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.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Karma Chameleon Kid

So much is being written about grief in our lives I often forget to share the funny or good moments. Even through the grief there is much laughter and joy.

Last night we were hanging out with a friend and her daughter. Her daughter is quite the little performer! She did a few "costume" changes, practiced on the front porch then had Sofie introduce her before she belted out "If I Could Fly." Sofie, not one to perform in front of anyone, quietly stepped aside to hear her friend sing. After a rousing round of applause, both girls escaped back to the other girls bedroom for more playing. Fast forward a few friend and I were engrossed in a deep conversation when I heard a familiar voice singing. Through the closed doors I hear Sofie let loose that fabulous 80's hit, Karma Chameleon in near perfect pitch! She was even singing the harmony parts and ALL the words...correctly. Why, you might ask, would my child be singing that fabulous 80's hit Karma Chameleon? Simply, she's currently obsessed with chameleons, she heard the song on the radio one day and asked me to download it onto my iPod. After several weeks of nagging me, I finally remembered to do it. She listened to the song about 5 times and had it memorized, recently proclaiming, "Mommy, did you hear me sing the ENTIRE song...all the way through?!?" She was beaming with pride. It is the simple things that make her smile (and my heart melt.) Oh, and "You're Welcome." I know you wanted that song stuck in your head the rest of the day, right?

Monday, June 1, 2009

More tears

Is Spring really a time for renewing or is it a time for reliving? For a girl who who's opening up more about the loss of one of her mother's, it seems to be reliving the same stories over and over again. Sofie's grief continues to reach heights I didn't realize possible. I'm not sure who offered this tidbit of advice to her, but I'm about ready to kick that person in the shin. Recently someone(and I honestly cannot remember who) told Sofie to think about all the good times with Debra. That would help her feel less sad. Well, that couldn't be farther from the truth. She's now circling the drain on a few certain memories...what she calls, "the good memories" and it's doing nothing but making her more sad. Interestingly when I ask her what about those memories make her happy, she can't tell me. She just says, "Mama Debra was alive." So I don't think it's specific memories, I just think it's anytime she can remember when Debra was alive. I have an idea that she's forgetting Debra and this might be the spark igniting her sad flame. Recently, anytime she thinks of or misses Debra she wants to see pictures...more specifically a couple of random accidental videos that Debra recorded on her digital camera...those accidental videos have her voice present. I admit, sometimes when I miss Debra, I listen to them, too. I know all of this will pass, it's just hard to see your baby girl suffer so much.

Yesterday was a particularly sad day for Sofie. When I couldn't think of anything else to do for her, I remembered a letter that Debra had written to Sofie the night before she was scheduled for her hysterectomy. Debra thought she was going to die during the procedure so she wrote a note and labeled it to be read to/by Sofie in the event of her death. Fortunately she stuck it away in a book and forgot about it because she never got around to writing anything else for Sofie. That saddens me so much. This winter I rediscovered the letter and last night I read it to Sofie. The first time through, I sobbed as much as Sofie. After the initial run through, Sofie's sobs permeated the air. Her body heaved and thrashed with so much pain. I pulled it together and read it again, this time with the flair that Debra would have used. It was a perfect letter for Sofie. Even though it alluded to a 5 1/2 year old Sofie, the nearly 9 year old Sofie soaked up the words. For that, I am grateful.

We still have bumpy days ahead but I know it's a mere blip in our long journey ahead.