Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Second Year Blues

Sunday Morning, Week Six of the NFL Season:

Year Two.  We're four months into it.   It's fall here in Texas.  Meaning I actually have a hoodie on sitting out here at 8:30 in the morning.  It won't be warm enough to make me sweat until noon when it's time to don a black jersey that doesn't breathe for the Steeler game.  Things don't really turn colors here.  I miss that.  Our Bradford Pear out front will for a couple of days.  It'll be a glorious blaze of red and amber, then just as suddenly as the leaves turned, they'll drop and it's all over.  Winter in Texas is bleak.  Live oaks keep their leaves until spring when they shed them like a dog blows its coat - during which they all manage to find their way into my pool - but the other bushes and trees are barren, the grass is brown, the sky is often leaden, but there's no snow.  Of course, that means no worries about blowing off your driveway, or scraping your car, or any of that nonsense, but it's all worth it to look outside your bedroom window the morning after a snow storm and see the fresh white blanket of snow covering the world below you.  But I digress, like I tend to.  The point is:  we lost Kelsey in the summer.  Last year the summer was brutal.  The day of her memorial service, it was blast furnace hot, I remember.  Now, in the cooler weather, that seems far away.  A year and a season ago.  Yet, the pain persists.

There's no longer the surreal feeling that this cannot be happening and surely you'll come to your senses at some moment and realize it was all an intense dream, or that a mistake was made and your real daughter will come home from wherever she's been.  An acceptance settles in.  Now, the work begins to figure out where you go from here and who you will become going forward.

Others are beginning to or have already moved on.  They may miss your child, maybe they think of her even daily, but they have dealt with the loss and put it in proper perspective for them.  Lovers meet new people, friends continue on with their activities, just one person less at the party.

Life moves on at the same rapid unforgiving pace it always has.  Bills have to be paid, work attended to, other people need attention from you.  Others are born, still others die.

As I've learned, friends lose patience.  It's been a while, time to move on.  They'll grant you that first year, it seems logical that it's all about grieving - the first birthday without her, the first holiday, the first everything, but then after a while - come on, get over it already...  Like the Fallout Boy song, no one wants to hear you sing about tragedy, I'm sure there are people who will pull this up and say, "Enough already!"  And I sort of agree.  I long to write about more frivolous things: finding the best Pierogie in Pittsburgh, bumping into LaMarr Woodley at Walmart (wouldn't that be a "bump"?!), watching my dogs learn to walk in a foot of snow, and that's where the rubber hits the road on the second year conundrum.  You want to move on too.  You want to be "normal" again, whatever that means.  Have a sense of contentment, enjoy life, experience new things, yet you feel somewhat ajar.

Sometimes I feel light years away from Kelsey.  And that makes me - sad is not an adequate enough word - hollow, I guess.  I was her mother.  How can I feel so apart from her even in death?  I don't feel her presence anymore like I did occasionally in the immediate months after she died.  I don't know, of course, whether I ever really did, or it was just a trick of my own mind to get me through the first awful days and weeks.  But, whatever the case is, I can't get that sense back strongly.  Sometimes a tingle, but I'm on my own for the most part in trying to find my way in this new world.

I do have fun.  I had a blast at ACL last weekend.  I loved going to the Rush concert.  I didn't feel particularly guilty about either one.  There were times, however, when it hit both her sister and me that Kelsey should have been there.  We both watched an act called The Sword at ACL - a horrible metal band that Kelsey just loved (when I say horrible, they are not to my tastes at all, but I will concede they are talented musicians - just think they waste that talent).  Marissa got right up front for it, I sat back a ways and just sort of clenched my jaw and endured through the set, but we did it to honor Kelsey.  She was schoolgirl giddy over that band for some bizarre reason.  But I think that's the issue with this second year, it's a conflict between the grief and the just inevitable pull of life.

This is a dangerous time as a result of the incongruity.  I can't exactly trust my own emotions.  I have no idea what will trigger a negative reaction in me.  What will make me angry or send me into deep despair, or maybe what I'll be able to just let roll of my back.   No telling.  Does that mean you need to feel as though you are on thin ice around me?  I hope not.  But maybe I'll just extend my apologies in advance for any weird reaction you may receive from me.

This is a year of adjustment is the bottom line.  Again, I write this blog both for myself,  but in hopes that it'll help someone somewhere along the line.  To that mysterious "someone" out there, all I can say is buckle up for the bumpy ride of this second year.  But, don't give into it.  Don't let the grief pull you down.  That doesn't serve anyone, in my opinion.  What I continue to hang onto is that we're still here for some reason.  A purpose that has yet to be served.  I want to be strong enough to realize that purpose when the time comes so all of this means something.  In the meantime, there is the return of Big Ben and the NFL debut of UT's Colt McCoy on the opposite side line to distract all of us.  For three hours today I'll be a football fan and not a grieving mother.  I take what I can get.

1 comment:

  1. "I'm on my own for the most part in trying to find my way in this new world."

    Don't you EVER think for a fucking second that you're on your own trying to find the way through this murky mud to a new world. You're not. At all. And you never will be. Dad lost a daughter, too, and (though it's different) I lost my sister. YOU.ARE.NOT.FUCKING.ALONE.