Spoiler: Sarcastic, passive-aggressive bitch is back… temporarily.
My mother died one week ago. Frankly, the way my household runs and
ignores my state of grieving* smothers me in arguing and * compassion, it has felt more like weekS. Emotions seem to wash over me like waves, as so many of you have mentioned in the many thoughtful notes, emails or Facebook messages I’ve received. I feel sad, I feel numb, I feel overwhelmed, I feel cranky, I feel playful and dying to let loose and laugh, and then I feel weepy again. There is truly a maelstrom of emotions right now and I am just caught in the center of the swirl.
I was so grateful to see three of my kids go back to school this week and the other two go to work. I’m not that mom who’s sad about any of that right now. I just regret that the two who are working have been erratic, so I haven’t actually had a single day to just get up and sit with my thoughts alone, all day. Yesterday, I woke up and just started crying… and then couldn’t stop… for a really long time. Once I did, I was just numb again. I think it might just be that way for a while, so I’m trying not to judge myself or stop it when it comes… But, my grief seems to be defined by solitude in my house right now. Little Man expressed his sadness last night, and it was the first time all week that I felt united in this emotions… Today however, taking down the Christmas tree and wrapping each of my precious ornaments for next year, it hit me again: that I will never spend another Christmas with my mother, and I felt terribly lonely in that thought. I have barely accepted that my grandmother is gone on Christmas (it’s been 10+ years); this is going to ache for a good, long while.
Four days after she’d died, I needed to get out a little and I ventured out to return some items across town. Of course, it stands to reason that many people might find it odd that I’d feel better going somewhere like Costco, or Bed, Bath and Beyond; but, frankly I felt much better being lost in the anonymous clusters of people I knew I’d find there, than trying to socialize for real. (One sacred lunch out, in safe hands: food for the soul, sushi for the belly). The few people I recognized at Costco, I was able to avoid by hiding behind the mile high piles of fleece jackets on sale, or by ducking into the milk section. I had a brief moment of painful awareness when I made a beeline for the fresh flowers, just before going to the check out, as I always do. My mother loved fresh flowers, and I bought them for her virtually every time I went to Costco. I got half way across the room and it hit me, that I won’t be buying flowers for her anymore. Gulp. I felt a moment’s panic and tearfulness coming on, and then a woman offering a taste of clam chowder
accosted ** pulled me back from the brink. I declined the chowder, and accepted her smile.
Then I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond, and folks, I found that there is a whole world to escape into, where everything is colorful, organized, soothing, with so many options for changing your whole life, that grieving felt, well, out of place entirely. Recorded infomercials show you how to clean your driveway, mop your floor (without any effort at all), get in shape without really trying, redecorate any room or surface: beds, shower curtains and every nook and cranny of your home… even the things you didn’t think needed re-doing. Yeah, I do need throw pillows! My bed would be so much more inviting (maybe I’d actually start sleeping again?), if there were co-ordinated throw pillows. I had no idea that feathers, sequins and ruffles actually go together! But BB&B showed me the truth. Stylin’ bedding to make everything seem better.
Cruisin’ the aisles, I found that I want all of my cereals in clear, air tight containers now… not just my rice and nuts. All the food that can go in those containers looks really good. I bet I could go back to Costco and get me some of that! I listened as another TV announcer showed me how I could really get my stainless steel refrigerator to actually stay clean and shiny, versus the
drive me insane, constantly smudgy, endless hand prints and drips,* less than shiny appearance it currently has. I know, this shouldn’t matter to me in the first place, but it drives me fucking crazy * really does bother me some days. I bought the shammies and they do seem to clean well. I had already surprised Denmark with the Soda Stream for Hanukkah, because that girl likes her fizzy water and it seemed a worthwhile investment, rather than try to keep Pelligrino in stock. However, at BB&B I found dozens of flavors I can add, so that I might drink soda now too… I am NOT a soda drinker. However, they had me with “Tonic,”… as in Grapefruit Tonic cocktails, which seems like a really good idea lately… if I had the energy to make them for myself because no one else is making them for me.* But wait! There’s magic too and maybe there’s something in Criss Angel’s box of tricks that makes them for me, and makes dinner too? The way that man stares, I’m not quite sure whether I’m supposed to be aroused, scared or totally mystified… but there’s a big ass stack of his magic for sale.
I was totally lost for about an hour. Seriously and hopelessly lost in Bed, Bath and Beyond. I almost bought a $69 Beatles poster that had most of their top album covers, before I remembered that I’m not actually a huge Beatles fan. There I said it, for the record (of note, I haven’t quoted the record much lately). I like them, and likes some songs a lot, and like the history and all, but I do not put the Beatles on to listen to very often. So, buying a giant poster was a clear sign that I am not entirely of sound mind. I also began to realize that going to BB&B is an exercise in deprivation. I was starving by the time I left there from all the food presentations and preparation items, that feature really yummy looking food. Seriously! There is a brownie pan that makes only edges. I’d seen this before, but this picture made me want brownies something bad! It also got me sarcastically wondering: What if if I prefer the insides? Can someone come up with a pan that only makes insides? I think not, super brownie engineers. Air popcorn poppers! I would eat that. Yet, for all the items to serve food, there is nothing to actually eat at BB&B.
In addition to all the amazing
crap** that is just there all the time, this week there is the clearance section. All that holiday wrap that I thought was stupid and wasteful (three packages per roll, no matter how enthusiastically you word it), now looked good, at a couple of bucks. Suddenly, candles with pine inlays and gold leaf seem so festive, when they looked so tacky** unnecessary two weeks ago.
You do not have to spend big money going to spas people. At BB&B they take you there! There are CDs that play soft waves and forest sounds; there are facial gizmos, pedicure items, anything you could possibly imagine (or not) doing to your body, is on display at BB&B. Ways to actually wash your feet without bending over. Hmm, call me dirty, but I don’t actually wash my feet (except in the real summer, when I’ve been barefoot in my garden). I figure they get cleaned while I stand there cleaning the rest of me, right? BB&B actually gave me permission to stay lazy forever, orI wanted to climb into one or two of those spa box covers and just disappear in the happiness those box people are feeling. Frankly, you could practically live at BB&B. Except for the lighting, I would probably live in Costco over BB&B for the free food alone though. There is no food in BB&B, just lots of things that make you want food… or make you want to make food… or just taunt you about food. By the way, brownies do seem to be the main food attraction, according to the labels I
fondled and drooled on read. (You thought I was lying about the Lazy thing right?)
There were a few, brief moments of awareness, while I stumbled, dazed through the store (including a framed copy of Awareness), when I was acutely conscious that I was just running away from the loss, that had threatened to swallow me in the flowers at Costco. I know that people. I’m not running away from it all the time… hell, it’s only been a week actually and I’ve been trying really hard to be mindful of this transition and what it means. BUT, for a little while in BB&B, I wanted to escape into that
garish** shiny, colorful world of order and need fulfillment.
<– Dueling covers: a little Universe black humor?
It all came to a crashing halt at, of all places, the cash registers. Right there at the register (where, by the way, they pile up a million little things you
don’t need, just in case you missed all the big other items), was the magazine Real Simple, placed there by a higher being (the Universe Mikalee, the F’ing Universe!) shaking me by the collar and reminding me to: keep it simple, to take a breath, to not give into my bad habit of shopping when I feel this way (that’s another post, some other day)… in my defense, the older copy next to it was encouraging me to buy 50 items that are under $50 and with the huge sales, were probably under $5… but, I focused on the first magazine and I put a few items back. I kept the Tonic flavoring (cocktails are critical); I kept the throw pillows (they will make my bed look really nice, and I really do need to sleep: a pretty bed is a cozy bed); the stainless steel magic cloths, and I kept the carpet runner, that will stop my kids’ and my dog’s muddy, wet shoes (the dog doesn’t wear shoes, I’m not that kind of dog owner) from leaving prints all over my kitchen, every day. Not bad for a chick who was ready to change her entire life and: vacuum seal it, air lock it, bake it crispy, fizzle, whizzle and just melt into the BB$B world of consumer tailspinning, only minutes before. (I did NOT buy the sequin, feather or ruffled pillows…^^ but, here’s the proof that they do indeed exist… AND, I think this really insane ** stylish jewelry holder would be so pretty with those pillows. Look how they match.)
<– Shiny Happy People, work around shiny, happy things, apparently. This is what he really looked like, only in human form.**
“How were your holidays?” A super, uber, more-uber-than-I’ve-seen- a-very-long time, sales clerk asked me. “Did you find everything ok? Is there anything you need help finding?” Ummm. Well. Do you have something to help me zip through this rough patch called loss? Got an aisle for Moms? I mean my mom? Will these pillows really help me sleep? Do you sell over the counter morphine? “My holidays were ok, thank you. Have a great day,” I managed, with a smile. “Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” he chirped. Yes, he did use that many exclamation points. I am not a defiler of the sacred exclamation…!
<— The recovering Passive-Aggressive girl in me, really wanted to buy this gun and shoot a few people around my house right now. Marshmallows!
In closing, I feel I must acknowledge something and perhaps make some apologies. Clearly, I jumped the gun just a little when I wrote my post Extra! Extra! Passive-Aggressive Control Freak… a few weeks back (man, it’s hard to believe it was just a few weeks back!). You might have caught a few
snarky/sarcastic comments** Passive-Aggressive* (yes, people, <–that is the key. Note the asterisks) typos or mis-worded things in this post. There may be a few controlling things I’ve done lately. One might argue that by going out to return things in a timely fashion, four days after your mother dies, is a little controlling even… let alone, some of the other things I’ve been feeling, thinking, and doing lately. I admit, I may have taken a few steps backwards lately, in my recovery. I considered writing a full blown retraction of that post, but I’m cutting myself some slack. Maybe I haven’t completely fallen off the wagon. Maybe I’m just trying to regain a little ground here, and not feel like the ground is actually moving under my feet, that floor is falling, and the sky might be falling. So, yes, I do want things the way I want them right now. It does matter if things are put away and siblings don’t fight constantly ** (<–Oops)*
<– This is an actual photo, in my kitchen. Note that several of those boxes are the gigantic Costco boxes, that hold 4 boxes… Ritz party anyone?
I’m doing my best to stay afloat, to accept all the love and generosity that has been doled out from so many incredible friends and acquaintances. People who dropped in to see my mom, showing me the kindness and her the respect, both of us the love, while I was at Hospice; the meals and goodies, arriving daily still; the hand written cards and the multitude of cyber love and condolences; quiet messages from unexpected people, who just said: “I’m here if you need it;” beautiful flowers (I love them too) and THE edgiest/coolest/neato’est of gifts: a specially packed (in ice) container of hand made tamales that will be an amazing dinner some night soon… with, of course, grapefruit cocktails! Who knew you could actually send tamales? (Not the hot tamale candies I speak so often of, but true, Mexican tamales) I will never, and I mean NEVER run out of Ritz crackers. (Tonight, Little Man saw the last two crackers on
the dining room table my “desk” and said, “do you mind if I take these Mom?” Umm, Little Man, there are 7 billion more in the kitchen and garage!) So many lovely gestures! Just when I think I might drown, I am reminded daily, that love abounds amidst the loss.
In posting this snarly, sarcastic, border-line obnoxious post… I’m working my way back to the living. Thank you one, and all, for that.
Stop! Really. Read this. Please note: If you enjoy these posts hit “Like” and make me smile. It also helps my blog grow and that is the point. Go back and hit Like. Thanks. Then, be nice and “Share” them with others; ’tis the season. Better yet Like them; Share them and then do something nice for yourself: “Subscribe.” You won’t get any spam, you can sign up with an anonymous name (I won’t know who you are, unless you tell me), and you will get an email each time I post. Think of it as a Holiday gift to yourself. You know you want to. Go ahead, make my day (sorry about the gun, but this is serious business).
I don’t know how, in the midst of your grief, you managed to make me laugh but you did. Hugs, my friend.
Because we are both wicked bad ass bitches… together. We laugh in face of stupid shit. Hugs back Thelma.
Is it a bad sign that just after reading your post, I’ve decided that I need those air-tight containers for my cereal?
And yes, my dear: THe Universe has a sick, twisted sense of humor. Good thing there are some of us (you definitely included) who can appreciate it!
Keep at it — the writing is snarky and brilliant, and we all cope with grief in different ways. So what if your epiphanies and messages from higher powers come to you at BB&B??? Even higher powers like throw pillows, I’m guessing…
Yes, yes! You do NEED those containers. They’re brilliant, and make even rice look pretty. I love the way the suction closed. Oops, I am clearly still not of sound… But, yes, go buy them. I love that the Universe is so twisted and and unstable, but man I think the focus could shift off me for a while. Oh no, now I’m actually thinking that the Universe is focused on me… narcissism, I have that too! This is a wicked, bitch of a slide down. Thank G for my new throw pillows. They do make it all look prettier. 😉 Thanks for hanging out with me M… waiting for you to give me something to focus on… write baby, write.
I have a close, old friend, down on her luck, who found a home working at BB&B. She is in customer service and I think that she is just what you need when you are down and sad and missing your mom. She is sweet and wonderful and believes in taking care of customers. She makes folks feel good, AND gives them their money back. Both good things.
That said, I NEVER get out of that store with my budget intact!
Hard to go into a store that offers EVERYTHING and come out intact. Nice that your friend loves her work and is happy. Thanks for checking in Elyse and sharing your thoughts.
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