Taking the slow lane

15 November 2017

I am angry today. I have woken up angry, frustrated, and not at all happy. Firstly I just don’t want to wake up, I want to stay in bed, for a very long time, keep my eyes tightly shut and not think about anything.

I’m feeling stuck, I need help; everything finds its way back to me. I have to deal with every little thing and I’m not doing anything very well at all.

I’ve lost order, I’ve lost control, and I’ve lost the ability to make anything happen. If I keep my eyes closed will it all go away?

I could scream. People used to say that to me all the time, in the early days after Kevin died, ‘Don’t you just want to scream!’ and the answer was always no, I’ve never felt that need to scream.

Now I want to scream, but I just can’t be bothered, I haven’t got the energy and it’ll probably hurt my throat and then I’d have something else to add to my list of woes, including painful elbow and lower back.
I twisted my lower back whilst playing tennis in icy conditions, as you do. Now I can’t even bend over to put on my shoe. I can get about, but when I stop at the end of the day, I am in agony and I can’t move. As a consequence the house gets messy and then I can’t think clearly and then I have a go at my children, as you do.

In this case it was my oldest as my youngest is sick in bed. She’d arranged a sleepover for the Friday, except I find out that agreed sleepover is actually at our house. I flip.

‘The whole point of the sleepover,’ I state, a little too loudly, emphatically, bordering on angrily, (I woke up feeling angry, remember), ‘is for you two to give me a break, let me have some downtime.’
I’ve started now; it’s hard to stop… ‘You’ve not even tidied your room; leave alone the rest of the house. The house is a tip and you invite someone over – expecting me to clean and vacuum and cook and clean up after you!’

I am angry, fuming, overwhelmed, in pain and quite simply fed up.
My poor daughter has, I think, got the message.
I apologise for my frustration, explain my anger and it culminates in her agreeing to cook dinner that night, to give me a chance to work and complete a project deadline. She’s lost her confidence in the kitchen as her sister, my youngest is an amazing and very volatile budding chef who demands complete autonomy and domination of the kitchen when she is cooking, and dishes out constant advice and criticism when her sister has a go. Consequently, her sister never has a go.

For a long time now, all my two girls seem to want to do, especially my youngest, is to stay home and watch television. It is a source of constant frustration for me. I have tried all the ideas I can summon up to get them up, enthused and out the house. Parties, dog walks, visits to castles, cinema, cultural visits, bike rides, swimming pool, jogs around the park. I’m all out of ideas and these days I have to leave them at home while I attend to aforementioned activities.
I have a sense that if I don’t keep busy, I will sink, sink and not be able to find my way to the surface again.

During the half term – two weeks of it – I gave in to them. I didn’t have the energy to persuade them to go away for a few days, gave up on trying to do fun things unless they suggested it. We mostly just stayed in.

My youngest was unwell so we were confined to home and I just went with it. It’s very difficult for me to be still, I don’t watch much television, hardly ever sit down, but I sunk to their level and actually it was quite good.

I accomplished a whole load of mundane and annoying jobs and we took the slow lane for two weeks. I think I’ll have to go with this pace a little longer as now I can’t seem to shake off the torpor.
I am entertaining the idea that perhaps as winter is approaching, we could enter a state of inertia, of impending hibernation and reach dormancy by Christmas, that way I would be numb and not have to deal with any of the impending certainty of pain.

I wonder if this is my children’s way of dealing with their loss. Perhaps, instead of constantly fighting it, of being the sole source of energy, activity and sustenance that I too could sink into a dormant state, let my body recover from the stress, pain, adrenal shock and complete overload.

I might try it.

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