September…you stole my husband

I know it has been a few weeks since I last wrote.  September just never gets easier for me.  I am now in my 5thSeptember of this life and journey without Franscois and I tell you it takes my breath away time and time again.

Let me give you a little insight to what happens to my body when September hits it like a gail force wind against a peaceful flag.

I used to be a spring girl, it comes with many hopes and many fresh beginnings.  The flowers bloom with each stronger ray of sunshine. They come out from hiding from the frost and even though (if you are in Cape Town at least) they were tortured with a draught last season and yet they bloom as if it won’t happen again.

I know I could learn many lessons from nature but oh my dear heart just cannot tolerate the pain that September brings with it.

I find myself putting my head down and just going with the motions that the world and society still expect from you as a mom, as a woman, as a member of the different social groups your world finds itself in, many of them don’t know your story.  Not to mention the three little people I continue to support on each of their own journeys into this world and how to navigate it all in their innocent minds.

It is so difficult for me to form sentences this time of the year. My heart is exhausted from this painful road that I am on.  All I have energy for is to take one breathe in and one breathe out. Just keep going. Just keep breathing.  I urge myself to not give up. Do not give up the fight of one-day feeling joy again.

My attorney asked me recently (because yes I am still dealing with the after effects of loosing my partner on a legal aspect as well) what the beginning, the middle and the end has felt like for me?  My response to her left her pretty shocked for a reason I suppose I should get used to from people who have not walked a grief journey as I and many others have. I told her that I am still in the middle, that I have not seen the end yet so I cannot answer that question. I have answers for the beginning and the middle but not the end yet.

I have put together a video with Franscois and the girls, which I would love you to watch and get a glimpse into my happy pre trauma life, where September didn’t leave me empty, where I could understand why the flowers bloomed for a fresh beginning.

September will never be my friend, but perhaps I will learn to blossom again in true spirit, in hope and in healing.

Watch the video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secondary lose…

Being alone runs deeper than you think…

Iv been told by many close relatives that I have become more ruthless in my responses, more honest in my opinions and perhaps unfiltered since Franscois’ death. Of course they refer to the responses and comments that they don’t always expect to hear from me or want to hear from me. Perhaps the words I have for them do not meet their original expectations for what they used to hear from Kristen BEFORE it all changed.

I don’t think anyone understands though that when your partner gets taken away from you, you lose not only your physical spouse but everything for which they are for you. Franscois and I dated for 6 years and were married for just short of four years when he had his accident.

A fundamental decade spent with another individual at such a growing stage in our lives has to speak volumes to those who are willing to consider the impact it has on the person left behind.

Franscois and I met and dated as teenagers and grew through our young adult lives together and into our responsibility of married-with-children life. Where we had full responsibility of our relationship, how we connected with friends as a couple, how we connected with our families and the dynamics in which we created life and bonds TOGETHER, as a unit.

I know I am one of the very blessed individuals to have known how wonderful my relationship was with my husband in terms of connection and understanding while he was still alive. It was never something we took for granted and we both were able to appreciate that of one another while our marriage was still shared between us both and he was alive.

The idea of how well we worked together as a partnership never changed after his death. Perhaps it was more highlighted to our close circle of relationships with family and friends that we made each other better individuals as a unit. Now don’t get me wrong we had our debates, our arguments, those moments where I wanted to kill him myself out of frustration but we always thankfully ended up on the right side of a tough moment for the most part.

What I would like for everyone who I have possibly offended or upset to just consider is the fact that my person who I was able to turn to, who nurtured my feelings into productivity and who I could merely just speak out to about how I was feeling has just simply disappeared in one split second from my world.

The person who used to know how I am constantly.
The person who used to help me with life.
The person whose number was ALWAYS on my call list.
The person I would kiss good-morning, goodbye, hello and goodnight.
The person I could share my frustrations.
The person that would listen.
The person that made me better.

IS GONE!

I am in no denial about the fact that I have no ONE person who I can bounce my thoughts and feelings off of and perhaps I say things a bit harsher than I would have before. But perhaps people should also be more willing to think deeper than the service of what it looks like to them and consider that life is not as easy as it may be looking on the surface. There is an entire route system below the surface that no one sees or realizes.

I am so incredibly grateful for the friendships that have carried me through this journey and for those who continue to just be there for me while I figure this all out, because yes, even after FOUR years I haven’t figured out how to be the best Kristen I can be. I am ok with that and I know who is ok with me still learning and growing will stick around and I will cherish and adore that for what it is right now.

Is adulthood a myth…

Is adulthood a myth in which it distracts us from living the life we are in now?  Where do we find adulthood and when do we get there? Is it a destination? Or is it a figment of our imaginations? Where does the idea come from that when we are an adult we will have achieved something that life is destined to be about?

Wikipedia says …”a legal adult is a person who has attained the age of majority and is therefore regarded as independent, self-sufficient, and responsible.”

It feels to me on so many levels in my life that as Wikipedia states, adulthood was supposed to have come to me already. That surely my life cannot get any more adult than it is right now. Dealing with accounts, bills, lawyers, financials, taxes, life matters and documents coming out of my ears. Organising a household and all the needs that come with that. Raising three kids and having full responsibility to keep them alive and turn them into their own wonderful human beings who I hope will add to the world and the people around them. Making decisions without needing the approval from anyone. Being able to make mistakes and the only one dishing out the punishment is life itself. If the boxes are ticked does that make me an adult? I suppose in theory it should right? But I do not think I have ever felt like an adult, more a kid playing house-house, mommy-mommy, shop-shop.

Is it possible that as we grow and mature as humans we see the adults around us seem cool, calm and collected? That they don’t show us their bad days or their daily worries or is it that they do but we choose to ignore the telltale signs. Perhaps we could consider being more transparent in our worlds and in our circles. I believe it to be equally important to show my kids my strength but also to let them in to see a little weakness, a few cracks and for them to realise that adulthood is not a destination but an inadequate frame of mind. Mind you it is not easy for me to show my weaknesses to my babies but I am taking small steps everyday to include them in where I am really at. Brené Brown says “talk about failures with apologising”. And with this I feel that we can teach our children that it is equally brave to know you are constantly learning how to live life.

Personally I feel that putting a label on any person no matter what age they are to be more ‘adult’ is actually a completely unattainable request. Perhaps we could help our children realise that being a grown up is physical, when your body matures, but the pressure of adulting and having your life figured out is hugely unlikely to occur…ever! And the sooner our children and the people around us know that we never have it figured out is when we win the war on this adulting destination.

For so many years in my life I have thought I will get there, one day I will look at my life and I will be able to say I made it, I did it! But in actual fact I am starting to think that is absolutely not accurate. And that is more OK than it sounds.

What if we just take a moment and release ourselves of that pressure of being a person who has achieved adulthood. Break away from the mould and just be ok with the fact that things do not flow smoothly but that we have the flexibility to work with the roughness of life. That no matter how much we plan and prepare life has the power to change any path we are on in a split second. So let go of the idea to adulthood.

Let us be ok with those great moments that happen between all the craziness. It is in our power and in our hands to hold onto the good we want and let go of the bad we don’t. And even if we have a power struggle on this daily that is ok, it is when we stop fighting to save our good moments that the fight has been won by negativity and pressure to have it all figured out because in my honest opinion, no one ever gets to the golden moment of “they made it”.

#nomoreadultingplease

Sick mom troubles…

I don’t know about you ladies but I think the one thing I miss the most about being childless is having time to be sick.

Let me start by saying that I have never been blessed with a great immune system.  Franscois used to say if its going around, I WILL get it. For the most part I cant argue against this fact, I am often sick and when my body goes down it goes all the way down to what I like to refer as  immune system hell.

I remember this one particular day, we were living in Roodepoort, Gauteng.  Taylor-Reece was around 9 months old, and Savannah about two and a half. I had the most horrendous flu of the season and I could hardly lift my head off the pillow, you know the kind.

I begged Franscois to stay home from work so he could look after the girls and me, Savannah had just started school a month or two earlier for a half day playschool and I just without a doubt did NOT feel I could look after them the way I needed to in order to keep them alive, honestly I had absolutely no hope that they would be ok with me that day. Franscois had important clients to deal with and even though he went into the office a bit later he could not stay with me and the girls that day.

Looking back on the situation, I wonder if it was in preparation for my many further sick days I would entail without him to help me in the near future.  I also like to believe if he knew this was one of my last sick days before he died he would have chosen to stay home with me instead of worrying about work, clients and his career, but no matter how much we want to live in the moment as if we would die tomorrow no one can deny that we also have to live like we will not be dying anytime soon, am I right?

So as he left for work on his motorbike, I remember locking my bedroom door with the girls inside, our one dog for protection and to hopefully bark should I need to be pre-warned of any dangers. I mean this was Gauteng we are talking about so there should always be a plan in place for extra security. I strategically scattered toys around the room to wishfully keep the girls occupied and praying that I would have the strength to get up if either of them needed me.

Needless to say I put my head down listening to them playing one second and the next… I open my eyes to them having completely destroyed my bedroom, anything you wouldn’t have thought they would do, THEY DID. Anything you wouldn’t have thought they would get hold of, THEY DID. And anything you thought they didn’t know how to open, THEY DID.

If you can bare with me here, picture the scene, wet wipes scattered all over the floor, baby bum cream smothered all over their tiny arms and legs and their hair, previously a beautiful brown had now transformed into rather grey looking tone from the baby powder that they so flamboyantly thrown all over. My pillows were… everywhere! You could hardly make out an empty space on the floor and the only part of my dog sticking out was her black and brown nose.

Now although I am a very tidy person, I was just so sick that all I could do was look up realise they were still happy and alive and laid my head back down waiting for the clock to edge ever closer to 4/5pm when I would hear the rev of the engine and see Franscois coming up the drive to rescue me from my challenging day and to take care of me like I so badly needed wanted. That is back when I didn’t think being sick could be any more exhausting as a mom.

Being sick now after Franscois died is an entirely different ball game. It is without a doubt even more exhausting and what I thought was impossible back then is even more hugely challenging now. There is no end to the day, there is no need to clock watch because NO ONE is coming to rescue me, there is just ME, MYSELF and I… plus three. How is that for pressure!! Feeding, comforting, entertaining, it is all on YOU.

Most times one of the children gets sick, they recover, then the next one gets sick, they recover and I am still well and pretty impressed that I am still holding strong at this stage, then the next child gets sick and once they are well its time for me to sink like the Titanic.

Now even though the kids were all just sick they cannot at this age understand how I am feeling even though just days earlier they felt the same way! I just cannot get sick, it does not work that way for us moms, even when you do have a husband I believe it is the same way BUT I can assure you that when there is no hope insight of a break, a nap without worry, someone to bring you tea and medicine then we are talking about an entirely different challenge.

The children still require a bath, they still require food and I don’t know if it is just my kids but when they see that I am sick, instead of offering to help or being extra good they tend to act out instead.  Now I do realise that the territory that I am in is very different to many co-parenting households. Instinctively my three children no matter how old they have been in the past know that I am their only caregiver. It is amazing how as in mammals, instincts kick in and they know that if I am injured they cannot survive. The fear in them surges and turns into anxiety and as their mom I have to not only realise this I also then have to put an action plan into place to help them navigate and feel safe in a situation where its ok for me to be sick and remind them as they did I will also get better.

Getting sick is not standard practice for me anymore. It comes with a lot of extra emotional baggage that as an under the weather situation calls for is just so hard to muster up. This is where I believe we must understand that as moms the courage will come, the strength will be dug out from any inch it can be found and we will still read them their bedtime stories, we will still pray with them and somehow we will still find the energy to tuck them in for the night so that they can go to sleep knowing that mom will be better in the morning. After this happens il tell you a secret, I have on many occasions stumbled to my bed hoping I can make it without falling over something, I have even crawled to my bed before knowing that all I had to do now was rest my body, my mind and my heart. Wishing that tomorrow I am as well as my children believe I will be.