My dad’s birthday

It should be a happy day; it was once.  It’s my dad’s third birthday since he passed, I think.  I’ve lost count…that whole part of my life is a blur.  What is it now?  His un-birthday?  My kids won’t even remember it…I don’t remember my grandfathers’.  I miss him.  I normally work from home on Fridays, but I found an excuse to go to work so I don’t have to be alone with my thoughts all day.

My good friend is doing the fade on me.  I really have to go “no contact” on him.  What a day.

Random

My boss asked me today about Hinduism/Buddhism and detachment.  “How,” she wondered, “do you have a detached marriage?”  “And if you love someone and that person dies, are you supposed to not grieve?”

I don’t know the answer.  It’s something I’ve wondered about myself, though I haven’t given it much thought in a long time.

My husband also thought that the Gita says not to feel at all–never to laugh too hard, or cry.  And I disagree with that to an extent.  I think the Gita says to feel the feelings, but not to let them govern your actions.  Self-control, basically.

Two years old

My son turned two a couple of weeks ago.  He’s so big now–a boy, not a baby.   My daughter’s first words were “up” and “duck.”  My son’s were “car,” “ball,” and “mom.”  My husband said “he’s a boy, all right.”

My friend requested to be his godfather.  Which I was very happy about, except we don’t really have godparents in Indian culture and the only context I’ve ever heard the word in is in the context of Mafia dons.

I haven’t blogged much lately; I’ve entered into correspondence with an old friend, and I’ve been writing fiction and poetry.

We may have to move cross country for my husband’s medical training.  This disturbs me as I have a very nice job here, we have a house here, my mom is here, and I have some old friends here.  We have 11 months to figure out what we will do.

So that’s the roundup.

Complicated grief

I read somewhere that a common reaction to bereavement was yearning and searching.  That people kept seeing their loved one everywhere.

I don’t search in space.  I search in time.  I ruminate and relive old memories again and again, fearing that I will forget them; lose everything I have of my father.  My dreams these days are incredibly vivid and detailed memories of small episodes from my past.  I yearn for people in my past…old friends, acquaintances, who have long since forgotten me.  They are anchors to a time when life was simple — before my parents fell ill.

The problem is that those people have long since moved on and forgotten me.

I feel the worst about my postdoc advisor, because he was really genuinely kind to me, and I don’t think it had to do with his own self-interest.  I miss sharing things about work with my dad.  My advisor was similar.  I miss him too.  These days there’s nobody left to talk to, or at least it feels that way.

I read somewhere that you can choose three of five:  work, fitness, friends, family, hobbies.  I guess I’ve let go friends and work.

My husband is unable to let go work, and work takes up two slots, so he has let go friends, family, and fitness.

I’m very lonely these days.  I go back and revisit graduate school in my mind, still wondering where I went wrong; how I got kicked off the path of being an academic despite having sacrificed so much for it.  In the end I think it had to do with my personality and my lack of self-confidence…too much second-guessing, and in retrospect, difficulty breaking into the “boys club.”

I feel so dissatisfied, and so tired.

Progress on New Year’s Resolutions

It’s March now…time for a progress check.  Here are my resolutions for 2017, and where I’m at:

  • To write and submit stories and poems.  I haven’t published anything in a full year.
    I had a poem accepted a couple of weeks ago.  I earned pro pay, too.  It’s funny; I’d trunked that poem in 2013 after a few rejections from lower-tier magazines, and then I tweaked it a bit and sent it to a pro-paying magazine and it got in.
  • To lose weight.  I need to lose at least ten more pounds, preferably 20.  I know everyone makes this resolution but (a) I have blood glucose issues, so it’s particularly important, and (b) I’ve already lost 30 lbs and kept it off, so it’s possible.

    I’ve lost a few pounds, mainly because I got sick and lost my appetite for a few weeks.

  • To exercise more.
    No progress yet, unfortunately.  I do try to walk more, inspired by Pokemon Go.  But I do less cardio, so it’s a wash.
  • To use my iPhone less.  I feel like I’m getting addicted to it, and I don’t like the feeling.  WhatsApp takes time away from my kids, and it breaks my concentration and ability to focus on things.
    I’m trying.  I still waste a ton of time, but I try to spend that time writing fiction, instead.
  • To network more and be more aggressive with regard to my career.  I am an introvert who hates self-promotion, and hates conflict more.  The problem is that people around me aren’t like that.
    Working on it.

  • To spend more time reading to my kids.

    Working on it.  I love reading myself, but I get so bored sometimes reading the same stories, slowly, at a three year old’s pace, over and over.  Still, I try.  I am Sam. Sam I am.  *sigh*

Three years

Tomorrow is three years since my dad fell ill.  That day there was a ton of snow.  Today it’s 66 degrees F out.  Go figure.

I have been having strange dreams in the last week.

In one, I was interviewing with a distinguished middle-aged white guy for something.  (I mention that because all the political stuff lately has made me very aware of race and racism.)  I realize now that he looked like one of the people I work with, who isn’t very friendly.

I also actually had a similar phone interview last week.  Both in the dream and in reality, the interviewer asked about my PhD, etc.  In the dream, I told him the truth–that pursuing an academic career was a risk and, in retrospect, a mistake that derailed my career.  In the dream, he told me that my going to graduate school would only have been a bad decision had I known ahead of time that there was a 100% possibility of failure.  I don’t think that is true, but in the dream it seemed a very profound statement and I woke up feeling a little comforted.

I had another dream last night where I got an e-mail from a stranger who had been renting  a property from my dad (not realistic; my dad never rented property).  The stranger said that nobody had come to mow the lawn and his grass had been growing very high and he was trying to reach my dad.  I sat on the e-mail for a while, and then realized I had to make arrangements for the lawn.  I thought about whether and how to tell the stranger my dad was gone.  Then I realized the house he was renting was my parents’ house, and that we had moved on.

I have started interviewing for stuff on the other side of the country, where my husband will go for fellowship.

Especially with my father gone, I feel so very alone sometimes.  Ever since he died, and I saw up close what happened to him (and to my mom, whose cancer was the impetus for this blog), I feel afraid of the future.

It’s been four years since my mom began chemotherapy.  Her oncologist told her last year she could stop with the CT scans.  My husband feels otherwise and I know he’s right but I don’t want to tell my mom.  Mentally, I just can’t cope.

In bed this morning I thought about how people in horrible situations–facing death, or man’s inhumanity to man, must have gotten through each day.  I guess maybe at the time you focus on surviving, in little chunks at a time.  Only looking back at the event in totality do you realize the horror of it all, and wonder how you survived.

I really miss my dad and want him back.  I can’t believe it’ll be three years, and soon five, and then (if I’m lucky) fifty.  I also can’t believe that life has gone on, but it has.  Back after it happened I remember spending so much time wondering whether there was an afterlife, and whether I’d ever see him again.  These days I don’t think about it as much.  I have learned to live without him.  There’s a new political administration that he didn’t see; he never got to see WhatsApp or my iPhone; he didn’t get to see his granddaughter walk or his grandson be born.  At first it hurt a lot that he was missing all of these things, and now although it still hurts, it’s normal; my post-dad world.

I’ve come a long way

I had a physical yesterday, and an OB well-woman visit last week.

The OB exam felt weird–it was one of the only times I’ve visited an OB and not been pregnant.

I used to be very afraid of doctor visits, and avoid them.  I must have inherited that fear from my parents, who were the same way.

Neither checkup was a big deal.  I’m glad I’ve overcome my anxiety.

The doctor was very pleased that I’ve brought my BMI just about into the normal range, although it’s still at the high end of normal.  She says that ideally though, I should be in the middle of the normal range with a weight in the 130-140 lb range.  I am proud of myself.

I’ve been sick this week with a bad cold.

My baby turns 18 months tomorrow.

As far as having come a long way, that kind of cuts both ways.  I can’t believe I’ve been alive for 37 years…it seems like such a long time to do anything at all.

Since having kids, and since the loss of my dad, I’ve started to feel old, and like the best times of my life are behind me.

There won’t be any more kids, for one thing.  We can’t manage more.  So I feel kind of sad that I’ll never have a newborn again.  Sometimes I wonder where my life went.  I guess what ought to have been the best parts of my life all got squished together:  People date, marry, have one child, have another–the process takes a while.  For me it all happened in about two years, and was interspersed with my mom’s cancer diagnosis and my dad’s diagnosis and death six months later.

Maybe it’s that I’m nearing 40; if I die at the same age that my dad recently did, I passed the halfway point a few years ago and am already over the hill.  Seeing my parents the last few years struggle with cancer, it scares me that the second half of my own life might be like that.  Things like youth and good health, in the first half of my life I took for granted and didn’t really appreciate or enjoy.  And maybe they won’t be there in the second half.

Anyway, other than that feeling, life goes on.  It is stressful as always–my husband got a fellowship in another part of the country.  I don’t know what to do about that.  I guess we’ll figure it out.