Grief is a funny thing. Not funny in a ha-ha way. Funny in a wow this is fucked up way. If funny can be fucked up, that is.
This isn’t really starting off right.
Since December I’ve been pushing forward, moving quickly, embracing distraction. I took Christmas on in beast mode. I managed double the workload from my office when my boss’ estranged father died unexpectedly and she left the country for over a month. I hosted Easter dinner and made festive, Spring-y side dishes with peas and asparagus and puff pastry. I handled the end of the school year and birthdays and summer activity sign-ups. I have carpooled my ass off, completed a cleanse, celebrated a wedding anniversary, exercised and vacationed.
And every month on the 13th day, I pause and think “It’s been another month.”
And any place I go, if I was there this time last year too, I pause and think “I shouldn’t have been here last year, I should have been with her.”
And every time Eleven acts Fourteen, I pause and think “If only I could call my Mom and ask her what to do.”
And everywhere I shop, I see owls and penguins and lemon-scented whatnots and I pause and think “Oh, I need to get that for her birthday” but halfway through the thought I realize there are no more birthdays.
And then I have to pause and think “Just breathe” so I’m not that woman who cries alone in the store.
And lately I am pausing and thinking, I need more pausing and less thinking.
Survival mode got me here and I’m intact. So is my family. But I feel a strong push to be still and quiet. Sometimes I just lay without moving and stare out the window. That feels about right to me these days. I was stronger than the pull of grief for a long time, but I’m getting wrapped up in it’s web now and it’s slowing me way, way down.
I want to escape by reading, but I can’t read anything except non-fiction right now. I’m cynical and bitter and can’t pick up a book and get past the synopsis without sweating sarcasm as I think, Sure. Why wouldn’t the characters be named Lark, Hope and Stella? One is a lighthearted free spirit who is hiding a secret. One is broken but trying. And one is perfect but about to crumble. It’s August in some beach community in South Carolina where there just happens to be a hot, thirty-something mechanic who has a bright smile and a dark past. And the author always seems to live in some Shaker town back east with her husband and parakeet named Einstein (or the cats, Poe and Adverb, or some other horrible names that they say and then chuckle to themselves for being so clever and writer-ly).
I put the book back on the shelf, and continue to silently mock the author. Of course you’ve published a book about your tired characters with their already-told story. Your idea of a good time is talking to your husband about the cunning way Einstein tilted her head today while you were watering your spider fern. Fuck you AND your ugly sandals AND your book.
See? The insides are twisting and turning towards a slightly hostile place.
So then I think, Well, if I can’t read, maybe I should write. But all the big blogs I read are written by broken women. One is clinically depressed, medicated, divorced. One is a recovering addict, who almost got divorced. Another is so perfect that you couldn’t even write a country song about how perfect her life is. She bakes and homeschools and blogs…oh my!
I’m not addicted to anything and I'm not divorced and I'm not clinically depressed (at least I don't think I am). I don't have any tattoos that express how deep and authentic I am. I don't have any tattoos at all. I'm not really broken, I’m just bent. Bent all the way over these days, actually, but is that enough to be blogging about? Do we have to be broken to be fascinating? Do we have to be fascinating at all? Is this what it means to be broken? Who breaks over losing a parent, seriously? This shit happens every day. Worse shit happens every day.
This is why I haven’t written in a while, I think. I internally dialogue myself out of the running.
I don’t want to make dinner. I don’t feel like answering questions. School forms and the linen closet and the laundry all stare at me and I feel no impulse to tend to any of it. Nothing at the library intrigues me (obviously). The treadmill bores me after 20 minutes.
I want to watch the wind blow the eucalyptus leaves around until it’s too dark to see the wind blowing the eucalyptus leaves around, and I want to do it alone, and in silence.
As you might gather, I’m super fun to be around these days.
I’m going to sit with this funk for a while and see where it takes me.
I’ll be back.