Ongoing Recovery — Blog Post #3
I continue to cleanup things around the house. This is relevant in that a lot of what needs to be dealt with either belonged to the boys or reminds me of them in some way. I get sad about it sometimes, but I keep identifying what I want to keep, and what I don’t, and actually getting rid of stuff. I don’t need to keep everything from the past and I want to make room for new projects. For anything that I think the boys might want, I take photos and email them and they confirm they don’t what whatever it is.
This was the first Christmas that both of our boys were not at home. I knew it would be different and it was. I was fine until around lunch time, when, suddenly, I could hear both of them riding around the yard. Then I as sad. I comes in waves, the sadness. I will never hear that again. I’m not sure why that makes me sad, thinking about things that will never happen again, but it does.
After Christmas we drove to visit our youngest at college. He was involved with the Rose Parade and he got tickets for us to attend. It was wonderful to see him working on the float, to see how independent he was. It is a milestone when your child drives you around Los Angeles. I wasn’t concerned, he gave me no reason to, and when I could put aside the strangeness of it all, it was simple nice not to have to worry about how to get from here to there. I saw a lot more of the scenery than I usually do.
I had been making notes pretty regularly since I left therapy, but I notice that it has been tailing off. My symptoms have been virtually gone. Some mornings my throat feels sensitive or sore, but very slightly and it goes away as soon as I’m focused on anything else. Missing the boys comes on suddenly, when I see photos of them for example, and I get sad, but it does fade through the day.
With the boys gone, I have more time for projects. I’ve been spending time trying to understand how to setup my new website, which involves many very mundane technical issues. I can see why many people just get a free website with WordPress, but I wanted to see how it all works, and I’m getting that experience. I spend more time working on projects that I enjoy, that aren’t needed by anyone else. I have made lots of progress on my model train layout, working out lots of details, building things, making mistakes, trying again, enjoying the process instead of worrying about the outcome.
I sat outside for the first time in a long time. The daffodils in the garden always bloom around the time of our youngest’s birthday. I get sad about them being gone, but the daffodils are beautiful, the colors so intense, my mind wanders and I feel better. The flowers move in the wind, I can hear the wind chimes, it’s relaxing to watch and hear.
I had a week where I was really anxious, but nothing bad had happened. I did have a lot of deadlines coming up, but they were all things I had volunteered for.
Elsie called, she had read all of my manuscript over the holidays. She said what I wrote was touching, she was very encouraging. She didn’t comment on what I wrote or how it was organized. I wanted her to read it to make sure I didn’t write anything that would upset he, or anything that might mislead anyone that reads it. She asked how the publishing process was going and we discussed how I was working with an editor and setting up my own website. She was very supporting and I promised I would get my book published and get her a copy!
I feel bad sometimes, that I haven’t published my book by now. At the same time, I’ve started to see it differently. I have relaxed a lot about deadlines. I’m doing this project because I want to, and while I very much want to complete my book, I don’t have to worry so much about when I get it done. No one is waiting, and none of my dependents will be hurt if I take longer than I planned to get this done. I don’t know how many people will really care about what I have written, but, if what I wrote could help even one person, I would like that person to be able to find my book.
I think about this often, and recently it dawned on me, that one person that could be helped by what I have written is me. Therapy has many duh! moments and this was one of them that came years after I was done with my sessions. I also think it helped, when my wife read my manuscript, she knew a lot more about what I had experienced and how therapy had helped me. Instead of worrying about what I hadn’t accomplished, it was good to realize that I my book had already helped two people. I had already met my goal of helping people, I just needed to see it.
It has also helped to work on my website. Having to stop working on my book to spend time on a website is delaying me, but it’s good to write about the many things that interest me. I still want to publish my book, but it isn’t the only writing project I have going on, and that’s good. Making progress on multiple writing projects takes the pressure off completing any one of them.
When I was told I had to create a website to promote my writing, I was disappointed. But I listened to the advice, and I found resources, both online and in a book, that helped me realize it was a great outlet for writing about other things I am working on. It continues to work, as it did when I went to therapy, to seek advice from people that know more than I do, to take in that advice, even when it isn’t what I want to hear, to let the emotions run their course and then try what I was advised to do and see what happens. Once again, good things are coming from seeking and applying advice from others.