Walls or bridges, we must decide.
One connects the other divides.
Too many today follow the path
Quick to find fault and explode with wrath
Walls are being built at a frightening pace
Many forget we are all one race
Traveling on this blue orb through the galaxy
We have more, not less, to gain through unity.
My last post was pretty intense, and I think it might have given the wrong impression. Overall, I had a great birthday on Sunday. I did eat birthday cake, which was delicious. And I opened two cookbooks from my sister which I’ve had fun looking through and planning future meals with. It was just that moment of time when I looked at my cake where I was just inundated with memories of birthdays of old. From childhood to adulthood, 46 birthdays that I had with my mom. The one that really stood out in my mind was 1999. She had had a very close call with blood poisoning the summer of 1998 and was still recovering by the time January rolled around. When I came downstairs that morning, there sitting on the kitchen counter was an orange with a burning candle sticking out of it. She knew she wasn’t able to bake a cake, so she improvised. She thought it was a silly gesture, but it meant more to me than she ever knew. I knew this birthday would be a difficult day, but I thought it wouldn’t be harder than my mom’s birthday or Christmas had been. It was just looking at that cake that caused a very large burble of primal grief to come rushing to the surface of my consciousness. The intensity of the feelings and emotions were just so overwhelming and caught me off guard completely. At that moment, I missed her so terribly and felt the rawness of that loss. That rawness stuck with me into the next day when it expressed itself in that poem. I posted it because I’ve come to see my blog as a safe space to express what I’m going through; the good and the bad. To be honest, it’s the first time I’ve felt so safe to say what is on my mind so freely. So, in a roundabout way, this post is a thank you to all of you who have accepted me into your worlds and lives. Like that birthday orange, you will never know the full extent of what that has meant to me.
Sorry I’ve been quiet for a few days now. I was doing fine. Getting the house ready for Christmas and thinking I was dealing with my grief pretty well. And then wham! I got caught in a massive riptide of grief that dragged me off my feet, and I’ve been trying to find my footing again ever since. I had heard that the first Christmas after a significant loss is hard. Hard is the most useless word to describe it. For me, it has been utterly debilitating to the point that I can’t do anything much except cry. The pain I’ve felt the past two days has been spiritually excruciating. I miss my mom more now than at any other time during this grief “process.” Yesterday I thought I’d try to make myself feel better by putting the lights on my little tree. After finishing, I was looking at it thinking how cold and harsh the lights looked this year. There was no soft twinkling glow at all. There was no anticipation of the upcoming holiday that I had been looking for. I felt even more miserable and also thought about taking the lights down again and putting the tree away. I’ve contemplated not having Christmas at all this year because the pain is just so intense. I’m not seeing the world as it is right now and I know it. I’ve heard of rose-colored glasses; I wonder what color grief colored glasses are. I’m thinking a swampy greenish-brown color. I feel like I’m just treading water until the day that I’m dreading arrives and departs as it does every year, just surviving instead of living. I don’t know how to change my mentality but I know I want to. I hate feeling this way. My mom wouldn’t want me to feel this way. But if I try to swim against the grief, I know it will just drag me out of my life even further, and I’ll drown. So I’ll just keep treading and try to move forward towards Christmas and hope I find a way to get through it without her.
Yesterday, my niece and nephew came for a visit. I had them help with a few things while they were here including taking my mom’s bed apart. Seeing the pieces of the bed my mom has slept in for over 40 years was very emotional but having to walk by it every day had gotten to be much too painful and I knew it was time to remove it. Hours after they had left when I was getting ready to go upstairs for the night, I went into my mom’s room and looked at the dark empty space where her bed had been and asked if she was okay with my removing her bed. I wasn’t expecting an answer, how could she answer me? Taking one last look, I went into the front hall and turned on the lights, one in the downstairs and one in the upstairs. Climbing the stairs, the light behind me blinked on and off one time. “Once for yes, twice for no.” flashed through my mind and I stopped mid-step dumbfounded. Could it have been her? I don’t know. There was no accompanying cold or air or feeling like she was there, but I’d like to think it was a sign from her — a sign that she’s okay with me moving on and changing the house to suit my new needs. It’s also comforting to know that her spirit is still around watching over me.
I’m just checking in.
To tell you all how I’ve been
I keep surfacing for air
And looking here and there
To see if the grief is gone
To see if life can go on.
But grief’s a cheeky bugger
And not much of a hugger
He tends to sneak up on me
From behind where I cannot see
So I quickly dive back down
Trying to find smiles in all the frowns
And try to be patient with me
Because that’s what mom would want to see.
The last few days have been particularly rough for me. The realization that Thanksgiving, a holiday my mom loved, will also fall on the six month anniversary of her death has hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve allowed the grief to take the reins for now and haven’t been able to do too much more than recover from the endless crying I’ve been experiencing. I’m not posting this for sympathy, it’s just the reality of my life right now. It’s important to allow my grief to take its course and be patient with myself during this healing process. I’m not sure if I’m going to be posting much over the next little while and I wanted to let you all know why. It’s time to focus on myself and being careful with my feelings and not pushing myself past what it’s able to do during this time.
As some of you know, last Wednesday I underwent carpal tunnel surgery on my left wrist. My recovery has gone quite smoothly, and my pain is pretty minimal unless I’m not thinking and do something stupid like turn a doorknob. The surgery itself went very well, I’m still not used to anesthesia though and closing my eyes and waking up an hour later still unnerves me. This time though it totally discombobulated me from the passage of time. I was able to listen to music during my procedure and when I went under I was listening to a specific song. When I woke up afterward, you guessed it, the same song was playing again; given the fact that my brain was still loopy from the drugs I had a hard time realizing the procedure was over. Not even the reality that I was no longer in the operating room and back in recovery could make me believe my surgery, was in fact, done. The very patient post-op nurse finally had me look at my hand and upon seeing my mummified Oompa Loompa hand (thanks Betadine) did my brain de-fog enough for me to realize that it was in fact over. Lying there in recovery, I found myself thinking about how being unconscious whether during normal sleep or during surgery, we become detached from time itself. Minutes and hours become meaningless, we just exist in a stream of time where nameless moments pass without our knowing. These deep thoughts were soon replaced with the gnawing in my stomach reminding me that I hadn’t eaten in 12 hours. I ate something, they monitored me for a while longer and then sent me home to recuperate.
Well, ladies and gents, tomorrow is the day I undergo carpal tunnel surgery on my left wrist. Less than a day away and my nerves and anxiety are through the roof. But I am so ready to find relief from the constant numbness, tingling, and pain that shoot through my entire hand and arm if I move it the wrong way. I had my right wrist done in August of 2016 and had instant relief, and even though my left wrist is in worse shape, I’m hoping that this procedure will be just as successful. Please keep me in your thoughts and send good vibes in my direction. I’ll try to post again, later on, this week with an update on how things went.