How Do I Do This Again?

I have sat down to write no fewer than what feels like a thousand times and I can’t formulate my thoughts into a whole.  My writing has become stream-of-consciousness at best.  I sit down to write, I struggle through a few sentences, and then I walk away.

So, in an attempt to get back in the swing of things, I’m going to just go with my stream-of-consciousness writing and I’m hoping that you’ll all bear with me.

I feel like I’m betraying my mother-in-law’s memory by blogging so soon after her death.  How can I write about everyday things when I have the gravity of her death on my mind?

I want to be able to write about the joys of summer, ice cream sandwiches, kiddie pools, and bike rides, but my mind is consumed with the fragility of life, fear of more heartache, and ways to hold my family even tighter.

I was lying in bed last night, thinking about how much fun it would be to go camping.  My mind wandered to when the kids are a little older and I had visions of them wanting to sleep in their own tent.  My heart started to race and I nearly had a panic attack lying there.  I realized that I truly doubt that I will ever be able to let them have that kind of freedom.

When we were at the dentist today for Katie’s check-up, the dental hygienist I found with led her out of the room without me to choose a reward for being so well-behaved.  Anxiety gripped me immediately.

I’ve always struggled with anxiety, with fears of the worst possible thing happening and I’ve spent my share of hours talking to a professional about it.  But now, I am feeling that familiar panicky undercurrent, nipping at my feet and it scares me.

My mother-in-law had struggled with health problems for quite some time and I think in some strange way, we took for granted that she’d always get through her challenges.  She was so upbeat and determined.  The latest hospital stay and her subsequent death truly caught me off-guard.

Now I’m feeling afraid of my own shadow.

I want to be carefree, I want my to make my children laugh, and I want to loosen my hold on them just a bit.

I want to blog again about happy and trivial things.

I’m going to keep writing and hope that little by little, I’m able to breathe a little easier and laugh a little quicker.

Thanks for hearing me out.


  1. Lori

    It will get better.

    I lost my dad when I was 30, very unexpectedly. My son (Child A) was not quite two.

    I honestly remember turning off the vacuum and sitting down in the living room and wondering why I even cared if my house was clean? My dad complimenting me on my house was a big deal to me – he would never do that again. How could I even feel like vacuuming was important? How ridiculous and small minded I was…

    Except that I wasn't, but it took some distance from that big huge loss to be able to value things that were smaller. It a bit of distance from grief before I could find joy in things without feeling guilty. And the guilty was ridiculous – who among us wants those we love to ever have one moment without joy? We want to be loved, yes…missed? Hell yes I'd want people to miss me. But I would never want my children to forego the happiness found in ice cream and summer…there is no disloyalty there, and no diminishing of her importance.

    But sometimes we have to tell our hearts that very firmly.

    And I know, without question, that your mother-in-law would remind you how brief the time is when our children are small and tender, when an icecream sandwich is enough to make the world a great place, and she would not want you to sacrifice one second of enjoying those moments for any reason.

    She would want you to celebrate her with an ice cream sandwich, I bet.

  2. I think the trivial things are what make up life. You must going on living and to do that ice cream must be eaten and bike rides taken.
    I don't know anything about your mother in law but I'm betting she wants you to live.

  3. Sunshine

    Maybe you could write your blogs with the thought that you are writing them for her. She'd want to hear the everyday events, the joy, the heartache, the laughter and the tears.

    Take baby steps. In time it will come, but you've got to start somewhere. And you have lots of support here! :-)

  4. Thank you for being honest & real! I can imagine your heart is heavy, and will continue to be, for some time as you mourn the loss of your mother in law. I'm so sorry. I hope & pray that your family is made stronger and closer through it all. Your kids are lucky to have a wonderful mother who worries about them. Although, I know my fair share about anxiety & it is the worst! Hang in there! We are still reading.

  5. Joanne Schiffbauer

    Everything you have been through does put things
    AND, people in perspective. The ones you love the
    most and you, hopefully will enjoy the smallest
    things that give you pleasure…eat the ice cream,
    laugh at silly things and know that you are making
    memories for your children…wonderful memories!

  6. So sorry to hear of her passing. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. And who cares if your posts don't make us pee in our pants with laughter. You write your big ol heart out and share what you have to share. We're all listening! Time will pass, wounds will heal and then you will only remember the good and smile. Hang in there.

  7. Peggy

    Thinking about you all the time.
    After a death, everything always seems so trivial. What Lori wrote about really touched me. I feel the same..yes I would want to be missed. But I certainly wouldn't want my loved ones to be consumed by it. Instead, think of her when you see a rainbow, or hear a song bird, and stop and smell the…California poppies.
    Although I did not know your mother-in-law, I have a feeling she would love it if you and Craig packed those 2 kids in the car someday, and went for a roadtrip back East.

  8. Coma Girl

    Everyone needs to grieve and everyone grieves in their own way. And your readers will be here for the sad posts, the stream of consciousness posts and the funny posts.

    Take your time.

  9. kris

    I know from experience the awesome pain involved in the constant awareness of life's fragility. It is unbearable. Everybody tells you that these moments are sweet, because they teach you not to take things for granted.

    Those words always grated in my mind.

    For me? There is a joy in being able to take things for granted . . . even if I know in the back of my mind that all is fragile and fleeting. I want to be able to vacuum and appreciate the cleanliness of my house; I want to be able to savor an ice cream cone without thinking of anything else but its icy sweetness; I want to see my children and live in THIS moment, without fear of what the next moment may bring.

    I want to be able to take things for granted.

    I love you, and I wish you a calm journey . . . back to peace.

  10. Alex@LateEnough

    When you are ready to blog about the little things, you will. Meanwhile, feel free to blog heavy. It's okay.

  11. Nichole

    I can't imagine the pain of losing a child and having the strength to get out of bed each day.

    I lost my dad too, but I was only two and have no memory of him. I'm not sure which is worse, losing him before I knew him or as an adult, with a lifetime of memories. Neither is easy.

    You're right about the ice cream sandwich, it truly can make the world a great place and my mother-in-law would want that for us.

    Thank you for commenting and for sharing your experiences with me. I didn't think it was possible to admire you any more than I already did. I was wrong.

  12. Nichole

    My mother-in-law was truly full of spunk. You're right, she truly would want us to ride bikes and laugh. I need to keep reminding myself of that.
    Thanks for your sweet words.

  13. Nichole

    I love that idea, Sunshine. The thought of writing for her might help me to get going again.

    And thank you for the support. I appreciate it beyond words.

  14. Nichole

    Anxiety has always played a role in my life, but in tough times, it escalates quickly and can truly get out of control. I need to keep reminding myself to breathe and recenter.

    Thank you for the reminder that you are still there, still reading.

  15. Nichole

    Thank you for your words.
    I keep telling myself that this huge loss needs to be a reminder to us to enjoy the small moments again…the thing that I have always tried to do for our children.

  16. Nichole

    Thank you for being my friend.
    How is it that you always know just what to say?

  17. Nichole

    You know what? You're right. She WOULD want us to take a road trip back east (like she did with her boys when they were little!).

    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words.
    You have no idea just how much I love you.

  18. Nichole

    Comments like yours make me feel like I can breathe a bit and just BE.

    Thank you for that.

  19. Nichole

    This is my new mantra, "I want to see my children and live in THIS moment, without fear of what the next moment may bring." This is exactly the life that I want to live.

    I cannot believe my good fortune to have met you. Your friendship is like a gift that I can unwrap over and over again. Thank you for that.

  20. Nichole

    Thank you, Alex–thank you for this comment and for consistently making me smile, my ECFF.

  21. Adrienne

    Grieving is kind of like labor: it goes best (if I may use that very-wrong word here) when we let go and let it have its way. When the hurt and anger and loneliness come, breathe deep and ride the wave. In the between times when the pain lets go, laugh and enjoy and let the quiet soothe you.

    Also? The shitty reality is, grief is like interest: it compounds. I hate that, but every time I lose someone, I feel the hurt of old losses, too. And for those of us who have seen many people die very young and sudden deaths, the fear is HUGE. When my kids got to an age at which they needed some freedom and independence, I was terrified, but I got through it. When the time comes, you will, too. I promise.

    I love you and I'm here to listen anytime.

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