So, I’m having a crummy day. Actually, I’m having a very shitty day and I’m hoping it won’t go anymore downhill from here. I cried about ma in my office before class and then during an exercise in my Intro to Socio course, a student started to cry herself because the exercise hit home for her. THEN, a student of mine gave me a wonderful t-shirt she bought from a college student who is working hard for suicide prevention: It’s pink and says “Stay Another Day”…that made me cry too! Sheesh.
Anyhoot, I’m finding out that death is handled a lot like cancer by many people: apparently talking about it makes it catching. When some colleagues pass me in the hall and ask how I am, I say “I’m ok.” Then they walk away…uncomfortable with that honest response. Actually, a truly honest response would be: “I’m fucking horrible. My ma died and she was my foundation…half of my entire world…and loved me more than anyone on the face of this earth ever has.” And obviously, if ma has computer access in heaven, I need to apologize for saying ‘fuck’ – sorry I said fuck, ma. I know you hate the word fuck. 🙄
When ma was diagnosed with breast cancer, many of her ‘friends’ and even some family alienated themselves from her…at a time when she needed them most! I know some of that is fear…feeling uncomfortable…being faced with the understanding that anyone can get cancer. I also think we shy away from cancer, and death, because it’s hard to know what to say. I get that…it’s so difficult to know what words to use. What will comfort or what will hurt. It’s a balancing act and I know I haven’t walked it well in the past.
It’s been 6 weeks since ma died and the tidal wave of grief has started to wash over me…it’s almost like I actually felt the water hit. It’s getting much more difficult to deny that she died and is truly gone…but I’m trying. I talk to her all the time (not out loud in public!) and Terri actually texts her old phone. I think it’s our way of still feeling that connection as we muddle through this time.
Being at school has been a mixed blessing. My students motivate me to be ‘on’ everyday and knowing I have to get up and get going is something I need right now. Rolling out of bed on the weekends is a process.
But the flip side is this: putting on my “Professor K” mask gives me something to hide behind. You know when you were little…and you thought that if you covered your eyes everything…including you…would ‘go away?’ That’s my mask right now. Plus, school started days after ma died and I had to work on my classes fervently since I didn’t while ma was in the hospital, so I’ve had that mask on for this entire time. Then, I’ve been keeping it on at home too. I know Edward and Mally understand I’m sad but I don’t want to burden others, i.e. humans, with it. My neighbors are totally wonderful and I have gotten in the habit of using their yard swing to meditate on, but I don’t want to vent to Terri or O. Terri is in the same boat I am…she’s mourning and sad and confused and still denying that this could have happened. She’s burdened enough with her own feelings. And O lost his grandma; plus, he has 2 businesses he runs and a girlfriend. He’s busy and I only see him about once a week. All of this means that I’m pretty much by myself unless I’m at school. For someone who craves hugs and affection and cuddles, this is so so hard! I’d give about anything for someone I could do this with. Confide in. Vent too. Keeping this in and being so fucking (sorry again, ma) lonely is horrid.
It’s funny because I thought I knew what lonely was. As usual, I was mistaken (big shocker, huh?). Even when I was lonely because of not having a partner (hopefully ma is working on that now – a cowboy with Levi’s and a great singing voice like Morgan Wallens, tall, weathered, and funny…not a lot of expectations there 😐) I still had ma. We talked every morning and every night and texted throughout the day. When anything would happen, I’d call and share it with her…she was just always there. Terri said this yesterday and it’s so so true: “I just want to talk to mom about my mom dying.”
Anyways, I have some answers to this: first, I’m starting to allow myself to be sad…to not feel like I always have to be my usual effervescent self 😳. I also know I have to start reaching out more; I’m getting involved in a really great church that’s small, friendly, and so relatable; Terri has gone with me a couple of times and it’s nice to share that together. I’m also trying to eat better since it’s always hard for me to eat when I’m upset and am proud to say I’ve been snitching Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from our secretaries desk. Finally, O has encouraged me to see a grief counselor and I’m going to call for an appointment this week.
I know reading this is probably depressing but honestly, I need the outlet. Writing has always been therapeutic for me and I truly appreciate you all listening and many of you have reached out to me…thank you so so much! I’m actually going to do my best to get Terri to guest blog later this week. I think it would be good for her, and would also let her express things she might need to face which could be cathartic for her as well.
Thanks for listening, peeps…you’re all the best.
Love you ma. Love you more.