Sunday, April 30, 2017

Grief and Legacies

I was 19 years old and puffy faced from crying, my arm had been numb for about an hour but in order to have feeling in it once more meant I would have to let go of my mother's hand, and I couldn't do that, not yet.

She was asleep.

No... that's the lie I told myself.

She was in a coma and probably wouldn't have realized if I slid my hand from hers and shook it until the pins and needles passed, but I would know. I would know that those precious seconds had ticked by where I wasn't comforting her... another lie, comforting myself... and I couldn't bear the thought of wasting a single moment, not when I had wasted so very many with typical teen angst and misdirected anger.

I remember thinking how small she looked on her bed. She was only 5'2 but there was always this grandness about her, this overwhelming presence of love, compassion, and kindness, she always seemed so much bigger. She had been my world, but now she looked like a fragile doll.

I don't recall who was in the room, likely my grandparents, uncle, aunt, random family, all holding a silent vigil as I sat clinging to my mother and whatever time we had left together.

This was so unfair.

It was unfair that she had battled brain tumors on and off her whole life.

It was unfair this last one struck when I was 14 and altered my life, seemingly overnight.

It was unfair this had happened to one of the kindest most genuinely good people.

It was unfair that she couldn't be the same woman she had been for me my first 14 years.

It was unfair she could barely walk, couldn't work, couldn't remember, couldn't live the life her peers were living, the life she had been living.

It was unfair that she fought so hard for so long.

It was unfair she was still fighting.

I asked everyone to leave, I needed a moment with my mother.

"I am so sorry. I am so so sorry. You deserved a better daughter. I was so angry, am still so angry, but it's hard to be angry at a disease and so I was angry with you. Please forgive me. I love you, will always love you, will always remember who you taught me to be. You did your job, I'll be okay, I promise, you can stop fighting, I'll be okay."

I wanted to climb in bed with her, I wanted her to wake up and stroke my hair and tell me it would all be okay as she had done my whole life. I wanted to wake up from this nightmare, be 14 and realize it was all a Christmas Carol style lesson in appreciating what I had. I wanted miracles to happen, wishes to come true, prayers to be answered.

I wanted my momma.

(I still do.)

I remember only bits and pieces of that week.

I remember begging the man at the book store to help me find "Love You Forever"  because it had to go in the lilac purple coffin my mother now laid in. I read it over and over and cried.

I remember the food, as southerns are wont to do everyone in the county seemed to filter through the doors, brining food and condolences.

I remember thinking, "This is it. I'm an orphan now. Yes, all of you stare at the poor orphan, judge her for being a shitty daughter and now unable to make amends."

I remember being angry that it was sunny and bright the day of her funeral. I was shattered and broken and had cried until I could cry no more, the sky should weep for her too.

I remember crying all night, nearly every night, for months on end.

I remember feeling guilty the first night I didn't.

Grief is a funny thing. At first it pins you down and tightens around your chest until you can't breath, until it feels as if it has squeezed your heart right out of your chest. You then have to walk around with this gaping hole, this wound that refuses to heal, this giant missing piece of yourself, and still live your day to day mundane life as if you aren't broken and empty. Eventually you realize you went one whole day without thinking about it, and you are then crushed by guilt. You're given platitudes and cliches by well meaning people but you begin to discover time does NOT in fact heal all wounds, you just learn to work around them.

You do better though, weeks may pass without tears, but grief will not be tossed aside so easily. When you are in the absolute best mood with all of the greatest things happening grief will rear its ugly head and smack you down. When you are at your lowest low, heart sick and barely functioning grief will come along and rub salt into every wound. On a random Tuesday at Chipotle grief will show up and you'll find yourself sitting alone, ugly crying into your sofritas burrito bowl for seemingly no reason.

There is no "getting over" grief. There is no "being done" mourning. There is no "moving past" the pain. You can learn the tools to grieve in a healthy way, but you will ALWAYS miss that person.

My mother will never attend my wedding, should I ever get married.

I will never have that fun adult relationship so many of my friends now have with their mothers.

My mother will never again wake me at midnight  just to be the first one to sing me Happy Birthday.

Every Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Fourth of July, will be without her.

My daughter will never meet her grandmother, who I think would have been the most amazing Mimi.

I do what I can to keep her memory alive. As Witchling grows I will tell her stories about the Mimi she never knew, I will do everything in my power to make her as real for Witchling as I can.

I guess maybe that's the point of my post tonight. I'm honestly not sure, I didn't start out with a real direction. I don't talk much about my mother publicly, and never really about her death, but with Mother's Day coming up I'm a little out of wack.

I digress.

I have promised to tell Beasty all of the stories of my mother that I have, and have asked others to do the same. I believe that is our true legacy, the stories others tell about us.

I think the Doctor said it best, “We’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”

(Per usual as of late this rambling emotional mess was posted from my phone, please forgive any typos, random autocorrects, and other various mistakes.)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

All the squishy bits...

Is there anything more terrifying than sharing the vulnerable pieces of yourself with someone new?

... I'm sure there are but that's not the point.

It seems crazy that we hand people these treasure maps to ourselves, but the x doesn't mark a chest of gold and instead leads to all of the most fragile parts of our psyche.

We trust these new people with the very parts of ourselves that were once betrayed, fingers crossed that this time it will be different, that this person won't add their own brand of heartache and baggage.

I'm not even talking about romantic relationships, or not totally. We do this with coworkers, new friends, even family members we begin getting closer to. Over and over again we open up, often just a little at a time, and have to hope for the best.

I hate this, and I am honestly really really bad at it. I find it so hard to really trust anyone with anything other than the superficial dribble of everyday life.

Sure, I open up here... under a pen name... with very few links to my real, actual life and people I really, actually know.

Tonight I had too much wine, and opened up to a new friend a waaaay more than stone cold sober Libby would even day dream of doing. With a laser pointer, pretty highlighters, graphs, flashing neon signs, and one of those airport guys with the cones I showed this person so new in my life a few of the soft squishy bits I prefer to keep hidden.

It didn't seem like much, they made the right sympathetic and supportive comments and will likely never think twice about it, but it is terrifying to me, and will cause my heart to randomly and unexpectedly race on and off for weeks to come.

Not only did I give them ammo, I gave them big, shiny targets.

That's part of life though, of truly living, you have to let people in from time to time. You have to trust your own judgement and their goodness.

(Forgive the typos and errors, this was another late night ramble made on my trusty phone.)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Ramblings in the dark...

It's been a while since I've posted.

Hell, it's been a while since I've written anything.

I've tried to find a way to neatly sum up all that has happened in my life over the last year but, for the first time in my life, words have utterly and completely failed me.

Maybe one day I'll get there, maybe one day I'll wake up knowing exactly how to weave the tale of my journey into becoming a single parent.

Maybe one day I'll suddenly find the words to explain the new scars on my heart and soul.

Today is not that day.

Words are these amazing, living, evolving things that we use in so many unique and fantastic ways. Used at their best they tell beautiful stories, encourage others, declare new love.

At their worst?

Words used as a weapon cut far deeper than any blade, poison the mind, destroy the soul, dismantle trust, crush hope.

Used at their worst words can create wounds you fear will never heal.

I am not those wounds.

I am more than the words used against me by others.

I am more than the words I use against myself.

I am just as much of a product of words of encouragement and strength as I am the words meant to harm.

No.

I am MORE a product of the words of words of encouragement and strength than I am the words meant to harm.

They still hurt, I still find myself looking down expecting to see blood because surely anything that is this soul rending should manifest physically. How can so much pain exist without proof of existence?

Nights like tonight, when it's quiet and still and I'm still reeling from emotional sabotage from "well intended" family members (a story for another time), I find it hard to remind myself I am more than these scars.

I've come so far though. Piece by piece I've begun to let go of the mix-matched baggage of my past. With each beat up bag discarded I find myself happier, healthier, stronger, lighter.

Despite tonight's bout of despondency I am happier than I can remember being in quite some time. Things are better now than they have been in quite some time. My future is brighter than it had been for quite some time. 

That's right my loves, I am still ever the optimist and even a set back such as this will never change that. I still believe life works out as it should and that each heartache and misstep are nothing more than building blocks in the foundation of who we are meant to be.

(Forgive the rambling, it's been a weird day. Forgive the typos and errors, I am snuggled in bed using my phone and should be sleeping.)