Monday, March 28, 2016

The Search for Perspective

It's been nearly six months since my dad died. Six months since we heard him laugh or sing to himself or tell us he loves us. It's still unfathomable. I still can't believe he's gone. Do you ever get used to it? Last night I tearfully read through some of the blogs I wrote right after he died. Despite my sadness I remembered the perspective I had during that time. Nothing was more important than being with my family. I didn't return work emails. I didn't worry about the unimportant tasks that usually feel so important. I felt so connected to myself, and it seemed like that focus would remain.

Love this photo of my dad with my son at his baptism last April
Of course life loves to derail my perfect perspective, and here I am nearly half a year later stressing about the small stuff. I return work emails when I should be playing with my son. I push myself to complete all the household tasks - laundry, dinner, picking up toys - at a pace that's absurd. Who cares if my son's playroom looks like a tornado exploded? Nobody but me, and I pick up the toys several times a day.

Last week I think it finally happened - I pushed myself too hard. My husband was gone for nearly a week, and Will and I went to St. Louis. When we got back on Sunday I went to Urgent Care where I was diagnosed with a severe sinus infection. I was taking both sinus meds and Ibuprofen like candy along with an antibiotic. On Monday I felt like I was completely out of energy.

I've also been dealing with a foot injury, and I started physical therapy on Monday where the therapist taped my feet to reposition them. It's fun being me.

Thank God she didn't ruin my pedicure.
Tuesday and Wednesday were my work's legislative conference, and I sucked up the exhaustion and pushed through. I rocked cute dresses and heels. I crawled into bed at 1 am on Tuesday after 17 hours in heels and woke up with my son 3.5 hours later. On Wednesday I worked my tail off to raise $7500 for our foundation. When I finally sat down for the last session on Wednesday afternoon I wanted to cry. I was so, so drained. It rarely happens, but I was entirely out of steam. 

My colleague drove me home, and by the time my husband got home at 5:30 I had already shed the cute dress and heels in favor of sweats and a headband. I was in bed by 8 pm. That was nearly a week ago, and I don't feel much more well rested. My body is trying to tell me something, and for once I'm having a hard time ignoring it.

Exhausted but still all smiles for new urbanist porn.
On Friday afternoon I ran a kick ass tempo run at 6:27 minute miles. I felt like a rockstar. On Saturday morning I got up to run and ran for exactly 7 minutes before I stopped. I had zero energy. It just wasn't happening. And for once I couldn't push it. On Saturday afternoon I snuggled with my baby and napped with him for two hours in my bed. I'm not one of those "nap while the baby is napping" people because generally I have 1,000 other things to do. But this weekend my drive was usurped by my fatigue.

This upcoming weekend my husband and I are going to Chicago for our first weekend away by ourselves since our son was born. I have a list of things we want to do, and sleep is on the top of the list followed closely by eating leisurely meals without a toddler. My therapist told me that if she could she'd write me a prescription to play. I'm trying to balance that play with taking care of myself. Crohn's has been kicking my tail this year, and my level of exhaustion has been extraordinary. For the first time in the 18 years I've had Crohn's I actually feel like a sick person, and I am not amused. 

I'm going to spend a few weeks focusing on that perspective. My dad pushed himself constantly like I do. He never seemed tired to me. He just kept going Energizer bunny style. But if he were here he'd lecture me for not slowing down and taking care of myself. I probably wouldn't listen, but it's a lecture I'd love to get right now. A lot of me thinks I've pushed even harder to push past the pain and anger I feel about his death. If I slow down I'll feel too much, and it will be too painful. 

I'm going to try my hardest to slow down a little in the next few weeks. Take deep breaths. Find that perspective. It will be a continual struggle to remind myself to focus and have perspective. I may need your help y'all. Keep me honest!     


  1. I love this. It's a nice reminder. I have been overscheduled here lately, despite having 2 days in Pittsburgh as post-session get-away. I feel like I need more. More downtime. I get cranky and snap at people when I feel like I can't get it all done (and I don't even have a child!), and instead of trying harder to push through everything on my to-do list, this reminded me that maybe I just need less on my to-do list. :-)

  2. Thank you for sharing this. As someone who has also lost a loved one recently, I found that the best way to push through the tragedy was to truly be there for my wife and children. Life is unpredictable, and gaining a different perspective of what is most important, like what you have done, is what truly keeps us going.

    Leonardo @ US Health Works