Aside

Another long stretch of silence from me. I just haven’t been feeling like writing. In fact, I’ve felt like hiding under a rock and not acknowledging any feelings at all. 

When I last wrote my father had just passed away. We had something of a “hurry-up” funeral for Dad, orchestrated with amazing efficiency and professionalism by my church and the funeral service we engaged when Adam passed away. We had to work quickly because Dad died on Sunday, and the following Friday I was expecting overnight guests for a long-planned reunion weekend of Adam’s college classmates. As part of the weekend’s events we dedicated the garden within lovely Duke Gardens for which Adam’s friends raised money as a living memorial to Adam and Tom. Then the kids and I left on Monday for a few frigid “spring break” days at the beach, during which Caro developed a sinus infection. That resulted in a fun four hours of waiting at urgent care and Walgreens. Honestly, it was all just too much and I didn’t feel like writing about any of it. These things require some perspective, and I have had none. I guess that’s the bottom line.

So why am I writing now? I certainly have no more perspective than I did three weeks ago. But I’m starting to boil over a little bit and the cook really turned up the heat on me today. I found out that a dear friend who has worked diligently to help me through losing Adam has, herself, been stricken with cancer. 

She couldn’t utter the words to me and had to just let me see her. I thought she had been out of the country on a long-planned trip and so hadn’t seen her in several weeks. When I saw her today, it was like seeing Tom that first time and realizing he had cancer too. She must have seen the fear in my eyes for it was consuming me like an avalanche. Cold, cruel, burying. Whiteout.

(I’d kind of like to implore all of you to stay away from me. I seem to be some sort of typhoid Mary. My loved ones are being stricken right and left and I feel like a dry husk.)

Life has no rhythm. I continue to be tired and unproductive. I am beginning to understand how people get depressed—that is, *why* they get depressed. The blues, really, but it feels deeper.

I really hate it when these things happen in spring, as did the treatment of Adam’s illness. The natural world’s visual reminder of renewal and growth after seeming death just doesn’t jibe with the threat to life and joy that has been the hallmark of my springs for the last few years.

Once the shock has dissipated I’m hoping, once again, to find survival mode, to find the adrenaline to keep myself from lying in bed all day. To put away all the junk lying around my house!

Love to you all.

Person Vs. Persona

Person vs. Persona. Do you have one?

Gosh it felt like today was easy. Got up, did my routine stuff, picked up the funeral clothes from the dry cleaner, ate lunch, chilled until I needed a shower, went to Dad’s funeral, went to Mom’s afterward to hang with family. Friends came to our house after, we laughed, all is well. Except that it took the realization that our coffee delivery hadn’t occurred in a timely manner and that was all-she-wrote. Mad. Irritable. Pissy about everything. In a flash.

My persona ruled the day. She’s the girl who’s competent, controlled, taking it all in stride. Cheerful, supportive, an oak pole, a caber, if you will, for the family. And then a snap that would never have affected that caber. The persona is cracked and the person is revealed. Sad, confused, disorganized, seeking solitude.

Does your persona rule the day as you travel this road through grief? Why shouldn’t it? That false front is the way we all survive circumstances we wish we’d never been a part of. Whether you have a blister on your foot or have lost a loved one, that persona helps us survive socially so that we can *grieve in peace.*

Not everyone wants to grieve in peace. My mom and sister like a crowd. I have to be fake until I’m alone. There’s nothing wrong with either one it’s just that you have to understand the person who wants to do the opposite. Don’t criticize. Don’t think the person who isn’t crying doesn’t care. Please don’t ask the one whose tears make you uncomfortable to hold them in. There’s no process of grieving that is open to criticism. Hold your tongue. Do what you will. There’s no roadmap and no rule book. And if you feel like criticizing that grieving person, please ask yourself why you’re uncomfortable with their emotions or lack thereof. There are no rules for grief.

Dad

Today my mother became a member of our little club. My father passed away in the wee hours of this morning. It was eerie how quickly I was able to arrange the details of his funeral service. Practice makes perfect?

I hope that since Dad had lived a full and wonderful life that Mom won’t have as much trouble as I have dealing with the death of my spouse. She’s doing really well right now. You know–the flood of relief you’re embarrassed to acknowledge after your loved one has suffered a long illness–fueled by adrenaline and numbness.

We all know what’s next, though, and my wish for Mom is that the grief won’t be too hard on her. She’s already done a lot of that grief work because of the length of Dad’s illness. But it’s inevitable and inescapable as we all know.

Please think of her tonight.