Sad Lonely Women’s Club

I would like to address the events of today.  It was a rough one for me.

At some point I will address the events of last week, which included the kids’ first day of school as well as their eighth birthday.  I cannot bring myself to write about that yet.  Suffice it to say that the first day of school was more difficult for me than their birthday was, but that both events were so much harder than I anticipated.

I can’t.

So let’s talk about today.  What led to today?  Well, I am seeing a counselor to help deal with my husband’s death and to help deal with suddenly being a single mom, which is the larger issue in a lot of ways.

I have been to counselors before, sometimes to address my own issues and others to address problems in our marriage.  Have I given the impression it was all sunshine and roses?  It wasn’t.  We loved each other and he was my best friend and I miss him terribly, but we had pretty serious problems off and on.  I believed, and still do, that it was a testament to our love and friendship that we worked so hard through some extremely difficult stumbling blocks.

I’m not here to talk about our marriage.  I mention this only to say that every counselor I have ever had, for any reason, starting in high school, has said that I need to make some friends.  They said I needed friends with whom I could spend time after school or work.  They said I needed friends separate from my husband’s friends.  They said I needed friends separate from my work acquaintances, separate from the other Moms.  That I needed a network of support that was not a part of my role as Architect, Wife, and Mother.  I needed friends who were not Trey’s wife’s friends.  I needed friends who were not H&K’s mom’s friend.  I needed friends who were Racheal’s friends.

I am not skilled at socializing, and Trey and I became pretty codependent, happy to do things with just each other.  For a time I did roller derby.  I’ve been members of various book clubs.  I think I was a charter member of meetup.com.  None of them really stick for very long, and I have been unable to form any kind of lasting relationship out of any of those activities.  When we moved to Washington, I had a reasonably strong position within the social circle of a group of moms that all had kids the same age.  That went away as soon as we moved, obviously.  Since we have lived here, I have met some of the other moms but don’t feel solidly within the social circle.

Then Trey died, and I quit my traditional workplace job and now work from home.  I have nobody.  Nobody to spend time with who will talk about something that is not Minecraft.  Nobody to see movies with.  Nobody to watch Supernatural with.  Nobody to drive on a road trip.  Nobody to complain to that I have nobody.  I have had almost no interactions with other adults, except for with my counselor.  I have had quite a bit of support from some circles.  Another mom has had me over to their house a couple of times, and my neighbors came by to play board games once.  But overall it’s intensely lonely being me right now.  I normally thrive on being alone, but this is too much.  Especially considering that I’m trying to find myself in the world.

This brings me to today.  Today I went to meet with some ladies for coffee.  I found these ladies through a Facebook group.  The group is made up of women in my age range who like to get together and have coffee.  Sounds nice.

It was the saddest most depressing event EVER!  Nothing against the women.  They were all super nice.  But none of us have anything in common.  I was the newcomer in the group, but even among the women who had been meeting up for a while there appeared to be no real connection.  It wasn’t a group of friends who liked to get together.  It was a group of women who have no friends getting together to keep from going crazy.  Just by demeanor, I would say at least two of the other women were also there because their counselor or someone told them that they needed social interaction.  We made small talk about families and friends who were in the hurricane path, but I didn’t get the impression that any of these women would call any of the other if they needed extra emotional support.  I looked at these sad lonely women and thought, wow.  These are my people.  A group of women approaching and breaching “the Hill” who were either divorced or had husbands that worked a lot and needed a reason to get out and get dressed.  That’s me.  I don’t want to be a part of this group.

I DO NOT WANT TO BE A PART OF THIS GROUP!

I don’t want to meet for coffee with other lonely women, making small talk to cover the fact that if I wasn’t there that I’d be sitting in silence at home.  It’s too awful.  I don’t want to do it.

So that happened.

Then, to top it off, today is my kids’ counseling day.  On these days I pick them up after recess.  While I was waiting for them, the principal approached me and said H’s teacher is concerned because he refuses to participate in class.  She knows the story and all so she know he’s not just being a dick.  But she doesn’t know how to handle it.

And neither do I.

I asked the counselor if we should back off of him — it worked when he didn’t want to learn to swim.  Everyone pretended not to see him practicing swimming, and not to notice that he was getting in the pool after adamantly yelling that he did not want to swim.  With the pressure off, he started learning.

The counselor said that doesn’t work here.  We have to keep pushing him to participate, or he will withdraw more and more.  We’re not talking about public speaking here.  We are talking about in the morning every kid is supposed to turn to the kids on either side of them and say good morning.  This is the level of withdrawn he is.  At counseling, he frequently does not even talk to the counselor except to say that he is bored.  She is being kindly persistent and has instructed me to do the same.

But it hurts so much.  Why is he withdrawing so hard?  What do I do about it?

So to sum up, my kid is sliding down a slope that looks like it will end in his refusal to speak to anyone except for me.  I tried to be social and instead just felt worse.

This sucks.

 

 

Game Night Revelations

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That time our family took down a gym together

I may have mentioned this, but Trey and I were more or less hermits.  We were those people who always say, “We should get together sometime” but never do.  We like people, but we liked the comfort of an evening in PJs on the sofa even more.

It felt acceptable when there were two of us — four of us.

Now that I am the sole adult here, I don’t want my kids to grow up with a mom who is a hermit.  I think it may be damaging to them to see me home alone every night, going places with just them on the weekends.  In order for them to build healthy relationships, they need to see me experiencing healthy friendships.

Or maybe I just need to keep busy in order to escape emotional quicksand.

In any case, I invited our neighbors over for a game night.  My neighbors are a couple that are my age – early 40s – and their 16 year old daughter.  They are delightful and fun, and Trey and I always meant to have them over.

They came and we ordered Chinese food and played card games they brought with them.  One involved throwing virtual poop at one another, which was a resounding success with my seven year old boys.

Then the unexpected happened.

The kids started talking about their dad.

It began with K, telling H to not mention what happened to their dad.  K doesn’t like people to know or to talk about it, because he doesn’t like the pity or how uncomfortable it makes people.  H responded by asking why K didn’t want people to know that dad is dead.

Bless her, the neighbor then told my sons that her father died, too.  K just opened up — asking her questions and telling her about his experience.  Meanwhile, H was talking to me and to the husband and daughter.

H was describing in detail what Trey looked like when he was dead.

I had been hoping that I had shielded their view of it.  I knew they had seen, but I was hoping their young eyes only saw someone passed out or sleeping, even though it was obvious to me that something was very wrong.

I tried to get them out of the room quickly, without alarming them.  I tried.  I thought I succeeded.  But I didn’t.  I didn’t succeed at all.  H saw, and knew it wasn’t right.

So he started saying what it was like to come home and find his dad dead.  He described the events of the evening.  I listened intently, giving him all of my focus.  The most important thing in my world was making sure that he could unburden, and that he knew I heard him.

I glanced at my neighbors, to find their eyes thick with tears.  They, too, were focusing on him, letting him talk, letting him get it off his chest.

I am grateful to them — more grateful than I can say.  I tried to apologize to them later.  It was meant to be an evening of fun, and I hadn’t intended to lay all of that on them.  They assured me that it was fine and not unexpected.  Of course, they knew my husband had died and were prepared for the potential of this conversation.

They are wonderful people.