Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mid-week ramble


I feel a weird disconnect with myself. My feelings seem muted, like flares on a far horizon as I do, do, do. I have so much to do, and my concentration is not as laser-like as it was before the usual routine of things went haywire. It's taking some effort to focus, which is not like me. I have still not managed to climb back on top of everything. The work is piled high, not all of it attached to pay, but all of it necessary. I am digging out task by task, detail by detail. I make lots of lists. My dad used to say, "He who has no memory makes one of paper." I follow his example, jotting down my To Do's on waking and referring to it all through the morning and afternoon. At night, I write DONE beside what I have accomplished and move the rest to the next day's list.

I did manage to get everyone's taxes done and filed yesterday. Somehow, maybe because I'm the one with the wonderful accountant from way back, this responsibility falls to me. My still undone tasks include things like locating and scanning my dad's death certificate from 18 years ago now, so I can send it along with a letter and two forms of ID from all surviving members of the family to have the cable TV account for the house in Rodney Bay transferred from my dad's name to my brother's and mine. Turns out we cannot make any changes on the account until we do this. They have been happy to accept monthly payments from a ghost these 18 years, but need all sorts of verifications to update the account.

There are a lot of details of just that sort, for my mother's affairs and also for my aunt's estate. It's nothing hard, but it all requires painstaking attention alongside other tasks requiring painstaking attention. I continue to have editing work, and this is good, and from time to time other interesting possibilities bubble to the fore. We shall see where it all leads. In the midst of all this I have managed to watch the entire brilliant first season of True Detective, so it's not all work and no fancy.

My daughter called on Sunday and said she was anxious again, even though things were going well, she was laughing and interacting with her friends, and she couldn't for the life of her understand the unsettled feeling around her shoulders. She called the counseling center and made an intake appointment and will have her first session two weeks from now. Really? A student calls and says she needs to speak to someone and they give her an appoint two weeks away?! My daughter said, "Chill, mom, it's not as if I'm in crisis mode. I just think it would be good to have a place to explore what I'm thinking and feeling. Two weeks is fine."

She says she's feeling a lot better anyway. She was sick on Sunday night and Monday, so maybe she was coming down with something and that was a part of it. She had a big exam yesterday that she says went okay. She insists the anxiety wasn't about schoolwork. I wondered if maybe she was carrying other people's moods, including my own.

I said to her, "You know, Berry, sometimes those who are as empathetic as you are absorb other people's sorrows and then you think they're your own. Especially when you love a person, you unwittingly take on some of their sadness to help lighten their load. I think you may have done that for me these last two weeks when I felt so overwhelmed, but I am saying to you now, I am fine, I am better, I am well, and if you are carrying any part of my mood, you can set it down now. Don't carry it anymore, I am fine." She laughed because she is used to her mother and she said, "Alrighty, Mom. Roger that."

My husband and son had different responses to the news that she was feeling anxious. My husband, when I told him she'd made an appointment with the counseling center said, "Good for her." And then he mused, "Sometimes I think we trip ourselves up by believing we should be happy all the time. Who told us that we should be happy all the time anyway?"

Her brother opined that some days just feel that way and what his sister needs is an escape-from-everything day. "I used to have them regularly in college," he said. "I'd call my friends and we'd plan some fun—Sunday Fun Days we called them. And when that wasn't possible because there was just too much work, well, I'd build a bridge and get the fuck over it." The boy has his share of bravado.

I'm going to Jamaica for a few days to see my mom. I leave next week Friday. It will be a welcome break in the regularly scheduled programming. And when I get back it will be almost time to go and pack up our daughter from another year of college. How can she be almost done with her sophomore year??

In other news, yesterday morning I was coatless and in sandals as I ran errands in the rain and had breakfast at a neighborhood diner with my son and last night, it hailed and then snowed.








16 comments:

  1. The first time I went through the death of a close friend (and we were very close and I was with her when she died) I found the following days and weeks and even months to be profound out-of-body experiences. I could not focus on anything. I literally sat and watched informercials on TV because I couldn't follow a regular sit-com, must less a movie. So I think you are doing very, very well. And because I know you let me ask you please not to take on your daughter's worries even as you advise her not to take on yours.
    We do all go through these things and she is doing the right thing by going to talk to someone, albeit not as soon as you would like.
    Your son is amazing. Which makes a lot of sense.

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    1. Ms. Moon, it's perplexing to me how fractured my concentration has been. I mean, we knew my aunt would not be here forever, and indeed her dying was a release, but still. A part of me just wants to lie in bed and read and sleep, but that is not an option. I wish I could make it so my children never have a moments unease, but of course, that would be doing them a great disservice, wouldn't it. How would they ever then learn to build the bridge of which my son speaks? Thanks for your wise counsel.

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  2. Mary is wise, she is right. Fractured and unfocused are normal grief responses, I believe that. The hormone shifts and disturbed sleep make things worse, so I too live with my notes. I'm filling notebooks, I am! Your daughter is so wise to recognize how she feels in the first place and go talk to someone in the second. Smart, smart young woman. Your son and husband are smart, smart too. And so are you.
    Be as kind to yourself as you'll allow, forgive yourself for being a little off for a while. It's natural.
    Read some of Kevin Youngs anthology The Art of Losing if you can. It is helpful and cathartic poetry. http://kevinyoungpoetry.com/the-art-of-losing.html

    Love you, and I laughed at your Comcast aside. 16 years I've been handling the account and today in the middle of a ridiculous self installed upgrade fiasco, they inform me I'm not authorized to discuss the account and will only speak to my husband, who has Never Spoken to Them. Absurd. Hate that company with a passion. Sorry, I feel better now.
    Safe travels to see your mom. I'll think of you as I visit mine.
    xo

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    1. Mel, the funny thing is it doesn't feel like conventional grief because it was such a relief for my aunt to be released from the prison of her body, which could not do anything for her anymore, not even speak or smile, and yet i miss her. When I am on my way home most days the thought crosses my mind that maybe I will stop in and spend a few moments with her and then I remember she's no longer there. She was a wonderful person to me. And where she was there is now such a void. It feels surreal. Thanks for your thoughtful and kind comment. You are always so thoughtful and kind. Love.

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  3. oh no, that rain and win was awful yesterday! glad to hear you're keeping busy. i think when our loved ones are away we think simple ailments are much bigger because we aren't next to them. i'm sure she was happy to hear from you as well. that helps. also, i too think you're not supposed to be happy every day. that's exhausting lol. you have to give in to your own feelings sometimes. it's healthy

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    1. Candice, I am keeping busy! And you're right, these ailments of body and mind are simply part of life. Let's grab lunch again soon, okay?

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  4. Why is there soooo much to take care of? I put my list in my phone, delete stuff, add stuff, repeat, repeat. I like the image of building a bridge and getting the fuck over it. Yeah.
    Wishing you sweet travels.

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    1. Densie, i know you know; the details never end. But my mother once looked at me as I was complaining about the demands of various institutions and she said, you're going to miss it when you don't have to do it anymore. I think of that a lot.

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  5. Oh, I love this post. My long and gruesome funk and dissociation ended quite gracefully tonight, and I have no fucking idea how or why. Life is weird.

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    1. Oh Elizabeth I am so happy to know you're on the upswing. Life is weird indeed. Sometimes I think we are all a soup of chemistry gone awry or gone right. I'm trying not to give it all so much weight, to take it all with a certain lightness of spirit, even the darkest moods. Love.

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  6. I'm sure the counseling center determines, when students first ask for an appointment, whether they need to be seen immediately or not. I think your husband is right. American culture teaches us that we should be happy all the time, and when we're not, something is wrong. We deny ourselves so many other feelings, or try to push them away.

    I'm glad you're still getting so much work! That's great for you! I do not envy you having to do everyone's taxes, though. Ugh. Taxes these days are so much more complicated than they ever used to be. (Partly because my life is more complicated, I suspect!)

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    1. Steve, I'm sure you're right about the counseling center. Welcome home! Your photos of the Seychelles were amazing! They reminded me so much of the Caribbean islands; I wonder if that was true for you, too? And the taxes weren't that arduous; my Wonderful Accountant worked his magic in no time at all. I'm so grateful for him.

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  7. The 20's are hard. A really hard time. So much ahead of us and we feel as if we ought to have the tools to handle it all, but we don't. I'm glad your daughter is going to see someone. I hope she keeps the appointment even if she's feeling better in two weeks.

    And for you, Angella, I can't add to the wisdom Mary left. Just be gentle with yourself and give yourself lots of time and space to recover. I felt a touch of what you're feeling for two full weeks after returning from Colorado, and that was just jet lag! No grief involved. You're dealing with both, so proceed slowly, don't ask too much of yourself. You're doing beautifully.

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    1. Vesuvius, just came back from a meeting and realize that all i really want to do for the rest of the day is hibernate, but i can't because i have commitments with a capital C, and i keep feeling i'll just get this done, and this and then I can relax but of course there is always something else by then that has to get done too. This, however, is what they call "a happy problem", so I am endeavoring to be happy about it. Thanks, friend, xo

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  8. Just like that. Warm weather and rain one day and snow the next. No better illustration of moods, feelings. I love this post.
    I just planted some pansies in my window box.
    love,
    yo

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    1. Yolie, it is a perfect illustration although I didn't make the connection till you said it! We slosh through the rain and find the small bright spots of color, or we allow ourselves to be grateful that we can look on at the snow from inside a warm place. Always, there is much to be thankful for. I am thankful for you.

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