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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Frog's fur...

When I sit down to write a post I usually say to myself, “I don’t have any words.” I stare at the blank simulation of a piece of paper, but still, there are no words that pop into my brain. I simply start typing. Random words flow from my frontal lobe down to my fingertips and end up on the screen. Eventually, they start to make sense and I can rearrange them into some form of message. The post still might ramble a bit… but eventually I get on the right track.

Since Riley’s death, the ramblings seem to have taken over more than my brain. My attention span is limited and I cannot sit still to watch an hour long TV show. Even my favorite, Survivor, can’t hold my interest for the entire show. I start to clean the house, but I go from room to room picking up this and that but never making a dent in the real task at hand.

I have an incredible urge to be mobile. Well, not just mobile. I want to drive to somewhere, anywhere, the destination is not important. I want to be behind the wheel of my car and start in a direction and keep going. I got up yesterday morning, around 4 AM, and took a drive out in the country. I got lost but found my bearings quickly. I drove around for more than an hour. I watched the sunrise which is always incredibly beautiful, and then returned home.

Riley’s nurse called to find out how I was doing. I told him about my driving urge. According to him, it comes from the fact that I’ve been nearly sequestered for several years and now I have the freedom to go outside my house. It is as though I’ve been locked in a cage and now the gate to the cage is open. I’m just outside the gate, waiting to make sure it’s OK to venture farther out.

The house is very quiet. I’ve been in Riley’s room and thought I’d start cleaning it up and getting rid of all the equipment. But, when I go in, I’m a bit frozen. I look around and worry that if I make changes, he will be back and I’ll have to get everything back to being Riley-friendly. The clean-up and changes can wait.

I’m floundering which is a term I often use when a person doesn’t seem to have any direction. While I have a million things on my mind concerning what I need/want to do, I have trouble completing one task. It’s not that I don’t know what to do. It’s that I don’t know what to do first.

I thought about closing down this blog and trying to go on to something new. But, I’ve had overwhelming requests to continue writing here. Readers are asking about what my life will be like now compared to what it was like before Riley became mortal. So this blog will continue.
The sequel to The Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife should be completed soon and will be available on Amazon just as my other books. Also, in the next couple of months, there will be a book available that takes me completely out of my comfort zone. It’s a sexy romance novel which is purely fictional. I’ll be posting updates on both the sequel and romance novel as information becomes available.

Riley’s aide once asked him, “How ya doin’?” His reply was “Fine as frog’s fur. Ever see fur on a frog? It’s pretty darn fine.” He really wasn’t doing fine because less than a week later he died. When people ask me how I’m doing, I’m tempted to give the blub about frog’s fur. I’m fine, but not really fine. I will be fine, eventually. I will rediscover life in a whole new light. I’m like a blind person who can now see and relishing all the new colors and scenery. I’ll be fine. Give me some time. I’ll be just as fine as frog’s fur.

Being fine means that eventually, I’ll stop waiting and listening for Riley to call me from his hospital bed. I’ll be able to wash the final load of sheets and blankets. I won’t wake up in the middle of the night just to see if he is still breathing. I won’t hesitate to take a shower because I don’t know if I can get out fast enough if he should need me. Being fine will require some patience which is not my strength.

I’m not without a plan. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I always have a plan and sometimes a back-up plan. Those plans usually turn out to be just general outlines for what I actually end up doing. So here’s my general outline for what’s coming up.

In the spring, I will be travelling across country. It will be a long slow trip with lots of stops at silly little tourist attractions – like the giant ball of stamps or twine. If anyone wants me to make a stop in their neighborhood as a meet and greet/lunch/whatever, I’m happy to arrange for that. If there are more than four people in a place, I can do a mini-seminar. I’ll have with me signed copies of all my books. Send an e-mail with “travel” in the subject line to immortalalcoholic@gmail.com so I can work my route to include your area.

My only other plan is to rest, clean house, re-create my office, and take care of my physical health. I’ll keep writing as long as you keep reading.


Christina Joiner said...

Linda, although my freedom won't be coming from death, but divorce, I can kinda feel you in a small way. Now that I know we both want a divorce, I'm like a caged animal waiting to get out of the cage. I've had so many years of being a caretaker that I am scared that I will not know what to do. I feel I am going through things as you are, but on a smaller scale and by choice. Your blog is the only sense of balance that I have had through these tough years. You kept me going and now to see that there is a light at the end, even though it is going to take us some time to catch our balance is overwhelming in good and in bad ways. I pray we both find our "big girl panties" and get through this. Keep writing. You have given soooo many so much hope, please don't stop.

adri said...

I too hope you will keep writing, and will recover from your shock soon. please stay strong and give yourself time. if you need to move, maybe walking in nature (a park? somewhere among people, but not the people you know?) could be a great outlet. driving might not be the best idea.
also, maybe being alone in an empty house is not the best option. a pet dog might liven things up and force you to do certain chores (feeding, walking) while not being a talkative companion.
I know these suggestions are out of the blue but I saw this help people cope.

Anonymous said...

Linda. Take the time YOU need to adjust. After being a caretaker for so long it is going to take you time to come to your new normal. Listen to your needs now. If you need to go for a drive, go. If you think you should pack the room, but can't, don't. Take your time, feelings take time to sort out, don't rush the process.
Breath. Slow down a bit, breath. Slow down some more and breath.
Things will get done in due course. We are all here for you.

afterthefire1964 said...

When Hubby died after six years of hell and decline for all of us in the family, I remember that the first thing I did was go in and sleep on my side of our bed. I had not slept in our bed for over a year because Hubby would flail and thrash in his sleep and injure me. And I remember just lying there and thinking, "Wow, I can sleep in my own bed again...." It was such an astonishing feeling.

Then came the nightmares; I would have these vivid nightmares where Hubby would suddenly return and wonder why we had all "moved on" like he was dead. They were completely irrational especially since Hubby's ashes were sitting in a box in the closet awaiting the memorial service! But there it was.

One of my friends who is a bit into the supernatural told me in all seriousness that the reason I was having these nightmares was because Hubby was not yet aware that he was dead. She told me that if I could remember to do so, the next time I had one I should tell him gently, "You are now dead. You may go now and rest." Believe it or not, I did that and the nightmares went away.

This is a rather long way of telling you that you may not really be totally aware/believing of the fact that Riley is truly gone. I really like that cage analogy; it speaks to how I felt. I just could not believe it (and if my friend was correct; my husband could not believe it either!).

I wish you well on your journey to believing and I wish you the profound joy that I felt once I realized that I had "done my duty" but now was free. Blessings to you and your family.

And you know what - if you need to go away for awhile, then do so! I took my children first to Disney World and then to Europe! I am still paying off the bills but I do not regret it for a moment!


Anonymous said...

It is four years since my husband died but still feels like yesterday. So hard to move on. I still wonder how, why? He was 56, retired at 55. Pension. Savings.
House in the states. House in a foreign country. New experiences to be had. Energy of a 19 year old boy. Happy guy. Had everything to look forward to. Couldn't take the freedom. Could not make the transition to retirement. So sad. I did not know then that alcohol was so dangerous. I was just so glad it wasn't drugs.

Kayla Knotts said...

I am so very sorry Linda. I've lost my entire family in a span of a few years. I know the grief you are experiencing.

My ex husband is at end stage. Although divorced a year, we still talk daily. He is out of my house. Not out of my life. I continue to try and save him while he continues to drink.

I need your blog for balance in my life. You don't know it, but you are my rock.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I received an anonymous letter today from some "concerned neighbors" about our 40 year old alcoholic son who lives with us. Besides the letter, there were some pictures of my son passed out. The letter basically said why don't we get help for him as he is the town drunk.

It has been very hard dealing with him and trying to get him back on track. At this stage we have to be pragmatic and say that we did our best and it has had little effect on him. His doctors and friends also tried - nothing changed.

As you can imagine, I feel terrible. How could anyone think that we didn't know or didn't try to do something?

Please continue your blog - it has been helpful to me and many others.

Thank you -

Sugar Jones said...

Thank you for keeping this going. It's difficult being alone in this situation. Reading your words and the comments of others has helped me so much.

Love and Light to you.

Bunny said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Riley is at peace now. It will be one year next month that my immortal alcoholic has been gone. I think of him everyday often wondering what it would have been like if he wasn't an alcoholic. God bless these tortured men, wives and families. When it finally happens it so hard to think they were mere mortals after all. I'm thinking of you. Take care and thank you for helping me through some tough times.