I’m driving back to New Orleans today, planning to stop by the hospice on my way out of town. I have to work tomorrow, and while yes this is difficult and hard, the rest of the world didn’t stop turning and I can’t wallow in misery, as much as I would love to do just exactly that. Mom is still hanging on, but it could be any moment or it could be days; there’s no way of knowing. She’s no longer responsive, and I do absolutely feel like the worst person who ever lived leaving today; that guilt is probably going to hang around for a while. But we’ve gotten a lot of things worked out, I was here and was able to say goodbye, and I will probably cry a bit when I leave the hospice and get in my car to drive home because I won’t see my mother alive again. I’m extremely grateful that I was able to get up here (thank you, thoughtful employer and credit cards) to say goodbye. I am extremely grateful for the rest of my family, who live up here and have born the brunt of everything since the initial stroke several years ago (more guilt to live with for however long I have left), and for taking such great care of both of my parents. The hospice is wonderful and their staff–I can’t imagine doing this kind of work; it takes a special kind of person, and they are very good at it.
And I think my job can be hard sometimes. Get over yourself, bitch.
I also want to thank those of you who emailed, DMed, or responded to either the post here or wherever on social media you saw it. The kindness and generosity was appreciated, deeply. I know I am not always the most gracious person in the world (as I have taken to saying, “my life has been nothing more than an endless series of awkward social interactions”), and in many cases I don’t know how to react or respond to other peoples’ kindnesses to me and wind up muddling through somehow and giving offense. I don’t know when you’re supposed to say thank you or send cards, and am always certain that whatever I wind up doing is the wrong thing. I have no social graces or etiquette. I can’t make decent small talk which is why I always wind up drinking too. much at parties and conferences, and my inevitable knee-jerk response to any situation in which I feel tense or awkward or uncomfortable is to become a clown of sorts; and one thing I realized while up here this week is my sense of humor comes from my family. All of us–my parents and my sister–have this dark sense of humor, and we tease each other mercilessly; my nieces and nephews are much the same and their spouses have acclimated to our strange family dynamic. I recognize now that I developed my quickness (I am hesitant to label it as wit) with retorts and rejoinders as self-defense within my family.
And apparently people think I’m funny. I’ve been told that enough times that I have to actually start owning the label, even though I don’t think I’m particularly funny; I guess it’s because I’m not trying to be funny? It’s just how I am; and it isn’t something I actually trust. When I think about being funny, I inevitably wind up not being funny because I’m trying too hard. I also am worried because now people think I am entertaining and that’s another kind of pressure to put on someone who already suffers from anxiety that amplifies when I have to speak in front of an audience, whether as moderator, panelist, reader, or speaker. Oh, God, everyone thinks I’m going to be funny is the kind of thought that makes my palms, underarms, and feet get damp. Sometimes I think I should just relax and let go and not worry and fret so much, but then–that wouldn’t really be me, would it?
I’m tired this morning–drained physically and mentally–and am dreading the drive. It’s apparently Super Bowl Sunday, so I don’t imagine there will be a lot of traffic on southwest bound highways, and I should get to New Orleans well after today’s parades end so getting home won’t be an issue. I think once I depart I am going to have to get a latte from Starbucks or something to really help me wake up and be alert. I’ll be listening to Carol Goodman’s The Stranger Behind You in the car on the way, and I am not really sure what the grocery situation is going to be once I get back home–but there’s a two day respite from the parades so I should be able to make groceries over the next two days. I guess I’m not really in the mood for Carnival this year, which I suppose is no big surprise; I was already kind of dreading this before Mom’s massive stroke last Wednesday (was it only five days ago? Really?), and now it is something I just have to endure for the next nine or ten days before Ash Wednesday. Yay. And I also have to figure out what I am supposed to be doing and where I am with everything in my life–I honestly don’t really remember anything. And of course I have to go into the office tomorrow morning, too. Heavy heaving sigh.
Ah, well, this too shall pass–and on that note, I am going to start packing. Have a great Super Bowl Sunday, Constant Reader.
One thought on “Start Me Up”
I’m so sorry about your mom. Losing a parent is always hard. Let me know if you need anything. Sending hugs.