Falling

Falling

This week has been so intense. And so busy and full on. And it’s funny, I recently read a post by another blogger and I made a connection in my head, that I’m often stupidly busy.

And I wondered aloud whether there is a direct correlation between how busy I am and how badly things are for my mental state.

As I feel like there is. That dawning realisation that my busy-ness is actually keeping me alive somehow. Because when I’m busy, I have commitments. And when I have commitments I feel responsible for things and I feel so much guilt about not completing them or leaving people in the lurch, that I’m stuck here until I’ve seen them through.

I never really noticed that before. Even though I constantly get people asking me how I do all the things I do.

How I cope with the workload I create for myself.

And honestly sometimes I want to crumple in a pile on the floor and sob that I’m not coping. I can’t do this anymore and all I want is to be dead….. and sleep forever….. but I don’t.

I paste on a bright smile and I laugh lightly and go with something along the lines of ‘gosh I don’t know, you just do it because it needs to be done ya know?’

Internally I’m second guessing every choice. Wishing my life was different. But externally I look like I have everything together.

Internally, every night I wonder what the fastest and easiest way to commit suicide is. But externally I appear comfortable and competent.

Internally I’m a fucking mess who can’t adult. Not even slightly. And if a real adult saw my thoughts they would know I’m a fraud – a petulant and sometimes irresponsible teenager inside an adults body. Because externally I run three companies, have multiple children at home, am supervising property developments, managing rental properties, volunteering for charity work and for the school and kindy committees….

Internally I wonder how the fuck our companies make money and I get so anxious about decisions I sometimes just get irrationally angry and switch off. Externally I look cool, calm and collected and I act like a #bossbitch who doesn’t let anyone push her around or walk all over her.

How do you reconcile those two things? Really?

I describe myself as a high functioning sufferer of anxiety and depression.

Because in the past I’ve suffered crippling depression where I didn’t get out of bed for six weeks. And that was non-functioning depression.

This time, I make myself get up every day even though I want to stay in bed. I force myself to bed even though insomnia has me blogging at 1am. I make myself pretend life is a bed of roses when I’m falling apart.

I take a xanax and ‘cope’ with life. Or a sleeping tablet. But I try not to use them often I save them for when I’m desperate.

Because one of my fears is addiction. And another is not being able to control my fears. So I need those meds to work and I’m so scared of building any sort of tolerance to them I only allow myself a half tablet at once and never more than once a week. The rest of the time I suffer in silence. Never telling a soul how every day I want to die.

How I long for a cliff I could drive off and into the ocean forever.

And if it literally wasn’t for my children, I wouldn’t be here now. But I cannot break their hearts. They are my anchor. At least for now. But I’m scared of the day when that’s not enough…..

Terrified.

Fuck Cancer.

Fuck Cancer.

Apologies in advance for the multitude of times I want to say Fuck Cancer.

The brief part of the year where one slides into another has forever been turned into a horrific time of year for us. It’s so unbelievably hard now.

In September 2016 my Nana was diagnosed with secondary brain cancer and given 6 weeks to live. My Dad and I (with a few weeks help from an aunt) nursed her for almost four months at home before we couldn’t do anymore and put her into respite for 5 days to have a break. She went downhill so rapidly in there that bar one short visit home for the day, they forced her into end stage hospital care. She passed away 10 days after going into hospice and my Dad and I were devastated.

We buried her just before Christmas.

Then at the end of January, just barely past Christmas and my Nana’s loss, a man who was like a second father to me, for almost 20 years, suddenly went downhill fast. One day he was working 7-7 and fine and the next he didn’t turn up for work. We knew he had cancer but we thought he had ages. Bad days happened though during his fight so we didn’t think too much of it the first day. The second we were confused, and the third we had the bomb dropped that he may never be back at work. The fifth his children arrived and the sixth we spent a whole day talking about old times, his children all together and laughing and reminiscing. The seventh day he was gone. Like an explosion, he passed away about 3am. We got the call and rushed up there knowing we were too late and feeling guilty for leaving the night before.

Those two losses were truly devastating and even more so, when they were so close together.

I was so close to my Nan. I would spend most of a day every Thursday with her. And I would take her to appointments. I would colour her hair. We would go out for coffee. She would help me with the boys and I would help with whatever she needed. And in her last months I was with her almost every day. Life was put on hold to care for her and her decline was terrifyingly fast. It was so incredibly hard watching the strong, ferocious woman she was become bed bound. Needing constant supervision, she couldn’t walk, couldn’t toilet herself. The radiation made her hair fall out – her hair that was her pride and joy with 6 weekly colours and 3 monthly perms. And it felt like it was too fast….. it took me 2 years to take the weekly alarms out of my phone for my days with Nana. I almost couldn’t do it as my heart still wanted to go. I still had so much to say even though we spoke so often.

And if I thought Nana went fast my ‘other’ Dad went even faster and it was a dizzying week. I was barely getting my head around him suddenly seeming so sick when he too had been so incredibly strong! He had fought bowel cancer with a week off work total. And they cleared him for a whole month before they told us that they had found liver and lung tumours which were aggressive and mostly untreatable. They did try a long course of chemo but he told them no more in early December because he wanted to enjoy Christmas. If it was possibly his last he wanted to enjoy tasting food. He wanted to eat without a mouth full of ulcers. He wanted his taste buds back. He wanted to be able to have a Christmas without nausea and vomiting. And he got it. Even if that Christmas for us was a more somber affair as we knew what he’d given up and we knew time was ticking now. But we had no idea how much or how little time there was…..

The last week we had him, my partner and I spent every minute awake up there with him. On the Thursday night his daughter and another son arrived. On the Friday night his last son arrived. And on the Thursday I made his favourite cakes. Those were the last things he ate and to this day I haven’t been able to bring myself to make them again.

I was so glad I was able to do that before he couldn’t eat anymore. I’m grateful to him for asking for them. And thankful that I took the time to make them.

His decline was head spinningly fast. He was laughing and happy on the Saturday evening. But then he got suddenly exhausted. As if the day had taken every last ounce of his energy. And when he fell asleep we hadn’t been able to wake him when we were leaving to go home…. we had discussed staying. But we were told to go. That he would be okay. We left about midnight. And the call came just after 3am. That heartbreaking phone call that as soon as the phone rang we both sat bolt upright and looked at each other. I remember saying oh no… and he answered it. We were told he was gone and to come now. So we dressed and grabbed the kids in their jammie’s and sleeping and loaded them into the car and we rushed up there. It was horrific. I just couldn’t believe it was only a few hours since we had been with him and now he was gone.

Both left huge holes in our lives and my kids lives.

They lost a Grandad and a Great-Grandmother in just weeks. And both were so important to both of the boys. But more so my oldest son who was best friends with his Grandad. He lived there every weekend and half the week. They were inseparable. And grandad was at our house every single day. He never missed coffee in the mornings with the kids and always came to say goodbye before leaving work for the night. He wouldn’t dream of going home without seeing his boys! He was so close to my elder boy and was starting to get almost as close to my younger boy as he was growing to adore his Grandad as much as his brother did. My heart hurts every day still when I watch both boys developing and growing and I think that he is missing out on these boys potential. And they are missing him. I think often how much he would have adored them both. How much he did adore them, but I often see little things and think oh man. If only he was able to have seen that personality trait of the boys…. or how much he would have loved to share his world with them. They were the centre of his universe and the thing he cared about the most.

I have his photo in my lounge and we talk to him every day. And every day we wish he was here with us and every day I’m still mad he’s not. That life is just too unfair. My babies deserved more time with their Grandad. We deserved more time wth him. We need him…. still.

And I feel like even though it’s been a few years now, I’m still learning to live without both he and my Nana. Isn’t that terrible? I feel like I’m still grieving them both!

I wonder when it ends….. if you ever stop missing them so desperately?

The first crack….

The first crack….

Mr Serious.

You will have read of the abuse I suffered at his hands, and I still punish myself for not getting away from him sooner.

But, I had a very close relative die, and I really do think this was the beginning of the true disconnection between us.

I had been up to visit family, around 90 minutes from home. And I missed one member, and I’d had to leave to be home by my curfew (Imposed of course by him) time.
I had been with other family, so we had arrived to the motel and I had called my father to say we would stop in on our way past.
He asked me to come right away and wouldn’t say anymore, so I rushed over there. Wondering what was going on.

My Dad sat me down, told me my mother was on a plane to Auckland as we spoke, and that a very close family member had passed away that afternoon.
He knew (rightly) that I would be devastated.
I didn’t believe him at first, and I swung from disbelief to anger, to what am I going to do at 0-60.
Told my Dad I needed to go. I had to go up there and I had to go now, which he got. He hugged me while I cried and he told me to be careful.
I had to go home, so my Aunt took me home so I could pack.

And this is where Mr Serious comes in.
Because we had one car between us, and when I got the call to say they had passed away, I needed to drive 90 minutes to be with my family. I needed to. I couldn’t not go and be with them and see for myself that it was true. That our family had lost it’s backbone.

So as you would expect, I called him and asked him where he was, because they had died and I needed to go. I was packing a bag, I would be gone at least a few days. I needed him to come home and I needed the car.
In response, I got told he was at Burger King. He was busy. I got hung up on twice, and then he turned his phone off.
I packed, and paced, and cried. And kept trying to phone him, my family and him over and over.

Several hours later he finally came home and walked in the door like nothing was going on. By this time I was an absolute mess. So I couldn’t even talk to him. I loaded my things and took my key and I walked out. He was talking but I walked out on him.
I couldn’t even look at him. I was so angry and hurt and so I left.
I ran away.
It was Saturday.
On Monday, I farewelled another family member as they disconnected life support.

I thought that weekend was truly horrific. But it was going to get worse.

I stayed away until the Wednesday when I came home. I needed clean clothes, and a breather from the grieving relatives. The tears and the stories. Funeral arrangements had been made and I needed just to take a few minutes.

If only i had known…

He knew where I was, but I had been punished yet again. As I got home to emails from friends asking for urgent contact. And I hadn’t been home an hour when my home phone rung.
It was one of my radio friends, from before Mr Serious.
And in my devastated state, my entire world as I knew it crumbled from beneath my feet.
They (and others) had been trying to get hold of me from Sunday when it had been discovered that a close friend, and early boyfriend had been found Sunday, and he was gone. His death was ruled a suicide.
When confronted, he admitted people had called the house, he had told them simply that I wasn’t there and hung up on them. When they kept calling, he took the phone off the hook.
My friend had called me and kept calling and calling, because there was drama, between his adopted parents, and his birth mother and ex-wife.
His birth mother had gotten to his ex-wife T, and they had shut his adopted parents out of the funeral decisions and had stopped them from even seeing them.
So while trying to lock down my own broken heart, I spoke with his parents, gently. And I tried to advocate for them with T. But it was like talking to a brick wall.
I spent that evening sitting with M. As T (and I am ever so grateful for this) allowed me to come to her house, and sit with him, and say my goodbyes. I spent 6 hours sitting on the floor of her house, holding his hand and talking to him. Wishing I could see him smile one more time. Hear his nerdy laugh.
I had to be so guarded with my words though, as while I was wishing I could help his parents, who were the loveliest people around, and who he was an absolute testament to….. I was so painfully aware that saying the wrong thing, would mean I would have to leave.
And it hurt. It hurt so bad, knowing that he chose this way out, and that he didn’t talk to anyone. He chose to go out drinking, knowing his meds didn’t allow it. It felt like a kick in the teeth that here I was farewelling two people who didn’t choose to go, didn’t want to go. And here I was farewelling someone who did want to leave.
I spoke to him about his parents. And when I left, I called them and spoke to them again. And I told them where and when the funeral would be, and that as much as I wished I could be there, it was the same time as one of my family funerals and the two were 90 minutes apart.
I missed seeing him laid to rest.
Although I spoke to mutual friends that evening, and I know it was lovely. I also know that not being there that day left me broken inside. And not in a way that could be fixed.

I can also say, that arriving back at my house, after midnight. And walking into the most horrific atmosphere was almost unbearable.
I could feel the tension walking in. And I remember feeling almost suffocated by the accusing eyes that attacked me within seconds of walking in.
Demanding to know where I had been and what was I doing.
I can honestly say, in that moment, that was one of the first times, that I felt like I truly hated him.
Like my skin was crawling…. my face was prickling… and I wanted to hurt him. Hurt him in a way I had no idea how to even achieve.
Like I was hurting.

I packed my bags, I don’t remember doing it, but I remember kissing my daughter goodbye as I dropped her at her Grandmothers. Wishing I had the strength to take her with me, but as I told her Grandmother, I just needed help for a few days. To get through the funerals. And I would be back as soon as I could. I asked if they would bring her to the funeral, but if they couldn’t that was okay. And she knew I was struggling to hold it together. She hugged me, which was a rare thing. I remember that so clearly.
Such a stilted, awkward thing. I didn’t quite know what to do as this woman is relatively emotionless most of the time. Accepting and meek. Never affectionate except with her grandchildren. It really stuck in my mind…
I don’t recall at all leaving there.
My next clear memory is the next day, at the first funeral.

It won’t come as any surprise to anyone reading this who has also read other posts, that he didn’t appear at either funeral. A relief really.
But looking back, isn’t it funny that in the times when I needed him most, it was not him who was there. He was never there.

I managed to get through two funerals.
So many family members and so much love. We were surrounded by people who loved both and it was a completely hazy event in my mind.
I remember snippets.
And it’s interesting that speaking to family members, like distant aunts and cousins, they had odd snippets of memories that I cannot place.
Some things, I recalled after being reminded.
Like the tents on the lawn… and the food. Gosh the food was an amazing thing. Dozens of women from our familial cultural melting pot, appearing out of nowhere with army style tents for sleeping and food prep and eating… it was a crazy and incredible event. They came in and took control of everything. Ensured everyone from near and far had bedding, sleeping spaces, food in their bellies.
They blessed the house, provided mats for under the casket and song to welcome the casket in with. Things that I will ever be grateful for and feel blessed to have had.

But I cannot remember for the life of me where I slept. Four days.
And I don’t remember sleeping. Maybe I didn’t?
I remember hours sitting talking, sitting with, holding and talking to my loved one.
I remember the stories shared within the family.
I don’t remember sleeping. Or eating. But I remember watching people eat.
I remember the funeral. And the burial.
And I remember the numb feeling inside when they closed the casket for the final time…. as it really hit hard.
It was like someone took all the air out of the world and suddenly! I felt like I wanted to stop them and tell them they were making a mistake. But there wasn’t anything I could do.
I remember how hot and wet my cheeks felt, and my utter inability to blink.
And then it was over.

A slow movement of people back to the house. More stories…. and then quiet.
The next day, everything was quiet and subdued and everything was packed up, and disappeared as fast as it had arrived. Erased from the property as if it had never been there.

I remember looking at the stars that night, looking and wondering which ones were each of those fateful three.

We had a day of quiet, before the second funeral, which was so different to the first. Much ‘whiter’ and  more sterile feeling. A church with traditional hymns.
A parade of a closed box.
Flowers everywhere and people in suits. Less tears. As even though we had been close as kids, I felt a little more disconnected here. Maybe because it felt so much less personal?
I don’t know. Maybe because they were 16. And I was an adult. At least I was pretending to be.
Afterwards, there was a very civil and low toned afternoon tea. And then it was all over.
It felt so different. I can’t explain why…. but maybe I’d run out of tears that week.
Maybe I was just so broken that there was no emotion left in me. Nothing to feel.

3 days.
3 bodies.
3 breaks in my heart.
3 special people gone from my life.

I don’t remember going home.
But I remember that the next few months were rocky. So rocky.
We’d hit a point where I was changing and fast. I kicked him out yet again.

And this time, I met someone new.
Accidentally….. And I’ll tell you more about that next time!

I know, I’m so mean! But it’s coming, I promise!