Thursday, August 2, 2007

where i am today

I try to wrap my head around it. I think about Joseph and realize I have not seen him for a while. His face comes to me first (pulsethump), his expression (pulsethump)….his posture (thump)…his sweet, vulnerable demeanor (thump)…. and eyes (thump)…then his baldness (thump thump thump)… then his cancer (thumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthump)…. and finally the fact that he is dead….. (silence…oh God. No. No….no. …..silence without air)

An instantaneous continuum of thought, a process that walks me none too gently through the truth of what is … step by step… because as a whole I remain, even seven months later, completely unable to grip it without the separate parts. Oh, I think I have sometimes. I supposed perhaps in some ways now I want to. It seems unfair to Joseph somehow for me to not accept the reality of his death. I don’t have the power to keep him from heaven or peace by my refusal to live with the knowledge…. but society has made it clear that a mother who cannot let go of her son is unhealthy. And it is true. I am. It still startles me that he is gone. Even today, it can still come upon me as a surprise, hitting my awareness as if I didn’t know it before, pounding a panic through my heart, raising my swallowed cries to lethal tension in my throat. I shall remain sitting here. I shall type and earn money. I shall (thump) be (thump) good (thump) shall (thump) not (thump) embarrass (thump) anyone (thump). CS Lewis pointed out the laziness bereavement brings and I touch it every day. Why should I care whose socks are on the floor or whether the sheets ought to be changed out? It is not really apathy as much as a true inability to comprehend not only HOW I have managed to accomplish the mundane through his illness and passing, but WHY. I keep thinking if I can just figure out WHY it ought to matter, then it will again...I'll get better at the housework, better at watching my diet, better about motivation to exercise...if somehow any of the "why's" that get offered up to me by myself, others, various reading materials, could find their way into my heart and find their proper balance.

id: Sheri, you feel better when you exercise.
Me: But what does that matter now?
id: It makes you happy to be pretty.
Me: But what does that matter now?
id: Sheri, you are more pleasant to be around when you control your blood sugar and have fewer mood swings.
Me: But what does that matter now?
id: Sheri, your home is so lovely. Wouldn't it be great if you found a better place for these books?
Me: But what does that matter now?

It is the most perfect built in excuse I have ever had to stagnate on all my personal endeavors. There is no shortage of people willing to excuse me, to say of course I can't yet...but when does that end? Where exactly is that line? How will I know when the time has come that I no longer should use that excuse and should start to move harder against that brick wall to get it out of the way? It would be too easy (and it frightens me) to utilize it the rest of my life. I have seen it in others. I don't want to be that person (but what does that matter now?).

His absence lays over everything. The highest highs. The lowest lows. Through space and time. One end of the universe through to the other, into the depths of infinity. Nowhere I go now could I find him! Can you believe that?!?? Not in books, nor schools, nor shopping malls…not at the top of a mountain nor in the most beautiful valley nor the dryness of desert…not in front of the TV nor lingering again in the shower too long nor burrowed beneath his covers or rummaging in the pantry…not skimming through the water like a porpoise or tucked against my side. The nowhere-ness of him is something I cannot comprehend. I lived 22 years before he came to be. I lived 13 ½ as his mother. Yet I cannot imagine a world in which he simply is not. As I could not before imagine him into existence (other than the “someday” sort of way that all people fathom having children), I now cannot imagine him out of it. It is a kind of egocentricity I supposed, that I cannot believe that the body God knit through my own failed so horrendously so soon. Only his pictures bear testament that I have not gone crazy and imagined myself to be his mother. Everywhere I am praised that I do not openly mourn (so strong…I could never….I can’t imagine how you….I cannot fathom…) and so I strive to please because it is the easiest thing to do, far easier than explaining that nothing at all has triggered my tears…that yes, I was fine when I left the house this morning but now that I am here I am not…that when you ask how I am and I say good or fine and look good or fine I very well may be lying, lying, lying quite beautifully…that all it takes is the most fleeting passage of awareness of his absence through my brain and all momentum forward ceases, even in the midst of a smile or contentment or high productivity….that I am again back in empty confusion…he’s dead? He’s dead. Oh my God. I am lost.

No longer caring for a child with cancer actually feels abnormal to me, like I am forgetting to do something important that I am supposed to be doing. It confuses me that he is gone…. an algebra problem on steroids... It makes my stomach hurt. Perhaps because stomach pain is easier to explain and to hide than when I admit it is really my heart. Ha ha ha God. Very funny. Good joke. Now give him back. Okay okay okay God. I get it. I feel it. I really, really, really feel it. I will be better at this motherhood thing. You can give him back now. Send him back now. GIVE.HIM.BACK.NOW!! please? Please? Please. Please. Please. Can’t there be do-overs? Or at least one last good heart to heart talk, so I can know he understands what has happened….so that I can??? Wouldn’t that be fair and understandable? God? Hello!? Hello?