Hey, there. Loving the end of the semester, even with all the work yet to finish. Snow has fallen, temps have been hovering around single digits. Hot beverages, cookies, memories. I have had the most extraordinary semester, at times surreal, at others, heartbreakingly REAL. My students kept me going this semester, truly, and it gave me some momentum, at least to get through the day, until I flopped on the couch at home.
What do other people do at this time of year? They stress, shop, prepare for parties, choose dresses, wrap presents. This year our Christmas is very , very low key, to keep the heavy grieving at bay. It's been nearly a year since my dad passed away, and I am still having periods of inconsolable crying. Uncovered some more photographs today, ones with my parents smiling on their travels,with pride at a party thy hosted at the house. No baking here, no decorations. K has his holiday music on the nano. I'm not mad it's Christmas, it's just not something I want to be part of this year.
Now that the dining room center is here, at the house, I hope the energy from it will infuse my house with the spirit of entertaining. I will send up prayers to the universe to allow this energy to flow into my house. And I hope this means a shift in energy will bring people back into the house.
A young friend (she'd hate that term) came over and helped me clean my bedroom. And she didn't judge, or make fun...We got about 10 huge garbage bags of clothes to donate and about 3 or 4 bags of garbage. Couldn't have made this step forward without her. I am sleeping in my bedroom for the first time since last Christmas. THere are things that need to be organized in a heathier way for my heart, but this I can take the time to do.
I took out pictures today, from the furniture/et. al. shipping. Very slowly opened, looking for pictures of my mother smiling. That was hard to do! Similing pictures of my father were much easier. such different personalities. The toll mental illness, and then alcoholism took on my mom..so sad. Her four year anniversary is coming up Jan 4. Dad's is Jan13.
I feel I am stuck. I cannot move forward. the lump that stays in my throat is ever at the ready to produce tortured tears. My father wouldn't want any of it, but to move on symbolizes something I'm not ready to do, I guess.
Have made some changes to accommodate the physical differences in my appearance. Working toward the outside reflecting the inside. My newly small frame@ 104, made me think pixie, so I went and got a pixie haircut. Changing something about myself during a tough time always tells me I am beginning to see the "other" side. I feel a little lighter, like a girl.
Getting ready to mail gifts to my loved ones: K and T, my beloved peepsters. Tomorrow may put me in the Christmas spirit. So far, nothing's really worked. It was at this time that my father was really close to death, and putting on a huge front for the family. A warrior. It was good, as long as the kids were there, but late afternoon, he was back on oxygen, in his bedroom. I don't think a re-telling is something I can or should do, but Christmas was the beginning of the end. And so for us, it will always be the saddest holiday. When my mother was in the hospital, near death, it was also Christmas time. And now with my dad. It will be many years before Christmas means anything except for painful memories. Good think I don't have kids, so I don't have to put up a ruse. I know my sister is going to work hard to make Christmas nice for the kids--they adore her so--but she wants to ball up, too.
Our escaping to warmer climes may be the beginning of a new tradition. I hope the Universe sees fit to send us there for real. The sun streaming down every morning, sounds of exotic birds, the lush green tropical green, the beach--which united my father, sister, and I--would stand as a reminder of us.
Am I running away from the little family I have left? Maybe, a little, this year is different. I did send out about 50 handmade Christmas cards (first time in 4 years); I waited to see what I could possibly say that was honest but not maudlin. I am taking a vacation that falls over Christmas. K and I are looking forward to it, even though for only a few days.
The estate, as far as I can tell, is finished. Just waiting for the official word from the attorney --if there is such a thing--that it is "officially closed." Those files will be moved directly into a sealed box. I like the idea of the estate being closed. THis doesn't hurt me or upset me. I'm surprised.
So, now, at holiday time, and the burgeoning new year, I will set new year's resolutions, based on the the claw that ripped out my heart, or rather the things that were ripped out by the claw of cancer.
I am still not myself, those people who think I'm grieving too long. I am much more reactionary, I take things more personally. I have many more new buttons to push. It's still very new. Let's get through Christmas and the New Year. Let's see how a vacation with K helps. I feel the universe calling me to Key West. I hope it speaks to K, too. We are ready to move on.
- 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.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
The past few days have been so puzzling. Used as I am to the tougher road, I floated along life’s groove yesterday, and the peace I had was so remarkable, I smiled and went with it. And I didn’t ask any questions. I went with the flow! As a type A personality with a desire to diversify, going with the flow is a real aspiration. I am okay with this feeling, that I am part of the world in its greater spinning. It was a gentle confirmation that it does, indeed, spin without me. I find peace in this sweet revelation. Being a recovering control freak is no easy feat! These moments, days in the flow of the universe are mysterious and magical. No highs or lows, just a gentle sususration, like tall grasses in a breeze. Beautiful.
Tonight one of my students presented her senior voice recital. It was wonderful. She is a very talented young singer, but she is also an excellent student, scooping up information and processing it without having to be hit over the head with it. She has grown into a motivated, spirited young woman who is growing into a confident singer. My equivocation about academia was stymied tonight as I heard her sing. I could stay longer if I had more students like her: naturally talented, open to teaching and trusting the teacher’s knowledge; practicing regularly, listening to famous singers sing, watching her teacher perform. Taking her teacher’s notes seriously. Processing and producing. This is a job that uses my intellect. This is the kind of teaching I crave.
I've had a few wonderful interchanges with my sister this week, after a frenzied exchange just before we closed on dad's house. A bump in the road. A bump on a bumpy road, that's more like it. My sister is a very loving person, but she doesn't know herself. I want her to feel empowered. If I could give it to her as a Christmas or birthday present I would. She and I realize we are both struggling with the loss of our parents, particularly our father, to whom we were both so close. It took us a while to recognize that we are struggling in different ways. We've been talking on Facebook every day now, just telling each other little bits of our day. I really like this. Maybe we can weave each other into our lives with things like this. I hope so. We get on each other's nerves very easily, so I lead her as I can into calm and even territory.
Tomorrow is a recovery day. I need to re-tool some class materials for Friday's lecture and make some decisions about the rest of the semester so the students don't keep freaking out. I am feeling confident tonight, after a few peaceful days, free of gut-wrenching grief, that I can manage the tasks at hand. Amen.