Thursday, April 06, 2006

Emotional Highs and Lows

We had a short-lived freak snowstorm yesterday. The black sky suddenly filled with fluffy snowflakes that coated the blossoming trees and new daffodils in our yard. This bizarre juxtaposition of winter and spring mirrored the emotional ups and downs of my week.

I started the week filled with energy, a rare condition for me since CFIDS but immediately familiar as "the real me." I felt good and ready to tackle my week on my own while my husband, Ken, was away.

My in-laws called Wednesday evening to tell me that Ken's uncle in South Dakota had died suddenly. After I hung up, grief settled on me like the snow that had covered our flowers earlier. Uncle Myron was a gentle, fun-loving person with a kind heart. We thoroughly enjoyed our visits to South Dakota, sitting on the porch with him and Aunt Betty. I couldn't believe we'd never see him again.

It was even worse on Thursday when I had to tell our kids. We've lost eight people in our families in the past three years, with two very tragic and difficult deaths from cancer in the past year. Our boys have experienced far too much loss and grief for their young years. They were
both shocked and distressed at the news of Uncle Myron's death.

Of course, the grief affected me physically as well. In fact, all three of us have felt poorly for the past day or so, with sore throats and heavier-than-normal fatigue. I think the spring allergies are affecting both boys, and I crashed from combined physical and emotional stresses of being alone and absorbing such a loss.

At the same time, I was in the midst of a happy project, putting together a unique box of gifts for my oldest friend's birthday. Michelle turns 40 on Saturday, and we've been close friends since we were five years old. Earlier this week (procrastinating, as usual), I decided to make her a box of memories to ship to her in Ohio.

I had a great time coming up with all sorts of silly remembrances of our many years together - a package of Pixy Stix (I couldn't find wax lips in our l
ocal stores!), a Clue game (one of our old favorites), a childhood movie we'd watched together, and other tidbits that reminded me of her. Best of all, I found an old cassette tape in our basement that I had sent to her when I was in sixth grade. My boys and I laughed like crazy at my childish voice reporting all the news from school and home to my best friend. I capped off the package with a homemade poster featuring photos of us, pictures of things we'd shared during our 70's childhood, and captions and phrases sure to bring a smile to her lips.

I had so much fun putting that box together! I know that I ran around too much for a few days, but I was smiling despite my growing symptoms.

The emotional changes this week have made my head spin. Ken is flying to his parents' house in Oklahoma from Texas tonight to accompany them to the funeral service in South Dakota. He won't be home until next Thursday. I'm doing my best to rest and recover, so I can handle another week on my own. At least I feel like I'm contributing a bit; it's very difficult to be so far from family during times like this.

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