Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

It was just a piece of mail

I’m a big pile of emotions lately, most of them rational, I guess. Realistically, one who knows that her mother is approaching a terminal stage of cancer would have every reason to enter into some kind of existential crisis. It seems logical to reflect on the earlier deaths of friends and family to some extent.

It doesn’t seem—what’s the word I’m looking for... reasonable? fair?—normal to dwell on the freakish ends of life that others around you have met. Car accidents, murders, terrorists, sudden and unpredictable heart attacks. My elderly aunt was widowed while on vacation. The intern pastor was widowed while on vacation, and she was in her mid-thirties at the time. They both spoke of carrying their husbands’ ashes home in their laps on an airplane.

My fear of losing Brooke has grown exponentially in the last few weeks. In the last days, it’s been debilitating. This morning I broke down sobbing in the dining room. Nothing is right—there’s something wrong with everything. My mother is ill. We have no money. My pastor is leaving. My family is so subtly dysfunctional that I don’t think it’s possible to tolerate Thanksgiving dinner without vigilant passive-aggression or drugs. Work is going well save for the careful bullying by the administrative person.

Brooke reminded me that the cats are fine. It’s true, but they’re eating faster than we can earn the money to buy their food.

That clinches it. That, up there. The text above. I’m not losing it, I’m just negative. I’m one of the something’s-wrong-with-everything-and-I-have-to-tell-you-about-it people. Someone help me find drugs in this Godforsaken town.


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