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.


11 thoughts on “Begin.”

  1. I think you’re fabulous and I’m proud to be your friend. Sounds to me like you’re going after the life you now know you want, my friend. Xo

  2. Hmmm. Sounds familiar. Coming out. Death of a friend who was like family (who I had a difficult relationship with). Divorce. Starting college in the fall. I feel like I’ve lost a bit of time as well and now I look at my children and they’ve grown so much and I feel like I missed so much because I was asleep behind the fog of grief. Sigh. Moving on.

  3. I think you’re wonderful and thank you for sharing that life isn’t what they tell you – or perhaps what you have previously told yourself.

  4. I’m in the exact same boat. It wasn’t my mom I lost, it was my Nana – and she was everything to me. My best friend, parent, confidant, coconspirator. It took a huge chunk of me when she was suddenly gone. Then the marriage went tits up and it felt like everything had crumbled.

    Somewhere along the line, fairly recently, I decided to scoop that crap up and make a beautiful mosaic. So I’m back in school, I’m here for my kids, learning to be silly again, and I’m learning to take time for myself. I’m finally becoming what I am meant to be. If it hadn’t been for all the mess, I would not be this. So I am grateful for it. Even the really harsh parts.

    Great post, Bonnie. Solidarity, yo.

    1. Yes. Even though there are things in my life I regret, I can’t say I’d change anything b/c all that made me. /cheese fest

  5. Dude. Sometimes I feel this way about my life raising small children, and that’s not even a sad thing or a loss, that’s a happy thing, that’s LIFE. But it still feels like a blur sometimes, like what the heck happened to the last 2.5 years while I was keeping that baby alive and when did she turn into a toddler and what happened to my first-grader who is suddenly a mature preadolescent kid? Like you said, life is messy and blurry sometimes, and that’s okay, it is what it is. I love this post. And in case I have not mentioned it lately, I love YOU a lot and I’m so happy you’re my friend. You make my life better!

  6. “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.”

    Bonnie, I needed this so much. I feel like I’ve been in a fog since before Dad’s death, since around October last year when he started to plummet before he passed away. Sometimes I feel incredibly guilty because I feel as a newlywed, everything “should be” sunshine and rainbows all the time, and yet I’ve spent half of marriage mourning the loss of my father and the flip in my protector/protected role with my mother. My damaging reoccurring thought is, “This is NOT how it’s SUPPOSED to go…” … but really, there is no ‘supposed to’. Our situations are as individual as we are, and we all struggle to do the best that we can with them.

    All my love, friend. ♥ If you ever need anything, I’m here.

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