Everybody Hurts

I’m hurting so much right now. It’s that simple. I lack the energy to couch the sentiment in pretty language or paint with my words. I just hurt. Nothing more catastrophic than normal has happened. It just seems my ability to deal with it has diminished. The struggle to be everything is wearing me down like wind and water on sandstone. I am not made of granite, despite how it may look to people who glance at the outside and compliment me on my super-human strength. It’s not real.  Someone told me earlier this week that she was complaining of her life, but then she thought of me and was reminded her life is good.  She’s a sweet person, and I know she had no idea how her words felt to me.

It’s incredibly hard having X see the kids for three hours once a week. My prayers recently are simply to be charitable and for bitterness to stay far away from my heart. But X is the hero, returned after a long absence, who gets to have fun and play Wii and games with the kids. I cannot remind the children that his long absence was brought on himself and mandated by the courts and I am the one who picks up the pieces and disciplines and acts like a parent after he drives away. How is it a man can be months delinquent on child support, but still have the right to see his children (with court-ordered supervision, mind you)? How is this in any way fair? And it just doesn’t matter. Fair is not fair.

There is strife and dissolution in my extended family, and I am not free to write about any of it- which is fine, because my plate is so overfull with sadness I don’t have energy for anyone else’s right now. But it still adds to my hurt burden.

I’m running as fast and as hard as I can in what feels like deep sand. I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t. I’m not sleeping well again, and if I were a drinker, I can see how finding the bottom of a glass would seem pretty good right now. I’m not a drinker, and so I find myself in the kitchen at 2 am making hash browns and drinking a cranberry juice. Carb up- numb those feelings, one way or another. I’m aware enough to recognize it for what it is, but not powerful enough to put the pan of potatoes down the garbage disposal. Instead, I eat, and feel sick, and want to throw up.

It’s hard to keep getting back up over and over and over and over- you start to lose trust and wonder when the sky is going to fall on your head and what horrible thing is waiting around the corner to eat you alive.

29 thoughts on “Everybody Hurts

  1. After my brother and sister died, and a couple other super-stressful things had happened that I can’t mention (because they involve other people and it’s very personal), I was devastated. I felt like the whole world was upside down. I remember looking at the sky and wondering why there wasn’t grass growing up there, and trees hanging from it. I worked as a bank teller at the time, and I’d look at customers coming in and out of the bank and think, “Are they as normal as they look? Are they as happy as they look? Or are they hiding some horrible secret or dealing with some terrible loss?”

    Someone once said that everyone has to walk through the fire. Which I think is true. If you live long enough, eventually something horrible or tragic is gonna come your way. And here’s what I know about it: It totally sucks.

    Here’s what else I know about it: It doesn’t last forever. Things will get easier, and better. Eventually.

    You know how when Lehi’s family is out in the wilderness, and they can’t find food, and all their hunting equipment breaks? And even Lehi starts complaining, and only Nephi has faith and gets the job done? Everyone always says that Nephi is so strong for not giving up, too. I tend to think people who say that have never been in a position where everything depends on them. I mean, when no one else is going to do it, then you just have to. Sure, it takes strength and fortitude, and blah blah blah, but really, what else was he going to do? Let his family starve? He did what had to be done.

    And so will you. You’ll get through it, somehow. The fire doesn’t last forever. It just hurts like hell.

  2. I have two bits of advice (not that you asked) but when I am feeling this way I ask for a blessing and I find a babysitter and go to the temple. The second one is easy for me since I have three within a 10 mile radius of my house, but if that is not possible at least ask someone for a blessing. It may appear to us that you have superhuman strength and even though you think you are failing, you are not alone. The Lord loves you, your kids love you and you have many prayers being said on your behalf. I know none of this seems to ease the pain. Your children will eventually see and appreciate your hard work. Today as I was standing at the stove, with my back turned to the chaos that is my house, crying, my three year old noticed and came over and asked if I needed a band-aid. Sometimes its the small things that get you by. Hugs and prayers. I wish I could help in some way.

  3. Hurting sucks.

    Some days more than others. Some months more than others. Some years more than others. Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is so far away and distorted that you can’t even see it… or even remember that it is supposed to be there, somewhere, sometime, somehow, off in the foggy distance.

    This is what I did when I was in a similar dark and dreary wasteland of hurt: Find at least one thing that makes you happy and be grateful for that one thing in the midst of the pain. For me sometimes that was a piece of chocolate, or a hug from my kids, or a backrub from Ray, or a smile from a friend. It never made the hurt disappear, but it made it bearable. It helped me take a deep breath and plunge ahead.

    Sometimes there is no shortcut or way around, and the only way past the pain is through it. May God grant you the patience, the hope, and the breath to forge ahead.

    Endure well enough for NOW. Just for this one second, one breath – that is good enough as you flounder through your hurt. ( Hugs )

  4. I’ve always found comfort in “this too shall pass.” I could deal with anything if it was temporary. Then I got diabetes. It’s not going to ‘pass.’ It’s permanent. That is the hardest thing for me. I imagine that’s the same for you. Autism isn’t going away. X isn’t magically going to be the man he was.

    So I have to find ways to deal with the permanence, and find other things to focus on. Sometimes that works beautifully, other times – not so much.

    I hope some of this is temporary. I hope it will pass for you. And I’m with Michelle – one minute at a time, baby.

  5. Amen to what the others have said, and a bit more. Scriptures tell us we won’t get more than we can handle, they also tell us to take all our junk to the Lord and let Him take the burden… I suggest you do that. Get down on your knees or just think a prayer while your frying up those hash browns, but tell the Lord in no uncertain terms you have had it, you can’t take any more, and it is definitely time for Him to step in. Tell Him everything and leave nothing out. I guarantee something will change. Your world will not become Disneyland, however something will change; and you will find the ability to once again “handle it”.

    and a bit more: God gave us friends for a reason, this may be one of those reasons.

  6. Yeah, all my good dietary intentions have flown out the window over the last two weeks. I had the exact same feeling at some point–if I was a drinker. . .but I’m not. Instead I’m an eater. In my family of origin, my parents were fond of saying “Life isn’t fair. Ask Jimmy Carter.” And while I haven’t had a chance to ask him, I have seen way too much evidence that my parents are right. I’m sorry. I love you.

  7. I loved Susan M’s comment. (and everyone else’s too) Hold on. and do try to get to the Temple if you can. I hope you can, because I know having folks all around suggesting it when it’s just not possible is super painful (’cause I mean who DOESN’T want to go when there is pain all around? How crappy is it to wish you could go with all your heart and just not have that option. We live 6 to 8 hours away from any of our temples and have small ones. Oh how I get homesick for the Temple some days)
    Your children will one day understand that you are and have been the stable parent (I know you know that) and how hard it was, and really how abandoned you’ve been by ‘X’.
    Hold on. You’re going to make it, and you are not weak because you feel tired. You are strong because you feel all the things we’d all feel and yet you are driven to push ahead. You’re scared and your tired, but you get up and hide it all from your kids and try to make it all be okay anyway. I hope relief comes soon.

    BTW what is UP with people saying stupid stuff and thinking it’s inspirational?? I know the lady who used you as a “be thankful, you could have HER problems” lesson had good intentions but really? on what planet would that be polite to say to someone???
    yeesh.

  8. As a fellow custodial parent, I hear you. Whether it hurts when the kids are super excited to go to dad’s (and you wish they were that excited about you) or it hurts that the kids DON’T want to go to dad’s, and not only do you have to talk them into it/make it happen, but you have to worry about them while they are there. Bottom line is: it hurts.

    Here are a few things I tell myself, that may or may not be true, but help in the current:
    “When he is the hero for x, y, and z, it is because I enable him to be. I actually financially support the kids. I feed, clothe, and shelter them. I bathe them. I love them always and all times. I am the one helping them grow into the (fabulous) people they are. I am the hero. Even though the kids and he are not going to say that, and may not even realize it, I am the hero, not the guy who bought them pillow pets.”

    ALSO
    “I want my kids to love him. No good comes from a kid hating their father. No good comes from keeping him away (unless that needs to happen). It is better for them to have these few hours of love from him then a full week of neglect. One day they will be old enough to look back and realize that I was the one who was there for them, not him. And if they never realize how he has cheated them, well, that’s not bad, either. I don’t want them to feel abandoned.”

    Under the best of circumstances, I can say this:
    “Yippee–free babysitting. Get me to a movie theatre.”

    Wishing you all the best.

  9. Hug, hug, hug. It is totally not fair, and what you are doing is very, very, very hard. I am amazed at your general fortitude and can-do-it-iveness, and I think feeling like this sometimes is so, so, so normal. Being a single mom is HARD.

  10. Tracy,

    I’m a long time reader and admirer of you and your kiddos. I am LDS, live in your area, and the mother of 5 children.

    As you may know, Insomnia comes from an over stressed nervous system. It is a totally ironic thing. The worn out and exausted need sleep….why doesn’t our body crash/sleep deep and restore when we need it to ?!? The sleep is critical for women who carry so much on the shoulders and in their heart. The more worn out we get, slowly, slowly, our performance suffers and then comes in the guilt, and stress of determination to do better (when we already ARE trying to do the best we can).

    I have run and run and run for years. It caused depression and insomnia. But life kept going and in fact, getting more and more demanding. So I pulled up my boot straps and ran and ran and ran again. Guess what? depression with adrenal burnout and insomnia and fibromyalgia.

    What I’ve learned is that all the symptoms above came about because of anxiety. In an ideal world, we give ourselves a way to shake off and release the anxieties/pressures placed on us. Let nature do it’s thing and unwind us, so we can regain balance/sanity. This is where the temple, a cup of tea, exercise, eating well, visiting with our girlfriends come in…whatever does it for you….

    But, just in case you, or someone else, get where I am/was, I want to briefly continue. I went SO long raising babys, doing my vtching, my calling, the house, and all the wants and demands that come from others, that I never unwound. I just crashed in bed and got up and ran….worked right up until bedtime and crashed, began again. I was unaware of it, but this pace affected my brain.
    It got to the point that I was SO wound up and exausted, my brain was a gerbil wheel on Energizer Bunny batteries. If I was on a beach in a Carribean island, my brain keep running with what I needed to and should do. It was sick. I was a captor of a demanding slave master and he never left. He was in my brain and ran my body.

    I am grateful that I have Finally found a way to shut down the demanding anxiety failure panic inducing voice in my head. A 1/2 mg. tablet of Clonzaepam. The 10,000 things I need to do are still there, but the difference is in me and how I feel. I can think calmly and clearly and can approach things without feeling there is a gun to my head all the time. And, I sleep like a baby.

    I AM NOT advocating pills to solve all our problems. I am just sharing that sometimes, we should pray and ask Heavenly Father for directions as to what we should do. And sometimes, we should go talk to our doctors and get their input. And sometimes, the challenges of living in this demanding day and age are counterbalanced with wisdom and options in caring for our body and mind.

    Oh, and also….I have been given strength and clarity through priesthood blessings. Those are an amazing gift. There is no limit to how often Heavenly Father wants to help us through that medium.

    sorry for the length of the post….I just wondered if someone could avoid some painful outcomes if I shared the things I’ve gone through and learned from hindsight.

  11. Don’t put on a false happy face too often. Even your kids need to see how much this hurts you, to see that life isn’t roses and that what has happened effects you. They can learn to give compassion to you.

    I applaud you for praying for good feelings, trying to move beyond bitterness. I can only imagine how achingly difficult it is.

    It makes no sense that your X gets visits with the kids when he’s not supporting them , except – how much he means to them. The children will suffer even more for their father being absent. Try to look at it as aiding them, not being soft on the X. As crazy as it is that the man who abandoned them means so much to them, he does and always will. It is that sacred connection of being a parent, no matter what he does the children will want his attention, praise, and love. A deep seeded need in all of us, conscious or unconscious.

    I give him a little credit that he actually cares enough about them to show up for those 3 hours. Many a failed father has tucked his tail and run instead of facing up to the trauma they’ve created. When you’re not around they’ll start asking him the hard questions, and he’ll feel the weight of it.

  12. I thought I read that you were up in the wee hours making hash brownies, and I’m thinking, “Tracy, nooooooo!” Then as I keep reading I find the reference to “potatoes,” and I go back and realize my error. So I thought you might get a smile out of my freudian misreading of your post.

    Hang in there, girl, you are indeed doing all the right things. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  13. Hi,
    you don’ t know me but someone actually referred me to your blog for inspiration through my own trial at this time. I’ve so enjoyed reading your thoughts and process. I don’t struggle with the same issues you do, but I do have children and I have had my entire existence or really future be ripped from me. I am also trying to rebuild and to be a single parent as well. It is hard, really really hard. I agree with all that has been said. My bishop told me there is no “quota” on priesthood blessings. In the past 3 months, I’ve had several for various reasons. I highly recommend that. I also recommend writing down what was said- you will look at that and see the promises given and that will provide you some strength- Just to know that your Father in Heaven loves you so very much. He will tell you what you need to hear right now and will truly send comfort, peace and help. Pour our your heart to him in prayer. Of this, I have a true testimony. I have felt it in my life, felt the burden be lifted- even for a little while, felt another force propelling me through my day, taking care of my kids, doing my job, trying to be strong and provide comfort to them.
    I have a special admiration for you as well- I am an SLP, and while I can’t imagine what it may be like to have and raise a child with Autism, I can appreciate what that is like at times.
    My HT told me this- ” the Lord must trust you, to place your children in your care alone- to have the responsibility to raise them and provide for their physical, emotional, spiritual development. He will strengthen you and help you. My other tiny bit of advice that has helped is this- I started subscribing to “LDS gems” off the lds.org website. I get an email each morning in reference to a conference or ensign talk. I can’t tell you how many times the topic has been exactly what I needed to hear. I of course also try to read my scriptures daily- and do read with my kids.. even when it feels useless, I can tell you that it has helped as well.

    One last thing- the person who referred me to your blog sent me this quote from Neal A Maxwell:

    “When in situations of stress we wonder if there is any more in us to give, we can be comforted to know that God, who knows our capacity perfectly, placed us here to succeed. When we have been weighed and found wanting let us remember that we were measured before, and were found equal to our tasks.”

    You and your family are in my prayers. And finally- Take care of yourself! You as mom has to be the priority to refill the strength you need- by taking care of yourself, asking others to help and just giving yourself permission to take a break from all that you’re facing. Take care, XOXO

  14. I’m sorry I didn’t see this earlier. I have my own experiences to throw into the pot for you to mull over.

    First, you are not hurting right now because your capacity to deal is diminished. You are hurting because your capacity has increased. It seems like an oxymoron, but I have noticed with my grief, anyways, that it comes in waves. Just when I think I’m “getting it” or “handling it” a wave of grief rushes over me. Chances are good that it’s happening at night for you because that’s when you’re “safe” from having to put on the act for the kids. The first few times my ex took the kids, I spent almost the whole time crying. Your body and mind dole the grief out to you in manageable doses (even though they feel unmanageable at the time.) Let yourself grieve, cry and scream when you can. It will have to be dealt with somehow, some time. When you’re up at night, beat a pillow into smithereens and sob as quietly as you can so not to wake the kids. Let yourself be angry when you can afford to be angry. Even though you’ll come out of it red-faced, swollen-eyed and more than a little embarrassed by yourself, it will help everything else be a little more livable.

    Second, be cautious about the temple. Go, by all means, go. You may have already been since everything. But be prepared for gut-wrenching experiences. I used to love the temple. It felt like home to me. Now, I feel disconnected and adrift. But there will be a sort of bittersweet peace there, too. This, too, will have to be dealt with. Sometimes you’ll go and it will be just a vague feeling of loss and nostalgia. Other times, it will be all you can do to just get through a session without going crazy. Go and do initiatory. It is much less painful, and serves to remind of the powers you have been given to deal with what you’re dealing with.

    Anyways, that’s my input.

  15. Tracy, I hope through these comments you can feel how much your friends love and care for you; how we want to rally around and help buoy you up!

    This morning, the following video clip was our devotional for seminary. I thought of my own Fridays and Sundays… and I thought of you. Hope the link works; it’s from Elder Wirthlin’s talk about Sunday Will Come.

    http://www.seminaryhomestudy.org/mod/resource/view.php?id=123961

    A longer clip of this is on youtube:

    Hugs and prayers, my dear!

  16. I’ve been reading your blog for years… And I just have three things to say…

    YOU.
    ARE.
    AWESOME.

    Even if you don’t feel so awesome… I am amazed at your creativity, generosity, faith, perservearance, patience… I’m sure you have your melt down moments… But oh my gosh… Under the circumstances… I’m simply in awe of you…

    I’ve had my own trauma and drama this past year… Divorced and remarried… And it was all worth it. Hang in.

  17. You don’t know me, but I just wanted to tell you you’re in my thoughts and prayers. You inspire me. I’m so sorry you’ve been hit by such a big wave of grief. I hope it will recede soon and that the next wave will be longer in coming.

  18. You don’t know me but I’ve followed your blog for some time. I just want to say how much I admire you for keeping on, keeping on.
    I’ve been where you are, single parent raising four sons, one of them disabled. My X was an absentish father who never paid his dues but my kids saw only their dad and revelled in his short, occasional trips into their lives. It hurt when they gushed about the things they’d done together and they didn’t seem to notice all that I did. But each time they went it got easier, I coped a tiny bit better until eventually I realised that I w as actually looking forward to that time alone, to spend on me. I started tuning out their praises and concentrated on remembering how much time and energy I gave,so that soon I could listen with a smile on my face whilst thinking, yeah, yeah, yeah! Also the aching hurt will go away, that old adage, ‘Time heals all wounds’, is true. One day you will wake up and realise you don’t miss him that much anymore and eventually that you don’t miss him at all. I did meet somebody else who has been a wonderful husband and father to me and my boys and brought much happiness to us. Also, as my boys began to grow they began to see that I was the rock their lives were built on and began appreciating me more. They haven’t seen their father for several years but they all agree that it has been no great loss.
    For now, you need to just do what you can to get through. If that’s eating ice-cream at 2 a.m. so be it, if it’s crying the night away so be it. Do what you need to do and then dust yourself off, square your shoulders and get back on the horse. One thing you should do is be proud of all you have achieved since being alone. It’s okay to say, ‘I did good today’ even it was just saying no to that last cookie!
    Put your burden on the Lord’s shoulder, tell Him you really need help to carry it, get blessings from priesthood, read your scriptures daily and you will find the strength you need. They say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, I know that’s true and so will you, eventually. My prayers are with you as one sister in the gospel to another.

  19. I cannot relate to your specifics, but I can relate to some of the feelings you are having, to feeling like you are one step away from really losing it. For the first time this week, I had a vague sense of understanding why people could get addicted to drugs. Because sometimes the fatigue of facing whatever you are facing just feels like too much and temporary relief seems like such a temptation.

    It makes me grateful for the WoW and such, and still the reality is that reality can sometimes just be brutal to face. I still haven’t gotten over the shock of how hard life can be. Reading of others’ experiences like yours reinforces that feeling of wow –this mortality thing really is tough. And I still don’t really know how to turn that over to God, or I seem to at least fall out of the feeling of being in the “arms of safety.”

    I’m sorry it’s so hard. You’ll be in my prayers.

    p.s. I agree with SilverRain with the notion of letting yourself grieve, too, and letting your grief process be what it is. I’m amazed at how grief can come in cycles. When facing a challenge that isn’t going to go away (for me, it’s my health struggles and the losses and schtuff that accompany it) it’s not one cycle, it’s often about going through the cycle several times and then over time learning to recognize it and learn what helps me through it, which is sometimes nothing more than enduring the “through” part again and knowing that somewhere along the way I’ll find another patch of light. I have done this enough that I know the light is real; it’s just hard when the darkness seems to be winning in those down parts of the grief cycle.

  20. I hope you know how many people sincerely love you, girl – and, if it helps at all, that number is WAY higher than the number of people who love X. *grin*

    This link my wife shared is one of my favorite from an apostle of all time. I hope it resonates with you.

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