waking up

My dreams last night were a little strange. I drank a mug of chai tea at like 1900 to boost me through a Reiki treatment and massage that I gave to my new love interest. It was a successful treatment because sleepy time came for him swiftly! I adore providing healing touch to people, especially love interests. I feel like that is my one sort of super power that I have to offer, I just haven’t found the right man to accept my talents and want to make them a permanent part of his life. I have hope for this one. I have hope for all of them, who I am kidding? I try to give my all every time. Well, as much of my all as I have left after having my heart shattered into at least a million pieces.

Anyway, back to my dreams. I ended up home sooner than I thought I would last night and slightly amped on chai tea and the success of my Reiki and massage treatments. So I decided to write in my journal for awhile and then I blogged for the first time in forever and actually published it. I’ve been doing this thing a lot lately where I write but then I get worried about who might read it and that I might shock or hurt feelings or cause political turmoil at work or whatever and I’m over it. Blogging is so helpful for me. So I’m just gonna do it. As I sailed into sleep last night it was one of those into sleep transitions where I felt myself soaring above for a good long while. I was relaxed and ready to sleep, it’s just the chai tea had me more aware than I would be normally. The dreams that I remember were with my new love interest at his home. This is the strange part: there was a dead body in one of the bedrooms, like someone had died that we all expected to die, like they had been on hospice or something, and he hadn’t called the hospice people yet because he wasn’t ready to. He was waiting for someone who wanted to say goodbye privately. And then my mom came into the picture to bathe the body. Why I wasn’t involved in this I have no idea since I am a registered nurse and have bathed my fair share of dead bodies. I did, however, make the suggestion to add clove essential oil to the bath to help with the smell. My love interest and my mom agreed that was a good idea. My love interest even said that was something that used to be done before modern day chemical embalming… whether or not that is true I have no idea… this was a dream!

Analyzing a dream like this is so interesting. Obviously, my subconscious is sifting through some shit. The smell of a dead body. That was the main concern. Not let’s get the person we are waiting for here sooner than later so we can call the hospice people and the funeral home. The smell is a big part of my trauma with Nick’s death. He wasn’t found until days after he died. The neighbors called a wellness check to the local authorities because of the smell coming from his place. My heart absolutely crushes in on itself every time I think about that. This is definitely something I haven’t worked through completely. I just put it in a box and tucked it away. Time to get it out and work it through. I dreamt about Nick the night of September 11, 2018, which was death day number 3 and what we suspect is the day that Nick died that year. He was found on the Sunday after that, which I think was the 16th. He left a note with my name and contact information on it. I hadn’t attempted to get in touch with him for months except through the court because of how he had behaved the last time he had Pierce and Ryan over, which was Father’s Day weekend that year. He had started drinking again and being very emotionally and verbally abusive. Ryan had called me crying because he was so scared. Pierce had taken over Oscar’s old role of attempting to be the mediator between drunk and unreasonably angry Nick and the younger kids, kid in this case. That’s when I decided to take action and file for a safety focused parenting plan. Nick texted me once around the Fourth of July to ask to have the kids, and I texted back that any arrangements to see the kids needed to go through my lawyer. He never took it further. All I ever heard from him again was that he wanted to push the court date out to October so he had more time to find and pay for a lawyer.

My heart really hurts for how completely fractured our relationship became. When we started out together I was so young and he was so experienced (or maybe traumatized?) and pretending (?) to have hope and see the possibility for joy. Nick never really talked about what had happened to him and his family. His brother Jimmy had been murdered and his favorite sister, LouAnn, had died of suicide a number of years after that. Not to mention whatever happened when he was growing up in a too small house for 7 kids and 2 parents who sort of got along, but not really. He used to say the 7 kids came from Catholic guilt and not love. He would make it a joke. He made lots of things jokes. I think that was his main coping mechanism besides drinking and smoking pot. All of his unprocessed and unresolved feelings surrounding the trauma he had been through came out in all sorts of negative and destructive ways. That is what happens to people when they don’t work through to the bottom.

Now I’m working through to the bottom with Nick. His death has been so hard to process. I think because we were estranged when he died, but also because I have such a deep and profound love for him, still. He is around all the time. I feel him more than I feel Oscar. He always has something to say and he is in my dreams all the time! Maybe the dream I had last night is Nick. And the one they are waiting for is me. I haven’t said proper goodbyes. I hold a piece of him in my mind that is when we first met. I was so enamored by his charm and his brilliant mind. I’ve never met a man like Nick. It was so easy for us to fall in love. Looking back on old pictures on Oscar’s birthday I realized how hard we tried. I’m not sure what went wrong. I guess the active addiction is really what came between us. Neither one of us could relate to the other because we were never in our right minds if we could help it. I remember how he used to hold my hand. And the way that he would look at me. His goofy grin. And the sex was great. We had an excellent time in bed. It’s honestly one of the reasons I stayed as long as I did. It was really hard to let that go. And to learn to live without it has been so tough!!

Nick would make xmess a fun and joyful holiday. He’d always make it special. I don’t have that kind of talent or desire since my people have died. This year my mom and Ryan decorated together, thank God. I genuinely hate all of it. It takes so much emotional energy. I feel like I dip into my already drained reserve tanks every year since Oscar died and especially so since Nick has died.

What am I to do with this dream? I don’t want Nick to go. Maybe it is time, though, whether I want it to be or not. I have to let go to let a new man in. It’s that simple. Simple; not easy.

cocoon

Over the past several months I have written and then not published. Because I was worried about work politics or hurting someone’s feelings or some other such similar reason. At the beginning of September I went into what feels like a cocoon. I have been avoiding all social media and focusing on me, the now, my kids, my home, my work. I thought it would be just September that I avoided social media, and, in fact, for the entire month of September I was completely and totally absent from social media. It felt so good I didn’t check it out again until late October. I don’t think I’ve had any personal posts, except to thank people for the birthday wishes, which was hilarious because people responded as if my birthday was recent and not in September.

While I’ve been in this cocoon and considering the break that I have been taking from social media and also from blogging and the reasons for that I have come to the conclusion that I am done censoring myself.

I left Luke’s for a number of different reasons, not the least of which was politics, yet again. So sick of work politics. I tried to go back to the CVOR when I realized for sure that the clinic wasn’t going to be anything but me working as a medical assistant (!!!) and the director couldn’t make a spot for me. Too bad, because they are down nurses now. I ended up interviewing for a spot as a staff nurse to open a new OR in south Overland Park. The commute is about 10 minutes less than to Luke’s. And it is a main OR, so the cases are all super chill. We are like one step above a surgery center as far as acuity goes, so I am on cloud nine compared to CV acuity. I do miss the CV, though. I really really miss my CT surgeons. It really really sucks that the director of the CVOR couldn’t make a spot for me. Oh well. The incredibly awesome thing about my new gig is that I am primarily scrubbing! I feel like a duck to water I love it so much. I am considering pursuing my first assist so I can stay in the scrub role for the remainder of my nursing career.

So, yeah, career is chill. Not what I thought I would end up doing, I guess, but whatever.

My grief feels sort of like it is on ice. Sort of. It has definitely morphed this year. That really started over death day six and three. It was Oscar’s sixth death day and Nick’s third death day. Me and Pierce and Ryan went to Vail to see Death Cab for Cutie and it was completely different. I feel like I came to a new understanding that my years turn on death day, not New Year’s. I have also begun to reach a new distance from the trauma where I see that everyone, well, most everyone, has their own trauma. Most people don’t deal with it as well as I do, though, and it causes them real personality issues. Negative ones. I have shit I am dealing with in my personality, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that what I have been through has really forced me to change so I can get through my days with the least amount of discomfort as possible. My pain, my broken heart, is too much to bear and not be as healthy as I can be. I think the fact that Nick died of suicide three years after Oscar died of suicide is very telling regarding how painful it is to have one of your babies die of suicide.

And then there’s dating. Oh my goodness. What a freaking roller coaster ride. I wish I didn’t love sex so much. For real. I am hopeful that I may have finally met my match. It seems promising so far, but man, I’ve been here before. Countless times it seems like. I am attempting not to have any expectations, but goddamn that is so fucking hard. So, more like reasonable expectations. Still, my emotions throw me around without my permission, like, a lot. Learning how to rise above that noise is one of the hardest things. Bottom line, I try to be responsible. Hopefully this rocky road will finally start to smooth out.

My kids all really inspire me. Ryan has been amazing to learn from and be around and chill out with. He is learning guitar and piano, and writing lyrics, so it is absolutely inspiring to be around him. Pierce is a fucking rock star. I still cannot believe how well he has weathered the storm. Almost done with the first semester of KU. He absolutely thrives. Then there’s my firecracker, Phoenix. He and I are on a nutrition journey together. Finally gave into the PCP’s advice to trial a gluten free diet for him to help with his chronic constipation. He is so much better! Now if we can get his immune system to kick in so he stops picking up every bug from the preschool. We are going to see a naturopath to help us with that. And Oscar. He and I see each other in my dreams. I feel his presence often and we have a relationship even through death. He is wise and guides all of his brothers and me. I feel his energy helping us to see the way. He knows that I am inspired by him to become a better mother, a better person. He is my light. I miss him beyond words. Always.

Xmess sucks. Holidays suck. Half of my family is dead. It is what it is. The point is that I keep going. I keep moving forward. Even when it feels like I am slogging through mud. Some days are better than others. I try to enjoy every moment for what it is and be in it. Fully present.

Hopefully it won’t be so long before the next time I write and publish. I might just go back and publish some of the drafts that I have saved up from over the past couple of years. I’m cocooned, but I’m done hiding.

Christmas 2018

Christmas sucks.

This is Christmas number four without Oscar and Christmas number one without Nick. There was no way I could bear the thought of being at home today, so a few weeks ago I did what Nick would have liked for me to do: book a room at Great Wolf Lodge. We have an incredible room! We got an upgrade, so I have my own room. So wonderful. I am so grateful to be able to do this for the kids and for me. But this is one of the conundrums of grief: feeling two opposite feelings equally as strongly at the same time. I am grateful for the now, spending this time with my kids and having a break from it all, but the pain of loss is especially poignant right now.

Christmas used to always be proceeded by a sleepless night for me and Nick when the Lane kids were all little. I remember Nick used to say, “Christmas should be a good time for us, we deserve to have one good time a year, Jes.” And so every year we would splurge on the kiddos. So many gifts! The tree would always be bursting and the stockings overflowing with all sorts of fun stuff. We went broke each year a little more at Christmas, but the smiles on the kids’ faces were so worth it. I didn’t know that then. The crushing debt was one of the issues that broke our marriage. There were lots of reasons we were dysfunctional and needed a divorce, don’t get me wrong, but the debt added a level of stress that was smothering.

This year, since Nick died, I have been struggling. Truly. Just to see what his death has done to our kids and to feel that heartbreak and also my own in a world that will. not. give. has been exceptionally exhausting. All of the same levels and types of emotion and pain as when Oscar died, but without any grace. None. The world shrugged it’s shoulders and laughed while saying, “let’s see how you make it through this one.” So many emotions. How do you stay focused on the good in a set of circumstances like that?

Lots of ways. I see Oscar everywhere, and this helps me. Sometimes it is unbelievably sad and painful, but mostly it makes me smile and fills my heart with warmth. I stay connected spiritually by taking care of myself. Aromatherapy every single day if nothing else. It’s funny, I take that shit to work and sometimes I feel like I am pedaling drugs because I offer to share my aromatherapy with co-workers who are stressed out. Lately I have been taking aromatherapy and a crystal of some sort to work. And it helps. Oh does it help.

I have also been working with my shadow self to understand what she needs. First I had to free her (see my starsprae intuitive healing arts blog for more about my day to day healing work). Now I am working with her to help her find her voice again. Lots of years of suppression has not worn well on her. She is wild and free, full of inspiration and amazing life. I have seen glimmers, we are working to make it easy for her to be seen. A morning routine of a tarot reading has been part of my healing process for about a month or so now. I love tarot! It is fun and intuitive and it is helping me stay focused.

The hardest work I have had to do recently is in the area of romantic relationships. I think Nick’s death has influenced this quite a bit if I am completely honest. Since he died I have been mourning the loss of so much- the potential of a healthy father for my older children, the only other parent to Oscar (all of those memories that Nick was the only other person who was apart of!- now I am the only bearer of them), the potential for healing our relationship- I would have liked to be friends with Nick again. The feelings are complicated and deep. It will take quite a long time to get through them. Years and years. All of this has made it harder to tolerate relationships in general, let alone the romantic relationship with my youngest’s father that I have been trying to heal. I gave myself permission to set a healthy boundary with him a couple of weeks ago. I could hear Nick’s voice in my head- “The timing, Jessica, the timing! You always have the worst timing!” Yes, just a couple weeks before Christmas and I set a strong friendship-only boundary. I cannot try for anything else right now. I need space.

Space to remember. Space to be the mother to my children that I feel I need to be. Space to grow my talents as an energy healer. Space to make my own home. Space to spread out. Mostly space to remember. So much remembering lately. I love my psychologist. At our last session she encouraged me with this idea, “You are ready when you are ready.” This applies to so many different things! I am ready to remember. I am ready to let myself go to those spaces. I am ready to stand up for my needs. I am ready to forgive (even though that is going to take me a long time to do completely, Nick!) I am ready to live as who I am.

I cannot believe we have to do Christmas this year without you, Nick. I do wish you were here to spoil the kids and share your jolly Christmas spirit with them. It was the one time of year that you always made into the best for us, for them. I know you tried so so hard.

Oscar, there was a three pound Hershey chocolate bar at Walmart this year! I would have bought it for you if you were still alive, no doubt! I miss you so so much. You would have been on your first winter break from college. I wonder what you would have been studying? You would be here with us. On the pull out sofa. Ready to splash and play and have fun with your brothers and sister. You were always my mother hen. Taking care of everybody. I wish I could have done better teaching you to take care of yourself. I know you are still here with us, I feel you here with me right now, but that doesn’t change how much I miss you.

Christmas sucks as much as it is wonderful when you are a bereaved mama and divorced widow.

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