Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's Like This

You get out of the shower and put back on the pajama bottoms and t-shirt that you slept in and crawl back into bed and the phone rings and it's the coroner two states away and you talk to him and then you sit in the middle of your heap of sheets and blankets with your hair dripping wet and you stare at the wall for awhile.

You watch five episdoes of Mad Men in a row because the storyline distracts you for five or ten consecutive minutes at a time and the rampant sexism opens the door to a new understanding of what you were once up against as a young female attorney and that gives you something else to think about for another five minutes.

You try to frame an email to the church where you are supposed to be working but you can't figure out how to do that.

You stand between two Jesuits in their kitchen and realize that even the people who know more about prayer than anyone else on the planet are not going to be able to do anything at all except accompany you through this because even they cannot produce the only thing you actually want.

You spend an hour on the phone with your seminary advisor and realize that some other part of you that isn't you anymore longs to re-engage intellectually and go back and take the class on Tillich and you realize at the same time that the past four months have rendered you incapable of sitting through lectures on pastoral care any time in the near future so you can't figure out what to do about seminary either.

You realize that all those vases your grandmother had must have arrived with flowers after your mother and brother died because now you find yourself emptying and washing vase after vase after vase.

Your other son goes off to his new job for the evening and it occurs to you that people still go out to restaurants to eat.

That's sort of what it's like, but not really.

22 comments:

Presbyterian Gal said...

(((((GG))))))

Stratoz said...

in one sense this makes it easier to imagine, in another sense it makes it more difficult. will take this into my studio...

Kathryn J said...

When I have tried to imagine, I am in a deep, dark abyss encountering the dementors from the Harry Potter books who make it cold and make you feel that all the happiness in the world is gone. That probably doesn't even come close but that is what I feel when I think of you - which is often.

Praying with you and for you.

Carol said...

An overwhelmingly dark and frightening abyss to be sure. I hope those five minutes intervals that you've gotten on occasion give you a small glimmer of hope for the light that is surely somewhere in your future. Until then, you continue in my thoughts and prayers.

Ellyn said...

I have oft times stood at the edge of the abyss; but have not taken the plunge.
I can't help.
But, I can pray.
Sending love.

more cows than people said...

(o)

bean said...

ahhh...the power of crappy tv. i used it to get through months of treatment. it passed time - spurts of time. and then time has passed and you can start to leave the crappy tv behind.
xo bean

Gannet Girl said...

Actually, Mad Men is brilliant tv.

Jennifer said...

When my mother died, I wrote a series of letters--some to her, some about her death. One was just a listing of all the experiences I had had that triggered a sense of being orphaned. That letter came back to me as I read your post. I'm up too late--lots of seminary reading to do, work tomorrow, and more--but I had to click "family" on your labels and read more about the one you have lost. This blog is such a gift--he is everywhere, and your path to survival, day in day out, has been written by you as well. Turn back to those memories as you can. Let his goodness, his kindness, his sense of himself guide you when you have lost your sense of yourself. Though I know you only through this loss and the RevGals alert of it, I am grateful for your wisdom and your honest searching--of this and other seas.

Lisa :-] said...

I got hooked on "ER" when my dad was ill, for about the same reason you mention--that the storyline takes you out of the pit for just a few minutes.

Seeing those old episodes now can take me back to that time. They make me feel sad, and yet closer to him, somehow. Doesn't make much sense...

Deb said...

(o)
continuing to pray...
Deb

Rev Honey said...

Holding you in prayer (((((GG and family)))))

mompriest said...

prayers continue...grief has its own sense of timing...

"PS" (a.k.a. purple) said...

You are telling us your story, as it appears to you. There is power in that. Know that I listen, from a vitual perspective.

(o)

Stratoz said...

I had never heard of this show before, looked it up this morning, then heard on NPR this morning that it had quite a night of honors last night. We did not give up TV because it was all bad, we gave it up because the good could take more of our life than we wanted to give it. Anyway, now I am caught up a bit on pop culture and I can sound like I know what I am talking about when I speak with friends.

Peace

Jennifer said...

Gannet Girl, reading still further back in your brilliantly, achingly written reflections. This set of lines stood out to me. I offer you your words, reflecting on your father:

So, in a post he is unlikely ever to see, I would like to say thank you to my father, and to his parents, and to my mother's parents, for teaching me how to respond to life's traumas. I am grateful that, as a response to the capriciousness of death, they've always chosen life. Not always easily, or even willingly. But always eventually, and always with integrity.

You have already proven your integrity here--may your choice for life eventually yield rich rewards.

Singing Owl said...

(((((((G.G.)))))))

I read at RevGals that you stood in the crematorium for 4.5 hours, and....perhaps when the time comes, I will know that it is possible and all right to do that terrible, loving thing.

Praying for you and weeping with you from a distance.

troutbirder said...

New here. Not quite sure. But know these same feelings for sure. Its been ten years now. Memory so painful. The future a time of might have beens. Now the memories help shape who we become.
Not a conventional religous person her but on two visits to Charte the blue helped me look up to the heavens.
troutbirder

Melissa said...

I only stumbled upon your journal in the past two weeks but have now gone back and read all entries from the beginning. Your spirit has shined in every post. Your love for your children resonates in every true mother's heart. We mothers, your readers, ache to be able to offer comfort that we are unable to articulate. As others have already said, "there simply are not words". But I have to believe that while you might not feel it at this moment, you are being held in God's most tender heart of compassion. I will continue to pray for you and your family in the absence of any other action on my part that could make any difference in your life at all.
Melissa
Lissamom2@aol.com

Mary Beth said...

(GG)

Magdalene6127 said...

Aching for you, praying.

(((GG)))

The Unlikely Conversationalist: said...

Memories and seminary can overwhelm anyone; add grief to the mix and it gets all that more complicated. I guess its one day, one hour at a time now. What seems like a good idea, maybe taking the Tillich class might be good medicine right now, but it might not be in 3 months.

The only way to know is to see and try what you can do. God be with you. I give thanks for those who sit with you in your days of sorrow and glimpses of joy.
pax
unlikely