Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Grief of My Own

There's been much written and discussed lately about Sofie's grief and how I've been finding ways to help her explore that grief. There's also been slight mention of my grief over Debra's death, too. What I haven't been talking about with anyone other than my therapist and a few friends, is the harder grieving I've been faced with. Even now, it's hard for me to write about it without a pang of guilt, so please bear with me as I move forward.

For those of you who aren't on Facebook or one of my friends on Facebook, you may not be aware of the tough times I'm having with single parenting. Recently I jokingly posted a status update eluding to a tantrum I had that morning. It wasn't a joke. I had a major tantrum. If I'd been a toddler, my mommy would have had to drag me out of the room kicking and screaming! The catalyst for the explosion had to do with all the junk spread around the guestroom by another child and Sofie but it had nothing to do with the core of the fit I had.

Standing in the middle of our family room throwing air punches at nothing was my release that morning. (Sofie was NOwhere near me...she was in the shower, playing happily with her loofah and wasting water.) The tantrum I had was a result of me coming to the realization that I didn't ask to be a single parent and the loss of the life that went away with that change.

Please understand, this is only me expressing loss for the life I had. I love Sofie and love being her mom. I truly believe we were meant to be each others person. We're both learning and teaching so much to the other. I'd rather be co-parenting than single parenting, that's all. It's just not what I expected my life would be. I was in denial about this for first year but have slowly(and not always graciously) been dealing with this since.

There's still a bit of guilt around this for me. More so about how I am when I'm tired and cranky. The fuse gets shorter and the tongue lashings get longer. As I'm getting cranky with her she mostly throws it right back at me...which makes me crankier. Then, as I become reflective and self aware, I become sad. I don't want her to have the short fuse that seem to have when I'm overwhelmed.

This summer there will be at least 2 weeks when she's away. There will be much respite for me. For sure there will be a week in the mountains with her godmother and a week in Charlotte with both MY mother and my best friends family. Potentially, she'll be in California for a couple of weeks but I'm not 100% sure that's going to happen at this point. Whatever time she's away, I'll miss her while enjoying a touch of the freedom I once had. Hoping that time will allow me to clear my head and figure out ways to not let this get out of control like it has over the past few months.


Holly said...

Perhaps Sofie is mirroring your moods? Perhaps she is also highly intuitive or empathic and doesn't know what to do with the feelings she's having when you aren't feeling your best? I would suggest that you try to do whatever you can to let her know that that is not hers. I'm sure that you are very reassuring to her regarding your having those feelings not being her fault at all, but sometimes kids (and others) have a difficult time believing that. I know you'll find the right way to help her feel loved and respected as you move along your own path. Be as kind to yourself about your feelings as you would be to her.

Big hugs to you both.

Julie said...

Jamie, firstly let me highly commend you for acknowledging these feelings. I think sometimes when we have feelings that we don't feel are particularly flattering, we try and pretend they are not really ours. Parenting is the hardest job. It's hard with two people, its hard with twelve. It's darn near impossible on your own. That said, its the love that gets us through. The parent child relationship is so filled with love. You can find strength and peace in that love. You are so fortunate to experience it in such a raw and unplanned way. FORTUNATE?! You might say I'm crazy. And I am, but that's beside the point. You may not have chosen this turn of events, but most of us don't choose the ups and downs that we face.

I want to remind you that Sophie's way of dealing with her anger belongs to Sophie and I believe that mostly she was born with it. You can influence by acting a certain way, but for the most part, the river flows one way and anything else is going against the current. You can have some impact, but not a huge amount. You are teaching her so much! You are teaching her about responsibility, unconditional love, the power of relationships. These things are not behavioural. Give yourself a break about that part.

Oh, and one other thing: You are an amazing woman whom I miss having a gab and a laugh with.

With love,

Anonymous said...

perhaps, grasshopper, you need a bit of wisdom from a strapping young man who is only a few years your senior but MUCH wiser? maybe some insight into kids and a discussion about mistakes made and how they manifest themself when kids get older. orrrr how about a nice conversation over the phone about everything, yet about nothing while i sip a beer and you listen to me preach and sing my own praises? (personally i am liking this choice the best.) reestablish contact cause i want to relive a night in telluride colorado when you were stomping down the street cause you thought the two guys who went barhopping with you had abandoned you...but instead they just went chasing all young men will do.

oh, i am NOT gonna sign this as i am hoping the telluride incident made enough of an impression that you will NEVER forget it. i can be found on classmates

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