Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Two Year Check Up

Monday, January 27, 2014
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My two-year sadiversary is coming up, in just about 3 weeks.  Much like when the one-year mark was drawing near, I'm feeling like a bit of a wreck.  Then, it was this stomach-knotting sense of anticipation - I'd heard that something changes after that milestone, but I was nervous about what, and how it would actually feel.  And something did change.  I felt better, more at peace, and somewhat more prepared to start living my life.  There was this strange sense of accomplishment simply for making it past that date. 
I don't know what to expect with the two-year mark.  I’m in a very different place now, with different concerns and worries.  I’m about to graduate from my master’s program, and start working full-time, will need to buy a place, meaning adjusting to life without my parents.  While I do think I’ve come a long way in the past year, my life is about to change drastically, and quite frankly, I’m terrified.  I wish I could say I’ve handled my fears with grace, but that would be a lie.  Juggling all the roles I’ve taken on in the past two years has been a challenge.  In some, like being a student, I've been successful.  In others, like taking responsibility for my finances, I've been pretty consistently terrible, letting my mom manage all of that. 
Once widowed, we end up having to fill more roles than we ever thought we’d be taking on.  We become solely responsible for parenting if we have children or pets, for managing our finances, for having a social life (even taking on the role of girlfriend/boyfriend again), for taking care of our physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and for making any and all decisions, big or small, in any area of our lives. 
There are always going to be parts of our lives that will scare us, and we’re going to need help fulfilling the expectations placed on us.  We might feel completely inadequate in some of these areas.  JP passed away when Max was just over 7 months old.  I was still completely clueless as a parent, and I could barely fathom getting myself through, never mind being responsible for another helpless human.  Luckily, my parents were able to step in and assist, allowing me to take on other roles, as I went back to school and started working part-time.  And for a while, it seemed that I was basically handing off all of the parenting to them. 
I still rely on my parents for so much when it comes to raising Max, but over the past few months I have truly finally come into my own as a mom.  I wasn’t a bad parent before, but I needed parenting myself, so I put the burden on my parents.  Of course, I still have plenty of room for improvement.  But now that I have figured out how to more efficiently spend my time and energy, we have done some incredible bonding, and I've started to feel like things are going to be ok when I'm working full-time and my parents are no longer living with me.  Until recently, just thinking about the idea of managing motherhood on my own was enough to give me heart palpitations.  Now, I'm looking forward to it.  My greatest concerns are no longer “how will I manage everything on my own, from the day-to-day to the big picture” but instead, not being able to share all of those wonderful moments when he says something funny or insightful, or does something sweet, or his expression when he gets excited about something.  Fortunately, they’re not planning on moving out of Chicago for a bit, so we still have some time to share those moments on a regular basis.


Proud of you.

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