Archive for ◊ May, 2008 ◊

29 May 2008 Connection
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The internet is an incredible place.  Truly.  How can it be, from one laptop the size of a spiral notebook, that I could find recipes, old friends and anything my mind could imagine.  It seems like a miracle.  I know that the Internet is said to be something that divides people, that it causes us to hide behind the screen, slowing our interaction with real life humans.  But, on the other hand, the internet has the incredible capacity to allow your heard to reach out to others whom, if not for it, you would have never met, never thought about and never spent time thinking about.

Kate, at Sweetsalty is just one of those people I’m talking about.  If not for the Internets should have been a non-entity to me, a non-thought because how could I conceive of Kate in Canada while I was involved in my life in IL.   I mean, surly I could have thought that there could be people named Kate in Canada, but what reason would  I have had to, really.  How I found Kate’s blog ( or how I somehow managed to NOT find Kate’s blog before now) is an exercise in the serendipity that is the internet, following hallways and corridors like you’re stuck in a labyrinth, never knowing for sure what you’ll find around the corner.  Sometimes your amazed and sometimes you’re horrified and sometimes you get hysterical and sometimes you’re all three at once.

I’m not going to paraphrase Kate’s story.  If you want to know about her, click the link and her eloquent, beautiful words will tell you all you need to know, but the reason why I’m writing here about this stranger from over there is becuase of a post Kate made a few months ago.  She talked about how, one night, she saw that someone from Texas had spent some amount of time reading her blogs, but never left a comment or sent an e-mail.  She wanted to know what the person was getting or taking or leaving from her blog and her story and her eloquence and her humor and her sadness.  I clicked into the comments and couldn’t think of one thing to say. And so I thought about it last night and today and what I have to say, I guess, is this.

First, it takes a lot to put yourself out there.  Some time ago I disabled comments here because the spam was driving me insane.  i have no idea who reads my blog or when they read it.  Usually I’m okay with that, but sometimes it bothers me.  What are people thinking about me?  Am I nothing but a whiner?  Do they understand or sympathize?  Do they think I’ve actually managed to go off the deep end?  It’s hard to put that out there, to wonder and not know (but on the other hand, I’m happier that deeply personal entires are no longer getting penis enlargement spam…)

I’ve toyed numerous times with making this blog more public, putting it out there.  I always stop short of actually doing it.  This blog, really, is for me.  If anyone gets anything out of it, that’s fine, but that’s not my intention or desire.  It’s a place for me to put down the words that overwhelm me and my brain.  It’s their place to go.  There’s nothing else.

But, to Kate in Canada, I can say this.  I didn’t comment on your blog.  If you’re tracking stats, you saw me there.  I read about you and your beautiful boys (all three).  I cried and my heart felt heavy and I felt your pain and grief so palpable in your words that I felt like I could reach out and touch it.    I think you wonder about what we get and what we take.  I can say for me, I leave a piece of my heart there.  That it’s not some drive-by reading when I’m bored.  I take you and your words to my heart and leave you a piece of mine.

The internet has brought things unimagined into my life; good and bad, happy and sorrowful, big and little.  Those things have touched me and changed me and even when I don’t comment or move along, I leave a bit of me there and take a bit of those who have let me into their lives.  

26 May 2008 Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen
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Can I just say that I’m giddy after finishing up this book.  It’s truly fantastic and it inspires me to read the other Austen books I have in my collection.

I’m not going to do a plot synposis.  They’re available all over the internets and done better than I will do.

I read this book in college, at about 20 and I have to say my perception of the book is just different now. I found Mr. Darcy to be a much more sympathetic character and I was more perceptive of his attention to Elizabeth when in my prior reading, I was far more angry at his initial refusal of Elizabeth at the ball and, like Elizabeth, carried that prejudice far into the book itself.  Also, I found both Mr and Mrs Bennet to be almost totally intolerable and the other sisters to be horrid.  I think i over looked that in the past, finding Mrs. Bennet a bit too much, but overall okay, but now I really see them as insufferable busy bodies on the part of Mrs. Bennet and totally elitist on the part of Mr. B.

But overall, this book was just a WOW book.  I really did love it in my early 20’s.  Truly, but with age I was really able to see a different perspective and I enjoyed the book that much more.  I think that 1) I’m going to re-read The Great Gatsby which I read in my early 20’s as well to see how I feel about that book now 2) I’m going to explore some of the Pride and Prejudice sequels penned by different authors who just couldn’t get enough.

06 May 2008 The Year of Magical Thinking-Joan Didion
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I started this book in 2005 on the suggestion that it was a wonderful book.  It was in the midst of my panic thing, and I couldn’t fathom reading a book that dealt so closely with a loss that I was so afraid of.  I returned it to the library.  As yesterday drew close, I decided that I had to read it again.  To find out what sort of magical thinking occurred after a loss and if I could relate.

The book relates the year following the death of her husband, John.  He has a massive coronary event in their apartment jsut before New Years while their only child Quintana lies near death, her body ravaged by septic shock in a New York hospital.

So, what’s so magical?

Well, it’s a non-fiction book, so don’t expect fairies or unicorns or anything like that.  I could relate to the book on so many levels; the fear of getting rid of things just in case, you know, that person came back.  The looking backwards, just one year, to a time when that person was still there (and counting down in your head to when you looked back one year, that person was gone).

I just found the book something I could relate to.  I could understand being jolted forward into memories you both wanted and were afraid to have.  The book, though, was written so matter-of-factly  It elevated you above the raw emotion and allowed you to look, factually, at grief.  Without being all self-helpy and stuff.  Which I don’t like.

I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as a casual read, though.  So bear that in mind.

05 May 2008 One Year, One post
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Somewhere around early afternoon today, my Mom will be gone for a whole year.  Since the beginning of January, I’d spent time thinking and worrying about what I would do today.  As expected, I was reluctant to go to bed last night because as long as it didn’t turn into today (May 5) it had been less than a year since my Mom had been gone.  As the clock ticked over to eleven o’clock the idea that May 5th had already come to my Dad and the sibs came into my head and I realized that, like the Grinch, I wasn’t going to be able to stop May 5th from coming.

Overnight I dreamed of my Mom.  She was happy and healthy and whole again.  We talked and laughed together, like two old friends.  I asked her questions that she answered.  I knew, in that dream, that this moment with her was just a glimpse, a second in time, but I was so happy to talk with her again, that I didn’t care that it was fleeting.  I’ve frequently had dreams of my Mom this year, insisting that she’s okay.  That she’s fine.  That she’s happy and healthy.  That she’s okay.

“Are you okay?”, I always ask in my dreams, intensely concerned.
“Yes,” she always says, “I’m fine.”

The fine is said finally, insistently, firmly.  She is fine.

Most of the time I’m fine too.  I’ve realized this year that grief is a journey and that there isn’t a right or wrong way to handle it or deal with it.  It just is what it is.  I didn’t miss my Mom in the huge intense way I expected to at Christmas time, but when Cadence took her first steps the ache in my heart was so big it almost overwhelmed me. That’s when I miss her.  Not at holidays and events when I’m busy and her obvious absence seems less obvious, but in the quiet moments; when the kids do something or grow in some way, when I saw the first red-winged blackbirds this spring, when I get lonely for someone to talk to during the day and I realize that there is just no one else I want to talk to.  My Mom and I kept each other company while she was ill and I was pregnant and had a small baby that hardly slept.  We would talk every other day for hours (but we couldn’t talk every day because neither of us did enough on any single day to talk about it daily).  We would watch The Price is Right while on the phone, bidding on items and picking on contestants.

And i admit that I cried at Bob Barker’s last hosting of The Price is Right.  Not because I would miss Bob Barker, but because it seemed like just another piece of my Mom slipping away from me.

We’ve tried hard in our house to make sure that the presence of my Mom is here and real and not sad.  We talk about Gran and the things she liked to do.  We have pictures.  We talk about the good times and all the fun and I weep when Emily says with sadness that she has forgotten the song my Mom would sing when drying her off after a bath.  I sing it to remind her and Emily’s face lights up in recognition, but I know well that little bits of my Mom fade from her memory every day and the day will come when Gran is just a soft impression in Emily’s mind of someone she loved with a few over characterized details all that really remain.  That about breaks my heart and even worse is the fact that I know this is inevitable.   It’s no one’s fault that this will happen, it just  will.

And today, on the day that she died, all I really want is to find the peace I prayed so desperately for as she lay dying.  That my sadness is tempered and that I can find ways to think about my Mom and smile just a little bit.  And I want people to think about her.

My Mom loved Steve Yzerman, hummingbirds and the color purple (the color, not the book or movie)
My Mom did NOT like “depressing” books and subscribed to a mail order romance book club, not for the books but for the purple wine glasses.  I don’t know if anyone ever read those books
My Mom could make a cat meow by snapping her fingers at it, she was not a great cook but she made really good meatloaf.
My Mom didn’t like oranges or roller coasters (she got scared on one once and didn’t like riding them).  She didn’t like snakes, either.  Or mice.
She was kind and funny.  She washed her hair with Balsam shampoo.  She used jergens hand lotion that she would buy in big pump bottles that she kept by the sink.
She didn’t like when I borrowed her shoes.  She told me I had big feet even though our feet were the same size.  She always knew when I was lying.  I could never keep the truth from her.
She liked to color in Christmas coloring books.  She loved Trixie Belden books.  She gave me all of my sister’s Berenstein Bear books for Emily, but wouldn’t give me the Christmas one because she liked it.  And found it funny that I had to buy my copy off of e-bay because the book was out of print.
She loved her Granddaughters.  She loved babies in general.   She was thoughtful and considerate.  She wrote letters and postcards.  She liked pansies (I like them too) and spider plants and fig trees. 
She was tall and thin and beautiful and brave.

And I love her and miss her.  Like crazy.