Thursday, March 19, 2015

How are you doing?

People ask, how are you doing? The only response I can call up is "Fine," because I can't really think how else to answer the question.

I mean, you can't really say to people, well, I stay in bed as long as I can each morning, trying to wring out every last minute of sleep.

You can't say, I have been parked on the living room couch for two days, letting the phone ring unanswered, watching the latest season of Girls.

Or, I haven't gotten dressed in street clothes or gone outside all week, except for Monday night when I showed up late to choir rehearsal and Tuesday evening when I went to a first appointment with a new therapist that my friend Isabella recommended.

On the way there, I thought, I feel nothing at all, I feel numb and disconnected, as if my mother is not really gone, just away in another country, so why am I going to a therapist? But then, one minute into the session I was crying and I hadn't even been aware that tears were so close to the brim.

I sit sometimes in an empty room and stare at the walls, and then I come to, and I don't even know what I was thinking.

I have to find my way back into work, which hasn't happened yet. My friend J., who is also writing a book, and who has pretty much the same delivery due dates as I do, said to me this morning, "Just start reading your notes. That will get your head back into it. Then write just one sentence. That is all. Do only that."

By some strange coincidence she has also had a death in the family last week, a beloved uncle, so she is grieving, too. She sent me flowers today.

We have such an unexpected friendship. We worked together at the magazine for years, editor and writer, an award-wining duo many times over, same obsessive compulsive work ethic, same love of the rhythm of language, and we developed a great loyalty and understanding in those years. We didn't realize how deep our friendship ran until we both got laid off and still we continued to talk practically every day.

All that to say, I have support. I really do. My husband. My children. Cousins. Very dear friends.

How am I doing?

Not fine.


  1. When my friend Sue died, I couldn't even follow sitcoms. I think I watched informercials for a good while. I could NOT focus. And when people asked me how I was, I, like you, had absolutely no idea how to answer.
    And she wasn't even my mother.
    Be patient with yourself. This is one of the hardest parts of your life and as such, there is no way to act normal. There is no normal. There is only you, dealing with this as only you can do.
    I love you.

  2. Let it happen to you, there is no wrong or right way to go about. This is a process.

  3. You are not fat. I am thinking of you. You don't have to be fine here.

  4. I've been so far away from our blogs for so long that I feel pretentious even making a comment. But the New Moon is upon us and it's time for planting and planning and looking toward new blooms. So I send you my love and light, my thanks for sharing and my apologies for missing all your shared wisdom. Love, Angie

  5. That should be your answer.."Not fine". Do not rush back into your life...take the time you need. I would think at least six months or more. That was the one luxury I took when my dad passed who I loved with all my heart and still husband gave me the luxury of time. He fielded the phone calls...he told people "No she doesn't want to see any one yet" ...he took care of me. Sometimes I think they had it right when they put a black wreath on the door and you grieved for a year.

  6. You can indeed say the things you just did, only to friends and family and those you know who have experienced loss...I am still not back to "normal" whatever that may be. I think of you often and would like to send a card to you if you'll kindly send your address to the email in my profile.

  7. Sending you hugs. Let things happen as they will. Like someone already said, this is a process.So glad you are seeing a therapist to help you sort through all this. It's a lot so please be patient with yourself. And lastly, girl you are not fat. You are beautiful. Period.

  8. When you're through with "Girls" watch all 123 episodes of "Brothers and Sisters." Stay down and out and low for as long as you like. Feeling numb and disconnected is understandable. I imagine the grief will hover over you for a long time and you will learn to live with it, make room for it.

    I send you love and more love.

  9. I just read March 4th through today. I am so sorry. Reading through the posts since your mother died, you write the process so clearly - the shock followed by the safe harbor of family and grieving together, your disbelief and all the reassurance you can muster from relatedness and from faith, your beautiful ability to hold fast to your inner self and the awe of having such amazing love and grace in your life that came to you in the person of your mother. Now you are in this stage. I wish I could say I didn't know it well, but because I know it well, I can affirm what you already know - that it will pass, as all things pass. I add my love to the mountain of love you stand on.

  10. Angella, I am so so sorry to hear about your Mom. What you are doing here on your blog is writing, beautiful writing. Take your time with all of this. Know you are loved. Know the people who love you are right behind you. I wish you and your family all the peace in the world. I will send my love out into the air in the hopes it reaches you. xoxo

  11. Damn, I remember that question. Can you say, "I feel like my soul has been split wide open. Can't you see the hole?" or "I have been sitting on the couch staring out the window wondering how I can live a life without my mom. Part of my died with her and I will never be the same".

    How did I really answer. I was "fine". Honestly, I couldn't get the words other than that past my throat anyway.

  12. I'm so sorry. Grieving is well, just much grief.
    Be kind to yourself. Take it slow.