It seems cruel to the kids that time has flown by so fast since their Dad passed away. Almost a year has passed and it seems for them like just yesterday. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Sometimes it feels cruel in the sense that they still feel it is so raw and fresh but yet when people talk to them they feel like they should be further along in their grief process.
I will say that the hardest months for them and us were months four to nine. All help dropped off. My oldest got to the point that she would get on social media and
not subtely mention that if one more person anonimously left cookies at our doorstep without ever asking how we were doing she was done and would throw them back. (Okay, maybe not THAT dramatic but close).
From their standpoint, I could see how they were feeling. Only several people faithfully were here for our family during those months but the kids and I were just struggling. Family, friends, youth leaders, teachers, and coaches were reaching out sporadically and with a quick text about every couple weeks to the kids but they were struggling and so was I. Some people who promised to be there didn't reach out at all. You would go to church or to the kids events and people would ask you how you are doing and as a loosely based research project I would respond with comments like "It's rough right now" or "it's been rough but trying to hang in there." Because EVERYONE always responds with "fine" or "good" I decided to change it up as part of my experiment. When I would make that statement I was pretty shocked that not ONE person ever tried to get me to elaborate on my statement or asked more about it or gave much more than a simple reply. And in their defense I know that I'm pretty guarded and have been pretty tight lipped on everything that has happened to our family the past few years. But for some to just drop off on the kids--mama bear mode came out. And I also recognize that our situation is AWKWARD! so that's why we also acknowledge and embrace your awkwardness in your replies. We just appreciate that you acknowledge and try and reach out. But some of the responses that I got from my experiment would've been hysterical to me at another time but at that time just cut pretty deep. I received NO JOKE everything from people just turning and walking away after I said that (wth??), to those callously saying things like "well it will get better." Yeah and it did. My best friend passed away, we celebrated Father's Day and my ex's birthday (the first since their Dad passed away) in the span of one week, I totally bummed my way through my birthday two days after those events and then ended up in the emergency room with colitis. It totally got better, thank you! (I never lost my sarcastic humor through this time though).
All of us were struggling to see any light at the end of the tunnel. We are pretty positive people most days, but after months of this it feels like you are the little toddler you see at the beach who just keeps getting pummeled by waves. For awhile they pop right back up after each wave knocks them down but then you see the exhaustion set in. The wave starts to take them down and drag them alittle before they are able to get back up. And finally they need their parents to hold one hand and then both to stay afloat as the waves keep coming. Eventually they loose interest in the waves all together.
It pretty much felt like that for months but no help was coming. It felt like not one person cared other than the few that were faithfully there. I can empathize with those who struggle with deep depression. It felt like the fog would never lift. you're reaching out, you're trying, you're going through the motions but nothing in return. And you are at the lowest of the low. It may seem weird to some. "You HAD people regularly reaching out." Yes, we did. My boyfriend was there, our good family friend was there, our counselor, a couple of family members, a couple of my kids friends...but it wasn't reaching us like it used to. It is a bizarre messed up way of thinking I guess. I think we just needed reassurance maybe? that there were others thinking about us. That hadn't forgotten us or their Dad or our situation?? maybe it was some depression? I don't know.
And then one day when we literally could not take it any longer and I came home feeling like I was done in every facet of my life from religion to people to work it happened.
A knock on the door. No appointment. Just two men who know our family and supported my kids and I through the past few years apologizing for not calling or texting first but asking if they could come spend some time visiting with us. The kids were so excited to see them. They stayed almost an hour. We talked about next to nothing, but I watched the kids demeanors change and they started to smile and then they started to laugh.
And then the door knocked again, and again that day. All people just coming to chit chat for a few minutes.
I don't know if they saw the posts, if they were watching my daughter's social media or just felt the need to stop by but for us it was someone answering and someone being that extra pair of hands in those waves that just kept knocking us down. That one days visits carried us until Father's Day and their Dad's birthday.
At our lowest possible moment, someone answered. But I can't help but think of how close to the line we got. How close to just being 'done' we got. Words cannot even do justice. One hour--one simple answer and two people changed our entire demeanor and outlook.