Sunday morning and I am starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Not much–and of course it’s probably the head light of a speeding bullet train–but some light, nonetheless. I dove deeply into a manuscript I am editing yesterday, and need to get more of it done today. I also have to make groceries as well as find time to see a friend in from out of town, and it’s also Mother’s Day; everywhere I turn today it’s Mother’s Day this and Mother’s Day that. So far I’ve not had a breakdown of any kind, so that’s a good thing, but there’s also no telling how much or how rough it’s going to weigh on me once reality sets in? Who knows, maybe it never will. I’ve always thought of these days as manufactured holidays to sell cards, flowers and chocolates; I was going to send my sister flowers but decided it was weird and might upset her so I didn’t. Navigating this within the family is weird. We all have to find our own ways with these sorts of things, and there’s no road map or instructions to follow because everyone is different and everyone grieves differently. I don’t think I’ll ever not be aware of the loss, no matter how busy I get or how focused I can be on things; the compartmentalization that I have used consistently since childhood probably won’t work as well here, or at least it hasn’t so far. It’s also weird because I think I’ll be doing better and then I’ll have a bad day that I can’t snap out of with any success. Last night wasn’t good, for example; I lost the whole evening and don’t even remember what I was doing or what I did. I kept falling asleep while watching documentaries (Paul was working upstairs and then went out to meet a friend for a drink, leaving me to my own devices and I just wound up going to bed relatively early. I did sleep really well, though, which was quite marvelous. I feel very rested and relaxed today; no idea how long that’s going to last, but hopefully long enough for me to get a lot accomplished and done today around everything else I have to get done before returning to the office tomorrow.
But just looking around at the kitchen/office, it looks like I did indeed get things done yesterday, I just don’t remember doing them. There’s a load of dishes in the dishwasher that needs putting away and I also need to check everything to see what all is needed from the grocery store today. It’ll be nice to get out of the house, even into the heat and humidity which has returned in all of its hideous nastiness; but getting things out of the way is always a pleasure and then I can look forward to easier weekends in the future, right? I’ve been lethargic too much this year already, methinks. Even as I typed that I thought you’re being too hard on yourself again which is one of those things I was talking about earlier in this post; I don’t know how I am supposed to be. Should I be pushing myself to get things done and working hard, or should I be gentle and easy with myself because I am not myself and pushing myself, bring rough on myself, could be more damaging than giving into in to the sadness, the depression, the lethargy that comes with mourning. Reminding myself how much harder this is on Dad than it is on me doesn’t help, either, because then I start worrying about him and being almost eight hundred miles away and…you see how it all begins to spiral? So when the spiraling starts I have to medicate, and medicate means the easy chair and something mindless and distracting that doesn’t require too much focus, hence documentaries and such on the television. I watched a really fascinating one last night about the American-Philippines war; in which during the Spanish-American War we sent the Navy to seize the Philippines, which were in the midst of their own struggle to free themselves from the Spanish. They were looking for independence; we were looking for empire and territory; so once we defeated and drove out the Spanish we took over, and the revolutionaries continued fighting for freedom against the United States, which didn’t come until 1946. (Barbara Tuchman titled her section about the Vietnam War in her March of Folly “America Loses Herself in Vietnam”; but I think we actually originally lost ourselves–along with our ideals, morals, and principles–in the Philippines.)
It might be fun to set a book–a thriller, with international intrigue and so forth–in Manila in 1940. (It also makes me think of the television series rip-off of Indiana Jones, Tales of the Gold Monkey, which I loved loved loved back in the day, and am still bitter that it only lasted one season.)
Yes, Greg, what you need is more book ideas.
And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. May your Mother’s Day be lovely, Constant Reader, and give your mom a big hug (or at least give her a call) for me, okay?