Monday, February 13, 2017

The Siege

About a month ago I had a really good day. I'd been working really hard on my yoga, which is to say that I had a nice series of poses and I was slowing down. I was really concentrating. During my massage I was showing Guy some of the things I was doing and he complimented my range of motion. He's a structural alignment enthusiast so I was happy to be able to check in.
The next morning I sat down to eat breakfast, shifted ever so slightly and POW! A muscle spasm. I shifted and thought I was OK but noooooooo. Four days in my recliner switching from heat to ice and back. I watched more TV in those four days than I have in four years. Is that what happens when you get all braggadocio about your yoga? I guess.
I was able to get back to the pool for one swim and the next morning I woke up cold. My stomach was lurching around during breakfast. I got colder and colder. I could not get warm. Eventually I vomited. And then, because I wasn't having enough fun, I fell out of bed. I was so weak I had to call the EMTs to get me up. I could barely get up from the toilet.
I talk a lot about feeling lucky that I have my nest. One of the luckiest things about it is that DeAnna lives down the hall. She rarely left my side during the next few days of badness and by Saturday she dragged my whiny ass to the ER. Always a good time. I came home with three kind of antibiotics, potassium and two kind of anti nausea medicine. I had some kind of wicked virus and a skin infection. DeAnna set out my meds, which were so confusing to my barely functioning brain, made Jello, heated up soup. Just her presence was so comforting.
Tomorrow it will be two weeks since the virus hit. I am better but food still doesn't sit well. I'm still weak.
I am still longing for a normal boring week. No snow. Muscles calm. Belly settled. But. I'm starting to think normal has no meaning in my life.

Friday, January 20, 2017

No Good Very Bad Day

I'm not sure exactly why but right after the mommy passed I was very sensitive to sound. I couldn't watch much TV or listen to the radio. No music. Definitely no news. I've gotten back to a little NPR in the morning and Rachel at night. I try with music but I usually get too sad. I may have some kind of auditory/tactile synesthesia. I feel noises in my body.
So there's a media black out today. I am participating. However. It's not hard. I still need quiet. I really can't tolerate the news today. But I find myself having difficulty understanding how I feel.
This isn't the first time I've felt miserable about a new president. Reagan. Bush one. Bush two. It isn't the first time I felt like things were hinky. Russians, FBI, gerrymandering. Something feels off. She had more of the popular vote than anyone in history. Just hold that thought for a minute.
I think it's likely that he'll be impeached relatively soon because he has too many problems but then it's Pence and the Republican senate and congress. I mean. It's bad. It's going to be bad for awhile.
But how do I feel?

I'm sad because the mommy is gone but I'm angry and hurt because of how hard it was to take care of her. I got cards from a few of the organizations that "helped" and people were complimenting me because I was such a great advocate for my mom. OK. But why did I have to be? I've lost all faith in systems. I've lost a lot of faith in people. There were stand out people who helped us so much but there was a lot of wrongness.
So I feel like I'm already on the ground and the jack boot awareness of this new regime is just another thud. It hurts. I'm angry. But I already was. My mother was (essentially) kicked out of the last two homes she had. Both times she was dying. Just hold that thought for a minute.
I started a new book yesterday. There is an epigraph from Santayana.

Why shouldn't things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? They are so, and we are so, and they and we go very well together.  


Rachel keeps saying this is not a time to stop paying attention. She's right. There is work to do. There has always been work to do. I'm not going to march because I can't walk. I'm not going to wear a hat because why does everything with women have to be pink? Why are there always cats? I get the history of women crafting together and I get that things need to be fun but ... pink? Why?
I will find a way to be part of the resistance.
But this day.
This is just no good.
Very bad.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Where Was I?

I stopped reading right after the paintings by Alice Neel and right before the poem by Fanny Howe. I found that amusing but the real reason I was going to sleep was because my stomach hurt. I'd eaten badly and my stomach was letting me know. I felt like I might vomit and I wanted to try and sleep before it got worse. It worked. Sort of. I was awake an hour later, feeling a bit better but bad enough to try sleeping in the recliner for awhile.
When I first get in bed it's the princess and the pea. I have to have everything just so or I can't sleep. Once I'm asleep it's all good. I woke up at one point with the remote to raise and lower the bed and a book wedged into my rib. Hadn't noticed.

I wrote that about a month ago. I usually have an idea for posts that more or less arrive at something resembling a whole idea. I have no idea where I was going with this. It's a description of an average night. I'm reading something. In this case The Paris Review. I don't know why I found it so amusing to stick the book mark between a painter and a poet but I did. My stomach bothers me a lot. But sometimes it's my knee. Or any random joint. I almost always go back and forth between the bed and the recliner. Why did I think this was an interesting start to a post?
I thought about deleting it.
My thinking is muddled. More muddled than usual.
I did delete a half a sentence that I think might have been about a dream. The sentence was about a little stuffed Kermit that Mandy gave the mommy. When the mommy was zonked on morphine she held that frog and seemed to be trying to understand what it was. I can clearly picture her hands wrapped gently around it, moving slightly.

I was looking to the normal rhythms of life to distract me. But life hasn't been normal. We've had piles of snow. There's ice on roads and sidewalks. I can't get to the pool or any appointments.
In some ways I like being house bound. Swimming will always be my preferred exercise but my yoga practice is getting deeper. I now have a house bound routine, which includes reading in the afternoon. It feels so luxurious to read in the afternoon. I did it school but I had assigned reading.
The other day I was reading and I hit a page I couldn't seem to take in. I started over and started over and was just about to bag it when I realized that the first sentence was: Everyone has a mother.
Grief is odd. There are days when I feel like I'm trying to conjure it up. Like I feel I need to do more and I'm not ready to stop. Like letting go of grief is letting go of her again. Too soon. There's too much chatter. It's gritty. But when I feel sad, just sad, when the tears come I know it's real. And then I let it roll over me.
So maybe it was another story about the last days of the mommy and how it still hurts. Maybe that's where I was going. But it was also about me finding pleasure in an odd moment with reading. Because that's the way it is now. Small pleasures. Memories. Tears always in my eyes. The search for comfort.    

Monday, January 02, 2017

First Monday

Just kidding. I was on a roll with those titles and I couldn't help myself. It's just a Monday. Nothing special. I've been looking forward to ordinary days. I feel that the rhythm of ordinary days will heal me.
It's a perfectly good Monday. Except it's snowing quite a lot and I couldn't get to the pool. I didn't feel too bad about it because I had things to do. I did set the journal and a pen on the table so I had no excuse this morning. I made some illegible chicken scratch while I ate my eggs and watched the snow fall. Did my yoga. Ritual full filled.
Last year I made a big effort to make sure all of the mommy's friends knew where she was. She got a small stack of Christmas cards and I spent the day sending a letter to everyone to explain where she wasn't. A moody, weary thing to do but it's done.
It was supposed to stop snowing a half an hour ago but nope.
That's it.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

First Day

When I was 17 the mommy made me a cross stitch that read: Today is the first day of the rest of your life. K glued it onto a piece of paneling and framed it. Despite the peripatetic nature of my early adult life I managed to hang onto it. I always tried to always hang it where I would see it first thing in the morning. I don't look at it every morning but I know that it's there.
I didn't actually like it for a long time. I mean. 17. My mother made it. So uncool. (Heh) And I'm not big on aphorisms. It was a saying that was on t-shirts, posters and buttons everywhere at that time. It held the feel I associated with the sixties. Hopeful. Open. Ready. Now it's 2017. I feel none of those things. I feel watchful. Braced. Reserved.
The goal yesterday was to clean the nest so that today would start ... clean. But instead I played in plant dirt and everything is a bit dirtier.
Earlier in the year I started the day with a bit of yoga and some writing in my hand written journal. It was my attempt at creating a ritual. I ate breakfast at the table and not in front of the computer. At some point I lost the beat. Recently I've been doing yoga again and doing a better job of it. I still haven't done the journal and today the table is covered with unfinished plant projects so ... maybe tomorrow.
I don't do resolutions. I never commit to anything I don't think I can really do. I wake everyday thinking about things I need to do to feel more engaged in life. Well maybe not every day. Some days (maybe most days) I stumble along from start to end. But I try to engage.
Because my birthday is in the middle of the year I drove myself crazy in my young adult life doing critical reassessment every (bleepin) six months. How was I doing? Teeth gnashing. Hand wringing. I was never doing very well. My birthday is near the solstice and there's another one of those near the holidays. Six month self awareness alarms. I don't remember when I stopped.
I do like a ritual acknowledgement of passages. I like ritual in general.
For the last few weeks I was aware on the day that the mommy left that it had been another week. And then it had been a month. I think this will wear off. And then, too soon, it will have been a year. Her ashes were combined with K's and put in a really pretty biodegradable pouch. Today that pouch will be placed in the French Broad river near the places in North Carolina where they lived after they retired. That was where they were the happiest. They can start the year as particles and waves. Onward to the big next thing.
The word happy still feels like sand in my mouth. What I wish for everyone is a deeply immersive love. Some people find that in romantic relationships. Some with family. Some with pets. Some in mediation or prayer. It wasn't easy taking care of the mommy. It was hard. I complained. But it was immersive and there was  love. I feel so grateful to have had the end of our story be so filled with playfulness, sweetness and love. If we have another story to tell together (some how, some where) it will resonate with the songs we sang to one another and the inside jokes we told.
But now I need to sweep up some dirt. And wash some dishes. There's already laundry in the machine. It all feels like perfectly lovely things to be doing on day one.
It's snow/raining. My friend calls it chunky rain. So far it's not sticking.
I'll read. I was trying to wait until I had finished some magazines to start a new book but I thought it was good to start a book on the first day. That's my resolution. Work to do the things that seem correct and then do what feels best.
Into the river.
Onward to the next big thing.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last Day

I learned that David passed on Facebook today.
There are all kind of end of the year lists, posts and shows. When I see a list of celebrities who passed this year I want to shout-DON'T FORGET LUCILLE PARISH!
I don't experience the death of famous people in a deep way. I feel sad. But it's not deep. The exception might be Leonard Cohen because I sought comfort in his language for so many years. When Joni Mitchell dies I will mourn.
I'm thinking about the difference between how David saw me and how the mommy saw me. David saw me in ways I wanted to be seen. The mommy saw me the way she wanted to see me. The loss I feel for the mommy is deep in my bones, my heart, my skin. It involves everything in my life. The loss I feel for David is only in my heart. I feel the loss of hope that I will ever see him again. I'm sad that I didn't finish my rewrite before now. I wanted to show him the book.
I've spent so many years trying to understand how to resolve issues in relationships. Now I just accept the idea that resolution may never happen. But relationship doesn't really go way.
People ask how I'm doing. I'm never sure what to say. Mostly I'm sad. I think about the mommy every day. It's a habit that won't go away soon. I'm not always sad when I think about her and I don't always dwell on the thinking. I still sometimes feel overwhelming sadness for no obvious reason.
Today I am working on plants but not getting much done. I may still be a little sick.
Oh David.
Oh mama.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Sick Daze

A few nights ago my sinuses started to ache. It's a feeling that usually signals illness is about to hit. I made a huge glass of Throat Coat and went to sleep. Despite it's anatomically specific name Throat Coat is really soothing when your sinuses hurt. The next day I woke up determined to be well but knowing I wasn't. By 9AM  I was back in bed. I spent the next two days wandering from the bed to the recliner to the bathroom with occasional stops in the kitchen for more tea. I was achy. Sleepy. Watery eyed. But it felt oddly good.
Remember when you were young and you were sick enough to stay home from school? Even if your body felt bad you were home, in bed or on the couch. You got Ginger Ale. Campbell's chicken noodle soup. To this day, despite my snobby tendencies when it comes to food, when I'm sick I want Campbell's chicken noodle soup. Salty. Mushy noodles. Odd chunks of (hopefully) chicken. Yum.
It was a reprieve. A day off. A day to be nobody doing nothing because you were too sick to do anything.
That's how I felt.
I've been very kind to myself. I do not push. Grief is physical as well as emotional. I've been allowing myself lots of rest. But this was different. This was the body pulling me in deep and keeping me still.
I was never terrible sick. I'm still a bit sniffley. My throat is still a little scratchy but I have more energy.
But I liked all that under the blanket time.