Monday, November 08, 2010

Moving forward ...

In the last post, I told you about the situation with my mom, how it affected me, and an initial bit of advice for those of you that might feel a overwhelmed and out of options.  Well, it's time for me to continue with my update for the past few months ... but keep reading through the rough spots, there's another pearl of wisdom at the end of things.

Obviously, after my mom passed, things were a mess.  Between coping with the loss, telling everyone what happened, dealing with family members I rarely saw at the wake, and the stress of the procedural stuff, I could barely tell up from down.  I decided I didn't want anything that might potentially be available from what would be considered mom's estate, and I tried to go back to some sense of normalcy.  My dad ended up leaving my place to move in with my sister and help her and my two nephews through things.  Just in case you're wondering, my dad and my mom divorced when I was a kid and stayed a good distance from each other.  Dad saw what his kids were going through, and made a point to do what he could to be there.

One odd twist to things involved my dog, WonderMutt.  Again, if you've known me for any length of time, you've probably heard me talk about WonderMutt.  WonderMutt was a basenji/chow I got as a puppy through a pet adoption more than twelve years ago.  During a period which saw me moving around a few years back, my mom offered to watch WonderMutt for me until I got settled into the new place.  She ended up becoming more attached to WonderMutt, and with WonderMutt getting a little further on in years and mom needing someone there for her, I decided to let her keep WonderMutt (but with me making frequent visits, of course). When mom passed away, her husband at the time said he couldn't/wouldn't keep WonderMutt, and so she moved over to my sister's about the same time my dad did (right after the wake).  The day after dad got settled in, WonderMutt crawled under the kitchen table, laid down, and never woke up.  WonderMutt passed away and it felt like my heart broke all over again.  I'd been through more with WonderMutt than anyone else and she was always my little girl.  It hurt a lot, but something seemed to click.  You see, WonderMutt was always there for me when I needed her for ten years.  Then she was there for my mom when my mom needed help.  It wasn't until my dad moved into my sister's and things settled down that she passed.  I genuinely believe that as great as WonderMutt was, she stuck it out as long as possible and finally decided that everything was okay ... and that she'd fulfilled her purpose.  It's strange that I can talk about mom's passing and keep myself composed, but without fail, every time I think about WonderMutt and her selfless loyalty, I still tear up.  Right now, I have Caboose, my now three year old corgi/terrier mix and he's been a great help through everything ... but I'll always miss WonderMutt.

So, I'm not going to lie or pretend that I'm some granite pillar of inner strength.  Within a couple of weeks, I'd lost my mom and my canine compatriot.  It hurt, but at least the worst was over, right?  Unfortunately, no.  My dad stopped by for a visit in early August and while we were sitting outside, he got a phone call from his brother.  His mother, my grandmother, passed away.  When my mom passed, dad did the best he could even though he had no clue what to say or how to act.  Now the roles were strangely reversed.  I didn't know how to help dad through it.  Sure, the two were vastly different circumstances, but the emotions were the same.  I still felt guilt over whether or not I could have done anything differently and convinced mom to stay ... while dad was feeling guilt because he had been planning to visit but wasn't able to see his mom before she passed. Once again, it was a hard time.  And naturally, seeing dad hurting opened up the still fresh wounds of me losing mom.  It was another difficult time to fight through.

The final kicker came a little more than a month ago.  One of my mom's ex-husbands was a huge help in raising me through most of my childhood.  Even after he and my mom split, we stayed close.  He had three daughters of his own, but he told me many times that in his eyes, I was always his son.  He helped me through rough patches, supported me in my varying adventures, and was always there when I needed him.  When mom committed suicide, I was the one who had to call to tell him.  He used to live in the same town and we'd visit often for lunch and just to catch up and talk about what was going on in each other's lives.  His health started to fail, so he moved out of town to be closer to his daughter and grandkids.  We usually talked on the phone ever week or so after he'd moved out of town and still tried to stay close.  One week when I called, the phone just went to the voicemail, and I left him a message like normal and left it at that.  A little more than a week later, I called again and the phone just rang and rang.  The same thing happened a few days later.  Finally, I tried calling and learned the number was disconnected.  Tried calling his cell and found the same thing.  I couldn't shake that weird feeling of dread, so on a whim I looked online for the newspaper in the town he'd moved to.  Unfortunately, I found out my feeling was justified.  He was listed in the obituaries as having passed away a month before in the hospital ... just a couple of days after I'd last talked to him on the phone.  Once again ... a major blow.

Having said all of this, it should come as no surprise that I've had a difficult time pulling myself back together.  I don't think anyone could fault me for all of that.  Hell, this was even the first year in eight years that I missed Comic-Con.  That sounds like a joke or even a small thing, but with everything I do, missing out was a big deal.  But remember that pearl of wisdom from the last post about tomorrow always having a chance that things will get better?  It's been extremely hard, but I've really tried to practice what I preach.  See, when you feel like everything is falling apart around you, you've got to hold onto faith in yourself and your ability to see things through to another day.  I've been keeping steady with my writing, covering games and such over at USA Network's Character Arcade and most recently over at Best Buy's @Gamer magazine.  Believe it or not, I've even broken down and started writing not one but TWO screenplays based on ideas I've had rummaging around in my brain for years.  Will anything come of it?  Eh, who knows ... but the important thing is that I'm writing and I'm enjoying my work again.

This week, I'm flying out of town for a job interview in a different area of the gaming industry.  If I get the job, I'll be moving out of town and across the country.  Between you, me, and the fencepost, I know I'm more than capable and qualified to do the job without any problems ... just got to convince the "firing squad" of interviewers that I can do it.  And with everything that's happened so far this year, it would be great to be able to put 2010 behind me and go into 2011 and beyond with a fresh start.  I'm cautiously optimistic about the interview, I've decided that even if I don't get the job, everything is going to come together again.  It's been a long, hard road, but there's always a light at the end of the tunnel ... and despite what some may say, it's not always an oncoming train.

I guess what I'm trying to let all of you know (and I'm sorry if I sound like an after school special), but it's true what they say.  Things really do get better.  No matter how bad things seem or how deep the hole feels, you can always climb your way out of it.  It helps to have some good friends to lend a hand, but no matter what, there IS always a chance that things will get better tomorrow.  It's okay to feel down or to want to collapse sometimes, but you can never give up or lose faith in yourself.  Cope with things as best as you can, find an outlet, and don't be afraid to take a step back and catch your breath.  We're all only human ... and we can't always bounce right back.  It's honestly taken me months to pull myself together enough to write all of this.  Too often I'd start to write about what's happened and walked away.  But maybe I can help be an example to show that you really can get through anything life throws at you.  Hey, my life is FAR from perfect, but I'm still here.  Things are looking up ... and hell, if this week's opportunity slips by, there will be more to come.  See, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel ... you just might need to dig your way up to it sometimes.

Okay, that's all for now.   I promised a long time ago that this blog would be a little insight into my life ... I hope this helps some of you out through your darker days, and feel free to spread to word to others if you think it'll help them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

David, continue to stay strong my friend. You are always in my heart and prayers...