This is me writing. I have to write because there is so much on my mind it will drive me crazy if I don’t put it down somewhere.
The day before yesterday I snapped twice. Once at my daughter and again at my husband. Getting mad is one thing, snapping out of control is another. My family was stunned. Seeing me overreact in anger is pretty rare; they gave me a very wide berth. I couldn’t stand their questioning eyes. I went to bed. Why the hell was every little thing setting me off? My life was full of positives. A growing business, healthy family, my son home from college, what was there to feel stress about?
After getting an email from my husband I could think clearly again. Here are six reasons I came up with:
1. Expanding my business. Any entrepreneur worth their salt knows that the transitions between slow growth and sudden growth can scare the bujeezus out of you. When opportunity knocks, you don’t turn it down but one decision necessitates another and another, all of it needing immediate attention, until suddenly you had better put on the breaks or an avalanche may ensue. The world is littered with the carcasses of small businesses that expanded to soon, too fast, too much. I do not believe I am making that mistake but still the stress of keeping my galloping horse from running away with me takes a lot of mental effort.
2. Too much socializing. Homebodies, last weekend was highly unusual in that we hosted or attended parties four nights in a row. Two of them were planned, the other two impromptu invitations that we couldn’t refuse. All were fun, with good people whom my husband and I enjoy. But geez, did they all have to get bunched together like that? I need my down time. Now watch, there won’t be another invitation for months.
3. Not enough time with my little family. Because of the above and because my kids are young adults now and have active social lives of their own I felt deprived. We usually set aside time to just be the four of us, even the kids are sensitive to our family time. Only with all that crazy socializing it didn’t happen on the crucial weekend right before….
4. My son returns to college after a nice long break. This is like a mini-what-I-went-through-last-fall. I don’t like it but that’s too bad. It’s good that my son loves his college and has friends there now. It’s good that he thrives in the City and excels in his classes. He is returning to terra cognita, a master of his universe of which I have no part. My job is proudly done. Now let him go. Ugh.
5. A head cold that won’t go away. I write a lot about how I cope with chronic illness but for some reason a little acute illness like a crazy head cold can make me miserable. Headaches reduce me to a pouty child.
6. The anniversary of my Mother’s death. The kick in the gut. Eleven years ago my sisters and brothers gathered with my Dad as my mother exhaled for the last time. Ever the rebel, my 77 year old Mom surprised us all by dying too young. We were lucky to have her for as long as we did, to know her adult to adult, long enough that my kids have memories of their grandmother. She died in the room just across the hall from where I am writing this. My home is forever blessed by her spirit. I miss her so badly.
We all have those losses in which the grieving is never done. It moves along its path from tsunami to river to creek. I don’t think about my mother every day so I guess what I have now is an underground stream that once in a while bubbles up like a spring.
Yesterday my husband sent me an email. He said he was worried about me and had some ideas about what might have me on edge. (God bless him. He is very diplomatic.) He hoped we would have a chance to talk. As soon as I read his note the pain between my eyes became a lump in my throat. He gave me what I had been denying myself and needed: permission to cry.
I especially appreciate #s 1 and 6, as they are the same struggles (and time frames, that’s odd, we never talked about losing our moms 11 years ago…) as my own. Thanks for giving me permission to cry, too.
You are welcome, Amy Jo. I am grateful that I was able to help you open that door. Aren’t we lucky to have had such unique, wonderful mothers?
Hello Dr. A – I’m a bit late discovering this post, but its message is timeless. Reviewing my own past year as you have suggested here reveals a number of “Well, No Wonder!” epiphanies. First, my mother’s sudden death in February, then my daughter’s wedding (during which her Dad barely managed to walk her down the aisle before being rushed to hospital for emergency surgery and many weeks/months of bedside vigils and touch-and-go recuperation) followed by a number of lesser stressors throughout the year – any one of which might wobble the knees of any person.
My own therapist itemized them all for me recently while I was otherwise occupied beating myself up. Yet my tendency is to cut myself little slack these days – when one’s “normal” activities are so limited by chronic illness, there seems to be an even greater expectation that what I am able to do must be perfection itself, accompanied by an appropriately pleasant demeanor no matter what. Entirely self-inflicted, and mostly preventable expectations! I’m a work in progress for sure.
Thanks for this wise perspective. Happy New Year to you!