October 27 2017

Creativity and Grief

On October 5th as my Dad took his last breath in the ICU my mom was being admitted into the hospital and within an hour or two would be in that same ICU ward… I was a mental and emotional wreck but I held it all together in order to do what was necessary to save my Mom. I wanted to scream. To cry out. To curl up in a corner in the dark… but I could not do any of those, all I could focus on was saving my Mom. She nearly died.

At that moment when my Mom was being wheeled into the ICU from the ER, and my Dad was still in ICU in the room he passed away in, I had both parents in ICU–one alive and one dead. It was overwhelming. The ICU was wonderful to us though. They made it possible for my Mom, as well as our immediate family, to say goodbye to my Dad before the Crematorium picked him up. And the Crematorium was also wonderful–they were understanding and compassionate.

On Friday 13th my Mom went home from the hospital. It was such a relief. Such an amazing thing, and yet as hard as it was for my Mom to go back to the home they built together alone, she did just that… the two of us–me and my Mom–had not had time to mourn my Dad. She’d been in the hospital, half in and out of delirium because of an ecoli bacterial infection, pneumonia, etc and I had been so focused on her that I hadn’t really dealt with my Dad’s death. Needless to say, I crashed. Emotionally, mentally, and physically, but the crashes came in spurts. I was still in “fight/survive” mode…my focus went from taking care of my Mom to taking care of everything else… taking care of the laundry, housework, etc that had been neglected while I’d been staying at the hospital with my mom two hours away. I’d come home 2 of those 7 nights to take a shower and get a bit of sleep. The waiting rooms in the ICU ward are not conducive to sleep.

My Mom is one hell of a lady. She’s such a strong and amazing person…this past week I’ve been working on a memorial video for my Dad’s memorial service this Saturday morning… It’s been hard on me. I had to take a break from it because I just couldn’t…I hadn’t really, truly dealt with my Dad’s death. Rationally I knew he was gone. Mentally I understood but emotionally I had not accepted it. I was almost in limbo, perhaps because I had spent that whole week after his death concentrating on my mom, but once my mom was home and I was home (I live an hour 1/2 from her) things changed. My purpose changed.

Throughout the past few weeks I’ve gotten some art done. Some writing done. I’ve tried to get back into a routine but my focus is off… I am all over the place emotionally. I’ve used creativity, art and writing to help with my grief. I’ve been channeling my grief into doing things psychically so that I can deal with things emotionally as I need to, as they surface. And they have surfaced. Those damn phases of grief aren’t as clear cut as people make them out to be. One moment I’m sad and crying, the next minute I’m angry and pulling apart my whole house to find a few pictures–carrying on like a mad woman because I can’t find them. The next minute I’m a puddle on the kitchen floor. One minute I’m doing well, and the next minute I’m a wreck.

Once I finally got the video finished for Dad’s memorial service I felt relieved, but at the same time overwhelmed with various emotions: sadness and loss, gratitude and love. and anger–fuc*ing cancer! Tomorrow (well today now since it’s after midnight) we’ve got errands to run, bills to pay, a few things we need to get for the service, but tonight I am working on a few creative things. Creative things that help with my peace of mind. The past few weeks have been hectic, filled with stress and anxiety, but one of the things that has really helped me has been the ability to be creative. It’s not a band-aid, however. The wound is emotional and it hurts but I can’t will it away or fix it overnight. All I an do is what I can do, when I can do it. My creativity in some ways has gotten a bit stuck, and yet in other ways is open. I’m rolling with what feels right to me currently. In the now…the present, which seems odd since I’ve been planning my novel for NaNoWriMo, planning my Dad’s memorial service and creating the video, as well as trying to figure out a bit of a schedule for November to fit in all the things like visiting my mom once or twice a week, having Viktor (my beautiful grandson) sleep over at least once a month,  Patreon, Youtube, NaNoWriMo, and my FB group.

Thank goodness for the wonderful community of people that have been so supportive during this hard time. From family members, to friends, to my Patrons and YT subscribers and my FB group members. I’ve been so blessed and I am appreciative of all the support.

I’ve missed blogging. I used to blog every day. I miss it. But with so much going on I kept putting off publishing a post–I have 5 or 6 drafts that have yet to be completed. I will get to them. Better late than never, but from now on I’m going to work on having a post that coincides with my YT videos, which are usually on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

 

October 11 2016

If we were having coffee… Hurricane Matthew

From Weather.com
From Weather.com

If we were having coffee I’d tell you about how Hurricane Matthew (2016) left a trail of destruction all the way from Haiti to North Carolina, causing billions of dollars worth of damage along the East Coast.

According to the news, Matthew started out as a tropical storm/wave on September 22 off the coast of Africa. Within a week it grew to a majorly destructive hurricane.

The hurricane slammed into Haiti at full force, and caused over a billion dollars in damages and claimed many lives. Matthew continued on its destructive path to the eastern tip of Cuba where it all but annihilated much of the coastal town of Baracoa.

Florida braced for the worst as the destructive Matthew headed their way on October 7; it was downgraded to a Category 2  later that evening, but still caused massive flooding, and widespread power failures in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas. Matthew turned its attention  on the 8th of October towards Georgia and South Carolina (which is where I live), where it made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane, leaving a wake of damage: flooding, power outages, and more. There are many who are still without power.

Though Matthew was downgraded it wasn’t done yet. It hit North Carolina and Virginia on Sunday, October 9, still packing quite a destructive punch.  Because of torrential rains, parts of eastern North Carolina, and parts of South Carolina, are facing even more flooding.

Then Matthew returned to the Atlantic Ocean, but it claimed approximately 19 lives in the United States alone, and the devastation and destruction can still be felt as many are still without power and many in the Carolinas face even more flooding.

Just as I survived Hurricane Hugo in 1989, I survived Hurricane Matthew, and for that I am thankful. Yes, we have damage. Yes, we were prepared ahead of time. Part of that preparedness was because we’d survived Hugo along with other tropical storms and hurricanes (along with quite a few other natural disasters like snow storms in parts of SC that rarely even get snow, as well as the flood we had last year ), and part of it was because of Gov. Haley.

Today, I raise my cup of coffee to all of those who were in the wake of Matthew’s destructive path, to Gov. Haley for evacuating the areas of SC that were supposed to be in the most danger, and to all of the workers: EMS, Police, Fire Dept, news people, volunteers…and many others.