Being Home

is so much harder than I thought it would be.  I thought I would come home and return to my old life with no issues.  But no.  Its so hard. Many of my so called “friends” are nowhere to be found and I spend a majority of time alone.  Being alone so much brings so many emotions to light. And frankly its depressing and I think I’m depressed.  

Coming from Afghanistan has made me had to face some harsh realities, and one of them is my mother’s death.  Being away from home and being away from my family made it easy for me to push a lot of the sorrow aside in order to be able to focus on my mission.  But now that I am home I realize that my family is 18 months ahead of me in the healing and mourning process, they have had that time to get used to her being gone.  And I am not.  This is the first time I have been home without her here. 

And I also realize that my Aunt is very depressed too and I feel like its my job to help her and to get her out of the house and to be the strong one.  But I can’t.  Its too hard trying to heal myself with all of the issues I have going on and trying to help her.  But then the guilt sets in and I feel bad because if I don’t help her who will?  My uncle isn’t much help and my cousins are busy.  Part of the guilt is that I also feel that if I don’t spend time with her now what if something happens to her and I have the same regrets that I had with my mother’s death.  What if I don’t spend enough time with her and she leaves me too?  What would I do then?  

I can’t always be the strong for my family, but I have to be and that hurts me, because it is not letting me heal from my time in Afghanistan.  I am not adjusting well and I need to fix my problems but I can’t and I can’t tell my family about them.  They think I am ok because I am really good at putting up a front.  But I’m not ok.  I’m hurting.  I have social anxieties, anger issues, I’m not adjusting properly, and I’m depressed.  And I want to tell my family but I can’t, because I don’t think they can handle it.  So what do I do?

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How do you not remember?

But seriously, how do you not remember everything that made you happy?  How do I stop remembering things about my mom?  How do I stop looking at something and having it remind me of my mother?  Because I would really like to know, because I feel like I am still perpetually sad, and I just don’t want to cry anymore.  I think I have enough crying and I want to move to the “happy” part. You know that part of mourning that people talk where you only remember the good times? But when I remember the good times it makes me sad, because I won’t be able to remember those things with my mom and be able to do them with my mom again.  So  when does that part come?  Because I would really like that to happen before I go home. 

Anxiety

I know I have talked about this before, but I am having serious anxiety about going home.  When I get home it will be just shy of the 18 month anniversary of my mother’s death.  And I will have to face the reality that my Aunt and Brother have been living since her death.  I don’t know what it feels like to go to my mom’s favorite restaurant without her, I don’t know what its like to be anywhere without her.  I have been away from my home for so long, that all I know of reality is separated from the life I lived when my mom was alive.  And I am afraid.  I have always ran from my problems.  Awful ex-boyfriend?  Move across the state.  Too much drama?  Move across the state.  Mother dies?  Immerse self in military career.  And now I have to face this reality head-on, and I don’t know how to cope.  

And to make matters worse, my aunt changed her home number.  And I know you are thinking “ok, so what?”  But that is the only number I have memorized.  It is the number on all of my emergency paperwork, and its like the only stable thing in my life.  My aunt has had the same phone number for 20+ years and now I have to memorize a new one.  And I guess it kind of freaks me out, because my mother had the same phone number from the time I was born until her death.  For me those home phone numbers bring a sense of stability to my life, and now that has changed too. I feel that when I get home I have no stability. 

And I am freaking out. 

Home?

We have been overseas for nearly seven months, and although we are not going home soon, all we talk about is going home.  One of the female Soldiers said that when she gets home she can’t wait to go shopping with her mom and asked if I was going to do the same.  Not only did I have to break the news, but I had to realize that going shopping with my mom when I get home is not an option, and next year I can’t complain that my mom dragged me Black Friday shopping, and there is no running into my mom at the grocery store.  And that is a harsh reality for me that I have not really had to deal with since my mom died, because the Army has kept me away from home.   All these girls get to hang out with their moms, and get homemade cooking, and I have me.  Just me. And it hurts. STILL.  It still hurts. 

I do find it easier to talk about my mom, but I know that I still have not truly dealt with the reality of my mom being dead, because I have not been home.  I don’t know what I am more afraid of: being in Afghanistan or being home without my mom. 

Today

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Today I should be celebrating my mother’s 63rd birthday, instead, I am remembering the one year anniversary of her death. I miss her beyond words.

And the day was ok.  I naturally worked, which I think is good for me, the Soldiers helped me laugh and did not let me dwell on today.  Of course I took time off to cry and nap and do nothing.  I needed to cry, I think it is natural.  And ironically today I received a care package from my aunt. She put a card in it and the card made me cry.  She told me she knew that my mom forgave me for all the times I was a “brat” and mean and selfish, but I think that was kind unfair for her to write.  I know that she was trying to help but I need to hear those things from my mom, not her.  I love my aunt very much, but I don’t know how I feel about that card.  But I am thankful that she sent me that care package and card, she is the closest thing I have to a mother and some of the things she wrote in the card were sweet and touching and I needed that. 

I was able to talk to my brother and nephew last night, along with my best friend.  And although those conversations were a bit on the sad part, it felt really good to hear their voices.  I cannot wait to get home and see every one.  I still need my family more than ever. 

Antsy

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I am six days away from the one year anniversary of my mother’s death and I don’t know how I am going to be.  I don’t know how I am going to feel.  I don’t even know what to do.  I won’t be with my family for this and I want to be there for them, for me.  I need them right now, like I need my mom.   I won’t be with them for this because of my duties. I just don’t even know what to feel, besides extreme sorrow.  I just want the day to come and go. I don’t want to deal with this.  But at the same time, its the first and I know its going to be the hardest and no one here knows.  I can’t share this with my Soldiers, I need to be strong for them.  God, I just need my family more than ever now.  How do I do this without them?  How do I stay strong?  Can I just skip this day? 

Sorry for the rambling post…. but here it is

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I have an amazing best friend who I have known for over 7 years.  We met when we were both interning in London.  She obviously knew and loved my mom very much and my mom always cared for her.  We had a big falling out right before I deployed overseas and it has taken us about four months to be able to even email each other.  And I never realized how much I needed her and my mom as my sounding boards. 

My mom was obviously my first and most best friend.  As I have said before I told my mom practically everything, and my best friend knows everything.  But with my mom gone and me and my best friend falling out, I have no one to tell everything to.  I know I have my aunt, but technology is not her friend and I just can’t tell my brother a lot of things.  

So recently I bought a new car (I know while I am overseas, its kind of crazy, that’s just what I do… rash decisions) and I wanted to tell someone so bad. And I had no one.  And it’s the kind of car I always told my mom I wanted and she always would say “I can see you in that… that’s such a Becky car”.  And now shes not here and I cant share my happiness with her. 

 When will I stop relying on my mom to be my first call, when will that instinct stop? And now that I don’t really talk to my best friend I feel so isolated and lonely.  My mom would always be my voice of reason, I mean of course she would have told me to buy the car, but she would have at least tried to reason with me the pros/cons and done the cost/benefit analysis with me.  I mean I wouldn’t have listened to her anyway, cause lets be honest, once I looked at the car I already made up my mind.  And my mom would have known that, but she would have at least helped me to rationalize this decision.  She was always there for my big life decisions and now shes not, and neither is my best friend, and I still feel lost.  What do I do now how do I fix this.  Both of them brought a balance to my life, and my mom is forever gone and my relationship with my best friend is fractured.  So what do I do? 

 How do I justify my actions, how do I make decisions now? How do I fix my relationship with my best friend?  My mom always knew the answers.

 And being deployed does not make this any easier.  I always make sure that my Soldiers call their families back home, but who do I call? My brother?  He has his own family.  My aunt?  She is old and busy with my nephews.  My mom was always there to answer her phone, well except for her cell phone that was hard to get her answer!  I just want it to be easy.  I want to talk about my mom without crying.  I want to be strong for my Soldiers but how do I do that when I cry about my mom all the time.  How can I be strong for them when no one is here to be strong for me.  My family tries, but I need my mom and my best friend.   God, I sound so emo right now, at least I still have my sense of humor!

To Do List

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My mom always loved to travel, but never got to go many places or all of the places she wanted to go.  And I received a letter last week from one of my penpals and it stated how she lives in Manhatten and how beautiful it is at Christmas time.  And it made me remember how much my mom always wanted to go to New York City at Christmas time to see how beautiful it is (Christmas was always my mom’s favorite). Naturally my mother never could afford to go because she gave us everything.  But it got me thinking, my mom never got to do a lot of the things she wanted to. And I don’t want to be like that.  I am deathly afraid that I will get cancer later in life, so I think now is the time for me to build my To Do list, my bucket list if you will. 

While I have done a lot, there is so much more for me to do.  And I will work hard to be the woman my mom wanted me to be, but I will never not do the things I want to do.

So the first thing on my list is to go to New York at Christmas time to see the lights.  I will continue to grow this list and hope that in accomplishing it I can make my mom proud. 

“This time last year”…

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…that is how I start every thought (or that is how it feels).  

Last 4th of July I left my friend’s beach-side condo, and naturally the party, to get sit in my mother’s living to watch the fireworks on TV with her.  Because every year I watched the fireworks with my mother, no matter what. And we always went to the beach.  But last year we had to watch them in her living room.  Naturally my mom being my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday and my first reaction was for “my mommy to get to better so we could be at the beach next year to watch the fireworks”.  And I really meant it and I really believed it would happen.  Because at 29 I could not fathom that my mommy was dying.  

And at exactly this date last year my mother checked into the hospital for what turned out to be the last time.  And me and my family moved into a hotel right down the street so that we would not have to drive the hour each way to see her.  And I hated and I hated my aunt for wanting to do that.  And I became resentful of my mother for not getting better.  

As the days countdown to the one year anniversary of her death all I do is think of where I was this exact date last year.  Because the last month before my mother died is a very vivid memory.  I remember everyday of that last month; who visited her, what I wore, what I ate, what my mom would not eat, the TV shows I watched with her, the day my brother and me signed her into hospice, everything.  

I think maybe the first year after death is the hardest because of the memories like this.  At least it is for me.  Because maybe this time next year I will only look one year back and this time this year does not include my mother’s impending death. 

The Spiral

Why is it when something, anything, happens that mildly depresses me I go into a downward spiral.  Because all I want to do is call my mom, and then I remember I can’t, and then I start thinking about my mom’s death and her suffering, and then I am crying. Hello, full on depression.

For instance, today I had a setback in my military career, which is upsetting in-and-of-itself, but then I think about calling my mom because she would know what to say.  And I can’t call her.  And so now, I am full on crying because I was upset and now I am even more upset.  This downward spiral sucks.  It just sucks.

And yesterday I really missed my mom.  Like, just some days she is all I can think about.  So, I called my aunt and she started telling that my brother is having some problems.  Naturally, that upsets me. So again full on crying, and I felt awful because I told my aunt how much I missed my mom and then we were both crying.  It is so hard trying to mourn my mother while being on the other side of the world away from my family.  And only my mom would know the right words to say to make it better. 

This spiral, its awful. It is a horrible feeling, and I know this feeling.  I spent my early 20s battling depression, and my mother battled depression her entire life (well her entire life with me).  I know depression, and I know that this could lead me there, and I am deathly afraid of being there again.  And I can’t stop it.