Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Own Personal 9.0 Quake and Tsunami: Life After Losing My Stepmother

The world looks different now...

Do you ever feel like your life is a series of clashing tectonic plates, and the only time anything ever happens is when there’s a devastating earthquake? That is how my life for the last week or so has been. First, a 8.0 on the Richter scale: my stepmother suddenly on death’s door in Florida. I book a flight to see her, because my brother says she won’t last more than a few days.

The next morning, after rescuing the victims of the “quake,” i.e., booking a flight, rental car, packing, calling everyone in the family twice, etc., my brother calls again and tells me my stepmother is dead. No chance to see her now. I unbook the flight, car, call everyone, wait to hear about funeral arrangements, etc.. The aftershocks are drawn out, because arrangements are being made far away from here. I wait in my cluttered living room and resolve to clean up to take my mind off things.

The weekend is one long depressive episode of epic proportions, as I talk to everyone and relive the harrowing events at second hand several times over. The only times that tears flow are the times I am alone, staring at the computer screen, trying to write about it. Then, I have time to think. It is times like this that make me want to be somewhere else, doing anything else but this.

Luckily, I live in a hoarder’s hell, and if I don’t maintain it with constant diligence, it becomes indistinguishable from a high-end garbage dump mixed with a flea market. So there’s always a task that needs doing, like, yesterday or last week. The only problem is that now I have no motivation and no energy to do any of it. The best thing for me would be a good, hard workout. I manage to get a pale imitation of a workout on Saturday, dragging myself for ¼ mile of laps in the pool before my fatigue and restlessness combine to pull me out into a dreadful hot tub cooldown, followed by a quick, uncomfortable shower. Funny how normally pleasant things are hard to enjoy when one of your most beloved family members is suddenly dead. Well, no, it’s not funny, but hopefully you know what I mean.

So Monday, I have an appointment to get lidocaine shot into my sciatica in yet another attempt to stop the downward slide of chronic back and hip pain that has beset me for so many years it’s like a bad Star Trek franchise. Pain Clinic XII: The Needle, or something banal like that. Well, the in-laws finally consent to drive me to the appointment after making me wait until the morning of the appointment to tell me yea or nay, as if they want to drive home the point that they have complete power over my mobility (which they do, since I’m carless and stuck 20 miles from town). I ask for the kindness of being allowed a swim/workout during the trip, and I am refused, but I have to take the scraps I’m given. At least I’ll be able to get to the doctor to get my hip injection.

So I resolve to ask again for Tuesday; perhaps someone will take pity on me. But no, no one is going to town on Tuesday, so I am stuck here with my grief and a beautiful day outside. Oh yes, and add to that an admonition to “take it easy” on the hip, i.e., keep ice and heat alternating on it and don’t do anything like digging up the garden bed or playing a lot outside. Luckily, the hoarder’s hell beckons and all that. But all this is terribly depressing.

Enter Wednesday, where I now lie here anticipating rain and possible flooding, putting off the inevitable chores by writing about how miserable my situation is. Anyway, I’ve realized that I’m terrible about updating my blog, so maybe this is just filler. But in reality, I’ve written several attempts at a blog entry already, and I have this fear of exposing them to the world. This, my most conversational attempt, might be my frightened eyes peering around the vast psychological wall of exposure that is a public blog. I’ll have to work on this, of course. But thanks for having the patience to read what is probably a painful bit of business, a snippet of my life that will hopefully give a glimpse into some sort of truth. 

My stepmother's funeral is this coming Saturday, and I am sending card, donation, a short letter, and all my love. But I've chosen to remain here, as I can't face the entire debacle again in person. I'm all worn out...hopefully my next entry will be more cheerful. Stay tuned!

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