Tuesday, April 26, 2011
A Hard Tailed Chick Writing An Emotionally Painful Admission
My brother, Gary, with his wife and three daughters, has a house and a dock on a river, not far from where we'd grown up in coastal Virginia. He's on my list of future plans to visit for three major functions and events that my friend, Becky, offered to dress me up for, which cracks me up, as I'm truly undressable.
That's why God made black slacks.
Even I can't crap that up, right?
Good thing I'd decided to have the pediatrician take a look at a nasty tick bite scab on Jack's leg, as he later ran a high fever which would've been emotionally stressful to me, but preempting the strike gave me some relief. $65 medications, after insurance, stung me. He's a grandchild and doesn't have Medicaid, of course.
Tabby barfed last night, now Sabrina has a fever, and is upchucking.
I pushed my mower around in the Upper Gardens, overheating and sweating like a pig, which is what I do best, while ruminating deeply on Becky's email to me.
Really? This is so? I kinda think it to be, but being such a formerly Methodist PK, I felt guilty about the grief. He was my Dad, and I'm not a young kid (like Jack) or a grieving spouse like my mother.
Dad and I'd spent 30 years of my adult life living in two different states, that he was here for the last ten years must've made a mark on me. Ya think?
Some of Becky's thoughts included: Cindy, ...wanting to shut yourself off from the world. You are even too apathetic to interact with inappropriate behaviors. I guess if a snake came up and bit you on the nose you'd sigh and say who cares?!?! You melt down and cry in the garden, the carport, the bedroom and you are even sleeping past 5 AM! On anyone else you would recognize this as grief. Your father passed away combined with the recent anniversary of your sister's passing. Get it? You are depressed!!!! Grief induced depression sneaks up on you and gets a hold on you. Your poor sweet daddy passed away and you are so busy tending to the needs of your mom and sons that you haven't really paid attention to the fact that YOU are grieving too. Loss of a parent is overwhelming and takes a long time for your brain to process. Combine that with the huge responsibility (emotional) for your mother and her recent health scare and voila'! You've lost a sister and a parent. Somewhere in the subconscious mind you are bracing for the fact that this will happen again. Hopefully your mom will live another 20 years in good health and happiness. You are a hardtail chick and I get that, BUT this was your daddy. Attention must be paid!! Did I forget to mention that you were the total family rock when Preston got so sick?
My initial defensive response included, "I ain't even got a carport. It's a garage," but I caught myself and comprehended that wasn't the point.
Am I really so blind to my own foibles and feelings? I think I might be. I've deadened myself emotionally in many aspects. Yet the light bulbs going off in my brain were impressive. I'd wondered about my crying jags and inability to drag myself out of bed, and I literally am bracing myself. I'd even recently decided that we live, we die, ho hum, what's the dang point of existence?
I've become even more slovenly than before, hair raggedly clipped up, little, if any makeup, why bother with face cream, unwrinkled clothes or matching socks? I feel draggy, sluggish and blah. Disconnected in my mind. Kiss my butt, who cares if I left my lawnmower out in the rain? I've been a bird turd.
I've always been somewhat reclusive, preferring a great deal of alone time, able to go long stretches without company, busy and active, yet nowadays it's been tempered by a total distaste for the entire world.
No, I don't go back and read my blog posts. I don't look in the toilet when I leave the bathroom. Catharsis doesn't require reflection, right? I spew and vomit out my words and move on, feeling as if they've served their purpose for me, which was, and is, to release figurative toxins, and/or to understand the world around me, yet I totally again missed my own point, it appears. I misunderstood my ownself.
I'm gonna blame my mama for this recessive gene that propels us into over activity, which conveniently prevents us from looking inwardly at our ownselves, feeling it's just too self-indulgent...and bor-ring. If we gave in to grief, how would we ever crawl back out?
Sarah's reading a Joan Didion book on grief that has allowed her to see Grandma in a better light, a more empathetic and understanding role, I'll read it next.
I seriously don't know what to do about me, other than to wait it out, pray about it, and continue plodding forward, knowing time is a healer. I do, however, feel relieved to have labeled this as such. Becky's clearly correct, she's lost both of her parents, she gets it.
I think of my darling niece, Lauren, who'd lost her mother, my sister Ellen, at age 7. I'm nearly 57, 50 more years of learning how to cope with loss. It's high time for me to get a grip. I do wanna talk about this with my brothers though. But they're very much like me, inwardly solitary, repressed (it didn't happen - Dad's somewhere on a vacation with Ellen and Allen who was her late, first husband), restless and antsy, diving into projects, books and plans.
Interestingly we're all three, Jimbo, Gary and I, like mom with our tightly regulated emotions, while Ellen was much like Dad, way more openly emotionally expressive about everything. The two of them are likely cracking up right now at us in that beautiful alternative universe called Heaven, while we grapple here below with being left behind.
Jim reads my blog, Gary doesn't, but I'm gonna email this to him. Like Jim and I, he'll likely cry later when he's alone, because that's what we do. We'll even try and rationalize that it's the sensitive ones who die early...not us tough ones.