November Isn’t Always About Thanksgiving

Dear fellow bloggers,

I am forcing myself to write this; I will force myself to also post it.

I realize it’s been several days since I posted anything here.  Though I have read many blogs and left a comment here or there but I cannot put together words that would count as a “blog” or a post.  There is a “pattern” to the blogs I’ve been reading which might be causing the thoughts to stir up and churn to the surface.  But maybe not.

Either way I’m forcing myself to do this.  To write something and maybe that will knock the wall down…whatever that wall is which I’m hiding behind.

I have always had a tendency to write in my head , whether its letters to someone, blogs, journaling type of writing, To-Do list, etc.; and that often suffices—which would explain the absence of posts from me for days—but not lately.

On one blog I have been following, Tilda Swift of Swift Expression http://tfaswift.wordpress.com/  has posted a blogging challenge which I truly found interesting and thought-provoking.  You can find out more information here:  http://tfaswift.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/blogging-challenge/   I started to do the challenge, I almost completeed the first part of the challenge but stopped.  The first part brought up memories I didn’t want to remember right now.  So I stopped; mid-way through the first part of a five-part challenge.  I’m not a quitter but I quit that, for now.  (I’m sorry Tilda).

It isn’t writer’s block I don’t think. It is more like having too many words on too many topics to settle down my thoughts to write about each topic individually.  So it’s a like a cluster of storms whirling about in my head that cannot manage to get from my head to my fingerstips to type.

The thoughts…what are they? Let’s see…

It’s November.

It’s cold.

It’s Fall.

I miss Mike.

I hate November.

On my way to work one day, riding my motorcycle a woman stopped in my lane and I broadsided her.  My body was broken in many places as was my head.  An ambulance ride to a hospital then a $15,000 helicopter ride to a trauma center is something I have no recollection of.  I laid in ICU for 14 days while the doctors waited to see if I was going to live or die.  When one of my estranged brothers came to see me, I had a hint things were bad, but morphine prevented me from worrying about what might be the cause of my twin brother’s visit.  My dreaded in-laws even came to see me. They were still pretending to care about me back then.  Again. So what?

I lived! That’s certainly something to be thankful for.   Then doctors fixed my shattered and useless arm.  It’s a bionic arm now with plates and pins from elbow to shoulder.  I cannot smell or taste as a result of the head injury, I lost many memories and still don’t recall people who claim they’ve known me for years.  I was in a wheel chair for almost 5 months due to broken hip and pelvis; when you can’t use one arm and are stuck in a wheelchair, its frustrating, you go ‘round and ‘round in circles without someone else’s assistance!   The woman who caused the accident was 84 years old and uninsured; and the medical bills were astronomical; though I worked for an attorney I was not going to sue the woman–and take the little money she may have had.  Because I lived and it’s only money, right?

November the year before, my stepson Ryan ran away from home. a couple of days before Thanksgiving.  He ran to his mother’s home in another city though he hadn’t seen nor heard from her in 19 months.  She was out-of-state at the time visiting her father.  So he contacted his maternal grandmother and she came and picked him up a few blocks from our house.  We did not know where this 13-year-old was for 7 days.  Thanksgiving was in the midst of those seven days.  It was horrible.  My husband blamed me for Ryan’s running away.  It didn’t help that Ryan wrote a note, not found by the other two kids in the house when they discovered he had left; the note said we’d be happier without him around.  We were extremely worried that the note hinted at suicide and were desperate to find him.  We called his friends, we put up posters, we called his mother (no answer) we called the police and reported him as a runaway.  We drove up and down streets looking for this truant kid and had no clue where he had gone.   But it’s Thanksgiving!  I had to cook a meal, we had two other children 15 and 17 who had done nothing wrong and needed to eat.  Mike was furious with me that I made Thanksgiving dinner without Ryan.  I didn’t know what else to do.  As I said, he blamed me.  His finger-pointing was probably symptomatic of his own feelings of poor parenting; his son wouldn’t run away if he was a good parent would he?  Most kids wouldn’t Ryan would.  He was an attention seeker and negative attention was even fine with him as long as it was attention.  I don’t know completely why Mike blamed me as we never resolved that issue.  (We did get Ryan back just before Christmas since his mother filed a court action to take custody, we won that round because the Judge felt Ryan was just acting out, it would be wrong to reward that acting out behavior in the Judge’s opinion) Mike took to eating sweets that week.  He would eat a gallon of ice cream at one sitting, following by huge candy bars, several of them and then cookies, or whatever sweets where in the house for the kids.  I asked him, how can you eat all that junk?  He responded, how can you not?!  It was not a happy time in the household for anyone.

My son Austin enlisted in the military, the US Army in November the next year; he’s been to Iraq and Afghanistan and I remember him coming to see me at work in November to tell me he’s done it!  Enlisted into the military.  Not a highly unusual occurrence given his dad was formerly enlisted in the Air Force and my kids were both born on military installations.  But there’s that war action going on in the Middle East…I was scared!

Mike from pancreatic cancer in November.

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

For me November is the unofficial beginning of the holidays, not Halloween—which we do not celebrate.  November is a time for people to get together, a huge meal planned, eats, drinks and be merry.  Reflect back on what we’re thankful for and so on.  If we believe the advertisements we’re subjected to we’re all supposed to be surrounded by family and friends and be smiling while enjoying a perfectly cooked—picture perfect—turkey and side dishes.  Start with Christmas plans and start hearing the carols and just be all around happy and satisfied in our warm cozy homes.  Does that setting really exist anywhere but on TV?

I don’t have any family or friends that will be coming to my house this year.  I haven’t been and I won’t be invited anywhere simply because everyone disappeared from my life when Mike died.  I found new friends but for one reason or another they went away.  My choice, their choice or mutual choice doesn’t matter.  Fact is they are gone.

Above all things I am not feeling sorry for myself nor is it self pity whatsoever.  I have many blessings in my life, I see them everyday.  However, even knowing that doesn’t ease this…this…whatever it is I’m suffering from.

So am I a loser, a failure?  Because I won’t be having one of those Norman Rockwell types of Thanksgivings?  I don’t really care; because it doesn’t matter a whole lot to me right now.

This is the time of year I have to consciously tell myself to unclench my teeth—something I do when stressed.  But this time of year I clench my teeth against the emotional pain that memories and loss bring.  I grind my teeth at night also; I know this because the sound of it wakes me up!

I know there are places I can go on Thanksgiving; I can go help at a homeless shelter, help serve food to the poor and indigent but I’m going to be honest here, I do not want to do that!  Not this month.  I get the implications of that selfish attitude; I get it and don’t care.  Because I’m not a selfish person by nature, except this time I’m going to try it out and see what the attraction is for all the selfish people I do know.  It won’t stick, but I’m going to try it just this once.  Even in this post I am procrastinating…I’m not really writing about the heart of the matter.

What has prevented me from writing, or finishing the…Solemn Anniversary?   

I want to but I don’t.  It hurts a lot and it is hard.  I’ve moved on a little, why revisit it?  Or perhaps the problem comes because I haven’t completely moved on.  Or I feel inclined to remember many details so I can write it.  I tell myself once I write it I can forget it as it—the story of Mike’s death, and the impact it wrought—has been finally and forever memorized into the written word.  Ok I fool myself saying I can forget it.  Either way I know it needs to be written, if only for me.  I should do it, I need to and want to. I just can’t get to it right now.

I was surfing the internet the other day—not looking for anything specific—but came across a posting on a social network.  I recognized the ID pic as a work of art from a painter that my daughter likes.  I followed that link as the writing I saw was from someone struggling for something and had been for a few years.  The posting was anonymous as this social network allows but I read the posts and the responsive comments.  As luck(?) would have it was my daughter’s page.  I knew it from the details she had written.   It is not my story to tell but I will hint that the postings were of a sexual harassment/abuse type.  I sat with that discovery of something traumatic that happened to my daugther that I did not know about.  I wondered about it, I cried about it. My daughter is not a liar so she wasn’t making it up.  Finally I could stand it no longer, not talking to her about it.  I was aware she had not spoken to me about it when it happened or even now while she was writing about it, that did not go unnoticed by me, but I’m Mom and someone hurt my baby girl…ok she’s not a baby, at 28 years old.   She’s all grown up but she’s my baby girl just the same. I brought it up the next time I saw her.  The scene that occurred was ugly which resulted in her storming out of the house.  Her reaction to my reaction was unpredictable to me.  She misunderstood my words and reaction…as victims often will do.  She was defensive and heard my words with those defenses.  In that SHE was responsible.  Also not uncommon for victims to think/feel/believe.  Alas I have my feelings but it didn’t happen to me so I cannot DO anything about it. Except support her in her decisions, if any.  It’s out in the open now between us, but it saddens me to think she dealt with this horrific experience on her own, silently.  I asked why she didn’t tell me when it happened.  Because, she said,  at the same time we were first dealing with Mike’s illness; “it would have been selfish of me to tell you then.”  Wow!  She amazed me with that statement and crushed me with it too.  Her horror was eclipsed by a different horror.

It’s November, right?  See?  November sucks!

It’s cold now that fall has arrived. I have a lot of firewood that has been nicely split and stacked and only about 20 feet away.  I should get a load of it and start a fire.  Why sit here in the cold? Because….I don’t care.  Or it matches my cold dead heart these days.  Or I’m just too lazy to bother getting firewood.    I do have to stay warm or all the broken bones start to ache, hurt to almost a crippling degree.   Its easier to put on another layer of clothes.

Maybe I’m having trouble finishing the writing because I’ve been boxing things up in the house in anticipation of maybe selling the house.  If I don’t then I’m glad some clutter is gone.  Packing though has its own unique emotional traps.  While I have gotten rid of Mike’s clothes and some personal items a long time ago, obviously some items remain.  Those I’ve gotten used to seeing but opening a drawer could have any number of triggers…memories of Mike.  Though I know this and plow on ahead anyway.  I have nothing else to do with my days anyway.

I was laid off from work exactly 6 months ago.  I know it doesn’t have anything to do with November, but its November right now and it is on my mind.  I consider looking for another job as savings will not last forever so occasionally I look at Help Wanted section of the newspaper.  There are usually about 15 jobs listed; health care and truck drivers as well as the scam artists are the norm.  However, the other day I saw an advertisement for someone in my area.   It sounds tailored made for me.  Certified, I am.  Over three years’ experience doing Family Law, I have 15; the job is even in my area so there’s no commuting to deal with.  Why don’t I apply just to see what happens?  I can honestly say I am not afraid of the rejection if I was rejected.  They will know who my former boss was when they read my resume and he isn’t well liked; he’s a snob and a non-joiner, in addition to being lazy. I am aware he can reflect badly on me, but that’s ok too.   After all I probably do need to get out of the house a little more; would probably be healthy for me.

I thought about it for a day or two, then came up with a good reason to NOT apply!  I don’t know where my resume is!  I don’t want to write a new one.   However, I looked for the resume on one computer I use and I found it. All that is required is to modify it just a little and send it off and wait for a reply, if any.  But I haven’t done that. 

I don’t know if I want to go back into the legal field where I spend years in school to learn and years working for a man who didn’t really understand or appreciate what I did for him.  The clients are pretty bad too.  They get into a mess and come to us to help them but don’t listen to advise they are paying for.  There are funny cases, there are terribly sad cases, and there are cases with angry litigants and cases that are impersonal, cases with animals and cases about drug abuse, stealing, assaults, domestic violence, even a murder case here or there.  All can be interesting, but most are not.  It took a few years for me to learn how to compartmentalized the work and not bring it home with me as it can color your world in a negative light.  Do I really want to go back to that?  No.  But maybe I should.  Maybe I should just apply and see what happens; start the ball rolling and just send my resume out to…everywhere.

If I get a job here though, will I then decide NOT to move? I want to move.  I think.  I rattle around in a 3200 sq foot house and it is way too big for me.  I should downsize at the very least even if it meant staying in the area which I absolutely loathe.

We bought this house in November.  Coincidence or fate?  I don’t know.  Maybe its just life and nothing mystic about it at all.

I do hate November though.

I’ll get over it…in January.  Until then I’ll keep on trying to RANT here.

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8 thoughts on “November Isn’t Always About Thanksgiving

  1. Hi. I hate November too. In the beginning of November, I realized my mom wasn’t going to win her battle against pancreatic cancer. On November 16, 2008 I lost her to this terrible disease. Then we “celebrated” our first Thanksgiving without her a week after my mom’s funeral. We were still all in shock, but put on our happy faces for the kids. Four years later, I still do that at times. I’ve accepted my mom’s death, come to terms with her loss, what that means, but I still miss her deeply. The holidays aren’t the same without her and I hate November. Christmas was my mom’s holiday. She poured her love into everything she did, and Christmas will never be the same for me. But I try to make it special for my kids. Things get better in January. I am so sorry you lost your mom and husband. Pancreatic cancer just plain sucks. I wish you all the best. Take care.

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  2. Tilda, thank you for reading/commenting/interacting/feedback…lol…all of it! Yes I did say your followers (me and others) would understand. It isn’t odd, but it was a good point. I heard you!

    I like to rant, have you noticed? It is cathartic. But I think I’m better now…ranting along with taking a few days off from….heck I don’t know what…but I’m back. thank you again. Its fellow bloggers like you, that are inspirational, that respond/comment and interact that keep me doing this. Yes I started it and continue it as a means to an end…to grief, loss, questions and understanding…but it is easier when others help us in our journey. Even if it is to offer an opinion or a “like”…lol!!

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  3. Hi Rose. I have nominated your blog for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I follow your blog and think it is a wonderful read. I get a lot out of reading what you write and it always makes me think about my life and where I am. Thank you.

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  4. I’m sorry this month has such bad memories for you. On the positive side, November is more than half over. 🙂 And it’ll be the new year before you know it… In terms of the blog, write when you feel like it. Even if it’s rambling, it helps get it “out.” Hell, most of what I post is mindless dribble, but it’s what’s on my mind at that time. When it’s out, I feel better. I hope you find a similar release.

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  5. Dear Rose, I’m so sorry. At least you got through your writer’s block. 🙂 What else can I say … I just hope that writing here (or not, as you like) helps you in some way. But if you can’t blog for a while, your followers will understand (didn’t you say the same thing to me once? That’s odd). You rule the blog; it doesn’t rule you.

    But if ranting helps, then you can always do that. Somehow ranting and knowing that other people are listening (reading) can be therapeutic, or perhaps cathartic is the word. I don’t know why. I guess we just need someone to listen.

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