About Me

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In this blog I have created a haven, a place I allow my deepest emotions to go and sit. I can write easily about what I’ve accomplished. This biography I can recite in my sleep. But I’ve always written poetry and in diaries since I was a teenager. I continued to write poetry in my journals, and not until 2006 did I show them to anyone. I generally write every day, at the present in memoir form. I haven’t written poetry since my mother died in January, 2007. I didn’t write at all between her death and the death of my father three years later in January, 2010. On my father’s birthday in March, 2010, I began this blog, to honor my father and to help me grieve. But I also desperately needed to write, and this stream of conscious style emerged. I needed to find my organic voice.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

My thanksgiving was a gut-ripping, horrifying low of howling emptiness. I cried, I cried until my stomach hurt, ready to wretch. I got in the shower and howled like a wounded animal. I yelled and ended up balled up in a heap in the bathtub. Poor K and to come in and see me like that. I knew it broke his heart. But I wanted to die.  My body is still sore from everything I put it through yesterday.

Today I cannot interact with people. I've stayed away from facebook and have generally realized that I cannot go more than an inch below my emotional surface with anyone.  And now, back with my therapist, a good move.

I am barely functional outside the clasroom. I can pull it together long enough, but it exhausts all my reserves so that by the time I get home I am back to the numb or crying version of me that I have become.

I really thought I was making progress on my grief, then the furniture arrived, the house closed, checks arrived, and Thanksgiving hit.  Truth is, I made it, but Thanksgiving took a huge chunk of flesh out of me. I felt like I had been bitten by a great white shark and was just lying there, bleeding, waiting to die.

Today, in solitude, was helpful. I stayed above the emotional fray, watched Robin Hood with Russell Crowe, cuddled with the cats...I almost feel peaceful. It's such a thin strata I walk, like a gossamer stream that gets me from place to place.

I wonder and worry how my sister fared. My aunt was busy cooking for her family. That was her therapy. We none of us wanted this Thanksgiving to come, and we are all fearing Christmas. If Thanksgiving was hard...I shudder to think what might happen, what I might feel....Thanksgiving hit me unexpected, honestly. The furniture had come, all the other steps of the estate being made...and the night before Thanksgiving I had the most beautiful dream. So beautiful it is indescribable beyond that it involved a fantasty-sort of experience, with me trying on one gorgeous dress after another, choosing them for some unbeknownst event. It was such a happy, peace, simple dream. Morpheus must have sent it to ease the pain upon waking.

I put some of my father's things away last night, after looking at them, touching them, reading them, remembering them. They are not far out of reach, but they are put out of sight, where treasured things belong. There's a lot more to be done, but a start has been made.

It is official. I have cracked open. I don't know what is next, this holiday season. I don't know to whom I can cling. I know there will be clinging needed if Thanksgiving is any indication.  I have this weekend to myself and my husband. And work to do to prepare for Monday. Emotional work so that my answer to the inevitable polite question, "How was your Thanksgiving?" can be a bland, "Fine. Tell me about yours."  I can't blame the world for enjoying theirs, and I hope someday to enjoy mine again, too. But this year, like all the firsts, I just wish it to go away.

A friend asked what I was doing for my birthday this year, and I said "nothing." Which is true. It's my longest teaching day, anyway, and I don't feel like celebrating anything.

There are things to clear up, now, that the majority of the estate work is done. Now I can move on with my own emotional work. A lot of it was put aside to make sure I could stay focused on details, school work, and keeping up the facade that I am the strong one. In my drinking days, I could have numbed the pain every night after work with a good bottle of wine. Now instead, I fall asleep, (if I fall asleep) feeling ripped up inside, wondering how to make everything right--school, home, friends, family. I am so out of whack that I barely know myself anymore. And I trust even fewer people to see that.  So I isolate as my way of protecting myself, steeling myself for the next public appearance of the person I was.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Closing Another Chapter

My dad's house is sold; the closing is on Friday.  My dear friend M has helped us as much as the real estate agent, the attorney, the financial planner/accountant. The furniture has been shipped out to me--on its way. The wine wall has been collected, the books and remaining stuff packed and prepared for charity. The charity guy came today and picked up everything; even the left over cleaning supplies in the bathroom! The only stuff left is what my sister wants to keep. She says she'll be over there tomorrow.
And then it will be empty.

I am trying to see the house in my mind, like it was the day we moved in; it was empty then, too, but pregnant with possibilities. I remember each person's excitement was palpable! My parents, buying their first house, were thrilled, worried, and proud; my sister and I were so happy to have our own rooms. And we got to pick the colors!

I remember the hardwood floors, the big windows. The sunlight. The kitchen, so much bigger than any of the apartment kitchens we'd lived in. My mother was going to *cook.* The family room downstairs, the fireplace...We roasted hot dogs in that fireplace, made popcorn, and once we even grilled a steak.  My dad built bookcases into the walls for all of my mother's beloved books. And the wine wall. He built that in, too. It was a glorious house surrounded by young pine trees. Many hundreds of memories are flooding my brain like snapshots--the pool in the summers, my grandmother visiting, learning how to walk in heels like a lady, sleepover parties. These come to me now as I envision the space after thirty years of living in it.  It has come full circle.  The house has come full circle.

 I can imagine the newly pruned trees are letting in all the sunlight in the sky, warming the wooden floors. The ivory walls are bare, waiting. The scent of eucalyptus and lemon Hall's menthol cough drops still hangs in the air of the hunter green master bedroom. The two remaining bedrooms, one for my sister and one for me, stand still in time with the wallpaper we were allowed to select as teenagers.

It is bare again, but not for long. Waiting for new joys, with the old ones seeped into the walls, between the boards in the floor. I said to my husband, many years ago, that I could never be sentimental about "a house."  I wish I could have gone one last time, to the empty house, to let it seep into me, to curl itself into my heart. I have said good bye to it several times in my life:  as I left for college then grad school, as a young married woman, at my mother's funeral, after my semester at home with dad, at my father's funeral, at the cleaning out of my father's possessions, and now, as it is about to start a new life.

When last I left the house, I spent a few minutes in my father's beautiful bedroom and let scent of it cling to me. I kissed the front door as I closed and locked it.  I mean, I guess I'll never be in that house again, and I wonder if ever I'll be in my hometown again. We are dispersed to the winds, like that dandelion who's petals turn into fairies and float heavenward.