Wednesday, May 26, 2010

To other mothers who have lost a child

I see you struggling, and even as a stranger to you I feel the urge to help. I don't know if my experience can help yours. I know that yours seems to follow the same path as mine in many ways. It's not comforting exactly, to know that you are where I was at roughly the same time in the calendar of loss. But it does help me to realize that some of it has passed for me. That my hope of another, less painful day would be fulfilled. And still the thought of talking to you about our lost children leaves me in mute tears. Is it too soon to look back unblinking? Or am I not as far along as I'd like to think?

Sometimes it's easier to bury the pain in words. To intellectualize grief. As if to explain all this well would somehow ameliorate it. If it works, even for a little while, that's all you can ask. How do we know when to tend a wound and when to let it heal by itself? The manual of maternal grief may as well be filled with blank pages.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thanks, brain

Last night I had a great, elaborate and realistic dream about living with Jesse in the same apartment. At one point he was leaning back and talking to a bunch of his friends, just really having fun and I looked at his face and thought, "I don't know how I thought Jesse was gone. He's right here. I should let people know he isn't gone any more."

I can live with this, I guess. Not that anyone asked my opinion first.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A year later

Last year during a conference on positive discipline in the classroom setting, I kept busting up crying during the group activities. It was a particularly intense group of people, as I've written before, including a husband, wife and sister in law triad who had no problem upping the emotional ante for all of us during exercises and discussions. I couldn't get through the closing discussion, and realized I'd never make it through teaching a workshop in my state. I had to put the one thing I love most away for the last year. So I was a little worried about this year's conference on parenting. But I made it. I didn't cry (much), I shared my knowledge, learned new tricks, and met new colleagues. I now have a seven week program all mapped out. The next step though, is putting it out there. That, well. That may take more time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Better living through chemistry.

With ritalin: organized matrix of cost, mileage and time variables in potential trip to see Mom for her birthday, based on airports within 2 hours of each town, rental car prices, gas, length of flight, and number of frequent flyer miles per option.

without ritalin: forget to buy tickets until August, print out the itinerary at the last minute and forget to pack it, get to airport without drivers' license, pay son's round trip taxi fare to find it and bring it to me before the flight leaves.

With zoloft: spent Jesse's birthday at an emotionally intensive parenting education training session, with 25 of my newest best friends.

Without zoloft: spent it last year busting out crying during every class activity at an emotionally intensive classroom discipline training session by the same trainer.

With ambien: fall asleep by midnight, five minutes after telling husband it's not working. Wake up a little groggy but fine by the time I get to work.

without ambien: fall asleep at 3 am, after tossing and turning for four hours. Wake up at five, six, seven, and eight. Drag ass in to work where no amount of coffee will keep me awake.

With botox: one migraine a week, give or take, some that can be treated with a couple of alleve.
without botox: migraines every day, some that flatten me and cause projectile vomiting, and even triptans don't derail them.

With typical American diet: can barely keep my eyes open after meals, feel hungry within an hour of eating. First attack of sleep hits at 1130 am, and coffee doesn't help. Starving and dizzy within 2 hours.

Without starches, flour, sugar: pretty much at normal energy level throughout the day, minor slump when I get hungry. Can go up to 3 hours without eating.

Without meat and salt: actually have passed out from low blood sugar within an hour of eating a meal.

With meat and salt: I don't pass out, ever.

That was my price, Satan. You won.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A box of nothing.

How quiet your mailbox is, knowing you will not return to it. Anonymous spam, updates from a news site you signed up for, that will not unsuscribe. Emails from your school account, labeled "from me." As if you were still sending yourself reminders about alumni meetings, lectures, web sites for law studenmts. Your friends are gone. They know you won't answer. I keep after it, peeking in, pruning the spam; knowing you will not return.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The rock farmer

I was fascinated, while watching a documentary about IM Pei, to learn there is such a thing as a rock farmer. I would like to be one. Apparently it involves cultivating found slabs, stones and small boulders into acceptable pieces for Asian style gardens. Several examples of the type of sedimentary rock used by Pei appear in the new Chinese garden room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The idea, as you can imagine, is to make the particular rock more pleasing artistically, to remind the viewer of mountains or clouds, or vaguely biotic forms. Rocks with holes are especially prized, and rock farmers will often add one where it might enhance the evocative beauty of the stone, which I guess makes them sculpture. I imagine a field of subtly changed stones left out to weather like a crop of corn.

The idea of wandering through the landscape, choosing beautiful geological formations, subtracting the hole that makes the piece art, or if you like, adding the tao, for a living sounds pleasant. But of course I can neither carry rocks nor chisel holes in them.

"This unstable pose imparts a sense of movement to the composition."