Intrusive Thoughts

by Laura

How has it been three months since I spoke with my mom? How am I even able to function without her support and love? I honestly don’t know. Because the kids need me to? Because she raised me to pick myself up and move on? Good explanations, but they don’t really answer the question. Because I have no choice, I guess. My husband is not the kind of guy who will cover for me if I slack off. He’s too busy with work, and wouldn’t think to do it even if he were unemployed.

So there you have it. I have no choice. I can’t hide in my bedroom. I can’t waste away watching Lifetime movies without showering. I can’t drink myself into oblivion until spring. I have to keep on keeping on. But I still don’t look at people when I shop. It hurts too much. I feel like everyone else is in color and I’m in black and white. I can’t stand to see people taking one another for granted. I can’t stand to see multiple generations of family members together. I think of that one high school graduation photo taken of me with my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother. And now there’s only me.  How am I the oldest woman in my family? I’m not even 40. Mom didn’t lose her mom until she was a grandmother. That blows my mind. I’ll be lucky if I live long enough to be a grandmother.

I’ve missed her for so long. I cried the morning she died, BEFORE she died. I was missing her. We hadn’t been able to get together for a week or so. I was sad and lonely before she even died. I thought to myself, cancer takes people away before they even die. And then she did.

If you have your shit in order before someone dies, you’ll still find yourself shaken and battered. Your world will still turn upside down and, once righted, you’ll feel utterly helpless as you look at all the old familiar pieces out of place. But if your world was a mess before someone dies, the loss is catastrophic. You can’t just re-build it. Everything in your life will have to be systematically deconstructed and built from the ground up. There’s so much more work to do. It’s exhausting. Too much work for one person.

And thoughts can be intrusive. I keep reminding myself she’s gone. In the middle of the night, first thing in the morning. No, Mom is not on a trip. Mom is gone forever. No, I won’t be seeing Mom after the holidays. Mom is no longer around. Not anywhere. Not ever again. And it feels so silly. I mean, I know that. There is nothing more simple than this concept. A thing was living and then it died. It’s not hard to understand. It makes so much sense, the other ways of perceiving it seem absolutely nonsensical and childish. So I do know she’s gone. And yet, I have to keep reminding myself. And this urge to undo it is so strong. Everything’s all screwy. Can’t I just go back to a restore point from four months ago or even three years ago and make it right again? Can’t I just zoom around the Earth backwards like Superman? It’s 2012. Can’t we do that yet? Why can’t we do that yet? Will they figure it out somehow, someday, and I’ll be able to get her back? Maybe if I keep a strand of her hair? Wait, what happened in Starman? The alien used a strand of hair, didn’t he? Of course, it wasn’t the same guy. It wasn’t her actual husband. That wouldn’t do, now would it?  No, probably not. Definitely not.

See what I mean? Intrusive. Especially when I have things to do. Laundry. Shopping.