Walking from my car to Lady T’s building the other morning, I saw a guy cruising down the street towards me with a boom box on his shoulder.
I had to check to make sure I wasn’t back in 1980.
I generally sit at the bottom of her stairs because I am always early, and flip through the books on addiction, loss, healing, meditation, recovery. Some are wickedly scientific, difficult for me to digest in just my ten minutes wait, but others I have to withhold the strong urge to actually STEAL because something shoots off the page at me and blasts me into self realization about something I didn’t expect to bring into therapy.
I wouldn’t really steal them, but I generally end up making a big Amazon.com purchase from time to time after therapy days.
I had a cup of tea from the tea place down the street and when she called me up to her office, I sat down next to the bowl of chocolates and mints and promptly let go of my hot tea. It landed gracefully down my shirt and lap. It was hot. It was wet. It was a challenge to have our session in that manner but I realized that it represented how we as humans continue on, plug away at life, at what we need to do, even with a cup of hot tea in our laps.
There are always “things” lingering and wafting around us as we go about our daily. The ability to function through it is hit or miss for me.
That day, I was functioning.
Today, I am mediocre on my way back up to functioning.
Yesterday, the day of the memorial service, just plain sucked.
The last time I saw my friend Abbie, she was feeling pretty good and we went out to eat in Boston at a nice hotel restaurant, one that we’d gone to for high tea during the holidays and once, to the “chocolate bar”. But our last lunch in Boston was a few months ago, and our plans for next weekend there were cut short by her death. She was pretty sick and knew time could cut off at any time.
On my way home from the service, I thought about Ohio and how he lives with this sort of thing in his line of work. He sees it. I know he feels it. He said he “just does it”, and honestly, I think he is able to do it because he is there for people who are going through pain that is likely worse than his own. Or maybe I’m wrong. All day I have just felt sad. Sad about everything.
I miss the thought of him, or maybe it’s just what he represents to me. Which I’m not really clear on at the moment. I mentioned before, I felt close to him but didn’t really know him . Even when we were still in touch, he was sort of a phantom.
I suppose I haven’t worked this whole thing out for myself.
Greeted at the door when I came in last night from the memorial service, by notes and paper flowers that the girls had made with the babysitter, I felt a little comfort. One had a bunch of Popsicle sticks glued to it and sprinkled with glitter. Some others were wrapped completely in scotch tape and I made a mental reminder to myself to add it to my Costco list.
I’m was sitting on the couch last night for hours, trying to urge myself upstairs and get in bed. I’d already stretched out next to each girl as they sleep, hoping I could just fall asleep there, but Red was snoring and Blue is still sleeping with her feet on the pillow end of her bed, which gets me all out of sorts. I didn’t quite know where to go. She’s all turned around.
Early yesterday, I dragged myself and the girls into the car with a bag of Famous Amos and a thermos of Peet’s Coffee. It was supposed to rain and I left the house at nine with the girls, packed for the small beach at the end of our road. It was warm, but foggy and misty and smelling like fermenting seaweed when we got there.
There was no way we were spending the day at home due to the threat of rain.
Which miraculously didn’t come until evening.
We swam. I ate the cookies and drank a liter of coffee. I had to pee every hour after that and didn’t feel like walking down to the port-a-potty, so I waded into the water every so often to go.
The kids thought it was great “You NEVER swim, Mommy!” they kept yelling.
I didn’t have the heart to tell them I was just going in up to my belly button to pee. In fact, I still think that THEY think, that Mommy doesn’t actually know how to swim.
So, there we stayed until I needed to get home and get ready for Abbie’s memorial service. I drove with a friend who came down from Maine but really, I just wanted to be alone. She caught a ride back to Maine at the end, so I was able to drive home on my own and sing every hymn I knew.
I’ve mentioned before that I no longer practice the religion I was raised in. But when I feel tired and sort of checked out, a way I pray myself out of it is merely to sing the hymns I know from our hymnal. It was the only nurturing thing from my mother, when I was sick as a kid. She would put hymns on the record player and sit on the other side of the room and close her eyes and pray for me. I remember counting to one hundred a bunch of times until she left, grateful to be alone and just have the hymns comfort me.
One of the books I have from therapy is called “Each Day a New Beginning“. My therapist actually gave it to me because a year or so ago, she caught me reading it in her hallway and I brought it upstairs to discuss some of it with her. Already, I’d been reading a few pages at a time each week while I was waiting for her. Something that is in my head today from it is this:
“We can develop gratitude for all conditions, good or bad. Each has its necessary place in our development…We need the sorrows along with the joys if we are to gain new insights. Our failures keep us humble; they remind us of our need for the care and guidance of others. And for every hope dashed, we can remember, one will be realized.”
Interestingly, I find myself sitting still now, listening for clarification on not what I feel I lack, but more what I feel has been taken away.
Bit by bit I figure out portions of what they mean for me.
I feel kind of fucked up. I know it will all unravel for me and make more sense if I just stop and listen.
So that’s the upside.
(the painting above is mine. It is sold, but I did it of the surfers on the beach a few years ago)