Saturday, December 3, 2011

Emotions in Motion

"That old alarm clock gives a yell
Starting another day in hell
Passing a world I can't face with you gone"--Nick Lowe/Cold Grey Light of Dawn

At this moment in time, I am very emotionally fragile.  Everything threatens to make me cry.  Yes, it is very close to that time of the month, which does nothing to ease the situation, and besides, women hate when you blame it all on that.  I can be at work, doing fine, doing my thing, and faintly hear the song "Home" by Michael Buble drift to my ears, and I literally have to blink back the tears.  Some days it's harder than others.  I love the song "Fidelity" by Regina Spektor but for some reason it always makes me cry now.  I used to be safe, now I'm on shaky ground and if I can't make order out of chaos then I am no better than a lost soul wandering around in the woods.  

My children miss their Grandmas, and their Grandpa, but they don't know what it's like to lose a parent.  They are where I was months ago.  You believe that your parents will be around forever.  And then forever ends.  Just like that.  There is a hole in you that never fills.  Life shows signs of tarnish, the corners fray and unravel, the color and the beauty dulls, and it stays that way no matter how long and hard you polish, no matter how many patches you sew or knots you tie in the loose ends.  

I skipped a writing on my birthday.  I turned 45 but is that really some great feat?  My Mom turned 45, and she still ended up dead.  So will I.  So does any of it really matter?  I skipped a writing on Thanksgiving, even though I am thankful for so much.  And now, we plow into Christmas again, and the depression mounts, and I am trying to shake it but it ain't easy.  The blows keep coming and coming and I hate having to be strong, pretend nothing bothers me.  My sister battles cancer, my Dad turned 84, and every time the phone rings and it's a 513 area code I am immediately seized with panic.  You know it could come at any time, but no matter how much you try to prepare you are never ready.

I just wanna go home.

I can't let the thought of dying ruin the rest of my life.  I have to do something that means something so I don't waste the gift of life bestowed on me.  My beautiful daughter will be home from Germany in a little over a week, and she is my best friend and lifeline.  Every time she is here things are just better.  My boys are here and they help me laugh and give me someone to love.  My dogs are a constant source of joy, and the man I married is a constant source of entertainment.  The Bengals finally have a better team.  I am reading again, and enjoying it, and hopefully that will lead to writing.  I have to find my way, in the shadows of grief, to make it count, make it worthwhile, make it mean something before it's my time to go.  

So maybe a good cry is in order.  Get it out of my system so I can smile again, laugh again, lighten up again.  That's what my Mom would want, because that's how she lived her life.  No regrets.  From here on out, no regrets. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

When Everything's Different

I had hoped that this year would be different from the last one, the last two, hell, the last three or four.  So many tweaks I would have made to improve the past few years, just little things to make them a little more pleasant, a little more bearable.  We have been surrounded by the shadow of death, you feel his cold steel breath on the back of your neck, and you just want to shake it off.  So I had wanted this year to be different.  Be careful what you wish for.

One minute my Mom is here, the next we are saying goodbye.  How do you do that?  How do you say goodbye to the one person who loved you no matter what, the one person who always believed in you, always had hope for you?  I don't expect anyone to know what I am going thru, not even the ones who have already been thru it, because you see, it's a unique experience.  It is different for everyone, from siblings, to spouses, to strangers, we all experience it in our own way, with our own techniques, our own method to preserve our sanity and ensure our survival.  None of us are wrong, none are right.  It just is.  We are who we are, and we do what we do.

People tell me I am handling my beloved Mom's passing better than they expected.  That's how it would appear.  I go thru my day, see patients, smile, laugh, joke, I simply carry on.  But if there's one lesson everyone should learn in their lives it is never judge a book by its cover.  Appearances can be deceiving.  I have always said my strength can be my weakness.  I have to be the strong one, in Ohio for my Dad, here for everyone else, myself included, because falling apart just isn't an option.  You have to maintain, have to get thru the day at all costs, even when you feel like crawling back into bed and pulling the covers over your head.  If I had to give my opinion, I'd say I'm taking it pretty hard.  

I internalize my problems.  I pull away from people,  become distracted, distant, more quiet (yes, it's actually possible for me to do that).  It's like a war has been waged inside me and it's all I can do to keep going.  No one will ever understand what it is like to be me.  How hard it is, how tiring.  I don't wish to be someone else.  I am a product of two people who shared an epic love, who built a life together from that love, who then spread that love to their family.  You can't find that today.  They don't make 'em like that anymore, hell, they don't even WRITE them like that anymore.  Because it would be seen as boring, uneventful, plain.  God, it was a great life!  To be raised in a house with so much love, such emphasis on was the best.  The memories are painful reminders of how fleeting life is, how we truly don't savor what we have until it gone.  It weighs so heavily on my heart sometimes I have to block it out, pretend it isn't what it is, sleepwalk thru my life, keep myself numb so I can't feel the pain.  I don't listen to what people are saying, I don't hear their jokes or stories, because if I let myself then I will feel, and if I can feel then I can hurt, and if I hurt then the floodgates will open and all bets are off.  So I fight the tears, I fight the feelings, I fight everything around me so I can stay in this little bubble world I created around me, one that will allow me to function without feeling.  I have to concentrate so much on me that I can't deal with other people and their own selfishnesses.  I see people complaining, and I tell myself that's not worth complaining about.  I see people in a hurry and I tell myself what's the rush?  I see people angry and I tell myself they are wasting so much energy being mean when they could just let it go.  Priorities shift, and I don't have patience for those who waste their precious time on things that don't matter.  Why be miserable when you can simply allow yourself to be happy.  You don't know how much time you have left here, do you really want to go out with a frown?  It's especially hard when people close to me are like that, because I don't want to be that way, and I don't want to be dragged down with them that way.  God willing and Mayans be damned, I could have another 44 years or more left on this earth and by God I want them to be great.  I don't want to miss a thing.  I want to take my time and enjoy the ride, because the destination ain't all it's cracked up to be.  Are we there yet?  God, I hope not!  

So although I appear to be handling things well, inside a war is raging.  The depression is almost unbearable, like someone put a ton of bricks on my chest and I'm expected to carry them around with me.  I have no energy, no desire, I have a cold I can't shake.  So although I am not walking around in tears, I am in pain.  Sometimes it hurts so bad and it's hard to pretend like it doesn't.  So I swallow it, I ignore it, I beat it down.  But it's still there.  And even those who have been there before me don't understand, because for them it was totally different.  When everything's different, nothing can be the same.  You just have to find hope, that things will be okay eventually.  That the pain will lessen enough for you to get back into your life.  That you can remember without feeling like someone is ripping out your heart.  That life goes on, and you need to be in it.  Otherwise, you're as good as dead, and what kind of life is that?

I miss you, Mom.  I always will.  Until we meet again.  You are in my heart, my soul, my everyday.  I will always love you.

(author's note:  Today would have been my parent's 63rd wedding anniversary.)