Is It Me?

Yesterday left me shaking my head in confusion. Am I the crazy one?

*I got my third notification that my paycheck would be short almost $700 due to my going over my sick leave balance in June. The first time I was told about this was during the summer via phone call. This was followed up by email in August. Okay. Understood. Yesterday I received yet another email alerting me to this information. Am I missing something? Why so many notices? I understand I will not have the money come payday. Is there something else I should be thinking of? On a separate note, it is a shame that the 70+ hours of annual leave that Dave was not entitled to as part of the payout (caps at 240 hours), was not something I could use.

*Last night Parker went to a “tween” dinner at the Life with Cancer Center. She was enthusiastic about going and actually enjoyed being around other kids who were in a similar boat. While the kids were crafting, eating pizza and talking, I spoke to a couple of moms. The inevitable questions about our spouses arose from type of cancer to when they died. One conversation went something like this –

Mom 1: When did your husband die?

Me: June

Mom 1: This June? This past June?

Me: Yes, it has been 12 weeks.

Mom 1 & 2: Ohhhh.

They both looked at me with concern. I wondered what that meant. Were they surprised we were there? Did I look like I was holding it together pretty well for 3 months out? Did they think I might meltdown on the spot? Mom 2 wanted to be sure that I knew that the 6-8 month range might be when it hits me hard. I half jokingly said that it hits me hard every other day. Crickets. They again both looked at me with concern. I felt like I should go home, crawl in to bed, and stay there.

*Maybe it is me. I do think that there are times when I over estimate what I can handle. I have been to Hayfield 3 times since Dave died – for the vigil, to pick up the tortoises and to pack up his office. So when my boss approached me on Friday after getting a phone call from the interim principal at Hayfield who was inquiring about Dave’s phone and computer, I didn’t think it would be a huge deal to return them and touch base about the fundraiser while I was there. I was wrong.

I don’t know if it was being asked to look at the pictures on the wall of the past Hayfield principals. The intent was that I admire the picture of a former principal who happened to be visiting yesterday. I could not tear my eyes away from the picture of my beautiful husband – taken when he was the picture of health and happiness. (Worth mentioning, the retired visiting principal, Mr. Lutz, was very kind and sincere as he expressed his condolences. I remember that Dave had only the highest of praise for him.)

Maybe it was being escorted back to Dave’s office which was the last place I wanted to be. Awkward conversation about Dave, his chair and the marching band ensued followed by me unpacking and unloading assorted items like Dave’s laptops, chargers, phone, keys. I stood there uncomfortably while the keys were tested in the door and desk drawers. Minutes felt like an eternity. In defense of the person I was with, he does not know me. He didn’t really know Dave. And I was clearly making him incredibly uncomfortable.  I am sure he is a fine man and leader.

I cried most of the drive home.

I went to bed last night wondering if I am doing this all wrong. In some ways, it would be easy to let the heartache and sadness take the lead. But I don’t think I have that option because of the kids. What kind of example would that be? If only I could protect myself from further situations that leave me muddled and distressed.



11 thoughts on “Is It Me?

  1. You be YOU and don’t worry about anyone else. No one can tell you how you should or should not feel. Thoughts and prayers are always with you all.

  2. Is there a WRONG way to do what you’re doing? Is there a right way to do it? I think there’s only YOUR way. The way that works for you and your kids. You have to navigate each day the way that gets you through it. If that’s going to “special events” after 60 days because you feel up to it but steering clear of the school because you don’t, then I say that’s completely up to you! Don’t let other people tell you how to feel. I think you’re handling everything so admirably, with grace.

  3. Why did the Hayfield interim principal call your boss? That seems overly unnecessary to me. I understand they need/want their equipment/keys back, but a boss calling a boss seems like they’re insinuating you’re in trouble for not returning things timely enough. Seemed a little lacking in decorum. Just my opinion, though. I’m sure you hear this a lot, but it’s true – I admire you so much for your ability to keep on keeping on. I have 3 girls, about the same ages as your kids. After today’s post I thought about how I would handle life after such a loss. I really don’t think there’s one “right way”. Boo to everyone who wants to fit you into some sort of mold because you lost your husband. Do what feels right for you and your kids in the moment. That’s really what matters. As an aside, my teenager – 11th grade – mentions Mr. Tremaine every now and then and a usually funny story about singing or orange clothes or some other memorable moment she witnessed. I promise you, his legacy will live on at Hayfield for a long, long, long time. No matter who comes along next, they will never fill those orange sneakers the same way. My prayers to you every day.

  4. Robyn you continue to put one foot in front of the other each day. You are so right, when you say you do not afford yourself the luxury of wallowing in self pity because you want to be present and a good example for your children. From everything I have heard you say or write you are always so appropriate with giving yourself and the children times to grieve, times to reminisce and laugh and times to just be. I am glad Parker enjoyed her time with the children at the Life with Cancer dinner. You are so wonderful to give her that experience. Try to remember that is what placed you there in that moment. Talking to the other mom’s and what they said, however unhelpful it might be was secondary to helping Parker. I am sorry being at Hayfield was so difficult. I pray that in time coming there will be more of a comfort and another place to feel close to Dave and his spirit.

  5. Robyn — Just continue to be the authentic person you are…travel your own road…one that is right for you, the kids and Dave. Some people are just ridiculous…don’t get me started…I’d like to put some of them under the Hayfield rock. xoxoxo

  6. dear robyn. i understand your frustration. our situation is similar-all the details aren’t necessary, but i think in an effort to fill the space between your loss & their discomfort, people say and behave in ways that are not thought out. my youngest is 11, and you are so right. your only choice is to press on for them. sometimes it feels genuine and other days it’s forced because staying in bed would feel more comforting to the soul. i often remind myself of what my husband would want me to do and if nothing else but in honor of him, i get my behind out of bed everyday and embrace whatever it has to offer me and our children.

    on a practical note, when i taught, we could donate our accumulated hours to other teachers. can’t that be done to cover your overage? or as you said, could they not take the overage from the unused hours dave had accumulated. frustrating because this is just one of so many issues and details you are left to deal with and every reminder email is just that a reminder of dave’s absence.

    and last {tmi}, i turned 50 in december. i went for my colonoscopy last month and thought of you & dave. i don’t have to return for 10 years but cannot say there wasn’t this bit of nervousness in going and having it done.

    hang in there! you are doing amazing.

  7. I tried to post earlier and don’t see it, so forgive me if I repeat myself. I wish I could give you a hug in person, but am sending one long distance. I agree with the others comments – I don’t think there is a right way to get through it – and while I only know you through this story you so generously share, I want to say that I think you are walking this path with an abundance of grace and courage. When I lost my twin sister nearly 20 years ago, I was amazed that the world didn’t just stop so that I could figure out how to handle it. But it didn’t – the sun still came up each day and there was family that needed taking care of and a job that needed to be done. I think I went through my routine in a daze much of that time, and it was a long time before the waves of grief subsided. But, I got through it. In my estimation you are doing a wonderful job. I think that you honor your sweet husband by getting up each day and doing the next thing to be done. God bless you and your family.

  8. I think you are doing things in the best way you can, and who says what is the right way anyway? It is not something we are taught and it is nothing something we have learnt from experience, because even if we have encountered bereavement before, every relationship and loss is different. You are coping in your way, and that is the only way there is. You and Dave have done what you felt was best for your children and nobody else knows what that is except you. Keep doing it your way, my friend. Sending love and hugs. xxx

  9. At the end of the day, you have to feel comfortable with how you are dealing/coping. Your situation is your situation and how you deal with it is up to you because you know yourself and your children and what you have to go through. While I am sure they are trying to be helpful, people have to be careful what they say. No one knows what I go thorough dealing with my daughter’s death but me. I was so pleased with your post earlier but I guess this is proof that when you think you are learning to deal with situations, you get blindsided. Even though I don’t respond on a regular basis to you posts, I read them everyday you post. Continued love to you and your family.

  10. Robyn, I first read of your family and the loss of your husband through your sister-in-law’s blog. I was so moved by the words both of you shared. I remember feeling how fortunate I was to have my wonderful family intact. What I didn’t know then was that 2 weeks to the day after your husband died, our family would suffer the same loss. My husband, Bob, died of a massive heart attack, just an hour after we talked on the phone, making plans for the evening.

    Reading your words are like hearing my own thoughts. It helps me to realize that the thoughts, and experiences, that have played out over the past 12 weeks are within the normal range.

    My best to you and your family as you travel this road. I hope I can provide some of the same strength you’ve provided your children to my own daughters.

    • jan,
      i don’t even have the words. i am so very sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. and i am sending you a big hug for strength. i cannot imagine what you have been through. thank you for reaching out and if i have done the smallest thing to help you not feel so alone then i am grateful.

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