Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I need my Papa

I need my Papa.
My Daddy.

My Abba Father.

I didn't realize how much, I guess.

I talked to a friend tonight. A friend that God restored to me. A friendship He restored and renewed for both of us, in His divine timing.

We talked, and the walls I had up during the day just crumbled near the end of our conversation. I could hear God's whisper in her words.

I started to cry. At first I think I was trying to hold it back. Then I couldn't anymore. She started to pray. I sobbed. She prayed that I would be able to climb up in God's lap and feel His arms around me, rocking me and telling me it's going to be ok.

I could just see it. God does that sometimes for me. He helps me visualize something, and it goes so deep....

I could see myself curled up in my Daddy's lap, clinging to Him as He rocked me back and forth in His arms.

It hurts! It hurts so much. I don't know what to do with it. I hurt. Deep inside. It scares me. This depression and despair that crushes me down into bed in the morning, daring me to try to climb out of bed, much less take a deep breath.... It dogs my heels during the day, and rushes and jumps on me as I get more and more tired.
I fend it off by trying to stuff how I am feeling, how I am doing. But I know You know.
Daddy, I need to be held. I need You to hold me. I need to feel physical arms to hold me. I need You to strengthen me. My arms are feeble. My legs are weak. I am so weary, a deep, down inside, mind numbing weary. I can't do this anymore. I know You will in me. But sometimes I don't even have the strength of will left to even let You.
I need my Papa!
I need You. I ache for You... I am dry and weary and there is no water. I know that You hold me in Your arms. Papa, help me to cling to You, and You alone!

Oh to be able to literally feel myself rocked in His arms. The arms of my Daddy.

Henry was a father to me in many ways - a stand in for my own father who is 3 hours away from me. I am going to miss him so much. I know I will see Henry again. And maybe time will soften this blow.......

But right now....

I need my Papa.

Here and gone again...

Yesterday, I came to work and didn't know what to expect.

I walked in with more of a tender heart than I realized.

I spent my quiet time in the sanctuary, and found myself crying some - mostly out of empathy for Sandy. A little bit later in the morning, I found myself in one of my pastor's office crying there as he prayed for me.

I was raw all day.

At the end of the day I got to go see Sandy. I stopped in before I went out to get the kids from the farm. We talked. For nearly 2 hours.

It was good because I was finally able to share, at least a little bit, how I was doing, and how I felt about losing Henry. As we talked, we both cried on and off... but in the end she told me that it was so good to talk about Henry with someone else, and to know that she wasn't the only one here who was grieving.... even if her grief is much deeper and different than mine.

I think it was healing in a way for both of us.

Today, I was so tired when I got to work that I really wasn't feeling much of anything. Just was kind of wondering how this day was going to turn out.

As the day has gone on, I find myself questioning again why I went to see Tricia and if it really did any good. Questioning why I'm struggling so much. Questioning IF I really am struggling with anything other than depression.

The lies seep back in again.

"I should be stronger than this," I find myself saying.

I am so tired. I haven't been sleeping well, so I end up more tired the next day. It grows progressively worse.

I wrote in my journal earlier:

"Yup, most of my emotions are gone again, except probably anger at 'pat' sounding answers. Today I'm not ready to give up - not yet - but yesterday felt so freeing and today so restricted I can hardly stand it!"

I had the opportunity to get away this weekend. My mom gave me an open invitation to just come down and have some peace and quiet, even without the kids. I was ready to take her up on it. I still want to. However, now I can't find anyone to help me with the kids (to watch them) because family is all tied up - Dave included. So I either take them, or don't go at all... and just hope that my family can come up and visit sometime soon.

Maybe I'll be able to go still - God can always do that. But He knows what I need, and what will be the best for me, and the most restful and renewing.

I want to pull away and spend some time alone with God. Really meet with Him.

Yet, when I might get an hour here or there, I find myself running instead. I probably could have had a full "weekend of hours" in the past couple of weeks, if I had used them wisely instead of wasting them.

Now I have to go finish the rest of my day and hope that I can keep going as long as it takes.

God, help me through the rest of this day, because You know how close I am to giving up and quitting right now. Closer than I was earlier when I wrote. I think what exhausts me the most Lord, is the swinging between being emotional and not. The hits I take from the lies in between, I am too tired to fight them, and yet I am supposed to persevere. How, when it takes all I have to stay awake in this chair here? God, please help me make sense of this all - if not in my head, at least in my heart. Settle me. Keep hanging onto me. I don't feel You there - but You say You will not leave me. If I don't believe that, what in the world do I have left to believe and cling to?

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm unplugged... with no outlet in sight

It was wonderful to see Tricia. It was so good to get a hug from her and catch up at least a little bit.

I basically ran down the last 8 months or so for her, just so that she could know some context of the depression, from going off my meds to starting to work, to getting hit this winter, to taking in a friend of ours for a while, to going back on meds, the acceleration of Henry's illness and his death.

She understood, I think, where I am at, and asked me why I wasn't allowing myself to cry. "Why stop yourself from crying?"

I don't know the answer.
I feel like I unplugged a power cord and now can't find the end of it, or the outlet to plug it into.

I find that I keep saying, "I can't."
But why?

The "I can't" will keep me going down that road and become "I shouldn't," or "I never."

Bottling won't help me.

I know that.

What about in my heart?
Why am I so afraid of feeling?
Why am I holding back?

I am angry with myself that I can't seem to just let go.

Tricia reminded me that it's OK not to cry, to not try to force the tears, but at the same time to not stop the tears either.

She is hoping that I won't need to come back in, that just one appointment with her as an objective outsider will be enough. But we scheduled an appointment out there in two weeks, just in case. If I need it, it's there, but if I don't I can cancel.

She said that she heard me mention that there were some things that I had wished I could tell Henry, that I just never got the opportunity, nor got the guts up to say when I did have the opportunity.

She suggested that I write a letter to him. Address it to him. A "no send" letter. She said that I process by writing, and write so well. (I haven't felt that lately) She said that it might really be helpful for me.

Tricia then saw the look on my face, and quickly said that I didn't have to do it if I didn't want to, but that it might help.

I don't know what my face looked like, but ALMOST..... I choked up a bit. I could feel the lump then, like I do now, but then it was gone. I think that might be what she responded to when she said I didn't have to write the letter.

I am praying that at some point, God will find the end of that power cord, the outlet, and plug it back in..... at the right time.

an elephant...

Oh boy, has my week been up and down!

Thursday was NOT a good day by any stretch of the imagination. I ran... as far and as fast as I could. I had the opportunity to spend a good chunk of time with God and I ran the other way.... totally the opposite direction. Oh, and I was so mad at myself for doing it. I knew I was doing it and couldn't or didn't or wasn't willing to stop myself.

Friday, I was numb again. I was exhausted. Thursday, I was anticipating time with God, then when I ran (probably in fear of any emotions) I got furious with myself. By Friday, I was back to numb again. I had nothin' for nobody.

Saturday, God's grace flowed over me. The kids didn't wake me up too early. They sat and watched some cartoons and snacked on cereal. I was able to sit in my bed, with my bible and journal and bible study spread out around me, with a hot latte at my elbow.

I had nearly an hour of time with God, at the end of which, I asked God to help me really be "present" with my children that day.

It was such a good day, and one we all needed.

Yesterday was draining, and thus, my mood tanked.

Worship at church was wonderful. However, I was alone at church with a 4yr old and 6yr old who kept asking me when we were leaving and if they could go to the farm.

They were pretty good in church. But we didn't get home until about 1:30pm, between the business meeting and potluck afterward. They were done in and so was I.

Thankfully, they wanted to play with play-doh, so I set them up and then collapsed on my bed. I was still in my church clothes but didn't care by that point. I curled up in a ball around a pillow with the blankets over me and didn't move.

Wanted to sleep but only was able to doze a bit between interruptions from the kids.
Wanted to cry the lump out of my throat, but nothing came when I tried to let go.
Wanted to stay in bed the rest of the day, but had to take care of the kids and prep for small group.

So, after they were done with their downtime, so was I. I got up, changed and got them outside to play.

After a while, because it was so hot, I set up the slip and slide for them and let them get wet and grassy. Dave took them inside to shower and dress while I built a fire for our small group.

Once I got active and into the day, I was ok. But I was still tired, and depressed. It really didn't lift too much. Hit me like a ton of bricks when I got home, and stayed there.

Once the kids were back outside with me, Dave escaped to do his "computer rounds" (he fixes other peoples computers for fun). Pete and Donna got there to join Sandy and I and the kids for hot dogs and s'mores. It was a good time of eating and talking around the fire, but as the night progressed, you could tell things were just heavy on all of us.

Peter and Donna had some hard news to share. I had hard news to share too, about my going to see Tricia again. Sandy didn't say much. But we know her hard stuff she is having to deal with.

It was a hard night. We want to come together to draw around each other and lift each other up, but right now, we are all hurting and aren't doing that very well.

It is an unspoken thing in our small group that we are all missing and hurting about Henry's death. It is the big elephant in the room that no one is talking about.

Sandy isn't in a place yet where she can recognize that others are missing him and hurting about his passing, because it is so overwhelming for her - she prays to go home and be with her sweetheart. Besides her children, she can't even take in anything else.

She was surprised when Cindy D. told her that I was having a hard time with Henry's death. She said to me privately last night that she didn't think that it would affect me so much.

Wouldn't affect me so much?

Henry and Sandy have been a part of my life for 6 years. They are family. I love them both. I miss him. I don't know how to deal with this. I don't know how to grieve. I don't know how to come alongside someone who is grieving.

Right now I may not be able to feel for myself, but I feel for the others in our small group. I hurt for Sandy who has lost her other half. I hurt for Peter and Donna who have lost a good friend of at least 20 years. I hurt for Henry and Sandy's kids who have been having to help Sandy go through all of his tools this past weekend.

I want to go see Tricia tonight.
I Don't want to go see Tricia to night.


I want to see her because I have missed her. I know she cares for me, and has my best at heart. We have history together, and she knows what I have been through. I know she will be able to help me and walk me through whatever "this thing" (whatever it is) is going to look like.

I don't want to see her because the lies are going on that I really don't need to be there. That my feelings aren't valid. That I shouldn't be struggling as much as I am. That I shouldn't have been struggling with depression ever since I got off the anti-depressant, and so my "fix" should just be the medication, not counseling!

When Sandy said that she was surprised Henry's death was affecting me so much, it made second guess my reaction to his death. It made me think that maybe I was just making all this stuff up, and perpetuated the lies I have succumbed to at times.

At the same time I know she was/is speaking out of a place of terrible loss. She can't comprehend or even attempt to take in others' loss compared to hers.

Hopefully I will be able to share some of this with Tricia tonight, with some sort of clarity. I don't know for sure if I will be able to. Please pray for me! There is so much more behind what I have shared here on my blog. I really don't even know where to start! Back at the beginning, but I don't even know what the beginning was!

But at least I have some of my writing back. That has dried up as my depression increased and my work load increased. Now there is something there that I have to get out, so I write.

Focused or not, I write.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Temper tantrum?

I think I am having a bit of a temper tantrum.

I HATE taking medication just to be able to think straight enough to type this, or to drive home!!

My anxiety is over-whelming me at the moment. I had to take something to calm down enough to get home without feeling sick to my stomach. Which has been happening all week....
... the being sick to my stomach part.

I have had bouts of nausea and thought it was a stomach bug. Then after it was still bad yesterday, on the advice of my doctor, I went to eat before I went back to work. I thought for sure I would get sick.

Imagine my surprise when I felt better!

That was when I knew that most of how I've been feeling physically is anxiety and depression related.

As I mentioned, I went to my doctor yesterday. We talked about all that has gone on with Henry passing away, and trying to deal with this "stuff" in the moment, and my relative numbness lately.

After talking for a while, he told me that if he increased my medications, or changed them, I wouldn't feel any different or get any benefit from them right now. He was very hesitant to change anything until I am out a little further from these events of the past few weeks.

Then he strongly suggested that I consider going to a counselor again.

Interestingly enough, as I had pulled into the parking lot yesterday, I found myself wondering if that was something that I should do, or when I would know it was the right time. Then I dismissed it with the thought that my doctor would know when it was time and that he would tell me what he thought.

Little did I know that I would hear what he thought in the next half hour.

Counseling again.

Well, I got back to work from my appointment. After getting something to eat, as requested. As I worked through the afternoon, I found that I was actually getting something accomplished, which was more than I had hoped for earlier in the day. When I got up that morning it was all I could do to get out of bed.

I eventually called my friend Cindy. I told her how the appointment went. And what my doctor had said about counseling.

After talking for a bit, she weighed in with her opinion. She thought it was a good idea, and reminded me that she is going to be gone for this whole next month. I'm not going to have her readily available to talk to, even though she will have her cell phone with her. She urged me to make the call.

I got off the phone and continued to work.

Then I got a call from my other friend, Cindy D. (Yes, there are two of them now.... so this "new to you" Cindy, will always be Cindy D. just to keep them straight!!!) :)

Anyway, as Cindy D. opened the conversation with me, she asked how I was doing.

Point blank, I responded, "I don't even know how to answer that question anymore."

It's the truth. I am depressed. I know that. But that's about all I know. I am frustrated with myself. I am anxious, to the point of almost having panic attacks. Other than that, I just don't know what to say. At all.

She wasn't put off by that, thankfully. She and I talked for a while, and I know she was treading carefully because she didn't want to step on my toes, or make me uncomfortable as this is a new friendship. But she was very kind and gracious. When I finally "broke" and told her about my doctor's appointment and his strong suggestion... she said to me that she agreed with him too.

We talked for a while longer, and she encouraged me a lot. She has been through some things in her past that helped her to recognize what I was going through and where I am at, whether I am able to describe it or not. To use her words, I am in shock still from Henry's death, and denial too, I suppose.

Did you know me, the empathy person, who can just about cry with anyone, can't cry now? I have wanted to. Felt the lump in my throat. Nothin's there. And the pressure's building.

Cindy D. was such an encouragement to me that after we got off the phone, I paced the church. I know that doesn't sound encouraging... but for me it was. I paced and came back to my office. I got up and paced some more. Came back and answered a couple of phone calls and tried to do some more work.

Then got up and paced some more.

Finally I found myself in the sanctuary, where I think God had wanted me all along.

I paced in there too.
I talked out loud. About calling a counselor. About what I should do. How logical it would be to go to one. How logical it would be to NOT go to one.

I kept pacing through the rows of chairs, keeping one eye on the sky cause a storm was coming.

I came back to my office and computer. Sat down. Then jumped up. It wasn't because of the clap of thunder that came then, I couldn't sit still.

I was pacing in the sanctuary again, and finally stopped and faced the front. Then I talked to God a bit, and felt like He was pressing on me to make the call.

I walked back to my office and with shaking hands dialed a number that I haven't called in over a year and a half.

"Charis Counseling, may I help you?"
"Um, yeah, I think. This is Heather Kudla. I used to be a patient of Tricia, and was wondering if she might have an opening for a new patient, well, for me in her schedule."
"She sure does, let me just pull your name back up..."

And so the conversation continued.

When I hung up, I had an appointment.

With Tricia. The same person I saw before. On Monday night.

Do you know what my Monday is going to look like?!?!

To get to this appointment, I have to leave work early, race home to the farm to get the kids and bring them into town for swimming lessons. Dave's mom is going to meet me there on her way through from work, and "take over" for me at the lessons, and I am going to race from the swimming pool, back up to Wausau for my appointment.... by 6pm.

This is totally nuts. I am traveling a half hour to spend a half hour with the kids before I turn back around and drive a half hour back into town.

I'm tempted to cancel, but if I did it would be another 2 weeks before I could get in to see her.

Oh, it will be good to see Tricia and get caught up. But I didn't want to get caught up in a counseling office, but rather over a cup of coffee or something, in a setting where we could be friends, not a counselor/client relationship.

Both my Cindy's reminders though keep coming back. I may just need this one appointment to have her help me get back on track. I may need more too. I don't know. I don't know anything.

I just know I haven't ever lost someone close to me. I have never gone through a grieving process in "real time" close to the source of the grief. I don't know what to expect. I fear my emotions, and when they might pop out, or what they might be like when they do.

I guess I need someone with counseling experience and the tools to really help me, walk through this with me.

Maybe that "temper tantrum" I mentioned at the beginning of my post really wasn't that at all. Maybe it was a bit of anger at the situation I am in, and at how I'm dealing with it, and how I'm relating to God through it too.

I still hate taking medication to calm down, but at least now I don't feel as sick to my stomach. And at least now, I have been able to write for the first time in a long while.

I have even found that I can't journal. It's been hard not having my writing. Things have piled up, I have a lot to do for work, and then a lot to do with my family. Writing has taken a back seat.

Thank you for bearing with me as I have vented.
Maybe my next post will be a bit more organized.
I'm not making any promises!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Her voice was so empty today.

It broke my heart.

When she said it, I already knew it, because I knew that feeling I could sense in her voice, no matter what she said.

"I feel so empty."

All I could say was, "I know."

I don't know, really.
I don't know what it is to lose a spouse and feel that kind of empty, rattle around in a too quiet house.

But I know what it is to be so distant from someone that you feel like they are gone from your life. I know the emptiness that depression brings.

So maybe I know, just a little.

We were on the phone. I didn't have the time to go to her house to visit for the time that she needed, and get back to church for an evening meeting. So I had to settle for talking on the phone.

I wanted to give her the hug it seemed like she needed.

I don't know how to help her.

I want to help her.

At the same time I am hurting. I am sad. I am grieving too. Not in the same way she is. I have my own set of things going on too, that add to this new grief.

The memorial service was so wonderful this weekend. It was exactly as they had planned together before his death. It was a celebration of his life, the dignity of his death, and the anticipation he had of seeing Jesus.... the peace and joy that permeated the two of them those last weeks - even in the midst of tears.

The couple who always walked hand in hand are separated now for a while by death -- though he still lives -- they are separated, and she is longing for him and feeling so much like half of her is gone now.

As new as personally grieving is to me, so is walking with someone through their own grief. Much less walking with our small group together through this loss. Right now it's her, myself and one other couple, and a single young man who comes when he can.

My head hurts, my back hurts cause I am holding in all this tension. My stomach just aches. My throat has a big lump in it, but there are no tears to help relieve it all.

I want to run away, go hide somewhere, and really there is no where to go. Because I have to come back. I have a husband, children, a job, people counting on me.

I can't run away and hide somewhere alone. My husband already hardly has any activities outside of work and home. I have work and home, but also our small group once a week and am on worship team once a month. I can't run away and leave him with the kids, even for a day. I feel guilty. I have laundry a mile high I need to do, and other things around the house, and I don't want to do any of it. I just want to hide.... dive into a hole and pull it in behind me.

I want to ignore what happened this past weekend. Forget it and ignore it. I was able to today, until I talked to her.

In an email I wrote to the other couple in our small group I said that I feel dry, my prayers feel dry, and I feel like they are just a laundry list.

Yet at times, there is a little bit of comfort from His word. Just enough to keep me going. So that hopefully I won't feel so empty either.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Henry's gone to be with Jesus

I've never walked this path before.

Sunday evening, on a dark and rainy 4th of July, Henry passed away.

His children had left minutes before.
Sandy was alone with him.
For ten minutes.

Then he was gone.

Within a half hour Sandy had called all of our small group. She just said, "He's gone. I need you," and we were there with her.

Without saying much more, now I understand what it means when someone says that our body is just a shell - that this body is just a tent.

I've never walked this path before.

Henry's memorial service - a celebration of his life - will be held this Saturday, July 10th. I have been helping put together the memorial folders/cards for it. Assisting in any way I can to help the planning and execution of this go smoothly.

Again, I've never walked this path before.

I have never lost someone really this close to me. If Sandy is like a mom to me, and grandma to my kids, Henry was like a father in many ways to me, and grandpa to my kids.

I also realized yesterday, that I have never dealt with grief or loss in the moment. When bad things happened to me, or I experienced a loss of some kind, I stuffed it. I shut down my emotions. I ignored it. I ran from it. And eventually the pain faded into the background.

In counseling all that came out, one incident at a time, and I worked through those griefs and losses and wounds. But that was an intensive situation.... from past experiences, and so I felt like they were done and over pretty quickly.... if that makes sense.

But this.
This is something entirely different. I am having to walk through this in the moment, as an adult. I am having to do what is expected of me.... different responsibilities. That is fine. I am more than willing to do that.

But I don't know what it looks like to grieve.
I have never done that within the context of the situation - at the time it was happening.

I don't know what it looks like for me to grieve...... and then how do I help someone else too, like Sandy, or like the other members in our small group?

Monday I was so exhausted, I didn't want to even eat. I had a friend over, and she actually went out and got me something from a restaurant because I hadn't eaten pretty much all day, and she sat with me till I ate and until my husband came home from work. My emotions were mostly shut down - numb - in shock I think. I couldn't pray.

Yesterday, I had to come to work.

Still exhausted. Still numb.
But the numb started to alternate with emotions. It took me a while to identify them.

Some was hurt.
Some was anger.

When the church was quiet and I was the only one here, I went into the sanctuary. I didn't want to be there.... but felt drawn I guess. I still didn't feel like I could pray. But I started just talking out loud. Eventually yelling at God.

I sat down with a thud on the steps to the platform, still with my back to the cross, and said,
"Well, at least I'm talking to You now."

Then the tears.

And then they just shut off like someone shut off a faucet.

I pretty much stayed shut down and exhausted the rest of the day.

I feel sick to my stomach at the mere thought of food.
And am still shut down for the most part today - except for the big lump in my throat that won't go away.

And Sandy. I can't imagine what she is going through right now.
The ache of the loss must be unbearable.

She said today that she does something for a little while, and then her mind just blanks out, things get blurry and she just has to stop. That's a God thing, or she would overload herself.

We know that Henry is seeing Jesus face to face, seeing in full what we can only see in part, dimly now.

But we are grieving.
Please pray for Sandy and her son and daughter and two grand kids. Pray for our small group; we have been as close as family with them for at least 6 years. Pray for our church family who has had this couple as part of their body for over 30 years.

Pray for me as I try to process through this. Not having done this before, not having had experience in even being close to someone who has lost a loved one..... pray that I do the right things, say the right things, and that if I don't we all give grace to one another.

I don't want to take attention from Sandy and her needs. I don't want to --- I don't even know how to put it and it sounds selfish and stupid to see it typed out.

I just don't want to "do" this thing before me.... I don't know how to, or even what it looks like for me.... not how others think it should look like, but what God wants it to look like, or how He's created me to work through this as an individual.

I guess part of what it is, is this. I see that Sandy has lost someone, her other half of 47 years. Of course she is going to grieve and mourn. And it's about supporting her and being there for her through this current time, and through the coming weeks, months, years.

I don't think I have gotten past that too much to understanding that I have had a loss too. I mean, in my head, I understand that. But my heart and emotions are telling me to suck it up and to stuff it, and to set it aside because it's more important to help Sandy right now.

So, earlier in the post I can say, "I've never walked this path before" or that I have lost someone close to me, but it really doesn't register that it's a loss for me too. When I start to experience emotion about it, about Henry's death, I am fighting with myself because the instinct is to shut down. Mentally and emotionally.

As I am so infrequent in blogging in the past 8 months or so, I don't know who reads this anymore, but for those of you who do, please do pray for all of us. And, any thoughts you have to help me through this..... I would appreciate it, because the pat "Christian answers" just aren't cutting it for me.