The title is a description of my old life...but these days I ramble on about widowhood, homeschooling, single parenting, adoption, special-needs parenting, & living a life I never planned for or expected - a life that God, thankfully, continues to strengthen & equip me for daily...
Sunday, December 14, 2014
DIARY OF AN UNWILLING WIDOW
December 14, 2014
What a week it has been.And I don't mean that in a good way!I'm not even sure where to start...
I'm struggling.I know I've mentioned this numerous times
already as we've moved into the holiday season, but I really am.I am becoming convinced, though, that it's
not all emotion and grief and loss.I
was talking with a nurse friend yesterday, describing what's going on and she
said, "This is totally menopausal stuff."I haven't had a single hot flash yet so I'm probably
a number of years away from having the whole process over and done with, but it
is nice to know that there may be a reason why I'm such a mess.
That's one component.The other is loss and that's very real
right now.Very real.
I am not much of a crier, by
nature.But the skin around my eyes is
chapped right now.Friday I sobbed, off
and on, for about 5 hours straight.I do
not cry in front of the kids by design.I don't want to freak them out. They need the stability of knowing that
Mom is ok, which means they are going to be ok, too.So, sometimes that cork just pops.
Everything has just been building to
a crescendo inside me.I went a week
with a migraine, which was not helpful.More than likely, it was hormone-related, I realize now.I'm figuring out my future and I find that I
am mourningafresh the loss of the plans
Paul and I had.It breaks my heart that
my younger kids are not going to have the stability of a stay-at-home mom and
that I probably will not be homeschooling much longer.I worry about money.I have teenager issues - normal stuff, but
stuff I'd sure prefer to pass off onto a dad.I feel tremendous pressure about vehicle and home maintenance
stuff.It's all there and it all builds
inside and even though well-meaning friends toss Bible verses my way, it is
hard to grab onto them at times.
And there's just the ever-present
grief, as well.I miss him.When will that stop?
Friday I was scheduled to meet with
Marcia for our normal Bible study.I got
in my van for the 22 minute drive and wasn't even out of our little city before
the tears started.I cried all the way
to church.Iclimbed up the steps to Marcia's office and
she asked, "How are you doing?" and I began to cry harder.She held me and I just sat in there and cried
and cried for an hour straight.And I
cried all the way home, but managed to pull myself together for the kids.But I spent a lot of time in my bedroom that
night, so they wouldn't see me because those tears just wouldn't stop.
This morning Marcia asked if I had
gotten all the tears out and wouldn'tyou know it - my eyes began to well up immediately and I just prayed
nobody else would ask how I was doing as I went to get my coat and the kids.
I hate this.I want to be strong, but wet eyes have a way
of making me feel very weak, worthless, and vulnerable.I want to be that person everyone
looks at, nods, and agrees that she has it all together.Why, look at the terrible things that have
happened in her life, but she's so strong, regardless!Instead, I'm a hot mess of tangled emotion,
tears, and hampered decision making.
And, apparently, I'm also
stressed.Or so I've been told.My friend, Jenny, gave me some lotion last
week from Bath and Body, called "Stress Relief."I love it.It smells so good.I keep it on
the shelf right inside my bedroom door and whenever I walk in, I put some on my
hands.David saw that and commented,
"Well, it's a good thing she gave that to you because everyone knows
you're so stressed!"What?
Then, Monday, my friend, Deb was
here because she's going to start working with Ben for his SCL services and she
earnestly told me, "I know you have so much stress in your life and
I want to help."And then later in
the week, our mayor told me, "Sarah, you have too much going on in your
life right now!" and then he insisted on setting up a play date later in
the week for his daughter and my girls who are all about the same age.
The truth?Yes, there is stress.But, I don't think I'm drowning in it.Maybe.Or it's more of of factor than I recognize yet.
But the nice thing is that people care.I could be going through all this and I could
be alone, which would be far, far worse.
Yesterday, a sweet teen from church
came home with us from program practice.She did all my Christmas wrapping, which is a LOT of presents when you
have a big family.I had supper ready
for the kids and for the hunters, but she cooked it all so I could leave the
house for a few hours.She washed my
dishes and swept my kitchen floor, and bathed the girls and even washed and
detangled their hair, which is a big job.This morning Lizzie informed me that she wishes Arien could do her hair
every time because "she's gentle Mom - not like you.You YANK, YANK, and YANK my hair!"
The kids are having fun with the
gifts from Amanda the Panda.Every day
they excitedly ask who gets to open one today.They're all buried now underneath the other presents.I'll have to have the kids dig them out.Ellie was given a 24 pack of play dough for
one of her gifts from them.My first
thought was, "Somebody there really must hate me..."
I am not a fan of playdoh.It gets in carpeting.It gets in clothing.Kids mash the colors together which always
upsets another, neater child.It dries
out.But the Littles all had a ball with
it.But Sam did get upset when the the
girls seemed to prefer gooping all the different colors together and even hid
the containers of the colors he was interested in so the girls couldn't mess
them up.So, against my better judgement
I bought him his own 24 pack of playdoh this week and now it's wrapped up and
under the Christmas tree.
I'm a goodmom.
I finally called my neurologist on
Tuesday because after six days, my headache was not letting up.He said he didn't think I was in any danger
of another stroke, but I probably should do something to get rid of the
headache and he recommended I get an infusion.I had never heard of such treatment.I have heard of migraine shots, but not IVs.As time goes on, I am losing a lot of my
faith in the entire medical profession.I questioned the nurse who called me back on Tues, explaining about the
possibility of the infusion.I asked if
this was something that I would need a driver for.She said, oh, she really didn't think
so.But then she mentioned that benedryl
is given first.I've taken benedryl
before and I know how it affects me!If
a couple of pink and white capsules can make me a little loopy I could only
imagine what benedryl flowing directly into my veins might do.So I called Will and he was willing to drive
down after classes on Wed and take me to the hospital.
On Wednesday, I set up the
appointment at the hospital because I still had a headache.They told me that I would need to sign an
agreement stating I would pay anything insurance wouldn't cover.I said that was fine, but asked how much the
procedure typically runs.The nurse said
she wasn't sure, but thought it was just a few hundred dollars.Oh, well, that's fine.I'm willing to pay a few hundred dollars to
get rid of a week-long headache.
So Will and I arrived and they
hooked me up to the IV and then handed me the paperwork.To my horror, I saw that the drugs were
just a few hundred dollars, but the nursing care was being billed at nearly
$1500!I didn't know what to do.I already had this needle in my arm, but if
my insurance doesn't pay, then I'm going to get a nearly $1800 bill.I seriously thought about pulling the needle
out and leaving.
But then I'd still have a
headache.And what if my neurologist was
wrong?What if this prolonged headache
meant I was going to have another stroke?I can only imagine the devastation to my
family if I became incapacitated by another stroke.So I went through with the procedure.
It was horrible.
I hope I never have to endure
this again.I was told the entire
procedure would take 30 minutes, tops.I
was there for over two hours.The meds
made me sleepy at first, but that quickly turned to jitteriness. My heart raced and literally, for nearly the
entire time, my body shook uncontrollably as I laid in the recliner.My emotions were on edge and I remember
feeling like I just wanted to wail out loud about over Paul, which is something
I haven't done since about day two on this widowhood journey - lots of tears,
certainly, but no loud sobbing.
But - the procedure did shake the
migraine that had such a ferocious grip on my skull.I came home and dozed for the next three
hours on the loveseat.Why I picked that
and not the couch where I could stretch out, I have no idea.David and Will did a great job of keeping the
Littles occupied downstairs.
I went to bed early and the next day
I felt a little more back to normal but it wasn't until late afternoon of that
day, a full 24 hours after the infusion, that I felt completely myself again.
So, I'm already sick about the
possibility my insurance maynot cover
this treatment.I had a dentist
appointment the next day and went to that.I've had a broken molar since late May and have known that it will have
to be taken care of.I've just been
praying I could live with it until Jan. 1 when my dental insurance will start
to cover things.The dental office laid
out my options.I can attempt a crown
which will be $1000, after insurance.But they don't think that's going to work because there's not a whole
lot of tooth left and it's broken right at the gum line.They're really pushing for an implant which
will be $3000, after insurance.I'm
leery about the idea of putting something artificial into my body, as well as
spending that much money.I could do a
bridge, for the same money, but that's putting a lot of stress on teeth that
already have fillings and could break, themselves, at some point.
The idea of spending all this money
on my mouth just sickens me.I think I'm
going to visit another dentist andseek
a second opinion before committing to anything.I like these people at my dental office and don't want to hurt their
feelings, but $3000 is a LOT of money.
But, along those same lines I did
have something encouraging happen the same day.In June I had to go to endodentist for something - a root canal,
maybe?I can't remember but it was
something my dentist didn't want to touch and since the waiting period on my
insurance wasn't up, I'd be responsible for all of it.But I was dying and couldn't not have the
work done.I got the bill in late
summer, wrote the check, but just didn't feel a peace about mailing it.Probably because it was over $800!So it sat on my desk and it sat.I finally called the office this fall and
asked if they would give me a discount if I paid in cash (rather than make
payments).They said no.So I let the bill sit some more, not really
sure what to do.I know I had a
responsibility to pay, but at the same time I didn't want to pay the whole
thing.I finally received a letter a
couple of weeks ago letting me know that my account was dangerously past due,
which I knew, of course.I thought some
And last week I finally sent them a
letter.I explained that I wanted to
clear my account, but I was a bit baffled by their attitude of not wanting to
accept less money.I know how collection
agencies work.Typically, creditors lose
2/3 of the money owed to them in collection fees.I pointed out to the office that I knew this
and that it made not a whit of difference to me if I paid them directly or if I
paid whatever collection agency they would eventually turn over my account
to.As a business owner, surely it would
make more sense to accept a little bit less money up front. I offered to pay
them 90% of the bill. I figured I didn't have anything to lose by sending the
I had a voice mail on Thursday.The office would be happy to accept the amount
I should have offered less!
My attorney called Friday.We have a court date on Jan. 9 for Ben's
guardianship.He is being appointed his
own attorney by the court.I am getting
very nervous as to what this is all going to cost me in the end.I envisioned a simple, quick, legal procedure
and instead, it sounds like I have to go to court, armed with a doctor's
statement, and prove that Ben is incapable of acting in his own best interests
and that I should be allowed to do what I have been doing all along.
I went to a dinner for single
mothers last night with my friend, Sarah.I arrived first so I sat in the parking lot and watched the other women
exiting their cars and going into the church.I thought to myself, "All these women are in the same boat I am
in!" and it was both comforting and distressing.
The dinner was nice and I enjoyed my
time with Sarah.I think the
organization is called, "Single Parent Provision" and it seems like a
really, really nice thing they've put together.They just want to minister to the single mom.We had the dinner, there were give-aways, and
games, and a video, and at the end a group of ladies got up and led the
attendees in a rousing version of "Overcomer" by Mandisa, which has
been a strengthening song to me in the last year and a half.
But, still...there were things that
bothered me.I observed some of the
women at the dinner.Some looked
downright cheap in their attitude and appearance and honestly, it wasn't
a huge surprise to me that they were parenting solo.I was the only widow at my table and I
understand that.Widowhood at my age is
still pretty unusual.All the women were
talking about custody battles and visitation agreements and legal fees.One turned to me and asked how many kids I
had and I told her.She gulped and
exclaimed, "Well, is your ex a help at least with all of them?"I was so startled by her question that
blurted out, "Well, no - he's dead!"That gal didn't have a whole lot else to say to me all night!Later, one of the women at the table
commented that I was "lucky" to not have all the stresses they had
with their divorces and my friend, Sarah, was quick to point out that widowhood
brought it's own share of stress and pain.That was nice of her.
But it's true.In many ways I am fortunate in the loss of my
spouse.Most single moms are dealing
with a great deal of stress in dealing with their former husbands or
boyfriends.They don't have the cushion
of a life insurance policy and they have children that have been terribly
wounded by the break up of their family.
The woman who started this
organization shared her story and hers was that she had a baby out of
wedlock.That pregnancy was what caused
her to turn back to the Lord and she had a nice testimony.Another woman shared how God used the pain of
her two divorces to really bring her to Him.I sat there and I thought, "I'm not like these people!"
I'm not.I don't know that that fact makes me better
than anyone, though.I may have arrived
at the road of Single Parenthood in a different and more unusual fashion, but
I'm still traversing the same path they are.
And that makes for a
commonality.Like it or not, I'm
here.God has placed me on this road,
even though I did nothing to get here myself.And if He has me here, then I need to trust that there is something
along this road that He needs me to learn.
And while I'm learning, He will be
providing the strength, grace, comfort, and provision that I need.