Jason's Untimely Thoughts

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Evolution of Coping

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I wrote the previous post July Sucks hurriedly and realized later that I’d been overly negative.  Perhaps naming it July Sucks wasn’t the best way to start.  I was writing mostly to write something, both for this space and the space in my head.  As I’ve said countless times, just putting the words down helps me organize my thoughts and move on.

Thinking about that post a bit more, though, plus a couple of conversations afterward leads to this one… where I flat out admit that things are going pretty well.  That’s especially true in comparison to this time a year or even 6 months ago.

For a long time (“long time” defined here as a period of between 2 hours and 10 months that seems to have lasted much longer than that) the simple acts of making sure we’d all eaten, bathed, gone to bed on time, and made it to school/work on time were enough to almost make me crazy.  Occasionally they did make me crazy.

My instinct and my need was to make as much of that a routine as possible.  Tried to provide some variety in the routine, but the routine itself was helpful to all of us, I think.  This is still true and explains why I’m willing to have a party full of people watch us freak out when we leave at 9:00, rather than continue on with them, because that’s way past bedtime for us.

That said, though, the weekday routine is really pretty old hat at this point.  There are still flare ups, melt downs, and side events, but generally we’ve got that covered.  (With great help from those that provide the variety within the routine.  This can’t be overstated.)

Not sure I’m making the point adequately, but that’s huge progress.  Even weekends, as down as I can get on those weekends without plans, we generally make it fine.  I still very much struggle personally with the days, nights, gatherings, and events that are supposed to be ‘fun’.  Mostly because they’re not all that fun for me.

I don’t mind at all answering almost any question from people I know, but dread answering questions from strangers.  I can clarify for as long as anyone cares to listen, but don’t really want to tell our story from the beginning.  The questions from people I know feel like honest conversation, which happens too infrequently due to time and circumstances.  The “dread” conversations don’t really happen that much at all, but the dread of them is still there.  Then those gatherings are still smack-me-in-the-ever-growing-forehead reminders of missing.

The day-to-day missing is easily coped with at this point (slight overstatement).  The reminders are the same, the view out the windows to the cemetery is the same, the self-pity and solitary loneliness have become habits that are handled well enough.   The gathering missing is just still too new.  The pauses in conversation where Sarah and I would seek each other out to compare notes, or trade off watching the kids, or just to make fun of whatever are what I’m unable to cope with well as of yet.  The pauses still happen, but the completion of the pauses does not.  This is still most clear, of course, when we hop in the minivan and drive off.  The passenger seat is full of junk instead of a passenger.

Everything I’ve described seems natural to me.  I don’t mean to be pretending to provide any insight, except into what I’m thinking.  I have no idea what the appropriate timeframe of any of it is, except that whatever seems right to us would have to be appropriate.  And that progress comes in lurches both forward and back.  (My 20-year high school reunion is coming up, wasn’t there someone nicknamed Lurch?)

Lurches included, progress is happening.  About this time last year I had a conversation with a friend about “getting through another hour”.  By that measure, progress is substantial.  I now tend to think more in terms of getting through this week.  At some point, maybe this time next year, we’ll simply forget to worry about getting through the week and the coping evolution will be nearer completion.

speaking of evolution, screw ku.

Written by Jason Becking

August 3rd, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Posted in Mindless Ramblings

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