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Not As I Had Imagined

My old blog, Veering Off Course, was what I thought would chronicle the huge changes my life was going to take by leaving my job in Corporate America and starting a small business with my husband in 2005.

My last blog update on V.O.C. was on December 10, 2010.

I had no idea that my life was truly going to veer off course several years after that point.

My current life is nothing like I had imagined it would be at that point in time.

“About Me” section back then vs. now:

I had 5 cats : That have all now passed away and sit on the fireplace mantel in boxes. I have 3 different cats* now.

I had a young, crazy dog : He’s now an old, crazy dog. Sadly, I don’t imagine he’ll be here too much longer though.

I had a hot husband : I still do.

*I now have a cat whose butt I have to clean every single day because she’s too overweight to clean it herself. She’s sitting next to me right now giving me the “Clean my butt NOW!” indicator (leg up above her head / intently staring at me without blinking).

This cat situation is just one of the many pieces of the puzzle that I did not foresee back when I had my old blog.

The purpose of this new blog will be to chronicle how I’m putting together my puzzle (of life), especially now that there are missing pieces. I’m referring to pieces of my life that I didn’t necessarily blog about (very close loved ones).

Due to the missing pieces, I’m going to write in part about my dealings with the grieving process. It’s a large section of my puzzle, but with some rearranging of the pieces (thanks to the passing of time and a sense of humor), I think the course that I’ve veered off on to, will be an ok one too. I feel like I’m making my own journey instead of letting life altering changes and grief dictate my course. 

Welcome to my journey ~ past, present, and future.

Welcome to the Pieces Of My Puzzle.

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All Over The Place

Much like my life felt like this over the past 2+ years, this blog is also going to be a bit disjointed. That’s why I chose the title of “Pieces Of My Puzzle”, because I’m still finding and rearranging the pieces, both lost and new.

I want to get out everything that’s in my head, but I don’t know which memories will freely flow and which ones will require more coaxing.

Let’s jump right into the middle of the fray: February 2016.

I had lost my Mom in January, 2015 and my best friend in December, 2015. My Aunt was still alive, but not doing well. I got on the internet and searched for “mindful” and “healing”.

Without getting into it too much, let’s just say that there are things that I don’t particularly believe in, but for the most part it’s just because I’m of the scientific mindset. However, I’m very open-minded and willing to learn new things.

A local woman popped up with all positive reviews on Yelp. She was a life coach, reiki healer, and offered meditation. Totally out of character for me (and my typically pragmatic ways), I contacted her and briefly explained my situation and what I was looking for. She said she could most definitely help me.

I went in to see her the following day and I have to admit, I felt a bit silly. For whatever reason, I didn’t want to go to my general doctor because I didn’t want medication. I was looking more for someone to help me fix what was broken, not cover it with a band-aid.

She asked me to explain in more detail what had been going on in my life.

  1. My Mom passed away somewhat suddenly in January.
  2. My best friend had been diagnosed with breast cancer in July.
  3. By August my best friend’s diagnosis had been updated to stage 4 Melanoma, that was now in various parts of her entire body.
  4. In October, some very weird, and still to this day unexplained, stuff went down where I was working and I ended up quitting suddenly and giving no notice (NOT typical for me, but I *had* to get away from that place).
  5. I immediately started a new job, outside of my career (Finance) and was suddenly managing people (se), but also responsible to 500+ clients in a totally different industry and capacity.
  6. In December, my best friend was admitted to the ICU to be medically sedated while her body shut down, organ by organ. She hung on for five days, well past what the nurses and doctors had expected by that point.
  7. All during this, my Aunt had been in and out of the hospital and was currently back in the hospital by this point.

As expected, she said that I had and was going through a lot of life changing circumstances. She asked me some questions about how I felt that I was handling them.

Quite honestly, I didn’t feel like I was handling them very well at all. Hence the reason why I came to see her.

I told her that I felt like I was drowning in sadness, anger, and guilt.

I told her that I felt like I was drinking too much.

I told her that I had tremendous guilt for walking away from the job in that fashion, even though I had to for self-preservation.

I told her that I felt insurmountable guilt for my still being alive while my best friend was no longer here, yet she had a young daughter (and I have no children).

I told her that I felt like I probably should cut myself some slack, but that wasn’t how I do things.

She started sharing her own experiences with me and then the hour was gone in the blink of an eye. She apologized for getting off tangent by talking about herself, but I felt like she was just trying to be relatable and didn’t think too much about it.

She ended our session by telling me that I am by far, one of the most self-aware person that she’s ever met with in her 20 plus years. She also asked me if I had ever been told that I was an Empath. I have been called a lot of things, but Empath wasn’t one of them. Heh. She gave me some resources to check out to help me stop absorbing so much of other people’s energies and she said to come back if I felt like I needed additional insight or assistance.

I didn’t go back. Not because of anything she did or didn’t do, but I just felt like I had some additional pieces of my puzzle that I could work with and I’d take it from there.

I got derailed a bit when my Aunt passed away that March. I had not forgotten our talk, but I just wasn’t able to really start on putting my pieces back together just yet.

That was still to come…

14 Months

I’ve wanted to write about a specific 14 month span of my life for a while now.

Fourteen months out of 43-44 years of life doesn’t seem like much when you break it down.

Fourteen (14) months of the five hundred and forty months (540), I had been alive. Pffft. No big deal!

Four hundred and twenty (420) days of sixteen thousand, four hundred and twenty two (16,422) days, I had been alive. Come on! That’s just a sneeze in time.

It felt more like a slow, un-anesthetized surgical removal of vital organs.

On January 14, 2015, I watched my Mom pass away just 17 hours after falling and hitting her head (brain bleed).

Not quite eleven months later, on December 6, 2015, I lost my very best friend of 36 years to a 6-month, horrific battle with cancer (Melanoma).

Then three months after that, on March 14, 2016, I watched my Aunt pass away after 6 days of hospice care (complications of C.O.P.D.)

In the span of 14 months, (exactly – to the day) the three most influential women in my world were gone.

That comparatively small amount of time completely changed me forever. For a majority of time after that 14 month period, I thought it had forever changed me for the worst.

I was so angry. I was incredibly sad. I was infinitely lost.

I felt like my time to go through the stages of grief for each of them was somehow stunted because I was thrust into dealing with a new death. Therefore, by the time my Aunt passed away and we finished dealing with her Estate, I was utterly confused.

Could I go through the stages of grief for all three at the same time?

Could I even grieve for them in the same way?

Where did I leave off in the stages of grief for my Mom when my best friend got sick?

Where do I pick up in this whole process?

Did I ever even start the process or have I just pushed everything down into a black hole to deal with later?

I didn’t have the answers, so I just cried. A LOT.

However, I didn’t give myself much leeway either. I didn’t stay in bed all day. I didn’t take time off from work. I didn’t allow myself to appear to “not be ok”. I cried in the shower or my car so no one would see/hear me cry.

After a couple months of being really sad and angry, I told myself that I needed to figure out how to stop being those things. Funny, how I had just been through the hardest 14 months of my life, but I only gave myself a couple months to “snap out of it”.

Stupid perfectionism.

Thank goodness, I still had one thing that hadn’t abandoned me yet.

One of the most imperfect things about me: my sense of humor.

It is, and always has been wildly inappropriate. For most of my life, I’ve kept it hidden except from those I was closest to…

My Mom, my best friend, and my Aunt were the first to ever experience my odd, sometimes dark, dry sense of humor. For the 43-44 years of my life up until they passed away, we shared too many laughs to count.

If anyone would understand my need to find the humor in what happened during those 14 months (and in the consecutive 16 months up to this point in time), it would be them.

My hope with writing about how I’m reworking my puzzle now that pivotable pieces are missing, is that I can share some relatable, helpful, and somewhat humorous insight on death, grief, and loss.