It’s been just over two years since my mom died. But I could swear it’s just been one.
I mean, I can account for all the time that passed, and I remember things that happened in that time, but somewhere along the way I feel like I essentially lost 2012. It’s okay. It sounds dramatic to write it out like that, but I assume it’s just part of what grief is.
Well, and recovery from The Worst Year Ever. In 2011 my ex-husband and I split up and just as I was getting my life in order, my mom died leaving me her only heir to clean up her mess (literal mess – it was a hoarder’s house), while in the middle of that (luckily I had wonderful people help me with it) my face and hands suddenly went numb for some reason. I swear I was living Betty Draper’s life what with the dead mom and numb hands. WTF, even? I mean. Of ALL the fictional worlds to mimic, my life goes with Mad Men? NO, LIFE, NO. PICK HARRY POTTER INSTEAD, MKAY?
And so when 2011 was over… I mean. I don’t even honestly know. 2012 happened, somehow. I went to Disneyland a lot. That was probably just as effective as Prozac. I wasn’t really depressed, or maybe I just wasn’t severely depressed. But I certainly wasn’t exactly awake. There were some dark times. The anniversary of her death hit me really hard and most of July was bleak. I braced myself this year for another difficult summer, but it wasn’t nearly the same. It was okay. And I’m sure it would have even been normal except that I’ve spent all of this year holding my breath for other reasons.
I feel like I’ve essentially lost a couple of years now. Things are so different, I don’t even recognize my life from three years ago. I’ve had to let go of a lot. For practical reasons, as well as out of kindness to myself.
I remember when I was a kid I had a list of things that would make my life perfect, or that would mean my life had begun. I know better now than to think life isn’t happening all the time. I may wait for certain things, but I don’t stop living while I wait.
Even so I feel a little like that that younger version of myself now. Like I’ve spent the last two, almost three years, waiting. And that’s not such a big deal for me as an adult with many years under my belt, but three years is a massive chunk of my kids’ childhoods and I feel a little resentful that it’s been stolen from me or them or us or someone. Or no one. I don’t think my kids have noticed, really. But, because of grief, these last few years have been sleepy and surreal for me, and I guess that colors my perception of things.
But now I’m a student. And I am probably/hopefully/most likely/with any luck moving soon to a place of my own. And my divorce is final now. And, I’m a little bit hesitant to say it because of the way the last few years have felt, but I almost feel like my life is about to begin.
Life isn’t what they tell you. It’s not grow up, go to college, fall in love, buy a house, have the babies, be happy, do good in the world, die a peaceful death when you are old and have lived a good long life. It’s grow up in a fucked up alcoholic-hoarder home, feel too stupid to go to college, have zero plans, be essentially asleep in life, get married, have the babies, accidentally start a feminist movement online, finally wake up, get divorced, lose your alcoholic-hoarder mom, go back to school, try to buy a house, live until you are eleventy-one making a difference in the world all the while. It doesn’t look at all like I was promised when I was a little girl. Life isn’t neatly packaged. It’s awkward and convoluted and messy. Life isn’t linear. Life is a web, everything connected to everything. And that’s okay. That’s beautiful. But you have to know what you are looking at to see the beauty. If you expect linear, a messy web isn’t going to look nice. Expect the web. Know now that life is messy and that makes it beautiful.