Monday, June 27, 2011


I can't quite remember why I called this blog "aftermichael" because there is, nor will there ever be an "after Michael"  Michael still is in my heart. He is a part of me and a part of his father and a part of his daughter and a part of his sisters and his nieces and nephews. 
Michael will always live on because we will keep his memory alive.  Without any exaggeration I tell you that he is the first thought of each of my days and he is also the last thought.  There are nights I fall asleep praying.  There are nights I fall asleep listening to my iPhone.  But I listen to the iPhone to keep from crying myself to sleep and I pray about my family and my boy..others too...but my family and Michael are the last words of my prayers.
I was unable to continue with my return to work (for now) so this past two weeks has been another transitional period.  I haven't written because I didn't really have anything to say.  I will say that I have increased my medications (doctor's advice) and am in no way ashamed of that.  My meds aren't something I abuse.  They help me cope.  There will come a time when I won't need some of them so much...but some I will always take. 
I am getting out my books again.  I find them so helpful because I know I am not alone and I do become very conscious of talking too much (outside this blog) of my sadness.  Truly, very few people want to hear it, because no one knows what to say.  My advice to anyone who has someone needing to talk to not to feel they need to respond in any way other than that of being a listener.  There are no answers for this.  Nothing takes away the sadness, the frustration, the anger or the fear. 
If you are walking the road of a survivor you are probably going to find that you are a much more empathetic person now.  You are going to be a better listener, a better shoulder to cry on, a kinder person to be reached out to. I don't think it's a conscious decision.  I think it just happens.  You may even find yourself crying with someone over what they are going through.  I think these are all good things.  I believe so strongly that we are here on earth to help each other.  Sometimes we don't figure this out until too late..but really, it is NEVER too late to be kind.  We may regret that in some cases it is too late...but...we always are presented with new opportunities.  Look around us...there is always someone hurting.  It is not up to us to judge how much.  It is only up to us to say "I'm here.  How can I help?" 
I listened to the words of the song my son picked out for his dance with his Mom at this wedding.  I'd never really listened until the other day..not truly.  How I wish I had listened before..and if I had...would I have asked the questions I now want to ask him?  I am blessed to have been given such beautiful children and grandchildren.  To have been allowed so completely into their trust me...what a gift to be loved so much by one's children. 
I miss my beautiful son but I do know he loved me.  He trusted me...ultimately he trusted me with his life.  He knew I would understand.
I miss you Michael.  Thank you for loving me so much.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Best laid plans

4:00 pm.  I was up at 5:00 but then back to bed until 8:45. Today I had a meeting about work and then a doctor's appointment.  Now I'm back home, cosseted under may huge chenille blanket, sitting where I feel safe.  I didn't feel safe earlier. Well, physically safe, but not emotionally safe.  It occured to me that this grief is more than what I first thought, which was a part of me, of us, dying.  It's more like an emotional version of a flesh eating illness.  Without intervention it just grows and grows.  I can see how it could eat away from the inside out until only the shell of the human remained.  The soul could destroy itself. 

Today's advice it: Always have a plan.  Just like having a plan for a car breakdown in the middle of nowhere, an escape plan for a fire, a plan to deal with severe emotional pain is vital to surviving.  My plan today was : get home.  Light a candle, turn on the fireplace, grab a book and curl up and read. ... Talk to my boy, and breathe in, breathe to my boy, breathe in and breathe out.  Repeat. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

What's up?

Steven, don't take this personally.  It is my brain misfiring.

I've been having a panicky day.   It should only have been an anxious day but somehow it's gotten out of control.  I've come home from doing the running around I needed to do and after avoiding some that I also needed to do.  The fireplace is burning, Michael's candle has been lit and I'm drinking tea.  I'm comfy and feel safe now that I'm home.

But when I got in the house there was a message on the phone from Steven in Scotland.  We call him "son" and he calls us "mom and pops".  He and Michael were friends as children and he is walking our road of grieving with us.  I was out when he called I guess.  Anyway...I hit the play button on the phone and it said "Hi Mom" or "Hi Mama"...and I thought it was Michael calling.  Only for a couple of seconds but I was just about to scream Michael's name.  Now, Steven has a strong Scottish accent..but all that came across in the first few words was the deepness of his voice, so very much like Michael's. 

What part of a person's psyche takes them by surprise? 

Hello Michael?  Is that you?  Mama is slipping and sliding this week.  I know you understand that and won't judge me because tomorrow having dealt with the snakes I'll be able to climb the ladders. 

I'm off to put on my garden shoes and gloves and dig.  It's an out of kilter day.  I keep getting the msg reminding me that I'm on the McCracken network.  That's a good thing Michael.  Yes, I am definitely on McCracken's network..and always will be. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

If at first you don't succeed

Well, THAT didn't work.

Step one: open closet door;
Step two: run hands over shirts, hoodies, golf pullovers
Step three: breathe deeply;
Step four: bury face in brown hoodie;
Step five: breathe deeply:
Step six: Cry, and
Step seven: close closet door.

I will try another day.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Today I've been listening to music I listened to forty years (or more) ago.  I'd forgotten what great artists we had..incredible music.  Michael would have loved Janis.  Maybe he did..we didn't talk about her music but in listening to some of the music he did love I know he would have been drawn to the gravelly soulfulness she shared with us. 

Kind of an emotional day as it was check-in day about my return to work.  More about that another time. But, I was forced to face some facts about myself that I prefer to keep neatly folded away in a drawer.  So a door is closing and I'll just wait to see if another opens up. 

It was too much Mikey.  I couldn't do it.  Having made the decision to quit pretending, I feel like I've taken a weight away from you.  Was that part holding you back?  The doctor asked me if I looked for signs that you are okay, that you are near me.  The only thing I could come up with was a sense of peace.  Because you and I were so connected emotionally I feel that I will know when you've been totally released from the things you felt you were betrayed by. 

There are a couple of other things I have to know what they are...difficult things...well..I guess since this writing is supposed to attempt to help anyone going through a similar situation, hints aren't enough.

I have a closet full of Michael's clothes..many of them I have no emotional attachment to because I rarely saw him in them...dress clothes...these should go to somewhere that they can be given to those who could use them.  That leaves me with two tubs of sweaters and t-shirts...those I can't get rid of.  Not yet.  I wear some of his tshirts still.   That's going to be the thing I'm to concentrate on next week.  I will do this alone.  My husband won't be able to and it's a spiritual step for me.  My God will walk me through it, I know.  It may be one of those 'bring me to my knees' moments but I won't be alone.

Signing out for tonight.  I hope this brings peace to those reading.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Well, this is the third week back at work, and by third week I mean the fifth day, and by that I mean that I have just finished the 20th hour.  That's about all I can say about that.

I am very aware these days of life and lives around us moving on.  Our days pass but we remain in the same place.  I feel very disconnected from the real world.  That's just an observation, not a complaint.

The words don't come today for some reason, but I had to try. 

Another couple of observations:
  • I can't deal with stress anymore
  • I'm still angry, although not at my boy
  • I will never have the opportunity to deal with a lot of my anger
  • I like my grey hair
  • I should not be working where I am working because I no longer believe in the system
I miss my son.  I can't describe the, sharp-edged...ugly.

Time to go dig in the dirt.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sunshine confessions

Okay. Today it's True Confession time.  For the last number of months I had discontinued the Ativan presribed by my doctor, to be used for extreme anxiety and panic attacks.  Without going into great detail I can tell you that I have used ativan on and off for around seven years.  Yes, it can be addictive but for people with anxiety disorders it seems to just put a ceiling on the emotion and I have never had trouble stopping.  From about September - December I had been using it to get to sleep at night but I was able to stop and have been falling asleep listening to my audiobooks.  Anyway...the day I started back to work, I took my first ativan since about Christmas..maybe January.  I have only worked 5 days, so I have only taken 5 ativan...but yesterday was the worst day and yesterday I took 2.  Since I only take .5 mg that meant I was taking 1 mg.  When Michael died I was taking 1 mg. 3 times a day.  One would think that the more time that passes from my going back to work, the easier it would be but I'm finding it's the opposite.  The fact that I am back to the place I was 16 months ago is distressing.  It's kind of difficult to explain.  If I could somehow just find myself at my workplace (without having to go in the front entrance and pass people), then just be a little worker bee until it was time to go home, click my heels together and find myself home, I might be okay.  However, to walk those same corridors, walk through the same doors, look up at the same mountain, drive down the same road I did before is taking it's toll on me.  I am so thankful my doctor has known me for 30 years so when I talk to him next week he will understand even if I don't explain properly.   I will keep trying but today, right now, I don't think this is going to work for me.  I do have other options but this one needed to be attempted first.  I have/had to try to return before I could say I just couldn't go back.    I don't want to go back to having to medicate in order to work. 

On another note I had a wonderful morning.  I visited with two good friends, the sun came out for a wee while and although it isn't very bright out there right now it isn't raining. 

I'm going out to put some more plants in Michael's garden and I'm going to talk to my boy for awhile. 
Thank you for your support.  It looks like it's a ladder day in a week that's been full of emotion.