450 Days

Derek’s been gone for 450 days; in some ways that seems like a really long time but in other ways it seems like it just happened.

I mentioned self-care in art therapy last time and how I suck at it but Leara said that it’s not just self-care but people that are grieving need support.  I realized that I don’t have that.  Support being people in my life that if they came to my house and saw how cluttered it was they would say Hey let me help you with this.  I don’t have anyone in my life like that.

I want to be the person that I used to be where I would get up on a Saturday morning, have a cup of coffee and clean my entire house.  Unfortunately I’m not that person any more and cleaning my house is on the bottom of my priority list.  I’m working on it though I really am.  Sometimes I laugh at myself for the things that are small victories to me; on Monday when I got home from work instead of sitting in front of the tv I swept the kitchen floor.  Inside I was like Yay I swept the floor today go me!

A few months ago I thought maybe I was ready to start dating so I signed up on an online dating site, created my profile and was hopeful that I would meet a nice guy that I would want to spend time with.  I just went on my first date last week and it was an awesome date!  For 2 1/2 hours we laughed and talked, there wasn’t any of that awkward silence where you don’t know what to say, it was perfect.  I got a kiss goodnight at my car and I was excited for the next date.  We texted back and forth for a few days, he called me a couple of times but both times I was in meetings so I couldn’t answer.  Then the weekend came and I never heard a word from him until late Sunday afternoon and I haven’t heard from him since.  There are so many rules to dating now that I just really don’t know if I want to put myself out there again.  I’m not supposed to text him because then I look desperate or crazy or clingy?  This makes no sense to me, I am a grown ass woman who knows what she wants and I’m not afraid to let someone know when they are being a jackass.  However, him not contacting me for days at a time after such a great night is a red flag and I’m just glad that I saw it now instead of 6 months from now.  Again, Yay me! lol

I think of Derek every single day and sometimes I smile and sometimes I cry and both are ok.  I smile when I remember him playing with his niece and nephews, running around the backyard chasing them and making them laugh and scream in fun.  I smile when I remember the Christmas present that he made for Sam out of a huge piece of wood that was in the shape of a heart.  He was proud of that gift and you could tell that he put a lot of love into it.  I smile when I remember what a giving heart that he had, he really would have done anything for his friends & family and even strangers.  I cry for the future that Derek, or I, will never have, I will never get to see him and Sam get married and have a family of their own.  I will never get to see him be happy in recovery or be a successful businessman.  I will never get to hug him again or hear his voice or have a deep conversation about his hopes and dreams.

I recently did a podcast where I got to tell Derek’s story and talk about Derek’s Place; I almost didn’t go because I was so nervous.   But I did go and I’m glad that I did because Andrea made me feel so comfortable from the moment that she answered the door.  So we sat down at her dining room table with this big microphone sitting between us, that microphone was a little intimidating.  We chatted for a few minutes and then she said ok we’re recording!  She told me that most of her podcasts were between 30-60 minutes and I thought to myself I’ll be lucky if I make the 30 minutes.  But I told Derek’s story, what he was like as a little boy, his struggles growing up, when he started self medicating with alcohol and weed just everything about him from my perspective.  Then I talked about Derek’s Place and why I was doing this.  I talked for an hour and 18 minutes!  There were tears and laughter in my podcast and I am very happy that Derek’s story will be heard.

Today, I am ok and I’m thankful for that.

I love you Derek and I still miss the hell outta you.

Crashing Waves

416 days…

Shortly after Derek died I read an awesome article about grief and waves; here it is:

Someone on reddit wrote the following heartfelt plea online:

“My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.”

Many people responded with words of encouragement, but one response in particular, by an older gentlemen, really stood out from the rest…

“Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.

I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter”. I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love.

So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.

As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out.

But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.

Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.”

On January 8, 2018 those waves were 1000′ high and they kept coming and coming and I couldn’t breathe.  For months I couldn’t breath, then there was a reprieve and I started trying to live my new life and I was doing so well, or so I thought.

On Sunday, February 24th, those waves came crashing down on me and they were just as big as they were on the day that Derek died and they came one right after another.  I couldn’t breath and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, I mean I had been handling my grief with a balance and I was doing good.  I knew that there would be more waves and more bad days but I didn’t expect them to take me back to those first days and weeks and months.

On Tuesday I went to Art Therapy and I knew there were going to be tears that night and there were, a lot of them, but Leara always knows what to give me to work on to help me.  She asked me what I wanted out of that night, did I want to work through those emotions or not?  I told her that yes I did want to work through them even though I knew it was going to be hard and I was going to cry through it.

It was a painting exercise based on my favorite book “Read This Until You Believe It” and do you want to know what I learned that night?  I’ve been thinking that my grief is separate from who I am, I am positive and cheery and sunshiny so when those waves come and they knock me down I was thinking that that wasn’t me, the real me.  That was the grieving me that didn’t have anything to do with who I am.  But you know what?  That is so far from the truth….

Grief is a part of me now and it doesn’t take away from me being a positive, upbeat person, it’s just a part of who I am now and when those waves come, and they will again, I have to learn to embrace them, feel them and still take care of me because I am still me even when grieving.  There’s that self-care element again, until 2 years ago I didn’t really even know what self-care was but I suck at it big time.

Sometimes I get discouraged about Derek’s Place, I doubt myself a lot, and wonder why we don’t get the support that a lot of other non-profits do.  We volunteer for other non-profits in an effort to help those in the community that will come to Derek’s Place but it seems like people still don’t know who we are.  I know it takes time, a lot of time, for something like this to get off the ground and I just have to have faith that this is going to happen.  I am determined to make Derek’s Place a success and to help all of those people that are like Derek.

Derek visited me in a dream again the other night, I love those dreams where I can see him and talk to him.  I see it as a sign that he wants me to keep going and not give up on what I’m doing.

This excerpt from the book “Read This Until You Believe It” resonated with me the other night and I want to share it with you:

Right now is a hard time.  You don’t have to love it.  You don’t have to do this gracefully.  You don’t have to find what’s good in this moment.  You just have to make it through.

I made it through those crashing waves with a better understanding of who I am now.

I am a grieving Mom that misses her Son terribly but I am also strong and positive and working on loving myself.

 

My Visit From Derek

403 days

Wednesday morning my alarm went off, I hit the snooze and rolled over to get that last 9 minutes of sleep.  Once I was rolled over the edge of my bed moved, like someone had been sitting there and they got up.  I’m sure it was Derek sitting there while I was sleeping and leaving when it was time for me to get up.  I’m so happy to know that he visits me.

I still haven’t cried; well I do at night when I talk to him.  I miss him so much and still can’t believe that I’ll never have a conversation with him, get a hug from him or a text saying I love you Momma.  We were building such a great relationship and now we can’t build on that.

I miss his humor, he was so funny and always making us laugh with his antics.  When Derek was clean he spent so much time with his family, I know that he loved us and would have done anything for us.

My life is so different now, I’m more subdued and I don’t laugh a lot, I’m very careful about who’s in my life.  I’ve had to pull back from some relationships because they just weren’t good for me.  I am finding me in this process though and I like who I am and I’m learning to love myself just as I am and that feels good.

I’m finally quitting smoking!  I’m on day 7 and I’m taking Chantix so that helps a lot!  I’m eating healthier because the last time I quit smoking I gained 75# in the first year and I am not going to do that again!  I’m eating protein and lots of fruit, drinking lots of water and every time I want a cigarette I do some kind of exercise.  At work I walk laps around the office and at home I do crunches, squats and planks.  I’ve lost 7# so that’s a bonus!  I like smoking a lot but I know that I have to quit because I want to live a long, healthy life; I want to see my grandkids graduate from college and get married and be a great grandma.  I want to be active and do things with them.

Derek’s Place is coming along; I’m meeting with the heads of other non-profits in the recovery community so that we can partner with them and use them as resources for our members.  I’m going to do an interview for a podcast in the next couple of weeks; anything to get our name out there into the community.  We’re having a euchre tournament in a week or so and that will be a lot of fun.  Then we’re doing a casino bus trip; I can’t wait for that!!

I know that there will be good days and bad days in my grieving process and when a bad day comes I will go with it and feel it until it passes.  That’s the healthiest thing that I can do for myself.  I have learned that having a good day doesn’t mean that I don’t miss Derek and that I’m betraying his death in some way.  It took me awhile to get that but I finally did and that’s a good thing.  Derek wouldn’t want me to stay down in the depths of the darkness of grief, he always just wanted me to be happy.

I’m trying Derek, I really am

I love you and I miss the hell outta you

395 Days

It’s unbelievable to me that Derek’s been gone for 395 days.

I’m doing well, right now, but I do know that that could change at any minute.

I talked about how I’m doing in group the other night; I feel like maybe I’m not letting myself grieve and that’s why I’m doing so well.  I was assured that that isn’t the case at all.  Leara said that I have been allowing myself to grieve and that’s why I’m doing well now, that I have a balance and I know that there will be good days and bad days and that I allow myself to have the bad days when they come.  I told them that I haven’t cried in days and that worried me, she said grief doesn’t equal tears and just because you aren’t crying doesn’t mean you aren’t still grieving.  She always puts things into perspective for me and I appreciate that about her.

I feel like because I am doing well that is somehow dishonoring Derek because he doesn’t get to have good days or bad days anymore.  But in the book Read This Until You Believe It there is a passage that says “your joy doesn’t dishonor your grief, and your grief doesn’t dishonor your joy”.  That is my favorite passage in that book.

I’m eating healthier, I’m sleeping better (with the help of sleeping pills) and I feel better about myself.  I haven’t made it to the gym yet but that will come in time.

I still miss the hell outta Derek and I think about him and talk to him all of the time.  I tell him that I love and miss him every night before I go to sleep but I wish he would give me a sign that he hears me.  I haven’t been very good about seeing any signs, so if he sends them I’m not seeing them.  I still don’t dream about him either and that bothers me.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the day he died and I still wonder if when he went down to sleep on that rock did he know that he would never wake up?  I’ll never get an answer to that question but it still doesn’t stop me from wondering.  Even if it hadn’t been so cold he still wouldn’t have woken up because his heroin was laced with fentynal.  That really pisses me off and I want that dealer to pay for killing my Son but that will never happen either because nobody knows who he is.  He’s just a lowlife that stands on the street selling drugs.  I genuinely hate that man.

I hate that Derek will never have another chance to get clean and get it right, I hate that he won’t be able to be a part of his Son’s lives and watch them grow up, I hate that he will never be able to get married or have  the family that he wanted but most of all I hate that he isn’t here to love and hug and talk to.  I hate that my Son died and I have to spend the rest of my life grieving him

I’m still working on getting Derek’s Place open but it’s taking so long and I am not the most patient person there ever was.  Still waiting for our determination letter but there is still a lot of work to be done before we get that letter.  Working on programming and trying to get contacts with other non profit organizations so that I can meet with them.  We’ll get there but it just takes time.

One thing that I’m happy about is I can clean my house again!  That sounds so weird but it’s true; for several months I was not capable of cleaning my own house.  I would sit in my livingroom and look around at the mess and I just didn’t know where to start so I didn’t.  I knew that it needed to be cleaned but I couldn’t do it.  About a week after Derek died my friend Kelly came and helped me clean and that was so much appreciated!  A few months ago my daughters came and helped me clean and that was appreciated too!  They did such a good job!  Now I’m not only cleaning my house but organizing it and that makes me feel good.

Baby steps and before you know it I’ll be leaving my house more, going to the gym all while grieving my Son.  Maybe some day I won’t feel so guilty for feeling joy and being happy.

I love you Derek

 

Place Catchy Title Here

382 days

It’s hard to believe that you’ve been gone so long and I’m still here, living my life as if I don’t miss you tremendously.  I have no idea how I made it through the last year but here I am; 382 days of missing you, loving you and wishing you were here.  Most of those days were treacherous and I wouldn’t wish them on anyone; today, most days are easier at least I don’t feel like I’m in a fog anymore.

One day runs into the next and I go to work, then go home and veg in front of the tv.  I’m trying to get out and do more things; like I went out with a girlfriend a couple of weeks ago and had a great time.  Last weekend I went bowling with friends and Gavin and that was fun.  It’s hard in the winter though because it’s so cold and you know how much I HATE the cold and snow!

Grief is such a strange thing; I can be having a good day and then all of a sudden I think of you or look at a picture of you and BAM I’m a blubbering mess all over again.  I know that this is normal, or what my new normal is, but it still takes me by surprise.  They say that these days will become less and less and that they won’t affect me like they do know.  But I will always miss you and I most certainly will always love you and be sad for the life that you could have had.

I think about you every single day and I miss you so much, your voice, your texts, your hugs and even the chaos that went along with your addiction.  I miss how when I would call you you would answer the phone with “hello madre”…I miss you telling me your hopes and dreams of the future.  There is no future for you any more and that makes me so very sad.

I wish that you would visit me in my dreams; you’ve only come twice and the first time was awful but you did tell me that you loved me in that one.  That was a year ago, forever ago.  I’m jealous of the Mom’s that talk about their kids coming to them in their dreams and I wonder why you don’t come to me in mine.  What does that mean?

I’m different now, there’s not as much laughter in my life, I feel like I’m a lot more serious and things that once bothered me don’t any more.  I don’t stress about things that I can’t change and I don’t judge people for doing things in a way that I wouldn’t do.  I have my own issues to deal with and don’t have time for drama or attention seeking.  I’ve taken a lot of flack for my #nobullshitzone comments and maybe I said it wrong because when I say #nobs I mean no drama or attention seeking.  I seriously have no time for that and have so much more important things on my mind.

Like Derek’s Place, we’re in limbo waiting on our determination letter from the IRS; with the government being shut down I don’t know if that’s going to affect that department or not.  They said 180 days and that isn’t until February but I’m not patient lol.  Derek’s Place is going to be so helpful to people, like you, that want recovery!  I want to give them a place like you would have wanted when you were struggling to stay clean.  A place where they feel wanted and understood, not judged or turned away.  Where they can learn how to live a life without drugs and/or alcohol.  You would have loved a place like this and that’s why I’m doing it.  All for you…

My new normal is making me into a better person and I like this person in spite of questioning why and missing you so much that it’s a physical pain and loving you more than you ever thought I did….

 

Life Goes On….

1 year, 52 weeks, 365 days…

Today is 1 year since Derek died in that park in Philly, I took the day off of work because I just knew that I would be devastated all over again and wouldn’t be able to focus on work at all.

Like one year is a turning point and everything will be better after that marker; but that isn’t what it’s like at all.  I didn’t cry much today and at first I wondered why but then someone in my Grieving Moms group said something that made total sense to me.  I have grieved every single day for the last 365 days so why would today be any different.  I grieved just like I have been.  Today happened to be a day where the tears came just not as much as I thought they would.

In the last year I have cried more tears than I ever thought I could, I have endured anxiety that was worse than anything I would have imagined.  I’ve made new friends and lost old ones.  I have been sad, angry and depressed and it’s all okay.  I’m grieving for my Son and I’ve learned that this is all part of the grieving process.

In the last year there were times when I was a person that I didn’t recognize any more, most days I still don’t know who I’m seeing when I look in the mirror.  Who is that woman with the sad eyes?  I wonder if I will ever look in the mirror and see happiness in those eyes again?

For months I couldn’t do things that I had always done; it was too overwhelming to clean my house, I couldn’t get out of bed to go to work some days.  A couple of weeks after Derek died my friend Kelly came over and helped me clean my house; I felt so stupid asking her but she never hesitated and came over.  We cleaned my house and had some wine.  My daughters came over, once, to help me clean too, it just sounds so ridiculous that I couldn’t clean my house but I really couldn’t and I can’t explain it.

There are those that have taken my grief personal and those that have mistaken my grief for negativity.  They are wrong, my grief has nothing to do with anything except my beautiful Son dying and it’s not a pretty thing or a positive thing.  Grief, like addiction, is ugly and negative and this is what it looks like for me on some days.

I refuse to apologize for my grief because it might make someone uncomfortable, this is my journey and nobody else’s.

In the last year I have been able to have a relationship with Derek’s boys and I cherish every minute that I spend with them.  I will always talk about their Dad with them, what a wonderful man he was and how much he loved them both.  I’m sad that it took their Dad dying for me to be able to do this.

In the last year I have thought about smoking cracking or doing heroin so I could feel what Derek felt but that’s all it was is a thought.  I’ve also thought about taking too many pills so that I could be with him but I would never do that either.  Those were times when I was in a very dark place, in my grief, and didn’t possibly know how I was going to go on without my Son in my life.

I know that I’m in a different place, in my grief, now .  There aren’t as many dark days but they are still there.  Some days I burst into tears when I see his picture on my desk and some days I look at that same picture and smile because that’s my boy and I love him so much.  Some days I snap at people at work but most days I don’t.

I know that I will always grieve for Derek and that some days will be better than others.  But I will never stop loving him and I will never stop trying to help people that are just like him.

I miss the hell outta you Derek

2018

359 days

I have lost a lot of people in my life; my Mom, my Dad, the Father of my children, my grandparents and other family members.  I thought that I grieved for each of them when they died but I never really knew grief until Derek died.

When Derek died I knew that I had to let myself feel all of the stages of grief, as they came, or I would have a complete meltdown some day.  Not that I didn’t have meltdowns in 2018 because I did but it’s better to have the meltdowns as they come instead of having one great big one months or even years after the death of a child.

For several months, after Derek died, I was in a fog; it was the strangest feeling.  I would get up in the morning, get ready for work, try to make it through the day but I was just going through the motions and I couldn’t believe that he was actually gone.  This fog made me feel like I was “stuck” and that I was always going to feel like this.  I kept thinking that it was all a bad dream and I was going to wake up to one of Derek’s texts or phone calls.  What I came to realize that this was a nightmare and I was actually living it.

I felt like a zombie just going through the motions and I had know idea how to grieve for my Son.  I learned that I was grieving for my Son and this was just part of the grieving process.  The anxiety was the worst; it was debilitating and there were days that I couldn’t get out of bed to go to work.  Some days I would make it to work but I would have to leave because the anxiety was so bad.

I had many sleepless nights where I would just toss and turn and think about Derek and ask myself how was I supposed to go on without him in my life.  Finally my Dr gave me sleeping pills so that I could sleep, the downfall of the sleeping pills is that I sleep so hard that if Derek is visiting me in my dreams I don’t know it because I’m sleeping so hard.  He has come to me twice in my dreams and the first time was awful, I woke up sobbing because of it.

I was sad for most of 2018 and if I did laugh I immediately would stop because I felt like it was a betrayal to Derek to be happy when he couldn’t be here.  I felt guilty if I experienced any joy or happiness at all.  I felt like my new normal was to be sad for the rest of my life.  None of the Holidays had any  joy for me, they were just reminders that Derek wasn’t ever going to celebrate any of them.

2018 reminded me that Derek was never going to get married or have any more kids or be successful in his business and recovery.   He wanted all of that so much and tried to get clean and stay clean so many times.  He never believed that he deserved all of that happiness even though I used to tell him that he deserved all of the happiness in the world.  He wanted the American Dream but never reached it and that makes me so sad.

For months I was angry with God for taking my sweet Boy, I used to pray every night that God be with Derek and help him find his way so that he could have all of the happiness that he deserved.  I felt like God didn’t answer my prayers but instead took Derek from me and I was pissed.  Now I wonder if taking Derek was the only way that God could answer my prayers, maybe this was the only way that Derek could have true happiness.  I just wish that he could have had another chance to get it right.

It was 1 year ago today that Derek got out of detox and he had a plan; he had a sober living house that had a bed and he was going to go there and continue his recovery.  He only stayed in detox for 5 days and they wanted him to stay longer but Derek always had to do things his way; even though I had pointed out to him that for 17 years his way hadn’t worked too well.  But he had a plan this time and I was going to support him in whatever plan he came up with as long as it was about recovery.

All of the sleepless nights, anxiety, anger, sadness, confusion, fog, tears (there have been gallons) and even joy are part of my grieving process and something that I had to let myself do.

I’m not done grieving and I know that there will be days when I feel those things but I know it and understand it now and for that I am grateful.

I love you Derek and I miss the hell outta you

I Made It…

352 days

I made it through my first Christmas Eve and Christmas without Derek; it was so much harder than I thought it would be but I did it.

The tears started at work on Christmas Eve and they continued throughout the day and night.  I thought about Christmases past, both good and bad, and remembered my sweet Boy.  The last Christmas that we spent together was in 2015 and Derek was clean that year, we had such a wonderful Christmas!

Yesterday, we remembered Derek and shared our memories of him on Christmases past.  The tears weren’t as bad yesterday because when I’m around other people I don’t let them flow like I do when I’m alone.  I’m not sure why I do that but that’s what I do.

One year ago, today, Derek called me crying; his friends were taking him to detox.  He sounded hopeless, scared and sad.  He was on a downward spiral and none of us could even imagine how it was going to end.  He wanted freedom from his addiction so much, he wanted to marry Sam and be a good Dad to his boys.

During the next 5 days I talked to Derek every day, sometimes more than once; I loved hearing from him.  He would talk about his future plans and what he had to do to achieve them, he talked about Sam and how much he loved her and wanted to marry her, he talked about his boys and how much he loved and missed them.  He wanted, so desperately, to be a good Dad to them but knew that until he got clean and stayed that way there was no future with them.   During one of our conversations I said to him “Derek there’s no physical withdrawal from crack so why are you in detox?”  He said “Mom I have a lot more than crack in my system”, it was then that I knew he was addicted to heroin and it scared the hell out of me.

Grief is absolutely the hardest thing that I’ve ever been through, some days I feel like I died too but they forgot to bury me.  Some days it’s so bad that I don’t want to even get out of bed but most days I do and I go to work and pretend like everything’s ok.  Honestly, I don’t know how things can be ok again.

I know that I will always grieve for my Son and my life will never be the same but I’m learning to find times that are happy and not feel guilty for them.  I’m learning that a lot of people can’t possibly understand what I’m going through and that’s ok; and I’m glad that they don’t because I would never wish this pain on anyone especially my friends.  I’m learning that everyone grieves differently and that’s ok.

I will always love you Derek and I will always miss you, my heart will never be the same and that’s ok too.  I will always talk about you with your Boys and anyone else that will listen and I will never, EVER forget you and the wonderful man that you were.

Neverending…

343 days

I woke up this morning angry at the world; for no apparent reason that I’m aware of.

I had a wonderful weekend spent with my youngest, we shopped, baked and binged on Hulu and it was wonderful.  I didn’t get everything baked that I wanted to but I’m hoping that I’m up to baking after work this week.  It’s hard to tell, until I get home, if baking is something that I’ll want to take the time to do.  I still have chocolate fudge, chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies to make!

So why am I so angry this morning?  I can only assume that it’s part of my grieving process but I sure don’t like it!

I’m anxious about Derek’s Place because we haven’t received our determination letter from the IRS yet.  Also, why do people say that they’re going to donate and then they don’t?  I see friends donating time and money to other organizations but when it comes to Derek’s Place, crickets.  I can’t even get volunteers to help us with fundraising.  It’s all very discouraging to say the least.  I will not give up though because I know that this is a wonderful, much needed organization and I know that there are people and organizations that believe in us and will help.

I miss Derek so much and I’m dreading Christmas and then the 1 year mark;  I wish I could go to sleep and wake up on January 9th but I know that’s not possible.    This anxiety is debilitating, at times, but there’s nothing I can do at work because the Kolonopin  knocks me out even if I just take a half of one.  I keep seeing things that I want to get him for Christmas, things that would mean a lot to him, but he’s not here for me to give them to and that makes me so sad.

It’s days like today that I just want to go back home and crawl back into bed and stay there for the entire day.  I can’t do that though because I just bought a new car and I can’t afford to not be at work.  So I’ll get through today the best I can and hope that I don’t snap at anyone.   It’s a good thing that I have therapy today, maybe my therapist can help me with these feelings that I have today.

It’s so weird how I can be going along just fine, I remember Derek but still have good days and then BAM here’s the anxiety and the anger out of nowhere.  Grief definitely comes in waves and these waves today are huge.  Too bad I don’t know how to surf

Last year, at this time, Derek was deep into his addiction and I would go days without hearing from him.  I was so worried about him because he just couldn’t seem to get back to recovery and at times it seemed like he didn’t want recovery.  He had lost faith in himself that he could be clean.  Then there were days where he would say Mom I’ve gotten clean before I’ll do it again, just don’t worry.  But I did worry, a lot and so did his friends, in recovery, in Philly.  He had great friends there, something that he didn’t have here.  Friends that would do anything for him to be clean and they would be brutally honest with him about his using and he would listen to them.  Most of the time he would listen to them.

It was at this time last year that I found out that Derek was getting high in the Lady’s house that he was renting a room from.  I thought that his apartment had it’s own entrance but he told me that he had to walk through her living room to get to the 3rd floor where his apartment was.  I was worried for her, I knew how Derek got when he was using and didn’t have money for drugs, I was afraid that once he sold all of his things that he would start selling her things to get drugs.  He could get violent too and I didn’t want anything to happen to her.  She was 70 years old and had no idea what was going on in her home.

So I called the local police and told them that my Son was living there and that he was doing drugs in her home, they gave 0 fucks that this was happening and told me that she had to know that he was doing drugs in her house and that she must be ok with it.  I was so mad at them and let them know what I thought about them.  For some reason Sam told Derek what I had done and he was so angry with me and told me to stop trying to inject myself into his life that it was none of my business.

I told him to not contact me until he was in jail or recovery.  He didn’t

After I sent him that text I kept thinking that I couldn’t not talk to him because what if he died?  I didn’t want that angry conversation to be the last one that I had with my Son so I sent him a text, 2 days later, and told him that I was sorry that I had said that and that I did want to talk to him.  He called me right away…2 weeks later he would die and I’m so glad that we talked almost every day in that 2 weeks.

Losing Derek has been, hands down, the most tragic thing that has happened to me in my life and I’ll never get over it…ever

 

 

Holidays & Grief

339 days

Christmas is only 12 days away and to say that I’m not in the Christmas spirit is an understatement.  I’m not putting a tree up or decorating for Christmas, I’m not having dipping day with the grandkids, I’m not doing anything.  I have bought gifts for everyone but I just went through the motions when doing that.

I’m sad that I don’t get to pick out the perfect gift for Derek like I did last year; I’ll never get to do that again.  My first Christmas without him has taken all of joy out of the season for me.

I’m trying to think of something to do on Christmas morning so that I don’t have to be alone; I’m going to my daughter’s in the afternoon so I’ll wake up alone on Christmas morning and I’ve never done that before.  Maybe there’s a place serving breakfast to the homeless and I could volunteer there.  There must be someplace I can volunteer.

Or maybe I’ll be ok spending the morning alone, I guess we’ll see.

On a brighter note we had our Black Tie event last Saturday and it was a success!  There was a lot of planning and tears that went into it but it was all worth it.  We sold 52 tickets which is a lot less than the 160 that we wanted to sell but I know that those 52 people support Derek’s Place and want us to be successful because our community needs this place!

I have never organized an event like this and was very stressed and nervous about how it would turn out and it was definitely a learning experience for next year’s event!  I am happy with how it turned out but next year we will do a lot of things differently for sure!

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of Derek, sometimes tears come with the memories and sometimes they don’t but I never know when the tears will come.  On Saturday night when I was speaking at the Black Tie event, I was talking about Derek and Derek’s Place and the tears came pouring out of my eyes.  It took me a few seconds to compose myself and start speaking again.  Does that make me unprofessional?  I don’t think so, I think that it’s ok for me to cry when I need to.

It’s taking so long to get our determination from the IRS that sometimes I start doubting myself and whether or not I can pull this off but I am determined to do this thing!  I have so many ideas for Derek’s Place and I just want to have a building and be able to start helping these people in my community that are like Derek, they really do need a place like Derek’s Place!