Tonite Amazing Race started again. Since I had to do laundry anyway, it was a two-fold trip to Mom's. When I got there she first said she was glad I was there because she was "wasting away to nothing," which is a running joke in our family since most of us are or have been overweight for significant periods of time. But then she looked away and her face got a little funny and her voice hiccuped a bit and she said
And I was feeling lonesome.I started my laundry and settled into my usual spot in the living room and we chatted awhile. She told me a few things from her day and why she was feeling lonesome and we both cried just a little bit. Amazing Race finished and my laundry got done. I gave her a hug goodbye and she thanked me for coming over.
She thanked me.And she said "Your Dad always looked forward to you coming over."
She's told me that before. We used to kind of joke about it because he and I barely spoke when I was there. We didn't play cards or watch movies or do things together. He sat in his room playing spider solitaire flipping between 2-5 movies and Mom and I sat in the living room watching Amazing Race. But he looked forward to me being there. Even if I brought us supper from a take out place he almost always sat in his room to eat and Mom and I sat in the living room and ate. But he still looked forward to that.
These are the things that blind side you. That fall on you like a ton of bricks. That it would have never occurred to you would become poignant and make you cry. Mom and I's routine hasn't changed. But the rest of the house sits dark while we watch our show.
And again I think
"It's not supposed to be this way."So many things aren't supposed to be this way.
I was laying in bed last night waiting to fall asleep and wondered fleetingly how long it has been since I cried about my dad. I wondered if that meant anything. I wondered if it was "normal." And tonite, Adele's song goes through my mind again. Someone Like You, which has recently been released on the radio. The chorus strikes a chord with me every time
"I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited,
I had hoped you'd see my face
and that you'd be reminded that,
it isn't over."
When you go through something like that people tell you all sorts of things. Really a lot of people say "If you need anything ...."
But 5 1/2 months later where are they? I know of only two of my friends who would truly have welcomed me in tonite and let me just cry on them. Some would have accepted it as a "necessary" or "required" part of friendship, but they would have been distracted by their kids or their schedules or whatever is going on for them. And that's, whatever. c'est la vie. That's just how we are as human beings.
So I drove home with tears rolling down my face pretty continuously. I brought my laundry in and locked my door behind me. And nearly collapsed from the weight of the grief. People forget, or don't know, that grief can carry a physical weight with it. An exhaustion and a wearing and a heaviness.
So, I started my mantra. The mantra I've told myself for years while struggling through depression.
While trying to find "normal."
While trying to function and even thrive in this world of mine.
While looking around myself and not seeing anyone else having this same struggle.
Not seeing anyone else who can't be moved to do their dishes until they start to smell.
Not seeing anyone else who can't be moved to put the laundry away until there are 3 socks and a pair of underwear left in the basket and a pile of laundry where the basket is supposed to be and the only reason you even do it then is because the dirty needs to get washed and you need the basket to take it to your parents.
Not seeing anyone else who can walk over 5-10 receipts just laying on the floor all over the house because you truly can't figure out what to do with them and it's easier to just leave them there.
Not seeing anyone else who comes home, boots up facebook, flips on Bones DVDs and literally zones out for 2-4 hours just to avoid thinking about anything more than harvesting crops or finishing recipes until it's time to go to bed.
Not seeing anyone else who not only desires but actually does, regularly and consistently, eat themselves into oblivion or into a carb coma so that their brain will stop functioning and they can make it to bedtime without a breakdown.
I repeat my mantra
"Just don't stop moving.
Just don't stop.
Just keep moving.
Just keep doing.
Just keep going."
I hold the walls for support as I walk around my apartment putting things away and getting the coffee pot ready for tomorrow. I double over the coffee table with the weight and let it have just a few seconds before I force myself upright to put the laundry away. I move through my apartment by memory because my eyes are so full of tears I can't actually see straight.
And I ignore the dishes.
and I ignore the receipts.
and I ignore the laundry.
and I ignore the voices that tell me all sorts of mean things.
I'm a failure because I can't keep up with my dishes.
I'm a loser because I have never done housework with any version of consistency.
I'm single for a reason, and that reason is I'm too fat for anyone to find me attractive.
I don't have anyone to stop in on uninvited, unexpected because I am a brand of crazy that my friends barely tolerate.
I compare myself to my sister, and I come up very very short.
That this is not just a season, this is my life. This is forever.
And to some degree the last one is true. The grief over my dad will never truly go away. It will dull with time and I will learn to function with that wound, but it will never truly go away. And that's ok. That's how it's actually supposed to be. As that pain dulls and I get used to the wound, things like the first Amazing Race Premier without Dad in the other room will hit me like a ton of bricks. Not having to figure out what to feed Dad cause Mom and I want Chinese will come out of right field. Random snippets of popular songs "Have you ever wished for an endless night," strike you like a piano from a tall building. But, hopefully, those times get farther apart. Hopefully those times get less severe. Hopefully those times become less debilitating. Hopefully, someday, maybe, someone will be here to help me through those times.
Tonite the dishes sit. The receipts sit. Half of the laundry sits. And i write and cry. Because maybe, someday, someone else will feel exactly like this and will wonder if they are all alone in that feeling. They will wonder if really unexpected things will be the things to truly blindside you. They will wonder if any of this is "normal." And they can read this and know they are not alone. Unexpected things do blindside you. All of this is normal. Whatever you're going through is normal. You can use another version of my mantra.
Just keep breathing.
Tonite, that's it. That's all you have to do. Everything else is secondary.