Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Overwhelmed

Date: 
Monday, August 31, 2015
Posted By: 
Diana Gumushian

I am not ashamed to admit that I am feeling overwhelmed. The kind of overwhelmed I haven’t felt in a really long time. It has left me feeling uncomfortable, unsettled and rattled. I don’t like feeling this way, and it stirs up feelings of helpless from the early weeks and months of widowhood. It makes me think about things I have tried to forget, memories I prefer not to reflect on or intentionally revisit. The last few months have been a whirlwind of furious activity that passed in a blur, and yet it felt like slow motion all at the same time.

My oldest son graduated 8th grade in May, took a freshman summer school course in June, and decided to join the high school football team even though he’s never played organized tackle football before. My youngest decided he wanted to take up guitar lessons, and we signed him up for them starting in September. I now have children in two different schools, with only one driver available, one parent to split time between activities. I’m up at 5:30 every morning, and spend time juggling my day between drop-off for the high school bus, grammar school drop-off, work from home and/or office, 3pm pickup from grammar school, soccer practice and/or games for the younger one, and 6pm pickup from high school. We are eating dinner at 7 or later. Weekends are football games, guitar lessons, and catchup from the week. Add in triple the laundry (school uniforms for both, regular clothes, the onslaught of stinky teenaged boy practice clothes and football uniforms/gear, and the towels, ALL the towels!) and I am existing in zombie auto-pilot mode. I am exhausted. I feel outnumbered, frazzled, and out of control. I haven’t felt this out of sorts since that summer that Joe died. I don’t like feeling this way.

Going into storage to retrieve Joe’s 4 guitars for my youngest was kind of a punch in the stomach. Seeing my son in his football gear, attending high school parent night as a solo parent, starting all over in a new school, without knowing the majority of parents, it raised the question of what to share with “new” people who don’t know our story. When I walked past the table advertising sign up for the Dad’s Club bowling night event, I had to choke back the tears. Do I tell them about being a widow? It’s a clean slate, a chance not to be known for being “different.” Yet sitting in the stands at his first football game, and seeing the majority male presence, it stirred up those old feelings again… the need to let people know that his dad isn’t here watching because he can’t be, not because he chooses not to be. When they asked for volunteers for the chain gang at the home games, I actually went forward and offered, and was told they want dads on the sideline because they “don’t want the moms getting knocked over by the guys heading out of bounds.” I felt like telling him they couldn’t possibly knock me over any worse than I had when I became a widow, but of course I didn’t say it. They don’t know my story.

So here I am. I’ve entered another stage of being a solo, widowed parent. And it’s making me feel inadequate, outnumbered, unsettled, and exhausted. I know it’s an adjustment, and eventually I will settle into this “new normal” as I have so many times before in the last seven years. But for now, I’m just overwhelmed. Despite the lack of time, too much to do, and too many unanswered questions, I take a deep breath, and keep going. It’s just what I have to do.

Comments

Every change is difficult as only parents. Good luck this school year. My daughter started a new sport (water polo) the year her father died. She was quite good at it. I was so proud of her but sad because her father never saw her participate.

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