Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Not So Merry Month of May

"You look at your children and you know that they're looking back at you and they're saying, 'You're going to take care of me, aren't you?'  That's our job, to keep them healthy and to keep them safe, and to let them dream as big as their dreams will take them."
- Barack Obama

I tried to stay away from blogging, I really did.  I thought to myself that when it became a tool to upset people and end long term relationships, which it apparently has now done twice, it was time to set it aside.  Problem is, I need it still.  Without an outlet, one's darkest thoughts grow like cancer, and that is never more true than in the month of May, bracketed as it is by Mother's Day and Kelsey's birthday.  I think my six four-legged charges, who depend upon me to get my act together on a daily basis to keep them fed and watered at the least, need me to use it because I was throwing myself a nice little pity party there in the interim.  I have another daughter to think of; beautiful, intelligent, and brave, who needs me to be present for her as she grows into young womanhood.  So, here I am, back from where I briefly tried to ostracize myself.

The thing I tend to forget when I'm in that woe-is-me routine is that I belong to a non-exclusive club, and that's a horrible reality I need to acknowledge to myself.  There is nothing remarkable about my suffering.  We're in a time of war, and there are a lot of mothers out there who lost a son or daughter in defense of Rashard Mendenhall's freedom to Tweet stupid shit.  I saw an obituary in the paper a couple of days ago with a picture of a happy looking, shaggy haired teen who died in a motorcycle accident.  (Gotta respect the northeast mentality that they print the cause of death right there in black and white - maybe as a cautionary tale to any other parent who might see it.  That rarely happened in Texas.)  There are way too many mothers in Homestead - a part of town I sincerely hope I never get lost in - mourning the loss of a son or daughter to random violence.

No, unfortunately, I am in altogether too large of a club.  And all those military moms will have the same sort of month I will:  they woke up on Mother's Day with the knowledge that one of the people they mothered will not be calling or coming by.  They will get by the 28th, which is my daughter's birthday, only to be hit with Memorial Day a few days later when the rest of the country will be grilling burgers and happy they get an extra day off from work, but the families of the fallen will actually be remembering why it was declared a holiday in the first place, reminded by the empty space at the end of the picnic table.  May, for some of us, is a time to endure, not to celebrate, and that makes me sad, looking out over the green spring lawns and listening to the sounds of the song birds in the leaf-filled trees.  It's a jolt to the senses, such beauty against such sadness.

And that poor family of the shaggy haired kid in the obituary photo:  their long journey is just beginning.  They are in that first awful period where it just seems a little unreal, and they probably think the cosmos has made some sort of horrible mistake and half expect their son to come walking in the front door at any time.  I think of them every time I hear a motorcycle speed through on the main road nearby.

Nope, there is nothing unique about me at all.  So, I need to pick myself up, dust myself off, and move on toward the goal of finding the meaning behind all of this.  I can't do it without this venue.  Not yet anyway.  So, as I trudge forward, let me just say up front:  if I offend anyone, that's not my goal.  On the other hand, if any of you are helped somehow by what I say, if only to know you are not alone, then that is all I can ask and it is for you, and for me, that I write here.

And, finally, to my lovely Philly friend who saw me through this Mother's Day and gave me the venue to actually have a pretty decent day, you, one of the most lovely of people, should be up for sainthood.


  1. For what it's worth, I think you should keep writing. I've been reading your blog for a while now. From my perspective, you are always fair in your message. I can tell you choose your words wisely and have never seen any indication that you purposely try to offend anyone. You have to take care of you sometimes and if writing is how you do it, then people need to try and understand (or not read your blog...ha).

    As a side note, do you know Kelsey and Chloe share a birthday? Strangely, I think of that often. I hope it doesn't bother you that I shared it with you. Hope you get some peace this month.

  2. I don't think you should stay away from blogging! Not only is it a good way to release your own emotions, but you are inspiring others as well. I have been having my own pity party for different reasons, but after reading this I felt strengthened. People everywhere are going through similar or worse things, so I need to stay strong and get through it. Please don't stop writing! Your story really helps me get through my own struggles. And Kelsey's story is going to help save other lives. She greatly impacted my life in high school. She had such a big heart! She befriended me when I was outcasted and alone. I don't know what I would have done without her. So though her life ended too soon and she is greatly missed, she has touched and will touch many more people.

  3. i love you. - philly/hopefully pittsburgh again friend

  4. @ Leslie: damn straight hopefully-pittsburgh-again! come baccckkkk

    @ momy: don't think there's nothing unique about you. yes, you do belong to a far too large club, as you call it; so do I. But that doesn't mean your suffering, or mine, is not unique in its own respect. isn't that precisely what "everybody grieves differently" means? and whoever you've supposedly ended a relationship with via blog needs to unbunch their panties and relax; it's a goddamn blog, one that I've read [almost] every entry of & have found nothing warranting the end of a friendship. Online journal end-of-friendship shit is what Kellyn said in a comment to me on livejournal 6 years ago: a personal attack. you don't personally attack... ever. blog, facebook, real life: you're far too thoughtful. So, use whatever avenue it is you need to; let the bitches fume wherever they want. love you, momy <3 <3