Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I'm still trying to take care of everything that needs taken care of. Changing names on bills, filing paperwork etc etc boring stuff. To add a little extra fun tax season is coming and I need to finish those up (almost done) and then the Visa I use for everything got canceled because of the Target guffaw around Christmas so I got a new card that I have to make sure I update everywhere I use it.

Today I'm feeling productive, probably why I have the energy to write this. That hasn't always been the case since my last post. Things are finally starting to sink in and that is difficult. We'll power through but it slows us down a bit.

The movie Long Kiss Goodnight (geena davis and samuel l jackson) was on the other day so I watched it which is funny because when it came out in the theater I really wanted to go see it and Dave and Tim went without me. Dave said he'd go see it with me too but I was so mad/stubborn about it I wouldn't watch it. It was a couple of years before I finally watched it. It seems silly now, but at the time I'm sure it was the worst thing he had ever done. It's funny the things we see as important when everything else is pretty hunky dorey compared to when things are tough and you let little things go.  ANYWAY. There's a line in the movie that says, "Life is pain. Get used to it."  While I don't think that life is always pain I was struck by the phrase. "get used to it."  Not get over it. Get used to it. It's part of the whole new normal concept. We'll get used to it but right now it just sucks. There's really no better way to describe it. As an aside Dave never went to a movie I wanted to see without me again.  haha

I canceled David's phone today. That was difficult as well but we were paying for it when we didn't need to be. I can still access everything on it via wi-fi but it's just little things like that I like to do all at once so I don't prolong the agony. If I did one thing every day like I was doing before then every day I would have a reminder in my face about it. Not that it's not already in my face but that makes it worse. I wish it was one of those things you can get desensitized to.

So the obituary. I put a longer one in the funeral program and I guess I'll just do a summarized short one in the register guard. They charge you the same as any other classified ad, $25 per inch which is about 20 words per inch, and I could write a novel if they let me so I guess that's how I'll deal with it. I feel less pressure since the funeral has already happened and I'm not on a schedule here. 

One of the benefits of Hospice is that they provide bereavement services after the loved one has departed. (that's so gently worded) The social worker/counselor gave me a visit and it happened to be on the worst day so far. Maybe good timing?  She gave me a chapter from a book about things that happen when you lose a spouse. It was really aimed more at elderly spouses and it was really not at all encouraging for a younger person. About how women tend to spend the rest of their lives alone vs men who get back out there. I'm sure it's helpful for some people but I didn't find it helpful at all. Where are the books about losing someone when you're young. I googled it out of curiosity "losing a young spouse" then giggled at the link that said "How to live after the death of a spouse: 10 steps (with pictures)"  With pictures.  hahahaha I'll say that the watercolor images really weren't necessary or beneficial.

Yesterday I decided to clean the fridge, take out shelves and all that. About halfway through I got irritated and just grabbed my ipod and left for a walk. Didn't have to check with anyone first, didn't have to make sure Dave was ok, just left. I only went 1.72 (yay gps) miles but it was kind of liberating. Of course about a mile in I realized I need new shoes. HA! the blister on my pinky toe isn't happy but I'm glad I could get some of that frustration out. I forget about the exercise endorphines. I need to get back to that. Owen has expressed interest in doing something, like bootcamp, with me. I don't know if we're quite to that point of readiness yet but I don't want to discourage him. Maybe I'll borrow from his motivation.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Two weeks already?

It's been almost exactly two weeks since Dave passed. By almost exactly I mean... 15 minutes ago it was 2 weeks exactly. I have a complete lack of comprehension of time. (and so does Owen since he walked to school this morning then realized that he has a late start and was 2 hours early... oops.)

What have we been doing?  The first week was full of funeral planning and making immediate arrangements. Now is the nitty gritty dirty work of notification and social security and death certificate distribution and ... ugh... insurance mucking. I tried to do too much too soon and got completely overwhelmed, or underwhelmed, at the speed at which the rest of the world works. Read: not fast enough. Then at the end of last week we had a nice little snow/ice storm that effectively shut down Oregon and I got roughly zero things done for a few days. Talk about anxiety. I should have lounged around eating bon bons and watching soap operas but instead I tried to make lists so I know what I need to do. That helps actually. I also decided if I can accomplish one or two things per day I'm in good shape and still moving forward. I just had to prioritize.  In fact, it's only 9:30 now and I've already gotten TWO THINGS DONE! And I'm on a roll so I might actually do THREE things. I'm out of control with productivity! ;)

I've noticed a couple of human nature type things in my process. When I call to get info about what, if anything, I need to do with a company if a woman answers and I tell her that David passed her voice gets softer and she gets empathetic and apologetic. If a man answers he gets more business-like. I read it as a masculine, "I'm going to make things easier for you by taking care of business" whereas women I read more like, "I'm going to make things easier for you by taking care of business while simultaneously being sympathetic to your loss" They say they're sorry when I tell them and then again at the end of the conversation.  My favorite was actually the first guy I talked to from the bank who got very authoritative sounding and never said sorry but got me a lot of information. Thank you anonymous bank guy who didn't know what to say! Saying nothing was perfect in that moment!

The other side of this is my response that I didn't really expect.  It's nice to have people be caring and considerate and gentle, for lack of a better word. But it's difficult to hear. I don't feel sorry for myself and don't want other people to either. (ok that's a tiny lie, I have moments of feeling sorry for myself but I try to keep that in check) So my unexpected response is sadness. At the funeral I was fully expecting to hear people say they're sorry for our loss and that's perfectly acceptable. I was in a headspace to hear that and honestly you get a little numb to it after a while and that's a good thing. But hearing it here and there throughout the day while trying to take care of other business catches me off guard in an emotional way. I know you're sorry, so am I. It makes me want to blurt out " David passed away a couple of weeks ago, please don't say sorry just tell me what steps I need to take to get my ducks in a row." But I don't. It doesn't always bother me but when it does it always hits me at inopportune times, like right before I need to go to the grocery store, not as I'm finishing up errands and heading home.

The most difficult part of this has been figuring out the health insurance. I *think* Owen is eligible for the healthy kids, oregon health plan, whatever it's called thing. But I don't think I am. That's fine, we want to stay with pacificsource but the OHP plan for kids is great so if I can get him on that it's good and I can get separate coverage. I need it to start March 1st which is very do-able since I'm actually taking care of it now. However the website claims OHP can take up to 45 days to get on so I need to figure out if I need to add him to my coverage until that opens up or if it doesn't take 45 days but that's a disclaimer.  Calling them is fairly useless because you end up on hold forever and then my phone loses signal or something equally annoying.  They're open until 8 pm and they claim the call volume is lower at night, so I guess I'll try back later. In the mean time I'm filling out applications like a boss and getting those ducks in a row so I can send it in today.(that would make FOUR things! Look out!) I figure if I get all the irons in the fire right now then they'll be nice and toasty when I need to use them. 

I wish there had been a way to plan ahead better for some of this stuff but there really wasn't. We thought we did a bunch of planning, and we did, but I wish there was a way to do MORE planning. Like a clearing house that notifies everyone for you or something. The funeral home gives you a list of places to think about notifying but they give it to you after someone dies.  When you make pre-arrangements I think that would be a helpful list to have BEFORE they die so you can get all the phone numbers/account numbers together and just have one master list to work from instead of being foggy and trying to collect that information later.  Knowing how many death certificates you need and things of that nature. Not that it's hard info to collect, it would just take a step out of the process.  That's going in the book we're writing. If there is anything I can do to help people in similar situations to make the process just a tiny bit easier I feel like it's my duty to do that. Plus I'm bossy and helpful so if I can tell people what to do and have it help them that's kind of perfect. haha

As for how Owen and I are doing, well, we're ok mostly. We've been living with this and mourning this for 2 years. We're tired. We're not sleeping as well as we could be although I think that's slowly getting better. We talk about Dave a lot and miss him a ton but we know what he wanted for us and 2 years is a long time to process, even if we didn't always believe he would be gone. It's different now but it's not like when someone dies suddenly. We've been through the bulk of it and now we're experiencing a different step in the process where we're kind of in the acceptance and resolution stage. That feels like a rollercoaster. It's an awful feeling because society tells us that there's a mourning period and we should feel a certain way and we don't really so clearly we're doing it wrong. But it feels good because we're not starting at the beginning and we can see the light at the end of this very long tunnel. We WANT to see light. Please show us light! We want to move forward and that's huge. We'll never be "over it" but we know we'll get past it and have to continue living our own lives and finding our new normal.

As an aside: Do you know how hard it was to have to stay in the house last weekend because of the snow?! Cruel joke to be sure. The first weekend in 2 years we could go out and do something and we're literally trapped at home. Maybe it was good to have a forced moment to pause and ponder. But now that's over and we went to dinner the other night and today I think we're going to a movie because FROZEN AND THE LEGO MOVIE ARE CALLING OUR NAMES! 

Owen's birthday is monday. 15 years old. Oh I should add "get him a book from the DMV to study for his permit test" to my list of things to do. (Five things?! That might be pushing it) We don't know what we want to do but we know we want to spend it together and we want to spend it out of the house. I'm glad he still likes me because I adore the heck out of that kid. He amazes me every day with his insights and observations and understanding. We have our bickery moments but we always come back and apologize and make things right. We're mother and son but we're also friends, I think we have an excellent foundation for getting through this. I hope I can say the same thing when he's about to turn 16 or 17 or 18.. or 40. LOL

I kept the sappier stuff out of this post. I have a lot of that in me but I just can't let most of it out yet. This is your official warning!! ;)