Tag Archive: depression

Sleep is exhausting

I had a dream about my dad last night. He’d somehow come back from the dead (because, you know – dream logic), and was asking why I’ve been getting rid of his things.

He wasn’t angry. He was a little jokingly peeved about a few things, but mostly he was curious about what he’d missed over the last year. He wanted me to get his stuff back, and we set about going around the town to try and track down the things I’ve donated and recycled. I started talking about getting the house back in his name, but he didn’t seem too worried about it as a priority. We went for a drive in his truck, stopped for coffee at his favorite coffee shop and kept looking for Something that he wouldn’t tell me we were looking for.

It was such an amazingly light, beautiful and joyous moment, to have my dad back again… but it also wasn’t. It wasn’t my dad, and even in the dream while I was happy to see him and talk with him, I knew that this wasn’t really my dad. It looked like my dad, happy (well maybe that wasn’t so much like my dad) and healthy like he was right before his heart attack. It sounded like my dad, before the strokes slowed him down. But, like my dad towards the end, the spark wasn’t there. The little glint of perpetual mischief that was always not-so-hiding in his eyes was nowhere to be found. The carefully crafted grumptitude was gone. It was almost like talking with a robot that had all of his memories uploaded, but couldn’t process his personality. At the scariest moment, he was like a child, asking a lot of questions but not quite understanding all of the answers.

Dad’s truck.

Despite all of this, I wanted it to be my dad, so we carried on. He asked about his car I was in when I got smacked by a truck, seemingly forgetting it was totaled. I told him I’d put the classic cars and the vehicles we co-owned in his name, but he didn’t care about that. As I kept driving us around in the truck, I worried about handling the legal matters, changing bank accounts, getting him a phone again, telling family members that hey guess who’s back and just like I’d expected, he’d fooled us all and SURPRISE here’s my dad (and I swear to GOD if that really does happen, Dad, I love you but I am kicking your ass to the top of the Vegreville Pysanka) – but again, he didn’t want to engage with any of those thoughts. The weight of everything that now needed doing seemed even heavier than the responsibilities of this past year, despite the joy of hoping against hope that this was really my dad sitting beside me, in his truck, like we’d spent never enough time doing in the past. Whoever this was sitting beside me stared blankly out the windows, looking around, looking for something that I don’t know they found. We talked about some memories, and in those moments it was nice to hear my dad’s voice again.

I kept driving until the dream ended and I woke up. I felt completely exhausted in the dream, and even more so now. I don’t know what to think of all of this. Maybe it was just my brain sorting things out. Maybe Puppytron stepped on my head while I slept and knocked this weirdness into being. Or, maybe I was able to help someone along their path – I really don’t know. As I sit here with my coffee this morning, I feel like I’ve accomplished something, even if it was only in a dream.

I miss you, dad.

Yard Work

It’s almost 3am, and I smell like smoke. I have been back at my dad’s house for almost a week now, and spent a good part of today’s afternoon doing yard work. This morning I had my first therapy session in almost two weeks and feel like I mostly rambled on pointlessly for an hour. Being back here is still comforting and familiar, but it’s so strange without dad or any pets in the house. My brain feels frazzled, and despite my therapist assuring me that I am doing well given everything I have experienced I feel like I should be doing better, and more. I am struggling with accepting that dad’s house is now my house; that everything here isn’t dad’s, it’s mine to look after. The two biggest challenges I’ve been finding are that I still want to ask him about so much that I discover here at the house (why did he keep this? what’s the story behind that?) – and looking at almost every item in this house, realizing that at one time, my dad put that item down and never picked it up again. It’s not like I’m keeping the house as some sort of untouched memorial, but these thoughts hit me almost every time I move things to try and get this place organized.

Which brings me back to smelling like smoke. I’d gone for a walk along the rivers after my therapy session, and came back to the house determined to get some work done around here. The front of the lawn is absolutely covered in mud and rocks from the winter, so I started trying to make an impact on that. 30 or so pounds worth of gravel, deer and dog shit later, I moved inside the fence. I raked up under the massive cedar shrubs lining the front edge of the lawn and pulled over half a dozen wheelbarrows worth of dead leaves away from them. I had so many memories of raking the lawn in years past; of dad burning off the dead grass every spring. I wondered if I should rake the rest of the lawn or if it was too early for it (the back yard still has about 8” of snow in a lot of places, but the front lawn is bare). The guy I’d usually ask about this stuff isn’t here anymore, so I made my own judgment call, which is I guess what he had to do a lot, and sadly what I’m learning adulting is way too often about. I brought the leaves and branches to dad’s burn barrel in the back yard, right beside the garden. I brought out the stacks of papers and ancient cardboard I’d already sorted from inside the house and started a fire.

Standing there in the back yard, the sun setting behind the trees in the distance, wearing one of dad’s oldest and rattiest jean jackets, I didn’t feel how I hoped I would. Ordinarily I’d feel happy or a moment of peacefulness while watching a campfire (not exactly camping, but I don’t know how to specify that I’m not all zen watching forest fires and whatnot. I’m tired. Leave me alone). I hoped that burning some of the private papers and unnecessary memories might somehow feel cleansing, but it didn’t – it felt like work. Work that has to be done, and that’s okay too. I stood out there for about an hour or so, sipping my coffee and tending to the fire. There’s so much to do around here, all of it completely unplanned and entirely not asked for. I might not know what to do with everything here yet, but I’ll figure it out. 

Days in bed, not as fun as I’d hoped

Happy Cat, Happy Cup, sunshine in a happy shirt. Life is good.
Happy Friday, everyone!

..At least, that’s the superhappyfuntimes bs I always choose to share on social, and those first two lines are probably all that will get read by most and that’s okay. Let those folks think all is good and I’m happy. The truth is, last weekend one of my recurring injuries from my car crash chose to act up, and I’ve been almost entirely bedridden since then. I can’t stand for longer than 5 minutes before my back starts screaming worse than I did at Oilers games. I struggle to sit up, to roll over – hell, even sitting at my desk or on the couch becomes agony after a few minutes.

Needless to say I haven’t been able to work out this week. I haven’t been able to do much at all, and yeah, I’m frustrated as hell. I’m angry, fed up and depressed – but I’m not giving up. I’m grateful that I was able to see my physiotherapist once this week and she helped reduce the pain level quite a bit. She even kindly offered to see me again after her shift today to hopefully get me at least walking this weekend. Every one of my therapists keeps saying that I am doing everything they could ask for to recover, but I still don’t feel like I’m doing enough. I push when I can, I rest when I can’t. I’ll get through this and I’ll make everything better than before.

But – right now, I’m choosing to be mindful of the moment. Happy Cat (and a lurking happy DevilCat), Happy Cup and a stubborn JT. Let’s do this.

On mental health

I check up on people I care about. A lot. Sometimes to the point that I think I may be annoying, but I’d rather annoy someone than lose them. View full article »

Blue, Christmas.

Late last night I realized this would actually be the third Christmas I’ve spent without my dad.
Two years ago he had just had his strokes and had been transferred to PG on December 20th. I woke up alone in my dad’s house on Christmas morning and was beyond grateful that Granville’s was maintaining their beautiful tradition of offering free coffee and treats on Christmas day, because I really didn’t have anywhere to go and being alone in that house was not something I could handle. I got a coffee and an extra cup for dad, sat in the table that’s been my favourite since high school, put his cup in his spot and gave him a call. 

I can’t remember what we talked about, but sitting there, having a coffee and hearing his voice was a wonderful moment. After the phone call, the kind people working gave me some bacon to give to Molly who was waiting in dad’s car for me, and we went for a drive to visit with my brother.

Last year I decided against going home, and I am at peace with that decision. Dad and I had been arguing quite a bit at the time and I didn’t feel like selling a kidney just to fly home and get yelled at from his hospital bed while I stayed alone at his house. I chose to spend the day by myself, for myself, and when dad called and started yelling at me within three minutes, I knew I’d made the right choice. It wasn’t really him yelling at me – the strokes had affected his brain and sometimes things didn’t make sense to him they way they should have. Still, it was nice to hear his voice but I was happy to have stayed home, and still have both kidneys.

This year, I don’t have a choice and if I did I’d sell that kidney and yours too (no offence) just to talk with him one more time, even if it was only to hear him yelling at me again. I knew this Christmas was going to be hard, and it is. I called my grandma last night to check in on her, and she told me how much she misses my dad, how much she misses the traditions we used to have. I still don’t know how to process this massive hole in my heart, but I hope that in time I’ll find a way.

There’s no fake fighting over perogies this year. No wrapping paper tube sword fights. No counting the amount of times my dad would say “what in the hell…?” while opening gifts. No going for coffee at Granville’s, no cooking Christmas dinner for grandma. No plaid jacket counts, no going for drives with Molly in the back seat, no laughs, no great big bear hugs where we’d take turns lifting each other off the ground and squeezing until the other tapped out, always with a laugh and love.

I’m grateful that I didn’t go home last year because my memory of the last Christmas I spent with my dad is an amazing one. We went for dinners and coffees, he got his idiot son drunk and listened to him finally open up and talk, he kicked my ass like always at pool and we fake fought over grandma’s perogies like we always did, and always will. That’s the memory I want, that’s the memory he deserves.

If you took the time to read this, I want you to know that I’m grateful you’re in my life, and I wish you all the best in the coming year. Take the time to reach out to your loved ones and let them know how much they matter to you. Be well and stay strong, friends.

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