Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Should This Nerd Stay or Go?

It's been over a month since dad died and I'm still attempting to go on with my life as much as I can. Last Tuesday, the 11th, a good friend of mine took my mom and I to the cemetery to leave flowers for dad since it had been a month since he died. I think we're going back on the 22nd to leave him more flowers, since he was buried the 22nd of July. The shock has worn off, the crying comes and goes. I'm also going through the "anger" stage in the mourning process at the moment. I feel upset all the time but I keep it in because I know if I snap it'll be directed towards my mother (who's also going through the anger stage; we're driving each other crazy so we interact as little as possible at the moment) and that would not only be disrespectful, but very hurtful. The last thing I want is to hurt her. I went through the numbness and the shock. I went through the guilt stage pretty quickly because Lord knows I did all I could to help him. The depression stage is supposed to come and go and I already went through a bit of that last week. But while I'm going through all of this, I'm still hopeful and optimistic. It's weird that I've been able to hold onto this throughout everything. I guess I truly am an eternal optimist.

I guess maybe I am still going through a guilt stage... only not over dad's death. With school starting on the 31st for me, I have to start thinking (again) on where I'll apply to for transfer this Fall. I have ruled out Mount St. Mary's College (L.A.) for good, though I was truly happy there. I'm trying to be practical and it would just be too expensive for me to be there for another couple of years. I've been thinking of re-applying to UBC in Vancouver, Canada (where I was originally destined for this Fall) and a couple of univerisities in England because it's always been a dream of mine to attend college outside the States. If I could, without any guilt, I would go to UBC. But I can't exactly do that without thinking things through... and with A LOT of prayer.

See, I have this dilemma right now. For the first time in my college career, I don't have anything keeping me in Los Angeles. Every time in the past, there was something - usually dad's battles with cancer. Now that dad's no longer with us, and I've got a good handle on my anxiety, there's nothing that's really keeping me here... except my mother. The one time I have the ability to be selfish and follow one of my dreams, I can't because I have mom to take care of. I'm fully aware that she's a grown woman and can take care of herself... yet, I still feel responsible for her. In so many ways, I've become the adult in the family. I keep track of things and keep her from doing things (like spending massive amounts of money on things we don't need) that would affect the both of us. She's currently battling another cold... which she got because she didn't listen to me about not taking a shower and then going out at 4 in the morning, a number of times. She was just getting over her bronchitis and I knew the cold, wet hair + cold pre-dawn weather would not help her. It's weird that it's almost like roles have been reversed and now I'm the mother in this relationship. Because of all of this, I feel like I can't go... though I really want to.

Now the question I have is... should I stay or should I go? UBC is my dream school and I think I have a pretty good chance of getting in and doing very well there. I want to be autonomous, which I know I can be, and really enjoy my youth. Of course, doesn't mean I'm going to go crazy -- I just want to go to a top university that offers all the courses I would love to take. Anyway, my idea of a good time is drinking tea and reading a book. lol. AND UBC has both a Newman Center for Catholic students AND a Catholic chapel within the university. That was what sealed the deal for me -- what made me really want to go there. At the same time, I'm afraid to leave my mother. Not afraid because I don't think I can take care of myself, I know I can. I'm afraid of leaving her here because I know she would need me in more ways than one. I'm the only family she has left; I have her AND my brothers and sister left.

It doesn't help that she's starting to guilt trip me into not going anywhere. I honestly can't even go out with my friends, even if it's for a quick bite. She either wants to go with me EVERYWHERE I go, or if I tell her (politely and respectfully) that I'd like some alone time with my friends, she guilt trips me into staying home because she can't come with me. It's both frustrating and understandable. I think this is where part of the "anger" I'm feeling is coming from, and I don't like it. As Fr. Juan told me last week, the opposite of love is anger, so I should really try to get this out of my system. I've started asking St. Jerome for his help in dealing with this impatience/anger/frustration since he had a similar problem when he was alive. I'm not used to feeling this way; it's all very new to me.

Maybe I've felt an inexplicable want/need to be closer to St. Therese of Lisieux because of all of this. She lost her mother at a very young age. She knew her vocation early on as well (though I'm quite sure that my vocation is to be a wife and mother, and not a religious sister). I'm sure there is a lot I can learn from her. This feeling has been building, slowly, over the last couple of weeks. I really need to get my hands on her autobiography. The only book I have on her (which isn't her autobiography) is only a few pages long and is in Spanish. I grew up speaking, reading, and writing Spanish but I've always felt more comfortable doing these things in English. Too bad my school textbooks are costing an arm and a leg, or else I would get myself her autobiography right now. Hmm...

Well, to wrap up this blog, I will say that it looks like I'm going to be undecided for a long time. If at least one of you guys can please help me pray... that I get some sort of clue as to what to do, I'd greatly appreciate it. I might take some time away from the computer, after my London research (which I am doing from home instead of directly from/at London as planned; again, I can't go anywhere. :(), just to do some heavy praying and meditating. I think I'll ask St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, or St. Bridget of Sweden to help mom out (they are two of the many patronesses of widows). Actually... I just realized something VERY weird. A couple of months ago I had a dream that my big brother Moises (who died as an infant) showed me a holy card of St. Catherine of Sweden and told me it was meant for mom... St. Catherine of Sweden was the daughter of St. Bridget of Sweden, who is the patroness of widows. Wow. What a weird coincidence... I'll try finding a prayer card of St. Bridget for mom...

Alright, I think that's enough for now. I think I might go to the San Fernando Mission for a little while (perk of living not too far from it) and see if that doesn't help me with this little anxious feeling I've had all week. No full blown panic attacks yet (thank you, St. Dymphna!). Oh, and btw, I HAVE been working on blogs, one of which has been in draft form on here (not yet published), for a couple of days. That one is taking a bit of research. :D More will come before I go back to school. I hope everyone is doing well and is having a good end of summer.

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D


Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

I don't envy you a bit.

As for prayer, you got it.

You've got a number of interlocking decisions to make. Fast.

Conventional wisdom (which, in this case, I think is sensible) is to put off big decisions until a year or so after a major loss. Looks like you can't do that.

I suppose you could try making a decision without considering your immediate circumstances. (And, while you're at it, leap tall buildings at a single bound & change the course of mighty rivers. ;) )

You have my sincere sympathy for the 'guilt trip' aspects of this.

As for how you're feeling: My family lost another child about seven and a half years go, and almost lost my wife in the process. There'll be an Elizabeth-shaped hole in my life for the duration: but nobody said this life would be easy.

Please: hang in there.

Miss C.N.W. said...

The beauty of applying to universities in the Fall is that you have until the Spring, when you either get accepted or rejected, to make your decision. The only thing I need is to figure out if I'm going to at least attempt to apply to the schools.

Thank you for your prayers and advice! God Bless.

PartyGurle said...

You've definitely got a lot to think about. And pray about. But I'm sure after all your prayer, you will know the answer. Do not let anyone hold you back, guilt trip or otherwise. I'm sure that as time goes on, your mother will come to realize what is best for the both of you. Best of luck always in whatever your decision may be. I personally think you should go, but I cannot make up your mind for you. Rather you are a strong person and I know that you will make the right decision for you. :)

Claire Christina said...

Emmy, I see no reason why you shouldn't apply. As you mentioned yourself, applying doesn't mean you're going there; it only means you're asking to go. And unless the application fee is hundreds of dollars, it's probably worth it just to avoid the "what if" regrets of later in life.

Do it, Emmy. Throw caution to the wind and apply for the school(s) of your dreams. If God wants you to come back to reality, He'll bring you down here, but He's unlikely to give you wings if you don't get yourself prepared to fly.

You are, of course, in my prayers. *hugs you!*