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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wasted thoughts

As February approaches my thoughts are much of Joey, and this morning as I began to go down my list of what ifs and could haves I stopped and asked myself the hard question. Would I really wish him back? What exactly am I grieving? The sound of his voice and his rare laughter, his crew cut soft against my hand and the smoke pouring out of the kitchen as he bangs around in there cooking like he does everything else - too fast and impatient to be done once he finally starts. Can it be that the part of me that is relieved that he is not here struggling with the horrendously hard life of an addict has somehow crept across the dividing line and is now bigger than the part of me that wishes he were here making me crazy. The part of me that tries to believe that were he here he would succeed in his struggle to find a niche in his life where he could be himself, that he would find a place where the demons could no longer torment him.

And I realize that I don't want either of those scenarios; I don't want him somewhere else finally free of the burden's and lessons and strings of this life, nor do I want him being here back in the turmoil of his old life.  What I want is to have  him back, with both of us realizing the journey we have each been on for the last five years. I want him back with some magical new-found knowledge that would enable him to say, "Wow, that was hard, but worth it because now I really know how to live. I love you Mom, thanks for waiting for me, it's going to be great now".  And I would have all the patience he required to find this new better life he would create, and then finally this small chapter of insanity I've been living through would gradually fade, leaving only the lessons and none of the pain.

Big Sigh. A few tears. A much needed reality check.

I've been stuffing my face since September, since Joey wasn't here to turn 27, and while I sometimes knew I was saying what the fuck as I gobbled down yet another piece of Halloween candy, another piece of Thanksgiving pie, another box of Christmas chocolates, mostly I was just whisking all thoughts of anything into a big metaphysical duffel bag and stuffing them down deep.  I have found it just way too easy to set the auto pilot to run while I check out. And with the first sunny morning in a long time, I finally have the thought that I need to start fighting back again.  Some of you know all too intimately how the stages of grief are measured in many different ways. It's not as though you feel things in an orderly and timely fashion and then your'e done. I think of my grief as being translated into words. For those who don't know, imagine those words becoming sentences, sentences stretching into paragraphs, and then collecting into chapters and books. The next thing you know the book is one in a set of volumes on the subject, and that your little collection is just a small section of shelving in your library of references on grief . Sure there are other books in the library, and in them reflections of joy and glimpses of possibilities for life beyond the passing of a child.  But I don't really want to live in this library. I want to burn it down and start fresh. I have worked so hard on and off to find a way to forgive myself for the part I played in his short life, but at best the forgiveness I do find is mostly pretence. Because to survive I do need to at least pretend that I am ok.

So back to fighting. That is what this post is about. It's about confessing how badly I have been doing and affirming my decision to put back on the boxing gloves yet one more time. I am not out for the count yet. Visions of fighting my way out of a wet paper bag suddenly appear before me, but oh well. A fight is a fight and I am up for it. I will go back to the basics that have helped before. Take care of the body and the mind will follow.

The temptation to make a list of how I will do that is very tempting, but in the shower this morning I had a thought about lists. For some it is a Honey Do exercise and they find it very satisfying to check off each item as it is done. For others of us, it is a way to cement in the real world the wishes and hopes and dreams we formulate in our own little fantasy worlds.  I have become very wary of my lists as they seem mostly to be accountings of good intentions that I will only come across later and say, "Oh yes, another failure that one!"  So no list today - although I can't promise there won't be one tomorrow - just a small determined 'hope' that today at least I will take care of myself just enough that I will feel like doing it again tomorrow.

And in doing this I am admitting that I cannot change anything that has gone before, and that trying to figure out what I should be wishing for is not just pointless but harmful. For the moment I have purged the strong feelings that make me crazy, I have accepted the reality that beating myself up accomplishes nothing, and I really really really want my 'muchness' back. Enough said.

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