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, March 30, 2005

2.066 years old

Hannah was flipping through her small photo book, and she got to a picture of her being held by my mother. She pointed at Mom and said, “Grandma!”

Yes, baby girl. That’s your grandma. I wish she knew you now.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The more I know, the more awed I am

I'm learning more and more about my father. I think he's an amazing person, and I'm humbled by how much Brooke is like him. They both love me.

Here's a song by Warren Zevon that my father has been enjoying lately. It's performed by Jill Sobule.
Don't let us get sick
Don't let us get old
Don't let us get stupid, all right?
Just make us be brave
And make us play nice
And let us be together tonight

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Wrung out liver

Where do you go with the words you don't have? What do you do when your guts eat you from the inside because you don't know what to say?

I feel like I'm 15 again. I hated 15. I thought I was done with these sick, anxious days that appear out of nowhere. Do I blame my weekend of social drinking and the seven missed doses of antidepressants? It's almost too easy.

When I was 15, my father lost his job, and my future was up in the air. We were talking about moving back to the east side of the state, a place I missed for what I thought it was, not what it really was. I fantasized about what my life would be like if we moved. A new start. New school and friends. No one who knew anything about me. I could be the person I wanted to be, and no one would have any idea what people thought about me at my old school. I would have cooler music, cooler friends, a cooler existence. I would finally live up to my social potential.

This got worse when I talked to a friend over on the east side of the state. Her life was so much cooler than mine. I could be like her if I moved. We could be friends. I would be cool with her.

I tortured myself with these fantasies. When I was taunted for not being Christian enough, not liking the right music, being a lesbian or a slut, I developed poor coping mechanisms. Pain killers. Hair pulling. Cutting. Reckless sex. Stimulants. I wanted to someone else, somewhere else. I know now that life wouldn't have been substantially different 150 miles to the east, but apparently, part of me still believes that it could be.

My weekend of social drinking may have taken its toll in a more emotional way. I met with several women whose lives seem far superior, far more desirable than mine. They're free of the stresses of running a household on this measly income, free of writing the tuition checks, free of the limitations the state legislature places on their families. I know little enough about what their lives are actually like that I think I'd rather be doing what they are than what I am.

Instead, I'm here. I'm afraid to move to Chicago and afraid of what will happen if we stay. I'm afraid of changing and afraid of not changing. I want something else but can't put my finger on it. I'm tired of loss but cannot imagine risking my self to venture away from it. I'm heartsick with what I don't know and heartsick with what I do.

I'm getting a second job and starting therapy. Until then, I have to stop thinking about the inadequacies of my life. I can't write. I can't have a family. I'm a lousy employee. I'm a bad spouse. I can't be a good daughter. I'm not thin or pretty enough. My basement needs to cleaned. If I seem like I'm withdrawing, this is where I am. I'll see you later.

Friday, March 18, 2005

It doesn't end

My father is in the ER with a burned larynx. He made himself corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots, and he ate a potato that was too hot. I have a few (Guiness) guesses (Guiness) about how (Guiness) he might not have (Guiness) noticed. They're keeping him to watch for infection. We have a house full of guests planned for this weekend.

I wonder how many cigarettes he smoked between the burn and his trip to the ER 9 hours later. He's probably niccing right now.

I don't know if I should be there. Everything's generally okay, except he has a bad burn and is in pain. If there's no infection, is there any point in my being there? If they send him home today, should I go out there? Does he need to be formally admitted to the hospital before I go there?

EDIT: 10:42

He's been discharged with a prescription for pain meds. He insists there's no need to go out there. I'm going to listen to him.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Get out of debt now!

Have you Spamused yourself today?

I've had new waves of grief lately. None of it has been clean or viscerally emotional or packageable. There are no lists or stream of consciousness rambles. That's why I think you should go Spamuse yourself. Maybe I can bring you a little joy today.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Hell/CEC and back

Hannah is two. She’s a bright, independent kid who likes cats and running laps around the dining room table. Two hours at Chuck E. Cheese was more than enough. If I never go there again, it will be too soon. Bad pizza, too much noise, too many flashing lights, and a giant mechanical mouse wearing a football jersey. Surely, this is hell.

Fortunately, there’s a small area set aside for toddlers with a couple of slow, small rides and a platform/slide designed to resemble a schoolhouse. It’s quite charming, and it’s perfect for small people like Hannah. As with most slides, children attempt to climb up the slide rather than the stairs or ladder. In this case, the kids who did this were either relocated by their guardians to the proper slide ascent end or they figured out that other kids were coming down and being at the bottom wasn’t such a great idea.

One boy, substantially older than the toddlers, moved in on the slide. I was standing near it when he began to swing his leg onto the slide and climb up. “That’s not a good idea,” I told him. He looked at me as if to say, WTF-ever, lady, but instead held up four fingers, palm facing himself and said, “I’m four.”

Well, then.

Back to Hannah. Recent tidbits follow.

My brother had a bat in his cave, spied by Hannah. She reached in, plucked it out, and examined it. Saying, “Ucky,” she wiped it on his face.

Three cats live in Hannah’s house: Indy, Maggie, and Shady. Hannah calls Shady “Kitty,” but she refers to both Indy and Maggie as “Maggie.” When either of the Maggies comes into the room, she coos at them and tries to lure them near her so she can pet them, kiss them, and tickle them. Indy runs. Maggie (the real one) hisses. Hannah says, “Awwwww! Maggie! Ducka, ducka, ducka*.”

Hannah counts from one to seven. After seven, she says, “All done.”

Hannah calls me by name, but her L’s and R’s are absent from some words, so it sounds like she’s calling me Emmy. (This is fine. My father and brother calling me Emmy, as they chose to do after Hannah started, is not fine.) Brooke’s a bit bitter that Hannah doesn’t say her name. We spent a few minutes Sunday afternoon doing this:

Brooke: Say ‘Brooke.’
Hannah: Emmy.
Brooke: Brooke.
Hannah turns to me and waves.

* Ducka is Hannahspeak for tickle.

Friday, March 04, 2005

I did my own radio show once.

i have been floated to this thought this hour
on a series of events i cannot explain

--Olivia Tremor Control

I can't quite tell you the relevance of this right now. I'm not sure I know it myself, but it was playing in the car this morning on my way to work, and I felt compelled to post it.

If you haven't heard much of OTC's stuff, you should look into them. They're wonderful.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Oh, dear

Whoever thought the day would come when I have nothing to say? It's not meme time, is it?

No, it's not. It's Popeye the Sailor Man time!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Monthly madness

It's no longer February! Woohoo! The worst month of the year for Brooke and for me is now officially over! There will be much rejoicing.

Also cause for rejoicing is Brooke's birthday. Happy birthday to Brooke! Go over to her (never ever updated) blog and wish her a good one.

This gif is freely copyable. Just right click, save
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