It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, let alone written anything here. That isn’t the right way to start this post, probably, but I’m not sure there is a right way to write any of this. I had planned to write a post about resolutions for 2016: about goals, about plans, about the importance of being in the moment more and appreciating conversations in whatever manner they came about.
Fair warning: this is not that post. This is not particularly edited (other than for typos and even then I’m sure I’ve missed some), or even well-thought out; it is a post because I have wanted and needed to write words here, but I haven’t yet.
I’ve written three thank you cards since February 6th, four if I count the one I wrote to my grandma. I should have written at least a dozen; I still am planning to write them. But writing – of all varieties – has been difficult lately.
I could come up with reasons for why I didn’t write more in early January (work, work travel), but that isn’t it, either. The truth of the thing is that I was trying to reconcile my heart of hearts with my everyday heart, trying to figure out what I knew versus knew versus thought I knew, because for me, in my life, those have always been very different things, or at the very least not a given that they are identical things. Because going home to Massachusetts for Christmas made me worry, but I couldn’t tell if it was the normal level of worrying or something else.
I remember when the above picture was taken. iPhoto tells me that it was taken at 3:01pm on October 25, 2014 using my DSLR, but it can’t tell me that I was standing next to my mom on Corporation Beach in Dennis on the Cape, on our first trip down since my grandma moved to Florida. That we were stealing some time alone while my grandma took a nap in the motel/inn/whatever we were staying in and Tommy took a nap in his car in the Corporation Beach parking lot, and my mom and I walked the full length of the beach, this taken on our walk out while we talked about missing the cape, and work, and how nice it was to take a mini-vacation, and how there were all sorts of future possibilities, and how great T was (is), and how Corporation Beach was still the same beach. And we found a few shells and walked back and walked up around the snack shack and the swings, and it was wonderful and cozy.
By October 2015, the next time my grandma came up for a visit from Florida, I was in California. My mom took a week off work and they went up to Bar Harbor together, and stayed in Jasper’s Restaurant and Motel (linked here only because it just took me like half an hour to think of the name), and had a bunch of their meals there and drove all around and went into the park and like. Apparently it was a lovely trip, minus a gravel road adventure that involved a ditch and local Maine dudes in pickup trucks finding them and literally pulling the car out of the ditch (adventure courtesy of the fact that my grandma got directions from Mapquest). I honest to God thought I’d be going with them on the next trip, so even though I thought about flying back for it, the fact that I didn’t have a job at the time seemed like the more pressing issue.
If you’re keeping track, I’ve written 601 words as of the end of that paragraph without saying the thing I’m trying to say. It’s a poem about oranges, right? That’s how this works? (I will forever reference “Why I Am Not A Painter” by Frank O’Hara, which I seem to have more or less imprinted on when I read it in high school(?).) So. Yes. The thing I am trying to say.
My mom died at the end of January. She was 63. There’s more to it than that (isn’t there always?), but what it comes down to is that I am devastated, but I am functioning: I’m just not back to being a full person yet. Or I am a full, real person, but in a way that is very different from the way I was before. People have been wonderful. I flew home immediately, and I did more things on no sleep in the 36 hours immediately following than I would have thought possible. And then over the course of a week, I planned a church service and wrote a eulogy. And wrote and placed a death notice in the Boston Globe, and then people who’d known her from the Cape fifty years ago came to the service, which was so unexpected and so nice.
I’ve been back in California since February 14th, minus a trip to Philadelphia for a friend’s wedding and a work trip. I’ve been handling logistics and waiting for the things to finalize that are outside of my control. I’ve got a pile of pictures and a memory book from the service that I haven’t been able to look at yet. I’ve got credit card companies to deal with and the logistics of trying to handle Massachusetts legalities from across the country. But I’ve also got weekly-ish phone calls from my dad, and letters from my grandma, and text check-ins from lovely people. It’s Real Life, but a different type than the one I’m used to living. I still have condolence emails to respond to – emails sitting read but marked unread at the top of my inbox since February.
I’m working on getting back into writing. My voice feels so far from my brain right now, because by and large I’ve got to do lists and white noise floating around in there, but I’m working on it. Gradually. I’ve started running again, finally: my runs are pathetic by any normal running standards right now – 12 minute one mile runs – but it gets me out of my head and into a place where I need to focus on breathing, and I think that’s a good thing.
I don’t know how to end this, really, but thanks for sticking around. I hope to fill this space with words and maybe even photographs on a more regular basis. I’ve been jotting out a better tagging system on scraps of agenda paper, which is my new equivalent to the backs of receipts. So there’s that. Moving towards moving forward.
Tell people you love that you love them.