Out of the cave, I hope.

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This was a difficult weekend.  I never knew I could stay in bed this long, or sleep for as many hours as I have, but maybe I needed it.  I checked the scale and see I’m up seven pounds— bloated probably from all the carbs, alcohol and sweets I’ve consumed— anything to fill this unfillable sad hole.  Still not on meds, still told I don’t need them, that this is a part of the process.  I’m sure this is the case, but it is a process I would rather avoid.  Maybe sometimes we need seclusion.  The step-father asked if he could buy me a ticket to come home and visit for a week, I accepted.  I guess he feels as badly as I do about the loss of my mother.  Maybe one day I will forgive him.  Maybe, one day I will embrace him as my father, but for now I just want to stop drowning.

I miss my mom, yes, I wish she were here, yes, but she is not.  I don’t know when or how I will accept this.

So now I have to figure out how to my mother myself, at least that’s what my therapist tells me.

We’ll see if I come through, or fail in this process.  If I beat the sadness, I know I will rise, if I don’t, I know it could be tragic– not in a suicidal way, just that I will let the darkness beat me, and that the person I was meant to become will never be realized.  Let’s hope I can make it out of this cave.

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Mom – Second Birthday Past

This is the second birthday my mother is gone. She passed away in January of 2013 and her birthday is August 15. It’s clear now that I was in shock and just “functioning” last year, when I made the mad dash to Texas, last August 7th, to throw my maternal grandmother her 90th surprise birthday party. It’s what my mother would have wanted.   It was also supposed the year my brother and I would have thrown my mother her 70th surprise birthday party.

To share, my grandmother has late onset schizophrenia and dementia, we made the family decision not to tell her of my mother’s passing fearing that it would be a pain she would forget, and re-experience every time we have to retell her. She became schizophrenic at the age of 50 after her second husband died from a heart attack; I  feel that the knowledge of the passing of her first-born child would kill her. My mother and grandmother were very close. My mother was her caretaker, I always feared that my mother would pass before my grandmother and she did—diabetes took its toll. At the end, I believe my mother, tired from her disease, finally welcomed death.

My grandmother is a loving soul. Kind, generous, the good cop to my mother’s bad cop when I was a little girl. My grandmother was the epitome of unconditional love and my mother the consummate disciplinarian—but I was loved. I think we would have been better off had my mother never remarried, but she felt marriage was her one escape. This is an important detail to keep in mind considering we lived with my grandmother, along with my uncle from the time I was born until I turned five. My uncle was a violent schizophrenic (early onset) and I vaguely remember fleeing the house with my mother and grandmother to hotels on certain nights he would have violent rages and claims that we were conspiring to kill him.

My mother was a strong woman. The oldest of five children, who came from the most humble beginnings, she was also very lucky to be deprived the pain of losing her own mother who is still alive at ninety-one, her body would have betrayed her instantly with either a stroke or a heart attack if this had transpired. I am also pleased that my grandmother will never know the pain of losing her daughter, although deep down I think she knows my mother is gone. Now, the other siblings have to play caretaker, a privilege they were selfishly happy to extend to my mother— they are horrible at it, they barely see my grandmother who is in a nursing home— my mother saw her everyday. My grandmother lived with us until she couldn’t any longer; we found it was safer for her and saner on my mother to put her in an old folks home; this was only five years ago.

My mother was a strong woman— too strong for her own good. Her world revolved around my brother, my grandmother and me, she was our sun. Now we must all figure out a way to live without her, including my stepfather. This birthday I realize I will never have the chance to sing “Happy Birthday” to her; I will never have the chance to hug her tightly and tell her she has been my world. I will never have the chance to grow old with her like so many people do with their parents. If only I could be sixty and she ninety when she passed. If only I could have had twenty more years. If only.

When I went through her things, after she passed, I found that she kept every single card my brother and I gave her. Every single flower shop card. Every little shred of paper that carried any sentiment related to us. I never knew she was this sentimental. I never knew she cared about the cards I gave her. I never knew. But I am so glad I did. I took back the leopard pattern gloves I gave her one winter. I was so surprised she never lost them, or the mauve cashmere shawl I gave her. Things I knew she would love. She was so famous for losing things, but she never lost the things that touched her. I miss her so much.

I think back to all the trips we took to Europe as mother and daughter. We would fight like cats and dogs, what she would call black, I would call white, but as we grew older we would simply laugh at our clashes. She would constantly tell me when I was home for extended periods, that even if all we did was fight, she was happy I was home. I felt the same way. She loved me. She would kill for me. She was the type of mother who would bury the body, or take the blame. Nothing replaces that.

I’ve been in bed all week. Finding no energy to move. The drive to Texas to be with my family on her birthday was a fanciful thought, and I can’t help but admit that I feel sad that, my brother, father or sister-in-law did not call to check in on me. Maybe, I should call them, but all I do is chase, call, text, hoping to talk, to connect, but everything has changed, my mother was the glue that held us all together, now it is up to us, and I think we are failing miserably. It is still too hard for me to go home to spend time with the stepfather who has been so cruel to her, to me, to my brother; it is also difficult to go home knowing Michael and Renée have their own lives— I don’t know how to fit into their lives anymore. I still feel that my brother avoids talking to me, because I remind him of my mom. So, I seclude myself, hoping, waiting for my mind to reboot, for my body to recalibrate the pain and channel it into something meaningful and productive, but for now, I feel everything can fuck all.

Paralyzed

Today, I was supposed to make the mad trek drive from California to Texas to be with my family on my mother’s birthday.  I can’t. But maybe I will tomorrow.  Time alone in a car for 12 hours may not be what I need right now.

I still don’t want to move.  It’s still hard to accept that she is gone. 

I miss her.

I miss you mom.  I wish you were here.

Today my light is dim.

Band-aid Buzz

I feel better today.  Sober. Better able to think clearly and tackle some of my life. My heart still sears with the stab of her loss and my stomach churns with an empty hollow discomfort. The band-aid buzz of alcohol is now gone and I feel the pain, wholly and completely– yet I feel still feel I have to tell myself, “Yes, I know, how can I forget, mother is gone.”  As much as people tell me she wouldn’t want me to be sad, it still offers me no comfort–it doesn’t bring her back or make it any better.

Currently, I am having an affair with a man who claims he no longer loves his wife and is merely waiting for his kid to leave to college so he can begin the divorce procedure.  This began five months after my mom passed.  His kid shares the same birthday as my mother, I took this as a sign. Maybe, she sent him to me. Maybe, this is my mother taking care of me from the afterlife, or maybe this is me making a bad grief-stricken decision.  Never in my most clear days would I consider this involvement, but it’s still better than being alone and going to bars to meet random people just to feel a connection.  He says he loves me, that he has for ten years, but hasn’t been able to make a move until now, that he is almost out of his marriage, but I know I’m wrong.  I feel bad for the wife, the kid, but clearly these things happen when you are at your weakest and when all you really want is some company, someone to make you feel like the darkness will end, and someone to tell you the light will one day shine.  I still want to have a family and I know I’m going about it the wrong way.  This won’t last, but for now, at least I am not alone.

It’s funny when you consider certain friendships through this process.  Some will stand by you and some will go.  I’ve cut so many ties in the last year, and am not done yet, but how long until I am truly alone.  For now it is probably best to do nothing,  and try to think— a difficult task after such a loss.  All I can say is, “Mom. I miss you.  You would never want this for me. But I never wanted you gone either. I am doing the best I can at this current moment.  And I hope if your spirit sees me you will help me on my path.”  Thing is. I’m not sure there is an after life, or another level of being– but, I’m not sure– on my birthday this year–  I did have a visitation dream. Multiple light bulbs went out in my apartment that day, along with multiple electrical surges and  it hasn’t happened since.  Whatever the case– my love for her will never die, but this pain will take some adjusting to.

I suppose her death gives me the liberty to fuck up my life in the most unimaginable ways, now that I have no one to keep me accountable– I even quit on me, I hate myself right now, for not being better, stronger, smarter. For being weak.  We will soon see which roads I take and if this feeling of apathy will one day pass.

Today– I feel and I don’t like it.

When will I be normal?

Mom’s birthday is in four days.  I am paralyzed.  I just got out of graduate school and I should be looking for work, instead I am drinking, hanging out, having sex, basically doing anything I can to not feel the pain of her loss.  But the pain is still there.  It lingers.  

I spoke to my brother today.  It was a good conversation.  He admitted to also just feeling like bawling and curling up into a ball.  It seems like he is better adjusted than I am.  I am hoping this feeling will process and that I will somehow move on and one day be happy or feel normal.

But today.  I hurt.

Miserable

The grief books say to socialize. To get out there.  To LIVE life.  Honestly, all I could do today was drink whiskey and diet coke.  Something, I never do.  But the pain is overwhelming.  Usually, I would be wondering what I should send my mother on her birthday this Friday, be it flowers, a gift, or wondering if I should wait to give her something awesome until I see her next.  Usually, it would be flowers, and then I would see her and give her an awesome gift of sorts.  Expensive jewelry or perfume or a purse or a massage….something. Today, I realize there would be nothing I would give her.  All I will have is her memory.  The memory of her touch, her love, her song.  It’s so sad. What’s worse is the loneliness that comes attached.  I had multiple plans this weekend.  A birthday. A trivia challenge. But for what?  There is no joy in smiling my fake smile, lipstick, make-up, mascara, blow dry. What for? My mother is gone.  There is no joy in this.  There is no fix. No love. Nothing.  I spoke to my sister-in-law today.  I am strangely closer to her than I am to my brother, right now.  She had the luxury of having a close relationship to her father and I had the luxury of having a close relationship to my mother, but she understands.  Meanwhile, my brother works on his 1980 Blazer parked in the drive.  This is a signal to all of us that he is going through his pain, in his own way.  I love him and I worry about him.  Meanwhile, my stepfather sits in my mother’s house while the dogs piss on the wooden floors she had installed two days before she passed.  They are ruined now. We all are.

It’s a Mother — Second-Year-Grief

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My mother’s birthday is in five days. She would have been seventy-one years old. It’s been almost a year and a half since she’s gone, and it doesn’t get any easier. At times it gets worse. She was an amazing woman. Funny, witty, hardheaded, but, oh, so loving. It’s impossible not to feel pain or loss on a daily basis. My nightmare in life has always been to be stuck with my stepfather in HER house, surrounded by HER things. This man just doesn’t die— he’s ten years older than my mother, survivor of the Vietnam War—many times over—and a PTSD’d asshole to boot. A narcissistic piece of shit, whose narcissism becomes even more and more apparent as the days go by, I cannot help but wonder if he killed my mother with his cruel words, temper tantrums, and inability to connect emotionally on any level.

I know she settled when she married him. I was only five when this occurred and believed he was my biological father until the age of nineteen, I remembered he wasn’t there when I was younger, but my mother explained it away by saying that he was away in the military during that time. I know she meant well by this lie—she felt it would be too complicated for me to understand notions of divorce, and what not. But when I learned the truth, I was simply relieved. That asshole is not my biological father. That asshole’s blood does not run in my blood. I know the question is—then whose blood runs in your blood? The answer: another asshole’s, but at least not this asshole’s.

Every time, I’m forced to speak to him on the phone,  I’m reminded that I am nowhere home. Currently, I live in a small apartment in Santa Monica, CA, but my heart was in Texas with my mother. Unmarried and childless, my home was my mother. She was my safety net, my sounding board, the only person who really gave a deep shit about me.

My brother, Michael, is five years younger and in his own world of pain. His method of grief is not dealing with it. I know that I am a constant reminder of my mother to him, and we do not speak on the phone like we once did, not surprising since our relationship has completely changed ever since he got married. Sadly, I know he has no one to talk to, especially since his wife, Renée, was unfaithful to him the year before my mother passed, but that’s another story. When my mother was alive Renée would never understand my brother’s devotion to my mother, nor why they had to move back to his hometown near mom after she became ill with diabetes. She never enjoyed family lunches or breakfasts with my family, because in some weird way, she was admittedly jealous of his affection towards my mother. Probably because we were raised in a more of a Hispanic household, where family is the center of everything, and she in a more Caucasian, WASPy, upbringing. My stepfather, Ronald, is also Caucasian, and this might explain his coldness towards us—even though Michael is his biological son, but my biological dad is also Caucasian– of Irish descent.  My stepfather is of German descent, not that it really matters, a father should show love whatever his descent. But in my household, the Hispanic side over powered the Caucasian side.

I miss the sound of my mother’s voice. “Mija,” she would always say in Spanish, short for “mi hija”— in English the translation is “my daughter”—a term of endearment. “Mija, are you taking care of yourself? Mija, do you need any money? Mija, don’t worry, you can do anything you set your mind to.” I miss hearing her say these words to me.

Now, I am left with this asshole step-father, who is the executor of her will, who is mismanaging funds, and digging the estate he and my mother built together into a deep dark hole.  Afraid and with no one to really talk to, I called him up with the news of my uterine fibroids that may need to be operated, his response was, “well, I need a hip replacement”– it’s always been a competition. If I had mentioned this to my mother, she would have flown to California immediately and been there for me in ways only a mother can. She would have cared. He does not.

As her birthday approaches, I think of the 70th surprise birthday party I never got to throw her, how I was not there when she started dialysis, and how I entrusted her health into the hands of this dark soul. I think of the small accident she was in two days before she passed, because he let her drive herself to dialysis— something you should never do, and I think of how I implored her to go to the doctor the following day to get checked out, and I think of how she died the following morning. My brother and my father could have taken her to the doctor and she would have lived, and I know if I had been in Texas I would have taken her, like I always did, but I was in California pursing my dream.

Second year grief is when the shock wears off and you only wish you could be numb. It’s when the reality hits that your loved one is gone, and there is nothing you can do about it, but let the waves of pain hit you over and over again. I wish I were on antidepressants. I wish I could change back time. I wish I could find myself again. My drive, ambition and zest for life are gone, but sometimes I do feel the sun on my face when I think of all the travels my mother and I enjoyed. She still visits me in my dreams, but not as frequently. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a visitation dream. These are the vivid dreams, where it seems like she forces her way into my mind, into my dream, to send me the message that she is fine. In the last one, I saw her at a theater after a play.  She was wearing an emerald-green and gold gown. Her hair was long and curly. Beautiful. She must have been thirty-years-old and was smiling radiantly. I literally ran into her, and when I realized who she was, I drew her close and hugged her, then I woke up and she was gone. I was so shocked to see her in my dream, that when I jolted awake I twisted my neck creating a pinched nerve and had to go to the hospital for treatment it was so painful.

Needless to say, I miss her and I only hope that one day I’ll be whole again. I hope one day I can wake up in the morning and find a good reason to be alive, because the thought, “mom would have wanted you to live your life fully” doesn’t quite motivate me yet. She’s still not here.