Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Día de los Muertos inspiration

I find it odd that I've been inspired to write a blog entry on the Day of the Dead. Especially since this entry is going to be primarily about how death and illness have changed me. A dear friend from college lost her teenage son, quite unexpectedly, earlier this year. To honor him and to help process her grief she started writing a blog of letters *to* her son. Honestly, those (nearly daily)letters have been a gift to me and I'm sure other friends/family who are reading them. They are funny, sad, grief filled tributes that have made me laugh out loud then cry within the same sentence. Today's entry inspired me to start writing my own thoughts again. (Not sure how long this will last but, hey, it's a start!)

This blog has morphed from a blog about Cancer treatment, parenting, recovery, death and grieving to one about single parenting and getting back out in the world without those labels of "cancer patient/survivor" or "ex-partner to sick/dying/dead mother of Sofie" as primary identifiers. Okay, the last one was a bit harsh but it's how I felt for a long time prior to and post Debra's death. I kind of got lost in all that happened. It's what I do. I push on through, not worrying about myself as much as I worry about others. It's easier that way.

I do have to say, I have changed for the better, in some aspects, as a result of all that happened during those few years. Ultimately I had to change, but I also need to change more. Life is a process, a constant growing, changing, learning, get the picture. I'm also the first to admit I've changed some things NOT for the better. As I said, I'm learning.

Let's get the bad out of the way because it's the hardest to write. Once this is out on the page, I can end with writing about the good. In many ways I feel I'm becoming the parent I said I'd never be. I'm not juggling very well and that creates unnecessary chaos in our lives. Instead of being organized about chores and consequences, I'm always on someone's case about all the things she needs to do in the morning, then lather rinse repeat in the evening. My overwhelm and default state of being is cranky, naggy mom. What happened to the fun mom of years gone by? I want her back, more consistently, in our lives. How do single parents really juggle work, parenting, and life without sacrificing their own personal space and life? Other parents do it with far less and I'm feeling like a spoiled middle class brat right now even writing this...but this is the bad, I do get to write some good.

This may seem ironic but one of the ways I've changed the most is that I've become a "glass half full" person as my default character. Sure, I'm whining in the previous paragraph but ultimately I know life is good great and I honestly believe it's only going to get better. Having survived Cancer opens your eyes to all that is good in life. Having survived Cancer, plus parenting a child through the death of another parent, really puts perspective on life. There may have been some "faking it until I made it" in the earlier years of this chapter in my life but I can honestly say I've become a much more positive person on the other side of things. As I'm getting closer to 50(okay, I still have a few years but I am on the down side of my 40s now!) I see more and more all the good things in life and know the bad are just lessons taught and challenges placed in order to show us we can persevere through ANYthing.

Sofie is morphing from a child to a teen right before my eyes. It's a struggle for her. She's had so much loss and she really doesn't want to lose her innocence/fun and grow up. (She's said that, I'm not making it up.) She views growing up as losing all the fun things in life. I've not been the best model showing that to be untrue.

Today I honor the old, stick in the mud Jamie. Let that part of me die, be gone. Honor that she was a necessary part of me to help transcend from single, part-time parent to single, "everything is my responsibility, especially a little girl with so much loss" parent. Focus on fun, focus on me, focus on teaching/showing Sofie that mistakes happen and it's not the end of the world. Today I begin a new chapter...unsure of the title but definitely a new chapter in the life of the complex one.

For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks… the work for which all other work is but preparation. – Rainer Maria Rilke


Anonymous said...

Jamie, you are a wise and wonderful woman. Sofie is super lucky to have you as a mom.

TJM said...

Jamie~ Your blog entry has inspired me, about what is possible in this one human life. I love that you are un-mucking, parenting beautifully (the kid is evidence of that!), and writing again. I love that Sofie doesn't want to "grow up" and will likely find her way WITH your parenting, to feel like growing up can be fun. I love you, my sweet friend.

DAVID HAAS said...

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