Three Months /12 Weeks

In two hours and nineteen minutes …

Still counting.

Feels as if you’ve been gone so much longer, or was it yesterday, or maybe just traveling a bit and out of touch?

Today was hard. Thursdays often are now. Sometimes I get on with life and lose track, but invariably the memory slams me.

Nurse calling from ER, “What’s your ETA?”

Brother’s jaw tightening, as he resumes some random conversation topic. Verifying our identity, signing papers, “Wait here for the doctor.” “She’s…”

Walking into the room with her, people standing helplessly waiting for direction, and the machines. Blood splatter in her mouth. The machine still compressing on her chest. A person squeezing a bag. Trying to breathe, to be calm, to be a good sister, good daughter, good person.

“Stop.”

I kept my promise.

Three Months/ 12 Weeks, Two Hours, Six Minutes.

Emerging from the fog?

So long silent. Wrapped in detritus of life – bills, must-dos, chores (largely undone), demands here, disappointments there, and death. Death of dear ones recent, and long ago.

Surrendered to the noise. Entombed. Buried by everyday clutter.

Life forfeited to others’ dramas, advertisements, and news.

Wasted time. Wallowing in self-pity, mourning aborted dreams. Waiting for hopelessness to clear, as if waiting changes things.

I struggle to understand how the world was suddenly turned upside down, or maybe it was a gradual erosion that escaped attention.

Searching for a switch that powers back joy, laughter, and love.

Shut off the box, the stream, the noise.

Stand up. Move. Be.

 

 

 

November 21, 2016

My brother texted me today – just to check-in, and he called later on. We don’t usually talk much – being grown-up busy and all that.

I feel sad tonight.

Sad that the man who died three years ago never seemed to know peace.

Sad that his daughter and son struggle even now to believe they are ever good enough – for anyone, for anything.

Sad that a much loved cousin lost her beloved Hoop – on her birthday.

Sad that not everyone understands how deeply we love and are loved unconditionally, at least by our four leggeds.

Sad that cancer overtook KH, and her little girls no longer have her close.

Sad that I feel too embarrassed to admit to those whose birthday falls on this day that I don’t want to celebrate.

I feel powerless tonight.

Powerless to right the wrongs done unto so many.

Powerless to keep children safe.

Powerless to breathe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still. Here.

There are moments some days. Quiet. Laughter. Comfort.

“What you seek, you will find” admonish life coaches and Positive People.

Lock away anger, hurt, disappointment, fear, rage, exhaustion into a box. Seal it shut; permit no seepage into the Positive World.

Positive People ask, “What are you thinking? What are you feeling?”

Remember: those are rhetorical questions; Positive People don’t really want to know. Make them laugh, share a quip, tell a joke (preferably self-deprecating), or invoke the time-honored approach of honesty through omission. “It’s a sunny day, so everything must be great!” Flash a smile, and keep rolling. Nice people do that.

Everything else keep to yourself.

Exhausted trying to be there for all of those who “don’t ask for much”? Thinking that “much” is relative term? Keep it to yourself. Frustrated with aging parents whose health is failing? Angry that they’re using you as a whipping boy for their loss of independence, and continued family disharmony? How could you be impatient with such a wonderful person?  Keep it to yourself.  Tired of hearing about how easy things have been all of your life? Biting your tongue about the price paid for all the “easy things”? Keep it to yourself.

Positive People smile and nod about the sunny day. But, tell them your truth and they quiver with fear and/or disgust, furtively searching for an exit. Question their assumptions and privilege, brace for an endless battle. State an opinion, it’s mean. Keep one’s counsel, you’re cold and selfish.

Mom is dying, angry, and bitter. Given a new audience, she smiles and charms.

Here? Ready to sell everything and start over again elsewhere. Neither love nor passion tether me to this place. Those dreams shattered – a lifetime ago. But, as usual the practical outweighs the impulsive. Simply damn imprudent to move at this point career-wise.

And people? Well, I’ve heard all sorts of things – good and bad. At least dogs usually bark before they attack.

Yeah. Still. Here.

(Here, but hidden. Initial draft early 2019.)

Watch the Cat

Emotions are stray cats weaving between your feet, throwing you off-balance.

Days passed unaccounted, memories foggy, clarity writ small in a journal hidden. “Grief reaction” the medical code.

Emerging awareness. Identifying sadness over mother’s death, accompanying feelings of loss, anxiety, isolation. All mixed with relief that she passed quickly on her terms, respect and gratitude for the hard decisions she made, though she lamented “I thought I had more time.” Still, tears overwhelm without warning, inopportune reminders assaulting; there will be no more visits, calls, or messages from “Wow.”

Meanwhile, surprisingly, happiness peeks out. Heart and mind whistle with joy, shadow box with hope. Flawed, riddled with foibles, but in the moment, back to happy.

Still, watch the cat, maintain balance.

Mother’s Day 2019

All the complaining across the years returns to haunt the impatient daughter.

Nine weeks, three days, just over two hours.

No graveside tears were shed, no cards sent to surrogates.

Tears confined by four walls and shame. Am supposed to be stronger than this. Should be able to “sit with sorrow” or ask for help.

Death of a parent is universal, just breathe. It gets better. Kind people acting with caring.

I Don’t Want to Feel This Way. Emotions careen wildly through hurt and loss. The whimpering woman huddled there, can’t be me. Not again. Heart heaving. Gasping, breathless. Shivering in sorrow. Visceral responses.

Scarred but resilient.

Wish I could craft lovely prose to honor my mother and the magnitude of loss, but no. Think my way out? Do the work? Resolve it all now?

Not an option. Neither formula nor framework repair the cleaving. Only Chronos will bring relief.