Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Fitting Tribute

9 years ago today, my baby girl left her last foster home.
Tonight, I had the opportunity to help kids in foster care
by packing over 100 backpacks with my church family.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Keep Moving Forward

"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. 
We keep moving forward..." 
~ Walter Elias Disney 

When I sent my rent check in July, I wrote a letter asking my landlord to address a few things that have been ongoing since I moved in 4 years ago (including the cat urine smell that intensifies in the humidity). When I didn't hear anything right away (actually, I didn't hear anything until August 3 right before they went on vacation), I began looking at my finances and decided that it might be time to buy my own place.

I started looking for homes with an in-law apartment and found a cute little place in Shrewsbury. I went to the open house with Bethany one Sunday after church and loved the "tiny house" feel of the main floor. Though the seller considered it to be in "move in" condition, a walk-through with a contractor friend from church proved otherwise. Unfortunately, the seller was unwilling to negotiate on the price so I knew it wasn't for me.

As I continued browsing homes online, I found a nice little condo with an in-law suite last Thursday. A realtor friend from church arranged for us to see the property on Friday. After a little negotiating, I put down a deposit on Monday and had the home inspection yesterday. If all goes well, I will have the deed on October 10.

When I told Dr. Chuck my plans on Thursday and the reasoning behind the "in-law suite", he told me I am weird. I always knew I was weird, now it's official (though I'm pretty sure that "weird" is not a clinical diagnosis). He said that he usually counsels people not to make major life decisions in the first year of grief. In my case, he doesn't see any reason to offer that advice since I have thoroughly thought about and prayed this through. He did give me two homework assignments this week (that's what I get for "celebrating" last week when he didn't give me any homework). The homework: start packing and ask for help.

As for the first...I have less than 2 months to pack. I wonder how many boxes I will need to pack each day between now and the closing date.

And for the second assignment...I'm putting it out there: I need help. Granted, most of the help isn't needed until October, but I am putting the "to do" list (including things noted during the home inspection) together now...
  • The seller has a cat and I had trouble breathing by the time I left both times. Once I can get into the condo, the walls will need to be steamed and cleaned (dander is a sticky substance that sticks to every surface).
  • HVAC cleaning (see reasoning above).
  • Walls and ceilings will most likely need to be painted. 
  • There are a couple small areas where grout needs to be fixed.
  • Recaulking is needed in a few areas.
  • I will need a plumber and electrician to install a washer and dryer in the utility room in the in-law suite.
  • Though this is not a priority and may need to wait for a while (especially since it could be costly), I will need an electrician/HVAC to separate the heat/AC system into two units.
  • I will need lots of help moving. I have a lot of stuff. I am going to work on purging between now and then, but the hoarder in me is already throwing a tantrum.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream...

...ay, there's the rub.

Don't worry, this post is all about literal sleep (or a lack thereof) and not the figurative sleep Hamlet implied.

During the first month of grieving, there were several nights that I had trouble falling asleep because my mind wouldn't shut off. Normally, it is a rare night that I have trouble falling asleep and I find that I'm able to fall asleep as soon as I write down whatever I'm thinking about...not so during those first few weeks. For example, I remember replaying everything I said over and over wondering if I shared everything I needed to the night of KK's Celebration of Life. Thoughts such as these weren't things I could just write down and be done with them.

The other thing that interrupted my sleep during the first month was a couple horrible dreams. I can count on one hand the amount of dreams I remember throughout my life...these dreams I can't forget. The first dream was short, but memorable. In the dream, I was yelling at KK and woke up with an intense feeling of anger. When I realized it was a dream, I felt awful and was unable to fall back to sleep. The second dream was much more detailed, but the details were all wrong. In the dream, KK was reading in the dark (no night light or other ambient light) in the futon bed (which she hadn't slept in since January) way past her bedtime. I was mad and started quickly slapping her face (her hair was short and fuzzy like when it started growing in) until she put the book down. I told her to go to the bathroom since she was already awake. As she walked to the bathroom, I noticed she was dragging her left leg (she had right-sided weakness, not left) and asked if she was having a seizure. She turned to look at me and nodded her head yes. I woke up at that point and just cried. Needless to say, I couldn't go back to sleep. As I tried to process the why behind these dreams, I reasoned that it was the "anger" part of grief coming out subconsciously.

So now you can understand why I wrote this back in June:
Finally, don't text or call early in the morning or late at night even if you know the person is a morning person or night owl. I'll say it again, grieving is exhausting. Sleep is a precious thing and sometimes it doesn't come easily.
Thankfully, I haven't had any more dreams like those. I haven't had nights where my mind is racing either. However, I have not slept through the night in weeks. I am waking up multiple times each night and having trouble falling back to sleep at least one of those times. I have never had trouble sleeping like this for such an extended period of time. I am so tired. I have tried taking naps in the evening. I have tried not taking naps in the evening. I have tried going to bed earlier. I have tried going to bed later. I have taken supplements. I have begun diffusing essential oils. Please pray for restful and restorative sleep.