I’ve been blue lately. It has crept up on me, little by little, and I’ve been feeling a bit sadder than I had been in the previous months.
There are very good reasons to be sad these days; COVID, the terrible decisions made by the current administration, the faltering economy, the inability to see and hug friends. Personally I can add to that my own cancer, the length of my recovery (each round of chemo seems to hit me harder, and last longer, than previous ones.) I’m also sad about Gerry, but that is a sadness that will never go away, it just becomes more manageable.
I waken several times a night, a function of my numb legs and built-in fear that I’ll have an unexpected bladder release if I don’t get to the bathroom. Each time I wake up, for a few terrifying seconds as I move from sleep to consciousness, I feel the loss of Gerry at full force.
It’s the reason I keep Forensic Files playing on my ipad all night, at low volume. Having something familiar to listen to reduces the severity of my return to waking.
I’m also missing Andy. Their job with Americorp takes them away from home Monday —Thursday, they’re off chainsawing fallen trees and huge logs. They clear the waterways so that others can kayak and canoe safely. And even though it’s only 4 days, I miss that kid like crazy!
When Andy’s back home, they’re in charge of grocery shopping, stocking us up on easy foods to cook and eat, fresh veggies and fruits. So it’s a very busy time for Andy, and I miss seeing them.
Max shops when we need something immediately, but Andy is so good at stocking us up that we let them take the reins. Perhaps we’re leaning on Andy a bit too much…
I wish I could shop, but both kids are dead set against me going to a grocery store or Costco.
In addition to Gerry, a whole parade of lost relatives pass through my dreams these days, my sleeping dreams, and my daydreams. I often feel that my mom is just hovering outside of my peripheral vision; my aunt Wanda is sitting in the chair next to me; my brother and cousin Jan are sitting at the kitchen table. But when I turn to see them, half awake, they’re gone.
As I enter my third year of cancer juggling (it’s what I’m calling dealing with two cancers in two years…) I think that these thoughts aren’t unusual. Having one kind of cancer is scary enough, you get through it and you figure, “Whew! I’m done! I’ll keep up with my scans and I’ll be fine!”
But when I view the future through the reality of TWO cancers, I see a different picture. It’s more out of focus and landmarks are difficult to see. I can see death around the edges, where before it was so far ahead of me that it didn’t seem real.
It feels so dramatic to mention death, but it’s coming for all of us, someday. I have no intention of leaving this earth a minute before I have to, but it’s also kind of a relief to have a reason, an opportunity, to contemplate my non-existence.
Which can be a bit depressing, which may be part of why I’ve been feeling blue.
I recently discovered that I had to pay a pretty large amount of money to the IRS for taxes due when I rolled over Gerry’s IRAs into my account. When Gerry died, near the end of 2018, he had several 401K’s that were left to me. None of them were huge, but I took the advice I was given at the time and rolled them into my own 401K so they’d all be in one place, and didn’t think about it again.
Until my accountant informed me recently that I would need to pay taxes on the funds from Gerry’s 401Ks. I stupidly figured they’d still be under the same rules as the funds already in my 401K (no taxes due until I spent the money after age 62.)
November and December of 2018 was the hardest point in my life. In addition to dealing with Gerry’s loss, I was also in intensive care for 2 weeks with severe sepsis. So I feel that I can be forgiven for making a few stupid decisions, but that doesn’t change things. Apparently Uncle Sam does NOT care about someone’s mental state. (Besides, according to Health Partners, I was dead for most of November…*)
COVID and the quarantine plays a part, I think we’re all more than a little bit sick of living in our own bubble, only seeing one or two folks (if that!) on a regular basis. I firmly believe that wearing masks and sheltering in place are two of the most effective ways to halt this virus, so that’s what I, and my family, do.
But I have to admit that along with my death dreams, I also have dreams where I’m at huge gatherings of folks, shaking hands and hugging, and it feels very nice.
In the past, when I felt a depressive episode coming on, I could generally deal with it effectively by biking a lot! I would cycle miles and miles on our paved bike paths and it would feel AMAZING. I’ve tried the tricycle every couple of weeks, but right now I still feel that I’m missing the strength I would need to ride more than half a block.
Patience is a virtue, I’ve been trying to be as patient as I can. I’m taking walks (slow and steady) and lately I’ve been driving myself to my lab draws. Let’s hope I can wait out this bit of sadness in my heart, and move on to a happier frame of mind!
*It took me MONTHS to work this out between my insurer, my county and the hospital. I finally had to involve the state Attorney General and the ombudsman for the hospital, but they all agree that I am alive, and was alive for all of November, 2018.