Looking for help on what to do: Anniversary of my dad’s death

This is going to be a short post. Because I’m asking for your help and I don’t want to blather on and on.

This weekend is the second anniversary of my dad’s sudden death. And I don’t know what to do with myself.

I’m not sleeping. I’m starting to panic. I don’t know how to mark the day or what to do. Or what not to do. I can’t do nothing and act like it’s a normal day. But I’m at a loss.

I think last year was easier in some ways. My husband and kids and I went to my childhood home and hung out with my mom. We went to my dad’s favorite restaurant and had a nice dinner. My mom and I made a beautiful planter for his grave.

It was hard, of course. Really sad. But being at places that had my dad in them – his house, the restaurant, even the cemetery – gave me a tiny amount of peace.

This year I am not going to be there. I am hundreds of miles away.

My mom will be alone. I feel horrible about that.

I was hoping to spend the day at home, outside, gardening in the shade garden my dad created for me. But it is going to be cold and raining.

The only thing I can think of is going shopping for garden things for the shade garden (a bench, a fountain, something like that) but that doesn’t feel quite right.

I can’t go to church. I will spend the whole time bawling and everyone will stare at me and I don’t want that.

I don’t have siblings to connect with. Well, I have a half-sister, but that’s another story.

I feel lost. I am getting very anxious. I don’t know what to do.

I am dreading the day and afraid I am going to spend it sobbing, hiding from my children, aching for the 24 hours to pass.

Do you have any ideas on what I could do this Sunday? Have any of you lost a parent? What do you do on the tough days like the day of the parent’s passing or birthday?

Any ideas would be most appreciated, whether you’ve been in this situation or not. I’ll reply to your responses in the comments (something I normally do but I’ve been overwhelmed lately and falling behind).

Thanks so much – JD

Painted Lady

painted ladyI always wear makeup.

I can’t leave the house without tinted moisturizer, elaborate coverup under and around my eyes, powder, eyeliner, mascara, and my Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm.

I can barely leave my bedroom without under-eye concealer and mascara.

And it’s so embarrassing for me to admit this.

It seems so much more modern-mom to shun wearing lots of makeup. Women’s magazines promote simple, healthful living and scream at me to “just do the basics” when it comes to makeup, “be fresh-faced” and “less is more.” Apparently modern moms like me are supposed to accomplish these makeup basics in five minutes.

It sometimes takes me five minutes alone to cover up my deep, dark under-eye circles.

I have always, always, wanted to be one of those women who looks beautiful without makeup. Or even just okay. But I look in the mirror when I have no makeup on and see a tired-looking, unattractive woman with giant nose pores and sunken-looking eyes. Not a look I’d like to sport outside the house.

Even before the sleepless days of parenting, I didn’t dare leave the house without makeup. I started with under-eye coverup, mascara, and lip gloss in eighth grade and never looked back. My dark, hereditary purpleness under my eyes was gone. My eyes looked more open and bright. I felt prettier and more confident. And I liked it.

Actually, I did try to go makeupless in public once. I was a counselor at a summer camp where I felt accepted and loved and confident in myself. One morning I woke up and thought, why not? I went to breakfast with no makeup. And then the questions started. Was I sick? Did I not sleep the night before? I looked so pale and tired and had such deep under-eye circles – was I well?

I never went makeupless in front of people again.

So even when I lived in sundresses and Birkenstocks (actually, I still do in the summer), I wore makeup. I was an earthy crunchy makeup-wearing hippy girl.

When a boyfriend slept over, I’d wash my face and then apply under-eye concealer and waterproof mascara before bed. I even did this with my husband for the whole first year we were dating.

When I was discussing what to pack for the hospital when I was giantly pregnant with Anne, my mother-in-law said I’d just need toiletry basics, “no makeup or anything, of course.” I think I gasped aloud at the thought. She looked at me, confused, and said, “But you don’t wear much makeup now, why would you need it?”

And I was thrilled she thought that I didn’t wear much makeup. Because I try to wear makeup subtly so I have “that natural look.”

Ironic, huh? My makeup gives me a natural look.

I guess you could say I have a love/hate relationship with makeup. I love feeling prettier and more confident with it on. But I hate feeling like I need it. I love being able to cover up the under-eye darkness that I’ve naturally had since I was a kid. But I hate that society or life or something causes me to look at pictures of a young me and think that darkness under my eyes made me less attractive.

I wish I could toss it all away, forsake Sephora, and feel beautiful in my own skin. But I don’t feel like I can. And yes, it makes me a little sad.

Do you wear makeup? Do you also have a love/hate relationship with it? Do you think I (and others like me) am lacking self-confidence since I am not comfortable without it – and if so, is this tragic? Or just life in America?

*****

photo credit: jerine via photopin cc

A Valentine’s Day Love Letter. To Me. From Me.

Dear JD,

You’ve had a really hard few weeks, honey. I know you have. A traveling husband, a puking child, the same child not sleeping, and your work projects exploding … well, it’s a wonder you are standing upright.

I’m here to tell you: GOOD JOB, MAMA! YOU ROCK! AND I LOVE YOU TO PIECES!

I know you feel like you are doing horribly at everything. You feel like you are letting everyone down at work, you’re an inadequate mother, and you suck as a wife. And not in a way your husband appreciates.

You’re not doing horribly. You are holding it together. Pretty well, given the circumstances. You even manage a smile and a big hug for your daughters in the morning when all you want to do is crawl under the covers and hide from them and the rest of the world. And I say bravo, my dear. Bravo.

And listen. You know that little 20-something twit at work who is complaining you are “only part time” and “not dedicated to the project” and sent you an email tonight lamenting that she “wished you were here tomorrow so we could talk through some more things”?

She’s a child. She doesn’t have ANY IDEA about life priorities or that you are working WAY more than you are supposed to on this project and how completely dedicated you are, but that family ALWAYS comes first. Someday she will be cursed with colicky twins who puke all over her every night and look back at the time she was mean to you and understand that karma is definitely a bitch.

And I know Grace’s inability to sleep at night is killing you, both mentally and physically. I know you feel helpless. But you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s not your fault. And someday, somehow, she will – and you will – sleep again.

I know you worry about Anne not getting enough attention because Grace is needy and you are so damn tired. But she is doing great. And you are doing great raising her. She loves you to pieces and you love her right back.

You are doing SO MANY THINGS RIGHT. You are carving out time for yourself.  You are getting help via therapy and antidepressants. You are spending quality time with the Hubs. You are working out. You have a job and are making some good money because you are great at what you do. You are still getting quality time with your kids, making cookies and valentines and other things they love to do. You have this blog and you are writing for yourself. And you are full of love for your family and friends.

Now it’s time to be full of love for yourself.

Ya hear me, woman? Appreciate yourself. You rock. Yeah, you’re not perfect. No one is. But you are doing the best you can, and the best you can is pretty damn good.

Life is hard right now. But you are still blessed. And I know you know it. And that you appreciate all you have. So hang in there. The saying “It Gets Better” goes for you, too.

Keep on keeping on with your awesome self. And Happy Valentine’s Day, you sexy lady.

Love, Yourself

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