How Can You Drain Something Already Empty?

Sometimes I feel like I am surrounded on all sides by mountains whose tops are in the mist; I know they are high, but I don’t know how high.  Somehow, and at some point I have to scale those mountains, but right now all I can do is feel small, powerless and ineffectual and let those mountains loom large in my mind.  It is almost paralyzing how much has to be done.  So my title stands, how can I feel drained when I was empty to begin with?  It’s definitely one of life’s mysteries.

Today I tackled one of the tasks that needed to be done, and that was acknowledge the kindness and generosity of family and friends.  We had a large turnout for the visitation and funeral.  We also had a great response to Kevin’s Endowment Fund.  Necessarily, then, I need to make a point of thanking people.  So today I got the thank you notice prepared for the newspaper and it will be published this Thursday in our local paper.  I also started on the individual thank you cards.  These are much more emotional.  I don’t know how many I will do today, but I do know, that however many I get done, it is that many less I have to do.

For those interested, here is the text that will go in the paper on Thursday:

BATCHELOR, Kevin – I would like to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to family and friends for the love and support you provided throughout Kevin’s illness.  We were blessed to have the right people come into Kevin’s life at the right time – our family doctor, Dr. Kathleen Michalski, whose compassion and concern for Kevin helped us immeasurably as we faced the inevitable.  Our visiting nurse, Annie, Kevin anticipated your visits so much; he appreciated your advice, kindness and care.  Many thanks to our friends who steadily maintained their support in a myriad of ways as Kevin’s health declined.  Special thanks to those dear friends, Karin and Betty-Ann, who got Kevin to that one last opera, it was one of the best gifts ever.  Steve, Stu, Pat and Joe, long-time friends – your regular check-ins with Kevin were always bright spots for him, even on days when he was tired.  To his nephews and their children: Todd, Glenn, Symonne, Jakob, Alex and Liam – you know he loved you and it brought him great joy just to have you around.  Thank you to my sister Marilyn who worked her magic at RVH whenever we had a visit, it made a huge difference to our stress levels knowing you were there for us, as well as your support outside of the hospital.  A special thank you to June, Kevin’s sister, who has her own battle with the “c” word yet still made a point to join us almost every day after Kevin’s diagnosis, bringing tasty treats to tempt Kevin into eating and exercising with him during commercials for the Y & R.  And thank you to my children, Jesse (Donna), Kelly (Ian) and Christopher (Justine) and grandchildren Troy, Gareth and Lennox – it was a tremendous gift to your father spending time with him throughout this ordeal, talking about everything under the sun while you gave your love freely to him.  I know he values and treasures you still.  And lastly thanks to all those friends, coworkers, family members and former students who contributed to the Kevin Batchelor Endowment Fund administered by the Orillia Museum of Art and History; the response has been overwhelming and demonstrates how one man’s passion for the arts can bring a community together for a common good.

Feeling Overwhelmed

I am feeling completely overwhelmed right now. This journey is a brutal one on an emotional level as well as a physical level particularly for my husband, but also for me.  I know it’s not about me, but I am a big part of the equation.   Eight hours ago he finished his chemo treatment and it takes it right out of him.  I know this.  He needs to rest and repair and I need to support him in that.  However, it seems that with every day further into this treatment his frustration increases.  There are so many things that he wants to do or that he wants done and there’s really only me.   I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders.

We need to get the garage cleaned out before the snow comes, we have to be able to park a car in there.  The leaves are falling off the trees and he wants the yard raked.  The gutters around the house need to be cleaned out otherwise they will be useless when the spring thaw comes.  There is the matter of moving a couch out of our basement and doing a dump run – to do that we have to put the trailer on the car.  Then do the dump run.  We have to get the snowblower over to our daughter’s house. There was a building permit registered on our house years ago for work that we never did do, but we need to get the permit closed off – it likely means an inspection to see if we did change the footprint of the house – I need to schedule that.  Why?  Because now he thinks we probably should sell the house.  It’s a side split and difficult for him to get around in.  Sell the house?  Yikes, that’s a nervous breakdown headed my way.

As always, there are the day to day things that I need to do.  I’m it now, I do the cooking, shopping, cleaning, laundry, garbage, dog walking, nursing and caregiving as required.  Yesterday I fixed a toilet – a first for me, but not that hard.  And he continues to identify new things that he wants done.  At this point I say “just add them to the list” and in my mind finish it off with “of things I’m not likely to do.”   I’m feeling overwhelmed.  It’s time to start saying “no” right up front if it is work that I can’t do or don’t want to do, and either jobbing it out or hiring someone.  Makes for some unpleasant conversations but has to be done otherwise I will be completely useless because I’m overwhelmed.