Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dreams, letting go, trying harder

I had a very symbolic dream last night. Amazing, really.

Steve and I were walking down a hallway.  We were tired and holding on to each other for support. I felt love for him and coming from him.

A person from my past walked up behind us in the hall.  This person is someone that Steve and I almost allowed to come between us in the past. Someone who caused us trouble and pain. I have held on to regret and guilt about the role I allowed this person played in our lives for a a long time.

In my dream this person walked past us. Ahead of us.  Looked back at us. And then walked out a door into darkness.  Gone.

Steve and I kept walking, leaning on each other. Arms draped over each other. Feeling worn out like we'd been through something physically and emotionally exhausting. A bit damaged. But together. Supporting each other.

It was a good dream. It felt right.

My SIL phoned the other night crying. Furious again with Steve.  Her relationship with my BIL is over. She has to be out of their house by Friday.  She's looking for an apartment to rent.  I felt horrible about it.  Can't help but feel somewhat responsible.  It was an email exchange with ME and my HUSBAND sent it to her spouse. I had a heavy weight on my chest.

But I'm letting that go.  This may have been the straw the broke the camels back for them but the camel was on his knees. I am not responsible for their demise or her pain.  I am stepping back from both of them. Whatever happens is up to them. I have so much struggle in my world right now, I can't take on their troubles.  And what good would it do anyways? I would just be making myself an easy target for blame or resentment - because that would be the easiest way to deal with their problems, blaming someone else. 

The past few days have been better for Steve and I. He seems to be trying to be happier and kinder towards me.  In turn I am trying to be less resentful and bitter and not so much of a bitch.  I know I can be a bitch and I know it doesn't help things.  We have been trying to talk in a civil and kind manner but that fact that there is talking at all is a good thing.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

On the Rocks

How I wish I was talking about cocktails... 

My last post is almost embarrassing considering how far I've gone from any positive feeling in my core in a very short time. 

Having two young babies so close together is very hard on a marriage.  Having your husband's father die is also very hard on a marriage. 

We've been distant. Bitter. Sad. Angry. Distraught. Frustrated.

Or at least I have been. I am only guessing that Steve has been too.  I wouldn't be able to say for sure because he does NOT talk about things. Not about anything.  It's hard for me.  Particularly hard since I am in my house with two kids 2 and under for most of the day. My only means for transportation is usually a stroller.  When it rains - which it does a lot here on the West Coast in winter/spring - I am literally trapped here inside my four walls.

I get lonely.  I crave support, love, discussions, kind words, emotional progress.  But when Steve gets home from work he's not able to provide much of any of those things. 

I have felt that he's been harboring resentful or angry feelings towards me.  There has not been a kind word offered. There is no touching. No kiss on the cheek.  No hugs.  Communication only when absolutely required.  And even then, it's been cold. 

I have been figuratively banging my head against the wall. Not sure what to do.  I've tried everything to get him to give it up. Talk. Tell me what I've done wrong. Tell me what's bugging him. He was maintaining that everything is "fine". When asked if he'd go to marriage counseling his response was "absolutely not" - even though he has been seeing a grief counselor to process his dad's death.

Hopefully I'm not sounding too martyr-ish when I say I have given my everything, my all, all my energy and then some, all my emotions, all my goodness - my EVERYTHING to try to be supportive to him and his family, to be a good mother, to be a kind and loving wife - during a really bad time.

However I've been feeling like, to him, I am not worth an effort on his part.  I have felt taken for granted. 

The other day an email exchange started between myself and my BIL's girlfriend (SIL) as we planned out our MIL's birthday dinner that was to take place this Saturday.  Well, as we started going back and forth with our emails, things started to come out. We started talking about the things that have been bothering us.  Things that MIL has been doing that have been making our lives very difficult. How our spouses are completely absorbed by her and her grief and how they dote on her and her occasional dramarama.  My BIL is the executor to the will and he had told SIL about some financial issues which she was supposed to keep silent about.  She confided in me in those emails. Honestly it felt good to have someone to talk to. Someone who understands what I'm going through, who is going through something very similar to me and who knows all the players in the game.  Someone to relate to. Someone who was willing to offer a sympathetic ear. 

Sometime in the afternoon my phone rang.  It was SIL.  She said, "Steve's been reading your emails".

In typical Steve fashion - instead of calling me and discussing it, he called his brother.  Told him what we were talking about, essentially ruining two relationships instead of just one. 

Steve feels that SIL and I are vindictive, evil women who hate his mother. 

I have explained that I do not hate his mom.  Not even close.  In fact I don't like some of the things she does.  And I said nothing in my emails that I haven't already said to him. 

He told me he's been watching me for a while.  Reading my emails and my tweets. He says he knows I talk about him "behind his back". He told me he didn't love me anymore and has been thinking of leaving me for a while. 

I explained that what I occasionally say about him on twitter is my way of communicating - in a joking fashion - to like minded friends who can relate to me.  Everything I tweet is out in the open and I would never say anything malicious abut him.  But he felt otherwise. 

Likewise with my email exchange with my SIL.

Besides having to explain and defend myself, I am furious and upset and devastated that my husband has betrayed me and violated my personal life. My personal conversations. My privacy. I am broken hearted that we are in that place.

Obviously there was a lot more detail than this but I care not to get into it.

My BIL and SIL are pretty much done.  This was the straw the broke the camels back for them.  Why Steve had to involve my BIL I don't know but it was a bad move.  My SIL is/was really, really mad at Steve.  He apologized to her and she did not accept his apology - which made things worse for me because I know it bothered him but... of course... he wouldn't talk about it. And also, she is my friend and I feel somewhat responsible for what's happening to her on her end of this mess.

To make a really long story a little less long - I had a really big breakdown.  Reiterating all the stuff I've been saying to him over the past few months. 

He told me he'd make an effort to be a better husband.  That he was going to make big changes.

The next day he got off work early. I had errands to run (since I offered to take a birthday lunch/cake to MIL the next day since her dinner at BIL and SIL's was cancelled) I managed to talk to SIL and we decided to meet for a beer with another girlfriend.  Steve said it was no problem. I brought him a 6 pack of beer before I met the girls and told him I'd bring dinner home.  I was out for a couple of hours. I sent him a text asking if he was doing ok with the the kids.  He didn't respond.  I called him. He didn't answer the phone. 

When I was on my way  home he finally answered. He was short with me. I asked what he would like for dinner and he said he already ate - even though it was just dinner time. 

When I got home he was back in that bitter, quiet mode. He'd obviously had a hard time with the kids. I know he was frustrated. *I* know what that is like - it is my daily life.  He was in a bad mood and quickly so was I.  We started to argue again.  It escalated.  Really escalated. It got ugly. I pushed him to the limit. I knew I was doing it but couldn't stop myself. I wanted him to react to me in some way. I couldn't take the passive aggressiveness anymore. I was so desperate I was willing to take the aggressiveness without the passiveness.

He lost it. I lost it. His eyes were dilated and he was in such a crazed state that I've never seen before. I was scared and mad and sad and very hysterical. Our yelling woke Lincoln from his sleep. Ruby... my precious, intelligent Ruby saw and heard everything.  For that, I will NEVER forgive myself. I even have a difficult time typing it out.  I HATE MYSELF when I think about her big blue eyes staring at me laying on the floor bawling. HATE. MYSELF.


Steve ended up leaving. Saying he wouldn't be back for two weeks and I would be hearing from a lawyer.  He returned a short time later when he had called his mom and she wouldn't come pick him up...

In a panic I called my SIL who came over and took Steve downstairs and had a really big talk with him while I cuddled Ruby in bed.

Eventually things calmed down and SIL left.

Steve and I slept in the same bed, with Ruby in the middle. I layed my head on his chest and sobbed. (Ruby was deeply sleeping by then).

Now... now... Steve has once again said he is going to try to be a better husband.  And I'll admit today has seen an improvement.  But there is some heavy underlying tension.  I am afraid to be anything less than smiling and happy even though my heart aches so badly. 

We have been torn apart and we need to rebuild. I just hope we have the ability to do it without ruining ourselves.  I know that my kids may see us argue again but they will NEVER again see anything so obnoxious as Friday night's events.  I grew up seeing that over and over and over. That was my childhood. It's not theirs.  It will never be theirs. I promise.

Steve's dad's death has done more damage than I thought it would. And my efforts to help and nurture and care for Steve have been sadly, futile. I cared for him the way I would have wanted to be cared for in such a situation. I've never been through a family member's death before and I did what I thought was best. 

I desperately want to have a happy life, a happy marriage. I deserve it. I deserve better that what I've been given recently. I can only do so much, be so much, give so much of myself.  It will take me a very long time to heal from this. I don't really know how or where to begin. I am just trying to take small steps forward in whatever way feels the most right.

Note: I do not know if Steve reads this blog or not but I have written this assuming he will read it and I have been completely open and honest and fair and regret nothing I have said here.

Ok, here goes... publish post.

Monday, March 21, 2011

In the cards...

Long time, no write...

I continue to struggle to balance my life.  Being a wife, a mom, a housekeeper, a woman.  Needing love, friends, socialization, affection, fun, freedom, quiet.  I am busting my ass to keep it all together. Some days I feel like I am rocking this shit - and other days I feel like I'm failing miserably.

I guess that's life though, isn't it? I mean, really - everyone has their own set of challenges and we all just have to find a way to live life the best we can.  Life is not easy.  Not by any stretch.  We have to be able to find joy in the small things, to roll with the punches, and to suck it up and make things work.  Let things go that don't matter.

In the past few months I have felt a great surge of spirituality within my self.  I can't say that it's a religion or a specific set of beliefs - it's just something that I feel inside and it's hard to explain. I have my own beliefs and feelings and thoughts and I'm working every day at trying to be peaceful within myself - no matter the challenges (yeah, sometimes it just doesn't work no matter how hard I try).  It's very interesting and very freeing to challenge my previous way of thinking and to release the thoughts and feelings and beliefs that were not serving me well.

I recently visited my Wiccan girlfriend and had her read my tarot cards for me.  I had been feeling like I was losing my... "zen" or my "mojo" or maybe just my inner, underlying positivity. Certain things had been getting to me that I would normally not allow.  I was emotionally and physically tired and not feeling as mentally "sharp" as I would like. (Sorry for all the quotation marks but I'm not sure any of these words are exactly what I'm looking for.)

Anyways, she had been dreading reading my cards because of how I had been feeling.  But the reading showed that I have a very strong, very positive core. There was indeed a card indicating grief which since we lost Steve's dad only a month ago now, was not surprising.  There were some cards indicating that I am seeking a male figure to lean on or to absorb energy from - which I found very interesting because there is no real strong male figure in my life right now and damn, do I ever crave that.  There were some cards indicating that there are a lot of people coming at me from all directions and that instead of tuning everyone out (which I do a lot) I need to listen because someone is apparently going to give me something that I need to think about which will bring about a choice I need to make which will make me do a big balancing act and have some difficulty in my life but that will eventually be good for me because I will learn from it.  She didn't feel that this had anything to do with my return to work in a few months - she thought it would be much sooner. She felt it had to do with education. 

In all, it was a very positive reading and her and I both felt very happy after it was over.  Her because she didn't have to give me any bad news, and me because I feel like I'm still on the right track and still all good on the inside.

One of the things she said to me that I have carried with me is this: Negative thoughts and feelings are just that - thoughts and feelings. They do not affect the positivity in your core. 

So despite those negative thoughts and feelings (resentment! anger! bitterness! sadness! pissed-offedness!) intruding upon me - I'm still all good deep on the inside.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lately, in random form

I had one more little brush with my FIL in the days after his death.  A couple days after he passed I had been having a challenging morning.  I was standing at the stove, ready to steam an egg in the frying pan, I sprayed the pan with cooking spray and added just enough water to cover the bottom and turned the burner on.  When the water heated it separated and formed a heart in the middle of the pan. I suddenly had a strong feeling that he was responsible for it and that he was sending me some love and encouragement.  I started to cry but felt better knowing that he was there for me.  Since then, the "signs" have subsided. 

Death is a strange thing when you're expecting it. It seems that when we lose a loved one unexpectedly, we are hit with all the grief and struggling to deal with it all after the death.  But when we lose a loved one when we are expecting it - like we just did - it seems that much of the grief is doled out in a sporadic torrent in the time leading up to the death.  Waiting for someone to die is horrible. The anxiety of it, the anticipation, the overwhelming sadness of watching someone deteriorate and imagining/dreading what life is going to be like without them.  Then when they do pass, there is almost a relief (accompanied by guilt) that the worst is over. But the feelings of loss and sadness and that aching place in our hearts remain.   

Steve and I are struggling in our relationship.  Or maybe I should say that I am struggling, Steve seems to think everything is ok.  I feel lonely. I feel unloved, unsupported, unimportant. I realize Steve just lost his father and he's grieving but I am still his wife and I need some love too.  There are no kisses on the cheek, no hugs, no cuddles, no encouraging words, no thank-yous. Yesterday I had a shitty day and was feeling blue and I mentioned it to him and his response was a snarly, "Why!?" He was clearly annoyed that I showed a crack in  my Stepfordness.  Steve is a wonderful father and loves his kids so much and for that I am ever thankful.  But he could step it up in the husband department.  He doesn't seem to think I need it - despite numerous discussions/arguments in which I tell him how I feel and he ignores me by watching sports on TV or pretends to be sleeping.  I've suggested/begged that we go for some marriage counselling and he flat out refuses - even though he is seeing a counselor about losing his dad.  One more thing that makes me feel like I'm not important enough to him.  My only hope now is that I get some counseling on my own - if only I could afford it. (Steve's is covered by his company). Most of the time I just block out my feelings and keep on doing my thing - because it's easier to just accept my fate than to try to fix it sometimes. But sometimes it just really feels bad. 

In happier news, I've lost 11lbs.  I joined Weight Watchers back in January and it's been working out really well for me.  I hope to be able to keep going and get to a place where I'm happy and comfortable with my body.  It has been really hard with having 3 other people who usually get put before me, but I've managed to stick to it.  I am determined.

Steve's 40th birthday is this Friday.  I've planned all kinds of things.  I arranged to have someone come over on Friday and watch the kids so he and I can go out for dinner.  I arranged a surprise lunch/beers at the pub the following day with all his friends.  And I bought him a trip for two to go to Calgary, stay in a fancy hotel (cashed in my airmiles), and great tickets to go see the Canucks (our hockey team) play.  My mom and dad are looking after the kids for the weekend.  I hope he enjoys it and appreciates all that went into it.  I am looking forward to a weekend away.


Just got a call from my MIL. She tells me that her and my BIL put some money together to buy a travel voucher for the friends who helped nurse my FIL during his illness.  They are both retired nurses and they never left his bedside during the last week and they were simply amazing.  I knew that they were going to buy them a travel voucher to thankt hem and I had asked if we could contribute to it.  So MIL just called to tell me that the voucher was purchased and they were putting all our names on it.  I told her that we would have liked to contribute and she laughed at me.  No, we can't afford it but we could have found some money for it. It would have meant a lot to me to contribute. I feel embarrassed and sad that they left us out - even though our names are on it.

She also told me that the funeral home called and told her that FIL's ashes are ready to be picked up.  I knew she would have a hard time with that so I offered for Steve and I go collect them.  She told me that she hoped I wasn't offended but that she wanted his ashes spread on his birthday and she only wanted it to be her and Steve and my BIL and that they would pick up the ashes that day.  I told her I'm not offended and she should do what makes her happy.  But since I can be honest here, I'll tell you that I'm sad and yes, a little hurt.  I loved him too and I did all that I could during his illness to help everyone and be as positive and loving and caring as I could.  I feel sad that they don't want me there for his final goodbye.  I will be ok, I will get over it.  It just adds to the hurt that I'm already carrying right now.