Sunday, January 18, 2009

Running on fumes...

The last few days were interesting, to put it mildly. This stomach flu took my ass down. Not surprising considering I have been running on fumes for months. Actually probably much longer than that. I have been running for two and a half years now. I find it ironic that I could manage all of David’s medications, his care, raising our son and all the other crazy stuff that goes with life. And yet, taking care of myself always ended up on the bottom of my list.

Lately I thought I was doing so much better. I made sure I was getting a reasonable amount of sleep. Eating healthy. Began doing meditation once again. But despite all that, I think my body just had too much. Too much of everything. Loosing David was the final straw. Grief is taxing on the body. During the 10-week grief workshop I attended, I learned that loosing a spouse is one of the single most traumatic events a body can experience. No shit!? Really?

No, it is not as bad as having the beast itself I am certain. But non-the-less, bereavement takes its toll on anyone who has lost someone they love. I have been on empty far too long and my body is now beginning to show physically what has been going on internally for the last couple years. I rarely got sick after David was diagnosed. Somehow I knew I could not, so for the most part I didn't. And now that he is gone I have gotten a cold every few weeks. And now the flu. Absolutely Lovely...

Friday I was sick most of the night and Saturday morning I realized it was going to be quite difficult to care for the little guy, seeing as much of my morning was spent in the bathroom. So I called my In-Laws and they thankfully took Alec for the day and the night. I hated to have him go. Although I was laughing and making jokes about my gurgly stomach, you could tell that he was still disconcerted. Mommy was sick. He was not terrified, which is an improvement over 5-months ago. Just a little off kilter. But he went over there and when I checked in periodically, he was having a delightfully fun afternoon. The day was quiet and the night even more so. It was the first night Alec has not been here since David died. I can not put into words how quiet and lonely that night was. And how painfully aware I was of David’s absence and the void he has left in my life…

Something good did come out of this whole messy experience. I napped. Boy did I nap. I slept three hours Friday and took a two hour nap Saturday. I have not napped for that long in years…not since some time before that crappy day back in June 2006. And obviously my body needed it. I had brief moments of guilt. How could I sleep that long? There is always so much to do. But in reality, I knew none of that mattered. The paperwork. The bills. All the life crap will continue to be there. It is not going anywhere unfortunately, but I realized that I needed to set all of that aside and just let my body rest. Recover. Heal. And I did. I let my body try to mend and spent the day being sick and doing absolutely nothing productive. How insanely remarkable!

I think I will need to do more of this in the coming months. Not being sick. But taking little moments to take care of myself. I tend to run around like a banshee once I put Alec down for the night. Bills. Paperwork. House. All that life stuff I used to share with David, but now must be taken care of by me. Recently I began going to bed a little earlier to read and unwind a bit. I think that is a good start, but I think that I need to take a bit more time now. Not nightly, that would be impossible. But maybe even once a week or even once every two weeks. Just 3 hours for myself after Alec goes to sleep for the night. Maybe read more. Maybe watch some Doctor Who. Maybe even begin making art again someday. But I need to do something I enjoy. I cannot keep going at this pace. If I want to continue to be healthy and care for Alec, I need to start taking better care of myself...long term. And as I have been told by more than a few people, I cannot be wonder woman all the time...although I would like to be. Some days I just need to be Skye.


At January 19, 2009 9:35 AM, Blogger Live and Learn the Hard Way said...

It is always good to take time out to take care of yourself. Especially if you use that time on things that are just for YOU, not you the mom or...It will make you feel better and more yourself, and everyone who cares about you and who you take care of will benefit from that.

At January 19, 2009 10:02 AM, Blogger Star said...

For me, I have to schedule "me time." I don't have children but I have the demands of 2 homes, accidental death paperwork, estate paperwork, school, etc (you get it, I need not explain). You have to take care of you.

At January 19, 2009 1:38 PM, Blogger Satine said...

I read in Dr. Andrew Weil's books that napping is actually highly respected and assumed in parts of Asia even on-the-job, whereas obvious in the US it is not accepted... so, since they are generally overall healthier, especially in Okinawa, which is a Blue Zone, I would have to say that I think your napping is healthy and you ought not feel guilty about it. We are human, and humans do better with midday naps. My sister does it too--every day now, while Aria takes her midday nap (her 3-yr-old daughter).

Also, when Steph had cancer and I told her about how frightening and upsetting it was to me, she told me that she read about cancer patients and their loved ones. It has been said that the loved ones of a cancer patient can sometimes be more overwhelmed than the patient him/herself. So, again, my conclusion of opinion is reaffirmation of your napping and struggle is normal and napping is only healthy--keep it up if you can/call if you need me.

At January 20, 2009 9:33 AM, Anonymous Roads said...

It's difficult because you don't want to get sick, but honestly you can't afford to, either, because you're so busy.

It was four months in that I started running. Just half an hour to myself, three or four times a week -- mostly in my lunchtimes at work.

A decade later, that's still with me. And the best thing and most unexpected benefit of all is that it seems to have boosted my resistance to winter colds and the like enormously. I used to get four or five a winter, and now it's just one, if I'm unlucky.

Running's not for everyone -- of course, I realise that. But getting into a routine of regular exercise, somehow, can only help. And it helped me sleep as well.

Spirits up, and all best wishes from London.

At January 21, 2009 10:17 PM, Blogger Sara said...

Skye, I am so glad to hear you got time to relax and take care of yourself. Which also opened the idea of taking time to stop and relax for yourself.

I know how exhausting it can be taking care of a loved one. I look back and wonder how on earth I did it. I know when my Mom was first diagnosed. I didn't want to go thru this, much less see her go through this.

Amazingly enough, her care, doc appts, etc almost became second nature. That when she was gone, I missed it. I know that sounds bizarre, but I did.

Now I am at a point in my life where I can sit back and relax. All the kids are in school. All the paperwork for my Mom's house, estate is 98% complete.

We just have taxes to go over and then we'll be 99% done. There's still some loose ends, but thank god it's not the wilderness of paperwork we had when she passed. :)

And do not feel guilty for taking naps. Your body is catching up from the craziness life has thrown at you and with a little one, you don't get that time, to just "be me" time.

But something good did come out of this, you learned that you do need to take time for yourself. Be it reading a book, soaking in the tub, watching movies.

You know, after my Mom passed and trying to get her estate in order. I rarely had "me" time. Now I am at the point, where I am catching up with my stack of movies, reading my ever growing stack of books and it feels really nice to have this to look forward to when I need some "me" time.


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