I like to think I’m a strong person, but sometimes things just pile up on you, often a reflection of how busy you are. And, the first things to be sacrificed are those things which are ‘frivolous’ or simple hobbies. Hence the lack of posts here, on Twitter, or Facebook. A bit of a spiral downward but now, hopefully things are looking up.
I’m not looking for sympathy but instead, catharsis! It all started in 2009…
First there was the decline of my in-laws. My husband and I met when I was 16, and so his parents have been a large part of my life for more than half of it. To have Harold retire, and then shortly after suffer a stroke, was heartbreaking because if there was one thing he enjoyed, it was spending time with his grandchildren. The stroke was not fatal, but did rob him of the ability to drive and slowed down his participation in the kids’ lives, our youngest only being 2 and 4 at the time.
Then a …disturbed woman… came along, sporadically driving past our house in 2009 but I guess those drive-bys planted the seeds for what would become an obsession with our family and property.
And I got audited. Not a problem, just stressful.
On the positive, 2009 is when Regression hit the bestseller list on Amazon, back when freebies and purchase books shared the same ranking list, and I hit #149 in the Kindle store. Little positives can go a long way.
But, then came 2010 with a vengeance. The stalker lady began not just driving past our home but stopping right in front, watching our family live our lives, upwards of seven times per day. She stole much of our summer from us, as having the kids outside was awkward with a spectator and even simple things like getting the van loaded to go out was uncomfortable. Then my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. My father-in-law suffered heart failure and required a pace-maker. Christmas 2010 was very hard as both in-laws were in the hospital and we had to take steps toward finding supported living for them while making appearances in court to redirect the advances of the woman who had begun calling our home in addition to her frequent stops outside our door. Had she been a man, the police would have taken it seriously, but apparently a woman is not considered a serious threat by our justice system. But, we did finally manage to free ourselves from her after our days in court. To this day, I cannot see a silver Toyota Matrix without getting squeamish, and whenever a car drives slowly past our home located on a quiet dead-end street, I have a sense of discomfort. Unfortunately, it happens more often than you would imagine, for a number of reasons…
Packing and moving a home full of memories is hard, and trying to sell that home in a flat real estate market is a challenge; sometimes creativity must be used but it did not ease the burden of responsibility for us, just for the in-laws. And then my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly right at the beginning of summer. Mourning and estate dealings consumed the summer of 2011. Anyone who knows teachers would understand that summer is battery recharge time, and I went into the fall semester already on empty.
I had become the target of a workplace bully in 2010, and tolerated it for over a year before speaking out. Christmas 2011 was spent preparing for a different kind of hearing than 2010. But as anyone who has ever been a victim of this type of violence knows, getting relief from it is virtually impossible…instead I found my teaching assignment changed, a form of punishment for having asked to be treated with respect and courtesy. Years of program development discounted and completely new programs having to be learned and developed. Normally I enjoy a challenge, but as the wellness of my in-laws declined, the ease of familiarity would have been helpful. But I am a workhorse, and pull whatever cart gets put behind me…no matter what type of crap may be piled on it. Even when the odds are stacking against me on all sides…
Cancer is not a forgiving adversary, and my mother-in-law’s battle with the disease was lost in early July 2012. I hate the fact that in Regression I wrote about Adya’s mother-in-law dying of cancer…I know it has no bearing, but the synchronicity I’ve spoken about so lightly is distressful in this case, especially since I identify so strongly with Adya. In 2008, while writing Regression, I had no idea I would lose my own mother-in-law to cancer a short four years later.
Another summer of mourning, of wrapping up wounds still fresh from the summer before. I won’t even go into the compounding factors from three other directions which made coping that much harder, but suffice to say that our family seems to attract more than its fair share of malingerers (I’ve written a post about that, too). Then on into another semester…
To top it all off, I’ve been suffering weird swallowing problems which all made sense once my father explained he had surgical correction – twice – for achalasia. Of course. A rare disorder to be added to my list of stupid things which happen to me. Doing diagnostics now, but based upon symptoms I’m a textbook case just needing the barium swallow and manometry results to confirm that I’m going to need a balloon put down my throat to rupture my cardiac sphincter. Joy.
Time for a break. I called it, no rubsies. The fact I had not done anything I enjoyed, such as write a blog entry, or truly sit down and compose (I pushed the first two books of Synergy with the last of my energy), tweeted, or anything in a year meant it was time to make a change. So, I’m taking some time for myself. Getting the tests done. Spending a day doing absolutely nothing. And, although only a couple of weeks in, I think it’s working. Look at how many words I just wrote!
Of course, this semester of my absence appears to be heading for a record number of snow days when busses are cancelled. Can’t have the world stop playing its pranks on me just because I called for a time out.
Anyway, glad to be here once again, and looking forward to returning to the dialogues and monologues I so favoured back before the days of distress!