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In Which I’m Still Here, Imperfectly

October 30, 2015

A great deal of change has come my way this year. My mother-in-law passed away in August. We lived with her and were acting as her caregivers. I have never been very comfortable with writing about this part of my life, I think because I was always ashamed of it. I never thought I handled it well. I hated how the situation seemed to hold me back. I hated not knowing how to make things better. I secretly ranted and raved and blamed God, the Universe, and Everybody for my pain. “It’s not fair,” and “everything should be different” were my mantras.

So here I sit, a couple of months later. I no longer have to worry about Mom’s health and safety anymore. We’ve bought a new home (we move next month), so “I live with my in-laws” is no longer a useful excuse. I am only just now realizing just how little living I’ve been doing for the past four or five years.

I sit here at the crossroads and there are many possibilities. I have no idea which way to choose, however. This is not an uncommon human dilemma, but I find myself having to be especially careful not to go down the usual road of trying to fix all of my mistakes. Of telling myself I’m broken or unworthy.

I already have everything I need. I hope to one day get to the point where I can believe that even the sad parts of life are part of the larger path. That the dark and the light are both equally wonderful. I’m still not sure I believe that failure can be okay. That unexpected changes are often the best opportunities.

I am home alone a lot now as both kids are in school this year. This has been both blessing and curse. While this time has made a lot of things logistically easier, it has also given me too much time to think.

I berate myself for not having the “right” emotional responses. I don’t mourn the way I think I should. I’m angry most of the time over how things have turned out. I can’t even get that excited about our impending move, even though a home of my own has been a cherished dream for years. I’m convinced that all my past mistakes will follow me and continue to repeat because I’m “so stupid that I can’t break the cycle.” I spend more time yelling at myself than anything else.

I keep forgetting that I’m already enough. That all is actually well.

Degree or not, this will be my last year at my university, given dissertation clock deadlines and funding constraints. This deadline feels liberating but is also daunting, as it is clearly time to move on to something new. In the meantime, I’m trying to finish a dissertation project that seems to consist largely of writer’s block punctuated with occasional periods of semi-lucid analysis. And trying not to quake in my boots about putting myself out into a job market that I’ve never really had much interaction with.

While most of my reading lately has been either romance or mystery series, I have also been working my way through Barbara Stanny’s Sacred Success, which takes a spiritual approach toward women’s financial issues. Her major point is that the relationship between women and money is usually not about money, but about the expression and claiming of power. It occurs to me that a lot of what is holding me back is my fear of being visible, of incurring others’ ill-will or dislike.

So in the interest of visbility, I give all this to the Internet, warts and all. I’m on a journey, and it no longer serves me to pretend to be perfect.


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  1. norcalmom permalink

    You sound stressed and unable to forgive yourself. You need to believe you did the best you could at the time. You gave since learned more and can apply it, but beating yourself up will only hold you back! Good luck with your dissertation.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words…it really helped a lot! I took a look at your blog and am very sympathetic to what you have been going through (my father-in-law had dementia so I’ve been there). If you ever need to do some Internet-based venting, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

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