At last… Autumn is here. The wolf and I have been enjoying long rambling walks thru old orchards heavily laden with apples. The goldenrod is thick and abundant these days and every day I note a deepening of hues, a ripening of color in the trees. That warm, earthy caramel smell is in the air now and pumpkin pie is becoming increasingly more appealing. I am besotted with deep merlot colors, with chartreuse and orange. I can’t wait for true sweater weather… it’s been cooler around here, but somewhat humid. I long for that crisp snap in the air. I take my camera everywhere. It’s been my favourite mode of expression lately.
I don’t seem to have a lot of words or wisdom to share just now, but I do have some photos. The Handsome Guy and I went to The Royal Botanical Gardens this weekend and took some snaps of odd and wonderful sculptural things…
There was a group of these extraordinary stick figures… a good 12 feet high… they looked like super models or other worldly warriors. Very Beetlejuice. We dubbed the one above Stella and the one below Gertie.
and I finally got my hair cut. I’ve been meaning to do it since May. She cut it a wee bit shorter than I wanted and sometimes it looks kinda weirdly matronly and other times it looks rather too manly or something, but it’s just hair, you know? It grows. If there is one thing I’ve learned this summer, it’s not to sweat the small stuff. Below are some snaps of me and my evil twin taken with my webcam (I just discovered I could do that!) Doesn’t look too mumsy in these pix, but trust me, a little too much humidity and it all kinda scrunchs up into an uber-attractive round helmet.
In other news, have discovered Mad Men , the joy of drawing on manilla envelopes, that West Elm and Crate & Barrel are coming to Toronto, chocolate covered licorice and maple balsamic glazed parsnips (not together mind you). Am excited for tomorrow as the Farmer’s Market is open and America’s Next Top Model is on, offering me the opportunity to explore both my substantive and superficial sides. It’s all about dimensions, babies. All about balance.
it was a month ago today that she died. but it doesn’t feel like that. time has been suspended for me. it means nothing now. a day is a week, a week is a year, and all the things that happen in between are fleeting blurs, falling slowly toward the center, drifting like leaves.
I am shatters. I am fragments. I am bits and pieces that may never be knitted together whole again. or maybe they will. it is hard to say. I have been schizophrenic since the beginning of june. not literally, of course. what I mean is that at the beginning of june, when my Mom was first diagnosed, my rational self immediately divorced my emotional self and just went about the task of getting things done. getting the doctor’s appointments, looking at the CAT scans, hearing the news no one wants and disseminating it over the phone to everyone she loved, as gently and directly as possible. driving to the radiation appointments, finding someone to fit her for a wig when her hair fell out, finding fashionable head gear, trying to keep her fed. and later, holding her hand when she was beyond speaking, as she was dying, being there, letting go. Trying to be strong and capable when I felt anything but, when the center of my universe was dropping out.
And it has become a habit. I closed the door so firmly on all those frantic emotions that I don’t know how to see them any more. they come out when I am tired, when I am less than vigilant, when I don’t have 24 million other things to do or at least 3 other people and a dog on whom to focus intently. mornings are the worst, when I am first waking up and floundering between sleep and day. when I am not sure where I am, physically and emotionally. when I am not sure if she is still here or not. when my guard is down. when I am defenseless.
and sometimes it just leaks out. I’ll stop on the path to look at light in the leaves, and I’ll realize with a start that I am crying. that my grief has wrapped its hands around my throat and I am choking.
when I spell it out like this, it sounds so wholly tragic. it sounds so dramatic. it sounds as if I am a mess. and I am. except for the fact that I am not. I am standing. I am upright. I am moving through my days, I am getting things done. sometimes I laugh, out loud. sometimes I feel good. sometimes I feel secure and loved. And sometimes I just don’t.
it is just now beginning to feel real. it is just now that I look at the future yawning before me and see all the places in which she won’t be and feel the ache of that. I am getting tired now. I am truly exhausted. It’s hard to stay vigilant. It’s hard to keep the door closed. my memory is failing me. the past few months lie on the ground, glimmering, unconnected, but I can’t see them clearly. i misplace my keys, i misplace my coffee, my shoes, my words. i misplace my anger, i misplace my perspective.
And my emotional self is banging on the door. tentacles are sliding under the cracks, wagging at me. it’s drawing close to the time to open it up and confront it directly, i think, but I can’t find the key. I think I left it in the pocket of my other pants, the ones my pre-june self used to wear.
i have a phone number here for counseling services. I am reasonably sure that what I am feeling is entirely normal, but I want to be sure. For the first time in my life, I think, all I want is to be normal, all I want is to be just like every one else. I have no desire to be all original here. I want to be secure in the knowledge that this is the way it goes, that I will get thru this process intact.
And for the record, I am reasonably sure that I will get through this process intact. but I am absolutely certain that talking to someone professional about how to get thru to the other side is a good idea.
and I am afraid. I am afraid to put this out there. i am afraid you will think it’s maudlin. that you will recoil and retreat . but the one lesson I have learned through all of this is that the fear, the anticipation is worse than the actual event. it must always have been this way, but i didn’t have the courage to see that before. now I do.
there is nothing to be afraid of. there is only love.
I feel you here with me, Mom, constant as the sun, constant as the moon.
always and always yours, Melanie