When Adversity Strikes


My mother-in-law died yesterday. She had Alzheimer’s but we’re still calling this “unexpected.” We saw her last month and she looked like someone who would be around another year or so. Our best guess is she developed pneumonia.

Today I talked to a good friend of mine who understands the way those with addictive personalities are “hard-wired.” He wanted to know how I was doing. I told him I could feel my “default” switch trying to flip over to “use” mode.

Many people like me take life one day at a time. For the past two days I’ve been taking life one hour at a time. I’m feeling restless because I can’t control the situation around me. (Yes, I know I can never control people, places or things, but sometimes I lull myself into thinking I can.) I’m powerless over the flood of in-laws who are rolling into town as we speak. I am powerless over all of the hoops that must be jumped through to bring a decendant’s remains back home. I’m powerless over the weather forecast for the day of the funeral. And most important, I am powerless over my husband’s pain.

People like me want to fix things and there is NOTHING I can do to fix this. When I am feeling restless, irritable and discontent, I want to dull the feelings. Today I found myself eating snacks I normally wouldn’t eat, and eating portions that are a tad larger than normal. I didn’t go off the deep end, but it was a wake-up call. Thankfully I have not ingested ANY substances that are addictive for me, including sugar.

My bereavement leave from work starts tomorrow. I have a plan for self-care in the midst of chaos. Rather than my normal 4 a.m. wake-up time I’m going to sleep until the hubs wakes up. Obviously, he’s having trouble sleeping and in the event he’s asleep at 4 a.m. I don’t want my alarm to wake him. Tomorrow and Thursday I’ll arrive at the gym between 6:30 and 6:45. I’ll be back home in time to shower and be helpful to my hubs and in-laws. I’ll play it by ear on Friday because that’s the day of the funeral. I’ve got a fridge full of clean foods and at no time over the next few days will I be more than 20 minutes away from my house, except during the interment. I can either pack a cooler or go home to eat. I’ll make phone calls to people who understand my hard-wiring. Reaching out to others is a powerful tool.

And I’ll take things one hour at a time until things settle down enough that I can take things one day at a time.

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4 Responses to When Adversity Strikes

  1. Rebekah Hayes says:

    Pam, first of all let me offer my sincere condolences on the loss of J.B.’s mother. I’m sure this will be a challenging time in your life but I believe, as you stated, if you reach out to those who are there for you, you will overcome the hurdles ahead. You’ve come too far!! Hang in there girl. I love you and am here if you need me.

  2. tim-10-ber says:

    Pam — you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Yes, you will get through this…

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