Odd

Grief is a really weird thing.

This is, I assume, a revelation to no one.  Except it is for me, now that I’m experiencing it firsthand.  Intellectually I know all the right things, the five stages, everyone grieves differently, people don’t know what to say, etc etc etc.

But it’s just now that I’m really learning how I grieve. And it’s fucking odd, let me tell you. I want to come up with some very writerly way of describing grief, some brilliant metaphor that would make people gasp at my genius, but “fucking odd” is all I’ve got.

I haven’t cried nearly as much as I thought I would.

I have been angry, and although keeping it to myself, really kind of bitchy.

It seems I grieve internally, without needing a lot of comfort, which makes no sense to me at ALL. I’m always talking about how lonely I am and how much I want a partner and more friends and then people reach out to me and I’m all “NOPE NO NO NOPE.”  I don’t say this out loud of course.  My mother, rest her soul, did teach me some decorum.

There’s certain music I feel afraid to listen to now, although I managed to get through an entire Sarah McLachlan concert without a single tear, so maybe I shouldn’t be so afraid.

There’s been no bargaining.  She’s gone.  If there’s a god he’s not bringing her back.  This whole process has made me wonder about the afterlife though.  Generally – whether there is one or not.  I don’t have a solid opinion right now, but I know that I am far more invested in the answer than I have ever been before.  I definitely WANT there to be an afterlife.  I want my mother to be somewhere, happy, watching us, free from worry.  I don’t want her to simply be gone. I don’t want there to be nothing after this because it seems so radically unfair.  She had a shit life, went through things I can’t even describe to you, and dead and *poof* gone is all she gets? Hell no!

But generally I’m just ok. Not great, not horrible.  I miss her fiercely, but I am doing ok, and as someone said, maybe that’s a testament to her – that she raised strong children.

Keeping Busy

All I can really do these days is live one hour at a time.  And make plans.  Lots and lots of plans.  So far I have

  • Tonight: Dinner and drinks with Matt
  • Tomorrow: Book Club
  • Saturday: Sarah McLachlan concert
  • Sunday: Possibly seeing my cousin & his girlfriend
  • Monday: Seeing about a cat
  • June 28th: Beer & Cheese at Union 613
  • June 30th: Introducing the pet sitter to the monsters
  • July 1st: Dominion brewery party
  • July 2nd: Beaus anniversary visit

This is good.  Very very good.

Where I’m From

I am from my mother
All auburn hair and blue eyes
Once innocent then fierce
Leo the lion

I am from my mother
Strong and unbending
A shelter for her children
Against their storms

I am from my mother
With her words of wisdom
Her words of worry
Her words of love

I am from my mother
I carry her in my heart
Broken and bruised
But full of her

Heartbreak

In the end, besides a brief moment at the funeral, it was the packing to leave Barrie that did me in. Earlier I was folding my dirty clothes and organizing things and I just broke down sobbing.  Maybe it was because I was packing the stuff I took from Mom’s apartment and it hit me that the only tangible thing I have left of her is some fucking pots and cutlery and it’s just a fucking joke in the end.  My mom is gone forever and all I have left is cookware.

The last picture I have of myself and my mom, just the two of us, is when I was eight years old at my first communion party.  How did I not get a picture with her in 30 years? Why did I not do that? Such a simple thing and I don’t have that.

I never knew I could feel a pain this bad, while feeling numb at the same time. I never knew I could feel so angry at not getting more time with her.

I’m going back to Ottawa tomorrow and she won’t be there to call so I can tell her I got home safe. Yes, I still have my siblings.  I am very lucky to have them.  But it’s not the same.  I miss my mom. I want her back.

And now that I’ve cried myself into a headache I’m going to go.

Mom

I’m not actually sure how to begin this, but if you follow me on facebook at all you probably already know.

Thursday June 9th 2016 my mother died. I got the call while I was out having dinner and a beer and watching the hockey game. It was sudden and unexpected and has spun my world off track while simultaneously not feeling real at all. It’s like she is out for one long cigarette break.

She likely died in her sleep, which I’m glad for. If you’re gonna go, that’s the way to do it. But she was only 67 years old, and I am only 38 years old, and I thought for sure that I had so much more time left. It doesn’t feel fair.

My mother had six children. She was a great mother. Incredibly paranoid and full of worry, but a funny, funny woman. It’s going to feel very bad the first time I go to call her and realize that I can’t. I can’t call her, she can’t call me, there just won’t be any more anything.

The services aren’t for a few days, so right now we’re sort of in a holding pattern. But there’s laughter amongst the grieving and mom would appreciate that very much.

And Now For Something Deeply Personal (A Companion Piece)

This will be disjointed.

So yesterday my brother posted a blog post about his thoughts on the bible and homosexuality.  It’s a good post (although I admit I skipped over some of the actual bible verses!).  In it he talks about being 28 and having someone very close to him come out to him.

That would be me. I was 19. I had just come out to *myself* a few months before.

He’s not wrong, he was the first person I told (besides my soon to be girlfriend) and I was terrified. But see, telling him first was strategic on multiple levels.  1) I knew I could trust him. 2) I knew he had multiple gay friends, therefore he was a safe bet.  He would not have a problem with it, and would have my back when/if my mother ever found out.  Not that I ever planned to tell her.  At the time I was convinced she would die never knowing (ask me how long that lasted).

You see, my mother had made it clear to me on multiple occasions that being gay was not ok. I didn’t get why, but I certainly got the message.  It was the only thing I could think of when I discovered I was gay.I didn’t know what to do, once I figured it out.  I was in love and there was literally no one I could talk to about it. It ate at me for months.

I am not by any means a religious person.  I’d consider myself agnostic at best, vaguely spiritual.  I believe in something greater than humanity, something better to strive for, but I wouldn’t say I worshipped it.

Despite this, I would bargain with god at night as I lay in my residence room, crying myself to sleep.  “If my being gay is ok with you, let her [the girl I had a thing for] love me back.  Then I’ll know.” Weeks of this happened. I know that’s not how prayer or god works, but I didn’t care at the time.  I needed something, someone to talk to, so I talked to god.

And it turns out she did love me back. I had never felt so blessed in my life.

It wasn’t easy.  I came out to my mom and sisters a few months later at Christmas (that was fun) and I was right, my brother totally had my back.

But then things changed.  My brother turned to the religious life.  It was seemingly overnight for me, though I’m sure it wasn’t for him.  But suddenly he didn’t have my back anymore.  Suddenly being gay was a sin. I did not like that particular opinion, not from him.  Anyone else, ok, but not from my brother. It hurt more than I can describe, but it also angered me with a righteous anger I think only a 20-something can truly feel.

How could loving someone be a sin? How was that even *possible*. Of course then there was the whole “don’t hate the sinner, hate the sin” crap.  It wasn’t me that was wrong, it was the act of gay sex or something. That did not make me feel any better.  I honestly felt betrayed by my brother and we soon settled into a comfortable Let’s Not Talk About This With Each Other.  Life went on.

He never judged me or treated me any differently.  Well, not for the most part. At one point I asked him if I ever got married would he come to the ceremony?  He said he would, but, he was a minister at this point, he could not officiate. I was actually pleasantly surprised that he even said he would attend, at that point.  His officiating had never occurred to me.

It’s been almost 20 years since I came out and certainly many years since that conversation.  As I said, we didn’t talk about it much, except on the rare occasion (Me: “Have you watched Brokeback Mountain yet?”  Him: “Have you watched The Passion of the Christ yet?”  Touché. ).  So I was surprised when I got a facebook message from him a few months ago apologizing for any time his faith may have hurt me, and saying he would gladly officiate my wedding if I ever got married.

I don’t know what his journey to this point has been like.  I can imagine it’s been an intensely personal, ever-shifting, often confusing one like my own was. But I’m glad we are where we are, even if we took the scenic route to get here.