I’ve been seeing a therapist since June after I had a meltdown in the hospital after my surgery in May. I saw my primary care doc after I was released from the hospital and he recommended Lexapro. I started taking it, but found it actually caused me worse anxiety than it had been prescribed for so I spoke with my primary doc and decided to seek counselling while leaving the door open to move to another anti-anxiety if the need arose. It’s been eight months and the weekly therapist appointments are helping immensely. Having an impartial party to tell my troubles too and let my guard down with has been a godsend. Sometimes it’s just easier to talk to a stranger than the ones who love you.
Also, a godsend? The folks at Lacuna Loft. Lacuna Loft is a group for young adult cancer survivors, which my thankful-to-be-considered-young-adult-at-45 will age out of next year. They offer periodic online creative workshops. I missed the first one I signed up for in October because I was in the ER with a migraine that caused me to temporarily lose my vision. The two I’ve managed to take part in have been so much fun and reinforced the idea that art for art’s sake is healing, and nurturing, and great for anxiety.
I have yet to find a local bereavement support group and the widows’ Facebook group I joined often left me feeling more upset and sad so I made the decision to leave the group. Truthfully, I’m not entirely sure I’m yet ready to be in a group and talk about Chuck’s death. I don’t like crying in public. I’m just learning how to feel and fully acknowledge my feelings so I definitely don’t think I’m ready for public displays of sorrow.
What has also has been helping are the audiobooks I’ve been listening to. The first blog was brought to you courtesy of Jenn Lancaster’s, The Tao of Martha. Her writing about her dog Maisie’s battle with cancer and her eventual death and the grief that followed finally brought my words pouring out of me like a spigot on full force. The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy gives me strength and reminds me to be militantly furiously happy in the face of sorrow and grief. This week it’s Stephen King’s, On Writing. His blue-collar approach to daily writing was a gentle reminder to just sit down and write, and Martha Beck’s continuing piece in Oprah Magazine about hunting for happiness follows her advising a woman feeling unmotivated and unhappy. Her advice to do what makes you happy reminded me to get back to what I love to do.
Honestly, right now I don’t love writing, but I think that’s more a case of being out of practice and being unsure if I can maintain my original pledge from the 365 Days of Carol Anne Cancer Diaries that I’d always tell you my truth no matter how bleak, gross, or sad. I’ve been writing more personal missives in my journal and working through my grief talking to family, friends, and my therapist, some of which I think could very well not be fit for public consumption and surviving and fighting your way through cancer offers you a treacherous villain, cancer. Learning to go on and face this new life as a widow offers a no less treacherous or formidable villain but it’s an abstract; transcendental if you will, villain. You can hate and despise death all you want but no matter what you do it’s not changing or going away. And, while I’ve never believed in ghosts or visits from lost loved ones I’m unbelievably hurt that I haven’t dreamt of or seen (believe me, I’m rolling my eyes with you) Chuck since he passed on. Why hasn’t he come to me? Yes, I’m as confused as you why I’m looking for something I honestly don’t believe in is as mystifying to me as it is you.
Next week will be three months since he left me and some days I’m a functioning adult and others I’m a couch dweller binge watching ER on Hulu so I don’t have to think or feel or consider what next, where do I go from here. I don’t have answers right now and my boxing gloves and moxie are powerless against death.
I promise, or at least I hope, these blogs will be less depressing as time goes on and I’m feeling less uncertain and broken. For now, I take comfort in the company of family, friends, and authors like Jen Lancaster and Stephen King and the advice of my therapist, and of life coach Martha Beck in Oprah Magazine.