Posts Tagged ‘mother’

The beauty of fresh pain is that it’s almost, well, painless. Certainly there’s this initial punch and the air is knocked out of you, the world is knocked away from under you…but then it’s OK.  You don’t feel anything, not in your heart nor your limbs. Vision stays blurry and hearing stays muffled. Everything tastes bland.

And the world keeps spinning on its axis while you remain suspended in place.

My dad died of a sudden heart attack one week after our 2010  Christmas. The last time I saw my dad was on Christmas Day; we went to Lin’s Grand Buffet and I served him his food while he waited at the booth.

After he died, I existed for months in this cocoon of shock. I would wake up for a few hours at a time, maybe even a whole day. Then I would just retreat back into my dark place. The few times that I woke up from this fugue it wasn’t worth it.

I remember waking up for an entire week about two months after my dad died. This was in March.  I was reconnecting with my best friend, who was worried about me and how I was dealing with my dad’s death and my mom’s banishment of me from our family.

I saw her on a Monday. She died later that very same week. Aspirated on her own vomit after taking too many Sudafed, drinking too much codeine cough syrup from the doc, and washing it down with Vodka. I’m glad I saw her that week. I’m sorry I didn’t answer her drunken texts the night she died. I will always live with that pain. I retreated again. Even further.

I slept through Easter and woke up in time for my birthday. My Dirty Thirty Plus One got me out of the house; I realized that in the five months that I had been sleeping and breathing (and nothing more, I assure you of that) that things had changed around me. I had changed. And that first day I remember waking up and thinking, “So this is the beginning to recovery, to feeling better, to dealing with this pain. I can do this.”

I suppose my mom was right, at least concerning my thoughts for that day. I was, plainly and simply, delusional. For of course that was not the train of events to take place. No, no…that, friends and neighbors, was just the beginning of the true pain.

When you’re asleep, when you’re walking around in a fugue, when you stay intoxicated and inebriated, you can deal with the pain because you can’t feel the pain. It’s like having an epidural or any other anesthetic. You’re here, but you’re not present.

I woke up in early summer and regretted it. Because once the shock of the grief wears away, once the mind begins to stir and the heart begins to beat again, that’s when the real pain hits.

Imagine being hit by a car; the initial impact is nothing. It’s when you wake up in the hospital, it’s when you begin to recover, than you realize how hurt you really are.

I woke up in June and I’m still trying to figure out what happened to me, to my life as I knew it.

The pain gets sharper. The ache in the heart doesn’t fade…it becomes stronger. Everyday is a reminder that thousands more days of grief and loneliness stretch before me…a long one way road to nothingness.

So today I just do what I can do. I count down the hours to dusk and at dawn I will do it again. Just counting down the days, but to what end…I really don’t know.

And I don’t know that I care to find out.


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I woke up this morning and promptly fell apart.

It all began (don’t you loathe stories that begin with that odious phrase?) with my morning cleaning routine. Yes, you read correctly. Cleaning routine. I actually have a list (imagine that) taped on the fridge with each day of the week and what should be cleaned that day. Kind of like a McDonald’s checklist hanging on the bathroom doors, with a list of duties that are timestamped and initialed by the unlucky worker who had to perform those tasks (toilet and tub have been scrubbed, baseboards wiped down, cosmetics table reorganized, mirrors polished, rugs washed and dried at 8:47 a.m. by A.O.).

So I was working on my kitchen and an hour later, after scrubbing the stove, wiping down the cabinets, washing dishes, hand scrubbing the floor, and starting a pot of coffee, I thought I’d end my kitchen routine with a load of laundry. Mainly rugs from the kitchen and bathroom floors, a few pillowcases perhaps. I popped the dirty rugs into my Speed Queen washer and walked away to the living room, to plan a new cleaning schedule with some additions to the existing tasks and a reorganization of days to clean. (Yes, I’m anal, but not in the way that guys like, so that means I’m just single and really, really tidy…).

As I began my list of additions (clean ceiling fans weekly, scrub baseboards around the house weekly, move washer and dryer and fridge from their normal homes to dust and mop underneath the appliances bi-weekly, etc.) I also began to get a bit panicky. I really don’t know how people have a clean home and a full time job. Seriously. Do they all have maids? I basically have two full time jobs, plus my writing which I don’t get paid for, that takes up most of my time. As I looked at my schedule and wondered how in the hell I was going to pull this off when the fall semester started and I went back to work, I heard the sound of running water. Well, more like pouring water. Like rapids of water. In the kitchen.

I knew immediately what had happened.

When I moved into this house, this lovely quaint home in an old historic neighborhood, I didn’t have a washer or dryer; I did my clothes at the laundromat. For about three months. Because it sucked. I finally went to the local Taylor’s and bought a washer and dryer, brand new. The Speed Queen, recommended because it is so powerful. So powerful that when they installed it in my home, I figured out that the spin cycle, which throws the water off, is too strong for the plumbing int his house. So every time the washer hits spin cycle, I have to go in the kitchen, keep an eye on the sink, and when the sink starts filling with water due to the backlog of water being thrown into the pipes by the washer, I have to raise the lid of the washer, stop the cycle, let all the water drain back down into the sink, and then close the lid to start the cycle again. If I do not do this, the sink overflows and gallons of water pool up on the kitchen floor. And of course, any food in the pipes from the night before gets deposited on the floor, as well.

So I walked into my kitchen and stepped in dirty washer water and old rice from the last night’s dinner. And, to top it off, my house is slightly slanted so the water all had all rushed to the opposite side of the kitchen and pooled under the fridge and stove.

What did I do? I cleaned it up, of course. And bawled the entire time.

It just doesn’t seem fair. Yeah, I know life isn’t fair. I know that everyone gets equal doses of unfairness in life. But, as the pig in Animal Farm noted, some animals are more equal than others, so I assume that some people get more equal shares of shitty hands in the game of life than others.

I cried and asked myself, and God, why oh why do I have to suffer through this? I simply can’t do this alone. What is “this,” you ask?

My fucking life.

I am spending hours a day perfecting my lawn, perfecting my home, researching to finish my second M.A. thesis, reading new pedagogy books to stay abreast of writing techniques that I can bring into my classroom, reading new fiction to stay abreast of the competitive writing market I’m trying to enter, growing fresh herbs so I can learn fancy new recipes, making fucking apricot jam to give out to family and friends, trading BPAL on the forum, doing yoga and walking and toning to perfect my body, touching up my roots and making sure I have weekly pedis and facials (all done at home, of course) to perfect my looks…I have not even begun to list everything written in my daily planner.

And all for what? Why I am so obsessed with perfection? Why am I working so hard to achieve everything and be the best at everything, even stupid shit like having a clean home and being Betty Crocker in my free time?

I am obviously laboring under the delusion that being perfect will somehow buy me love from someone. A permanent, unconditional love. That elusive feeling and state of life that we all read about, see on TV, and some of us are lucky enough to actually witness it in real life, maybe in friends or family members. Maybe, just maybe, some of you actually have it in your own life.

It is very difficult and painful to know that you are a disappointment. And I am. I am not playing the sympathy card or seeking pity; I’m simply stating the facts.

I am my mother’s greatest disappointment. I figured this out long ago, in my teens, when my personality and convictions actually began to arise and show themselves. My mom loves me, don’t get me wrong. But she doesn’t necessarily like me. If we were to simply meet on the street, she wouldn’t be friends with me.

I’m not like her. She doesn’t like that. I’m a lot like my dad. She doesn’t like that. She loves my dad, but she doesn’t really like him, you know?And she feels the same about me. She would never admit it, and she’ll probably not talk to me for quite a while when she reads this. But I only speak truth.

Like many people, I tried to find love and acceptance outside of a family who really didn’t offer it. And, I failed at that, as well. You will read more of that story in the Benzo Chronicles, but suffice it to say that I couldn’t even get an unemployed, dirty, ambitious-less, and lazy man to like me, not to mention love me. It sucks that it took fifteen years for me to figure that out, but that’s just a testament to my dogged determination…I tried really hard, as with everything in my life, to be a success with him. But I totally and utterly failed.

I can only surmise that my need to be the best at everything I can be, whether it is teaching or housekeeping or writing or whatever…I can only surmise that it is my feeble attempt to find a way to validate myself. Most people get their sense of security and meaning in life from their loved ones; they are here for a reason, you know? They are important to someone, somebody, somewhere.

I want to be important to someone, too. But until then, I’m just going to back to the kitchen and raise the lid on the washer. I can hear the water hitting the floor again.

Sigh. FML.

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