I'll look around

Lately I've been asking Mike to tell me what it is that i'm supposed to do - how I'm supposed to live my life, who he wants raising his son with me, what it is that he wants me to do to find happiness. Somehow I feel like since he brought me so much happiness when he was here ... that he has to know how to guide me from here on out.

So, tonight, I put Bax down to sleep - it's been a doozy of a day by the way, had to jet back from Newark, DE around noontime cause Bax had a 102 fever (yes, I think he's coming down with whatever I had last week).... and I'm looking through Mike's iTunes on the eMac - looking at the date that many of these songs were last played, remembering how, in early 2005, when bax was a newborn, we were up in the night and Mike would play songs from his iTunes to make the night hours a little more pleasant.

So, I've been asking and asking him to tell me what the f*ck it is that I need to do... and I come across this song. Most songs have a playcount around 4-7. This song was played like 15 times and I couldn't place the artist or title. Madeleine Peyroux, "I'll look around." Apparently it's an old Billie Holiday Song, and Mike had put it on this special mix he liked to play for when we had dinner parties - this beautiful mix of great jazz songs. So, the song is so beautiful... it's smoky and slow and sad... and all it says is:

I know somewhere
Love must fill the air
With sweetness just as rare
As the flower
That you gave me to wear

I look around
And when I've found someone
Who laughs like you
I'll know this love
I'm dreaming of
Won't be the old love
I always knew

I don't even know what I think this means... but... just that I think he wants me to know that i'm not going to find someone just like him... I'm not going to have my old love back. But, that I'll find someone. Someone who, if anything, shares Mike Young's capacity for joy. that's it. That's what I need.

I hate that he's gone. I don't know when the fuck I'm ever going to stop saying that.

On Tuesday, talking to dear therapist David, I got more upset than I have in months. I think it had built up for a while ...and I had been sick for a week or so, and I heard myself saying things I didn't even know that I thought. Angry thoughts about how last spring I spent every fucking day at the hospital day after day after day, got dressed, put a smile on my face, prepared Mike fresh fruit, brought him a lil' something - music, a story, a stuffed animal - and trekked off to Jefferson EVERY fucking day. For what?

For nothing. He still died.

All the beautiful moments and laughs, and smooshy hugs through our beautiful romance -- our son, our home, the love we share... and my last 6 months with him were spent where? In the fucking hospital with him in a diaper, with a catheter, with fucked up hair, blind, not able to walk, sometimes tied to his fucking bed or chair so he wouldn't walk away or inadvertendly hurt himself.

And... in spite of everything... i lost him anyway. After all that, he still died.

I know most of you have assumed that I have encountered these feelings before... but I think I haven't let myself be mad... It just didn't seem productive. But now... for some reason now I hate it so much.

Don't get me wrong. I'm really ok. - I'm going about my normal routine, I'm teaching, I'm mothering my son, I'm laughing at random bullshit, enjoying the company of Michelle, Susan, and my colleagues... but underneath all that I'm bitter in a way I didn't know I could be bitter.

...and next Sunday is Mother's Day. Awesome.


Anonymous said...

It's okay to be a little bitter....feel it and then let it go...just like you mentioned in your *floating* post.


kimbrown said...

at some point it would be interesting to know if, looking through the retrospectoscope, you would have done anything different or wanted something handled differently during that time. i'm guessing not, because at the time you wouldn't have known or even wanted to face that we was going to die. but if there's some insight you have to give, i'd love to hear it, because unfortunately, i see people going through what you went through every day, and if there's anything i could do better to help them, i'd want to.

Dannagal said...

Kim - i don't let myself go there because if there were something I could have done differently, that would imply that... had I DONE it... I would have my Michael here with me. And regret is a pointless pointless emotion.

that being said...
I know what the answer to your question is: I would have demanded that Mike go in for radiation treatment earlier. I think after his first operation he wanted to live like he was a normal healthy person, so did not make scheduling radiation a priority - hence the tumor regrew.

That's it. That's the only thing. I mean, if he hadn't had the craniotomy on April 7th, would he still be alive today? proabably. he would be blind, and not quite right neurologically... not able to work... not able to live his life without meds and under heavy monitoring from the surgeons. It may have continued to grow anyway - and the size of the damn thing would have meant that radiation would have been pretty invasive and caused a lot of swellingl... and who knows what that would have resulted in -- maybe death anyway.

But, in terms of helping other people going through this? Everyones medical situation is so freaking different... you make the best decision you can at every point in the process given the limited information you have access to.

The only observations to help the actual caregivers themselves get through the hell of it.... I would share the things that I believe I did well and right: meditate. Yoga. drink water. take time away from the hospital. Enlist a lot of help from friends. Don't feel bad about taking time or taking on vices. I started smoking when mike started dying in early July. I'm only now starting to kick that habit.

Big goals should be to make your loved one have dignity and be comfortable every moment of every day. as much as possible. I feel like I did that.

Any time spent thinking about what I could have done... would make me want to kill myself. So... other than this lil' post right here, i hope you understand that I'm not interested in going there.

Anonymous said...

Dear KIM and DANNA,

KIM: It sounds as if you, Kim, are in a situation that requires constant nurturing, life giving assistance, and heart felt, medical help. Since I am NOT a medical person I can not feel what you feel every day. I have had only a glimpse of what you see. May you be blessed by what you do.

Danna: You need to know unequivabily... the decisions that Michael made were the best HE COULD MAKE! ! ! ! !HE must have known what was best for both YOU and BAX.

THEN, YOU MUST REALIZE THAT ANY decisions MIKE, you, AND your family made were the correct ones.
PLEASE!!! ! ! !!PLEASE !! ! ! ! ! Never look back!

You and Bax have Mike in both your memories and your hearts. NOW!!!!
With meditation, support, and prayer you will be able to move on.

Please, look to the future..to the new things, the new events, to Bax's graduation from Kindergarten, to stuff. And, remember that you have great stuff out there for yourself, too.

My heart love you, Bun.

Dina said...

My friend at work just lost her husband after he refused to see a doctor about his chest pain for over a year. By the time he gave in he had end stage esophageal cancer. Like you, she is suffering, but remains strong for her child. I watch her and think, if that was me I'd be under my bed with a bottle of vodka and a pack of cigarettes. But that isn't really an option when someone else depends on you, is it? Danna- I am sure you have heard it before, but Jesus- you are so incredibly strong. There's no point in looking back at what should have or could have been different. Mike shouldn't have died. There can't be any way around that. I haven't even met you and yet I feel that if I were able to I'd give up some of my own time here on earth to give some back to Mike. But since that's not possible, please know that you really are doing an amazing job. You seem to be a super mom...you are a DOCTOR now...you are beautiful...you are active and healthy (you'll drop those cigs in time!)...you are an excellent writer..you have helped many grieving individuals by sharing your own painful story. And now that all that's been said- it sucks so much that Mike is no longer here. And sometimes I am grateful that I don't know you personally because if I did I'd feel like punching something really hard every time I thought about how unfair life can be. Hang in there. I know the last thing you need is another friend, but I'd be honored to have a cup of coffee with you any day. Or punch something with you!!! Breathe...and smile :)

Anonymous said...

I, too, have felt a lot of bitterness about my father's death. It's not so much that he died--even though it was tragic and difficult, we're all going to--but that the transgressions after he died were so pointless, life-consuming, and downright stupid.

I lost an entire summer for nothing. Watching my mom pick rusted, broken roofing nails out of the sludge in the bottom of the rented dumpster because she was, for all intents and purposes, completely retarded in the months following his death. She was convinced she could sell a box of rusted, broken roofing nails and get a whole 15 cents for it...that and every other piece of trash rummaged from every corner of that estate.

I'm bitter that my time was wasted and my grief put on hold for a farce of an estate sale...and for what? $1200 for 4 grueling (physically and emotionally) months of work. So. Not. Worth. It.

If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't be a part of it.

emoosh said...

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emoosh said...

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emoosh said...