Wednesday, April 18, 2012
My life now revolves around keeping everything balanced. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, but mostly I struggle daily to keep from completely tipping over.
The balance between my boys and their individual needs has become more evident. They are both traveling their own grief journeys...at their own pace...but need me to escort them each individually as they react in different ways and at different times to losing their mother. As I walk with each of them...there is no map to guide us...or assure us we are headed in the right direction.
Sometimes we meander...sometimes we trudge....but occasionally we hit our stride and advance.
Accompanying them on their respective journeys may be the most daunting challenge I face as a parent. Trying to discern and make sense of their emotions reminds me of when they were newborns and I constantly found myself guessing at their needs.
With each cry and whimper...Susan and I had to get a feel for what they were trying to say and what they needed...and neither of them expressed themselves in the same way. This past year has been an unbelievable feeling out process for me, but I believe I'm slowly starting to get a handle on how each of them deals with losing Susan.
But there is also the difficulty of trying to balance all the regular chores of being a single parent.
The boys had always benefited from having two loving parents that could split up their time and dedicate all their attention and love when needed. Those days have vanished...but the pull on me from each of the boys is amazingly strong...because they need it...and deserve it....but also because I love them both so very much.
Truthfully I'm often angry at how the boys were robbed of the life we started for them...the life we intended for them...the life they both deserved. Sue and I seemed to be able to tackle anything together...but now I'm faced with helping them through more than I ever expected...alone...and that's not how it was supposed to be.
If the balancing act stopped at the threshold of my home, I would be laboring...but work is also a part of this balancing act.
The balance between work and home has become nothing less than agony. Somehow...the year after my wife's death...I've been handed one of the most difficult classes of my eighteen years...and I've had a few challenging ones in the past. Substitutes have actually told me they were praying for me...and they weren't talking about Susan's passing.
My students drain me of my patience daily...and then my boys are left to pay the price when their exhausted, frustrated father picks them up from school. In my mind I split my day into two shifts...work and home...with a hour long commute/break in between each demanding phase. No sooner have I pulled into the driveway then the second shift begins with the walk home from school and the instant new complications...and the solutions that I must find.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would think of my life in this way. I truly believed this was the year they would take it easy on me...but not so much. So sadly...teaching has turned into a job this year...and that only adds to the imbalance of my life...because teaching had always been pure joy for me...something that completed me.
But not every moment is filled with exhaustion...or sorrow..or pain. Which creates it's very own unique balancing act.
The struggle to find a balance between my ongoing flashes of grief and my increasing moments of happiness is...overwhelming. As each day goes by...I'm still conflicted about enjoying the positives of my life as I feel an unparalleled sorrow over the unexpected death of my wife and best friend.
I often feel like two different people...living two separate lives. The balance here is confusing because these two people don't recognize one another...but reside within the same man. I can break down within seconds or glide through a few hours without feeling that tug at my heart. But when I lay my head down at night...I obsess over those two people and the contrast in their days.
Finding the balance...that's where I'm at...and like I said before...not a new idea...just more complex then I ever imagined.