk about the future, and share support . . .

Now I'm heading on to getting ready for Michael and Audra to come up . . .