Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Yesterday was the anniversary of the last day of my "normal" life.  The last day I felt fully like myself.  Six years ago today, the first (and worst) of a series of events began that have pulled me further and further from feeling my place in the world.  Six years is a long time to drift and I still have no real vision of what will bring me back to a sense of stability.  Who knew that at the age of 54, so much of my life would feel so far out of my control.

Today is the sixth anniversary of the terrible accident that killed my sister and my nephew.  It's a loss I've learned to live with but some days my psyche and my heart finds it  almost impossible to accept.  

Since that day, I have been repeatedly thrust into life changing situations that have challenged my belief that a life I envision for myself is within my grasp.

Six years and one day ago, I was living in a bubble of contentment.  I loved my home and my community, I had wonderful friends around me, my family was intact and we were emotionally and financially secure.  That day now seems like ancient history.  It all started with a devastating phone call.  I relive that moment frequently in my head and still can hardly believe the news it brought.  It broke my heart and robbed me the ability to believe that my loved ones are protected and safe.  And now,  so much more has happened I feel  little confidence  going forward.

My husband lost his job...not once, but twice.  The first we knew was coming and we would have weathered it better if it was not in the immediate shadow of Meg's death.   I was grieving while things were uncertain and I was not up to the task of providing Aaron with the support he needed.  He looked for work for a year and when he found a job, it required a relocation.  I was about to be faced with my next big loss....either my husband, or my home.

I chose to keep my marriage intact but the price for that choice has been monumental.  I loved my home, I loved where it sat, I loved (and still love) my neighbor there.  I loved my friends.  I loved my place in the community.  I loved the surrounding area.  I loved that everything around me was filled with memories of my precious children growing up and happy times with my dear friends.  In my heart...I was home.

But I left it.  I can't let myself believe that it was the wrong thing to do even though my gut told me otherwise.  It would have been worse to divide my family.    I've regretted that I wasn't more forceful about my instincts.  It's like another death to me.  Just like I can't get my sister back, I can't get that life back.  My homesickness is like a rotten spot on my soul.  It's a festering wound that just won't heal.

The first two years in our new place were rough.  I was heartsick to be here and felt tremendously displaced.  Were it not for the few friends who supported me over the miles, I don't know how I would have made it.  It was very difficult to meet and connect with anyone here.  I felt "out of sight, out of mind" with many people I'd left behind and that was painful.  Some days I'd look around and think "where am I? WHO am I?"  Of course, it put tremendous strain on my marriage.

By the third year, I'd made one friend and was finally getting my head around "this is where I live."  While I was still very fragile with homesickness, I was getting a bit stronger and a more peaceful in my day to day existence.  Then, Aaron came home to tell me that he'd lost his job.

Aaron was working as an executive at a semiconductor company.  It was a high paying position with a lot of responsibility.  He was laid off because the company had hired a new CEO and (as is not uncommon) she cleared the executive decks to bring in her own team.  From the moment she was hired he had an inkling this could happen, yet when it did we felt blindsided.

That was almost 18 months ago.  He has been looking diligently for work all along but things far out of our control an obstacle.  We are a statistic heard on the news every night.  We are the "over age 50 long term unemployed".  Aaron has exceptional skills and experience.  One prominent CEO in silicon valley invited him out to meet on a consult and told him that his resume "glowed in the dark".  But there are no jobs....there are no empty chairs.  And he can't get considered for a lower level position because his experience is a "threat".  No one wants to hire someone who could do THEIR  job.

Our expenses here are staggering.  Everything was within our budget when Aaron was working.  This was not a case of borrowing more than we could afford.  Thankfully we have money in the bank....we were conscientious about saving all our married life.  But now we are watching that nest egg hemorrhage.   We have put the house on the market but real estate is in such bad shape here that it is listed for what we owe.  All our equity is gone.  We can't get anyone to even look at the place.  With the economic uncertainty there's no surprise there.  Once again, we are a news statistic....upside down on our house and no buyers in sight.

I watch what's happening in our economy and with our pathetic collection of "lawmakers" and consider our status as a statistic and wonder if there is anything we will be able to do to get through this mess and land on our feet.  It's frustrating because for almost 30 years we really tried to be forward thinking plan for our future and the future of our kids.  We left the home I loved to come here because this was the clearest path to ensuring financial security.  Look where it got us.   Without a job or a buyer the outlook is pretty dismal and some days we are more discouraged than others.  The last six years has been a long haul of heartbreak and disappointment.  I'm tired....I'm tired of feeling this way.  Hopelessness is draining.  I keep looking for that one thing to grab a solid stick in a flooded river.  I need to grab onto something to keep from swept away, pulled under, and drowned.  But, nothing feels like the solid anchor I hope to find.

I'm hesitating to push the publish button on this as the latest in a long series of woeful posts.   But today's anniversary is significant.  It was the first and most overwhelming loss in a series of losses that I'm struggling to recover from.  It's hard for me to wrestle with any one without all of them falling on top of me.

I've been wanting to return to blogging for awhile and all this emotional clutter gets in the way.  I'm hoping that if I dump it here one more time that maybe I can resume a pattern of blogging about TODAY without dragging in all the baggage of the last six years.  I'm going to try.  I hope a few of you out there are still with me....


Rose said...

one thing I love about having a journal is it's my own private place to let all my cares one in my real world comes here so I can be free to express myself. you have been through so much that I do not understand how you have the strength. The saying God doesn't give you more than you can handle I am sure leaves you to say ENOUGH! already! I pray that God grants you a breakthrough in you and your husband's life, so you can have the peace to so deserve.

Lisa :-] said...

Kat--As much as I know my readers get a little tired of me moaning about my life...I KNOW my blog is the only place I can take my woes. This is EXACTLY what the blog community was created for. It is what it does best: lets you pour out your heart and soul to people who know you and care about you in a way that the folks you know in your "real" life simply cannot. Your "real" family, friends, acquaintances could not help but feel somehow resonsible for the feelings you have. They might resent or try to "fix" you. We here in the Land of Blog read, sympathize, and do not judge. I honestly do not know what I would have done without my blog and the people I have "met" in the process of writing it. They have been my sounding board, my psychologists, my anchor...I am convinced that blogging probably saved my life. At the very least, it saved my sanity.

So don't say that you can't blog until you get all this emotional clutter out of the way. That is exactly the stuff that you should be writing about, in my opinion.

Whatever you decide, you always know I will be here for you whenever you write, whatever you write.

L :-]

Anonymous said...

I wish things had gone better for you, Kat. Losing Meg just wasn't fair. Paul

Cindy said...

oh, my dear, dear friend. my heart cries for you. I can't imagine being in your position, I know how hard it's been - the tremendous loss, homesickness, uncertainty, all of it. I don't think I'd be weathering it as well as you have. even with all of my troubles, I haven't been able to pour out my heart in my blog or anywhere else, and I am even at the point where I've stopped talking about it with anyone (and I know that's not at all healthy.) I wish so much that we lived close enough to get together for a tea or a walk several times a week...I wish that so very much. it's been almost a year since I've seen your lovely face. I miss you, and I love you and think of you often...hope you feel that and know you're never alone. xoxo Phin

Cynthia said...

Oh, Kat. When it seemed that everything in my life collapsed, I wasn't able to blog or really even write any more. Though it's still as tentative and sporadic as it can be, blogging again is helping me heal. What's been going on for years is still going on, and accepting that is so hard. Just write, blog it out. You have friends here who care.

Monica said...

Kat ... I wish I could reach through and give you a hug. Despite all that is going on in your life, you give me hope with your strength. I realize that while you may not see yourself as a strong woman right now as you are in the middle of many changes and unrest which leaves one feeling weak. You ARE a strong woman who has endured so much.

I've done very little blogging myself - for many of the same reasons. I feel my life is spiraling out of control and I've yet to find/ get a grasp on that life raft that is out there .... somewhere.

As I read the comments of the other women here who also support and love you, and are going through tough times of their own, I started thinking that maybe we ought to start a blogging support group where we can lean on each other for support and simply knowing we are NOT alone.

I wish we lived closer, I'd love to walk with you and our cameras. Talk if we wanted or just walk quietly in thought and photograph the beauty around us.

Much love to you Kat!

Oz Girl said...

I keep thinking "this could so easily be us", what you have been going through with Aaron's two job losses. Another reminder for us to be thankful for the jobs we have, as much as we might hate them some days!

Losing your sister and nephew is the most horrible loss I could imagine. Like most 50+ year olds, I've had my family losses too, including pets that were as much family as the humans -hugs to you when you lost Berkeley last year.

I agree with the others here -- it IS hard to blog when life hands us lemons, and yet, at those times in our lives is when writing about our experiences can sometimes be cathartic and help us get through them quicker, a better person, along with the help and hugs of other bloggers.

Hang in there, and I'm sending as many virtual hugs along with my comment as I can cram in here.

Judith HeartSong said...

I am sending love and a hug.... was thinking of you with the date and want you to know that you are loved by so many.

marigolds2 said...

Oh Kat. I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face. I am still "with you," indeed so much of what you say here in this post hits home so very hard. My past five years have been very similar to much that you talk about in this post, and I can feel every fibre of your pain, loss, grief, frustration. I don't talk about it, or blog about it, and I have transferred my internet connections to fairly impersonal political/environmental postings on Facebook - but I am so glad you shared all this here on this journal. It brings me close to you again, and I'm just sorry not to have been here all along. I don't blog much because I just don't feel that I can share what is truly in my life, my heart and soul - it is too dark, too depressed - who would want to read it? But maybe I'm wrong about that - I DID want to read what you wrote, and will continue to visit here and share your life. I have no words of comfort or wisdom, just of friendship and caring - I am walking with you again, Kat, please know I'm here.

Jon said...

Kat, you said more here in these few paragraphs than I've said in the past year. I can fully understand all that you've been going through, and I can definitely fully identify with your pain. I wholeheartedly encourage you to write and to share your thoughts. There are many people here who always keep you in their hearts.
Writing has always been a great emotional catharsis for me. It's one of the few things that keeps me going.

kath said...

I'm so sorry things have been so rough over these past 6 years. I remember very well when you lost your sister. We all felt your pain so deeply. When you moved to Long Island, we all felt your heart breaking. I had hoped and prayed for you that things would get easier as time went on, but life often has other plans, as you well know. I hope that things will become easier, that your husband will find the right job, that relocation will bring you back to the community you love and you will find the peace and joy that you deserve.

Stacy said...

Hi Kat, I read your journal for years and still check it from time to time hoping you've posted as I've wondered how you were. I remember well the loss of your sister and nephew and your struggle to make the transition to Long Island. I was pleased to see you are blogging again but I'm sorry the news is not good. The daily stress you are dealing with must be horrendous. I hope things turn around for you soon.