The blues have been creeping up on me for a couple of weeks. Can’t really share all of the reasons, as some of them are not mine to share… but they’ve been shared upon me. Funny how that works. That said, the blues have come a knocking.
This is Me 2.0, so I’m not letting them in… all together. I’m not falling down, I’ve just stumbled a little. I find myself a little more paralyzed the past couple of weeks, than when my mojo was in full recovery, full gear. In all fairness, the mojo is still there. Not like three years ago December, when I fell hard and far. Not like two years ago December, when Mom died and I was shaken to the core. Not like a year ago, when I realized I was down for the count, and threw up my hands in surrender. I’ve said it before, I’ve been in recovery, crawling out of the blue room, since about early spring of this year– and I plan to continue that climb up. But I can’t deny the room is still blue.
However, even when things are on the upswing, there are bound to be some moments, situations– and frankly, there have been more than a couple recently. When some friends who I write with asked me how I was coping with said situations, their eyes a bit worried, I knew they were thinking back to the big black, and how it all got too much for me. “No, it’s not like that… at all.” I reassured them. It’s not. I’m not that fragile any more. I’m not that shaky. I’m stirred up, not shaken. Learning to let go is a bitch. A wicked bitch. Just because I get and accept that I can’t fix some things, doesn’t mean it’s easy to look away and be ok with it. Just because I have a handle on issues, doesn’t mean I always have a firm grip. There are days, and sometimes those days drag into weeks, where I just feel tired of holding my head up, tired of pretending that love doesn’t come with some serious baggage sometimes.
Fuck you Huntington’s Disease! Fuck you Genetics! Fuck you alcoholism! Fuck you denial and walls! Fuck you issue upon issue that just keeps coming up, and will keep coming up for a long time. Just because I’m not taking you on (as if I have any real leverage), doesn’t mean you don’t suck the big one, and that your kick doesn’t set my teeth to rattling… still. Just because I know all the statistics and I’ve read all the material, doesn’t mean I’m prepared to deal with all of this, on the day-to-day… Again. It hurts. It knocks me to my knees… depending on the moment. I’m tough enough to figure out the boundaries, but for the record, tough love is tough on everyone. There are still times when I can’t help but rage and cry and hit my pillow: Why? Give us a fucking break! Sometimes, all of that is just in my head… You see only my smile, and my standard, “Yeah, things are fine.” What can I do? I’m not going down again, so I can only get up and accept those sucky moments. Then move on. Ok, it’s not fully letting go, but I choose to keep moving.
Maybe it has to do with the season? I’ve always loved Fall, but there’s no doubt that in the past few weeks I’ve had more than a few occasions when the perfect smell of wet leaves and late Fall decay, which I’ve always loved so much, has shoved me face first into memories of Mom’s fall. Note the capital “F”; but the lower case fall which held all the cards. That Fall two years ago, brought the fall– a broken elbow, that lead to Hospice. It was a blessing; she was ready. I thought I was too. By New Year’s day, she was dead and I realized that I’d spent so much time thinking about what might come, that when it came for real, I wasn’t sure how to react. In fairness, there were a few other things going on at the time: 2 foreign exchange students, my husband out of the country for the 3 weeks leading up to her death, my husband then needing emergency surgery the very night she was dying, some serious health issues of my own that were flaring up, and Christmas and New Years sandwiching it all. 2012 opened with me feeling exhausted, shocked and ready to just
push it all down move on. It took another year, of slowly processing it, to see that still waters do indeed run deep. There was a lot below the surface.
For the past several weeks I’ve been training to work with Hospice. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. Death and I go way back, and I feel like it’s time I make real peace with it, and put my training and compassion to good use. I have my MSW, and I went through extensive training four years ago, to work with children in death/grief counseling. That’s a hard, hard road though. For several varied reasons, it didn’t work out at the time. This direction I’m headed in now feels like something I’m really ready for. That said, it’s not easy. Eight hours a week discussing death, working on emotions, learning strategies to comfort and support those who are dying, and their families: death, death and more death. I’m working on the very grounds where my mother died. More than once, as I’ve pulled into the driveway, those days (81 to be exact) when I came to visit Mom in this same place, have come flooding back. Doing this work, however, is coming full circle in a way. It’s so rewarding, so powerful, and yes, difficult as well.
This week was the first time that I went back into the Hospice House. The weather is the same; the decorations for this time of year are the same; and ironically, two of my favorite staff members gave us our tours. They each greeted me warmly, and I can’t deny that there were a few minutes when it was a little hard to breathe. The smell of the room, the quilt on the bed, and the view… I could almost see my mother in the bed down the hall, again. When I was asked to lie down to demonstrate something, all those hours of lying in another bed, exactly like that one, holding my mother and resting with her, came flooding back. The lighting, the smells, sounds and feel of being there– was a visceral memory. Breathe. Breathe. My wonderful class mates kindly patted me on the back and quietly let me know they were there with me, emotionally. And in the end, I did the tour; I walked around for a little while, and when I left the building, I felt much better. I feel so ready to do this… to give back to a program which did so much for me, at a very challenging and deeply personal time.
So it’s raining. It’s gray. It’s that time of year… Or, maybe it’s just me… I’m blue. I’m gonna sit with that and not let it carry me away. I’m gonna keep moving forward, but a little slower for a blip of time. It may not be easy, but I’m not going to let this undo what I’ve done. I’m gonna write it out, and stay the course. I’m stirred, I’m not shaken. There is always light, after the rain.
Know about the blues? Struggle with the challenges some days? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.