This week I have had to have a couple of hard conversations. I’m not very good at them – who is tho?!… and there is a whole lot of anxiety leading up to and following them. I’m sure I am not the only one who goes through this stuff.. no one likes to have hard conversations, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and go for it. The lead up anxiety to anything difficult like this is quite hyper for me… my heart races, my palms sweat, I feel nauseous and get butterflies and obviously there are tears – it is me after all!
My first hard conversation this week was with my In-Laws. I love them. They have been and continue to be a huge part of our family. We need them in our world. They know that I write this blog, but have only read a couple of ‘episodes’ that I have shown them and they are not subscribed to it. We talk about all kinds of things all the time, but I have not spoken to them about starting to date and finding someone. I have not wanted to say anything, especially while I was unsure about the people I have been out with. I know they want the best for me and they want me to be happy. I am too young to live the rest of my life on my own – I don’t want that, and I know they don’t want that for me either. But letting them know that I am seeing someone was a really hard thing to do.
I think that I caught them by surprise. They came over for a cuppa (as they often do) and in the course of the conversation I kind of blurted out that I had something to tell them. I mentioned that I had started seeing someone that I have been friends with for a long time, who is also widowed, and that we are taking things slowly and seeing how it goes. I know that it came out of the blue for them, maybe I could have done it in a better way – but how do you lead into something like that?! I am aware that they have spoken about the idea of me dating with my parents previously, and while my mum knows what I have been doing (she reads the blog, and I tell her everything anyway), she kind of downplayed it to them, agreeing with me that ‘until it is something real, I maybe shouldn’t tell them’.
It feels like the right time now, and I am glad that I have had the conversation with them. I don’t like to feel like I am keeping secrets from them when so many other people know about this journey through the blog. They have said that they are not ready for an introduction yet – that is their choice, and it is completely fine… I understand that they need time to process their feelings about all of this. I know they want me to be happy and I know that is what Claytie would want too (it is absolutely what I would want for him!) But this is a big change and adjustment for all of us. I just don’t ever want them to feel like they are no longer important in our world or that they have been replaced in any way, because that will never be the case!
My other hard chat was with one of my kids who is having a super tough time at the moment. He is in the middle of a huge grief wave and is making some questionable choices… things that we have been through before between all of the boys, but it feels like a lot all in one go for this one. All of the boys are aware of the situation – we talk about everything all of the time, but it is hard knowing how to help. No-one likes to have unpleasant stuff pointed out to them – usually we are well aware of our own flaws and faults, and having them pointed out just makes us feel worse. There is a lot of disappointment and anger, frustration and helplessness – on all sides. We are working through it and have asked for help in the form of counselling.
For some reason, and I think this is the case for a lot of people particularly young men – certainly mine, there is a feeling that it can’t be helpful to talk to a stranger… ‘what could they possibly know or do about my situation that I can’t do for myself?! They can’t bring Dad back!’ A big part of my conversation with him has been around trusting people who are qualified, who have skills and strategies to help with managing anxiety and grief that I don’t have. I am just muddling my way through without a clue how to help myself, let alone the boys with their process. We all have such different ways of coping and the things that work for me are totally wrong for the boys and vice versa.
We have tried managing on our own… and while we are doing OK, we need help to get through this situation. It is 100% worth trying, and at some stage I will see a counsellor too – if not for myself then absolutely to learn how to help the boys! Again, as with all of this stuff, I have to come back to how lucky we have been. We were able to get an appointment for him very quickly with a highly recommended person, and I have high hopes that she will be able to help us – or at least point us in the right direction! I know that my son will get through this hard time. He is a spectacular young man who is working at finding his feet in a rough place. He has a spot in the world that will feel like his own, that will make him happy and comfortable – we just have to help him find it!
Its been a tough week in lots of ways, and I think it some of it will keep going for a little while yet. Fingers crossed the counselling is as helpful as we need it to be and things improve for my boy… I hate feeling helpless and to see him hurting so much. It is hard enough being a young person and not knowing what you want to do with yourself; then throw in the loss of such a pivotal person in your life and it becomes overwhelming. It really sux that there is no easy solution for dealing with such enormous grief…