There are days, weeks, and sometimes, unexpected moments where it feels like she died yesterday, where the anguish and pain of losing her engulfs my very existence and sends me into a blubbering, sobbing mess.
“What’s wrong?” “Are you okay?” “Is everything all right?” The unavoidable inquisition begins, as hiding my true feelings has never been my strong suit. And I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to explain – I just want to plug in my headphones and escape into the music, the music that has the ability to intensify the emotions but I tend to lean on the side of masochistic and that’s just the way I like it sometimes.
Inside my head, I’m screaming, “Just leave me alone,” strategically inserting a word or two of profanity here or there eventually having to remind myself that I can’t take this out on the caring people around me. I can’t simply avoid the public during certain hours and quite frankly, I never know if and when I’m going to feel this way.
I liken it to being in the room while someone is channel surfing, only it’s not happening in a family room but in my brain and I don’t even want the control, I just want the damn power button. Then the history channel argues that I can’t turn it off because I need to reflect and grieve – I need to turn up the volume on the sadness and allow for its release.
“Fuck you, history! This is my life and the present is a gift – I must live in it and be grateful for it!”
The channel surfing continues until I thankfully find myself in a deep slumber, only to wake in the morning to realize that the dream I was just rudely awaken from by my cell phone alarm was a pleasantry starring me alongside my mama in a swimming pool, admiring newborn kittens.
I sadly think to myself, “Damn you alarm! No, I want to fall back asleep!” as it occurs to me that the knowledge of her absence wasn’t even apparent in the dream. Had it been known, I would have taken full advantage of her dream presence and then my mind realizes that it’s parallel to the feeling I sometimes regret – taking her for granted when she was alive. Oftentimes, only when someone is no longer here do we fully and truly grasp the extraordinary value of the human life, particularly that specific human life’s impact on our own.
My therapist has taken to describing the loss of my mother as leaving a giant, gaping hole, not only in my heart but also in my world with nothing and no one that could ever begin to fill it even in his/her greatest attempt. I visualize this hole as black, echoing and infinite and even I have attempted to fill it with various people, vices and things to no avail. As the Beatles once wrote, I guess I must simply “let it be.”
I get angry with myself when I cry. I get upset with myself when I can’t cry. I remind myself to be kinder to myself and an hour later, I’m beating myself up for behaving what I consider as selfishly. Taking a “lazy day” every once in awhile is hardly allowed and doesn’t come without at least a moment’s worth of self-chastising. Even this blog in which I completely control and manage is grounds for self-judgment. If I’m not posting a blog on a regular basis, the internal attacks ensue.
As I write, I am realizing that perhaps, it’s not so much that I haven’t been good enough for most of the people I’ve encountered in my life but that I’ve never been good enough for myself, for Lindsay? Perhaps, I need to shift my focus on why being good enough for others is so important to me and realize that self-approval, being good enough for me, is what has truly been lacking and is of the utmost importance.
A week ago, I was hiking the backbone trail of Will Rogers State Park in the gorgeous, scenic Topanga Canyon. As I trekked my way around the switchbacks, I gazed out toward the east, over West Los Angeles and swept my view panoramic style to the west and the Pacific Ocean as the dense fog was quickly finding its evening resting spot between the mountainsides. I instinctively wanted to call my mama and share this awe-inspiring beauty with her as soon as I got home, remembering almost simultaneously that I couldn’t do so. It felt like someone had sucker punched me in the stomach, very briefly knocking the wind out of me. I know what most of you are thinking – She was there with me, hiking with me, in my heart, amongst the winds and so forth and all those things are good and well and may very well be true. But nothing compares to the sound of her voice, to the wisdom in her words, to the love in her touch and to the joy that is sharing a seemingly small but momentous moment in one’s life with the woman that granted you that life in the first place.