Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Dear Mom,

Dear Mom,

When my previous therapist and I were talking about grief work, she suggested that I write you a letter. We both knew I wasn’t ready for that, so she told me to keep the idea in the back of my head and take advantage of it when it was time.

When I was talking to my new therapist about how I felt visiting your house these days, she asked if I’d written you a letter. I said no. Then I started crying and said I wasn’t ready. She just nodded.

As both of them told me I should write to you, I guess I should listen.

I suppose I’m finally ready.

It was triggered by something unexpected: a new CD. P!nk’s new album, The Truth About Love, was released yesterday, and I was listening to it in the car today while I was running errands and then heading to the gym. Song #9 is “Beam Me Up.” I started crying after the first verse and didn’t stop until I turned the car off at the gym. Then I listened to it on the way home and started crying again. I put it on the computer while I was settling in and just kept crying. (I’ll put the lyrics and a link to the song at the end here so you can hear it.)

I think this means that I’m not okay and that I still really, really, really miss you.

I’ve tried to be very Buddhist about this whole situation. I know that death is inevitable and that attachments lead to suffering. Sure. It’s true. I’ve also tried to shy away from all the “it’s just not fair” crap. But it’s not fair. I do feel robbed of decades of your love, your advice, your wisdom, your ear, your example. Your hugs. Our arguments. Holidays. Shopping. Celebrations. Shared loss. My life is proving to be so much like yours that I know you could help me walk along my own path. When I don’t know what to do these days, I don’t know to whom I should turn. Dad’s been doing a great job, but there are some things he just doesn’t want to hear. I know it’s hard for him.

There are also still some things I need to know that you never told me. Like, I know all about Richard. Well, I know a lot about Richard. But I don’t know how it finally ended, how you got over it…if you ever got over it. I remember finally meeting him at a funeral–was it Bibba’s?–and, when you pointed and said, “That’s Richard,” my going over to him and saying, “Richard? Hi! I’m Allison, Sallie’s daughter. I’ve heard SO much about you!” I think the expression on his face made your decade.

And more about your first marriage. You must have seen so much of it reflected in my own marriage. I don’t know why you were behind my marriage as strongly as you were. Maybe you just wanted to support me. Maybe you thought that having a man who loved me would be the only thing that mattered, even if that was about the only good quality he brought to the table. I remember asking you how you felt when you got divorced. I don’t remember exactly what you said, but I think it was along the lines of disappointed or like a failure. I said I felt free. You reacted almost like that made you sad.

And how to manage all of this crap. This past year and a half has been so hard on me, mom. I’m at a point where I really don’t feel like I can take anything else happening. I might literally crack. Everyone keeps telling me how strong I am–and I know that I am; I get that from you–but I’m so tired of having to be strong. You were always so good at multitasking and juggling everything. I know it annoyed me sometimes because I never felt I had your full attention, but I understand now. And the way you handled your cancer was a model for all of us. You never complained about anything, never said you felt pain, even when I knew you did. I could use the lessons that you learned during that journey. I wish you could teach me how to suffer with grace.

It’s so hard for me to go back to your house. I’m honestly glad I don’t live there anymore. I don’t know how dad manages. All I see when I walk in is your illness and everything I could have done better. I see myself struggling to learn how to help you use the bathroom and hurting you, I’m sure, in the process. I see myself causing you pain when I tried to move you. I see myself being short or gruff when I was frustrated–not with you, but with the cancer and what it was doing to you. I see myself trying to hurry you when you had no energy for anything. I know that I’m only human and that I did the absolute best that I could, but I could have done better, mom. And I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the times I hurt you or made you uncomfortable or forced you to do things you didn’t want to do. I know those things don’t matter to you. But they matter to me.

I’m sorry.

People always say things like, “If I could only go back and have five minutes to say everything I need to say, I wouldn’t leave room for any regrets.” I don’t have that regret. I think the one blessing your disease gave to all of us was a chance to say everything. I said everything I needed to say multiple times, and your responses were always what I needed to hear. There was nothing left unsaid. So I don’t have much to add here in that respect. You know that I’m sorry for all of the trouble I caused, and you told me that it wasn’t the bad times that you remembered, but the good. You know that I love you, and I know you love me. I just wish you were here. I wish I had that one minute, “just to stare, happy just to be there, holding your face.”

I miss you, mom. I love you so much. I’m tired of the pain and heartbreak of grief. It feels just as acute right now as it did right after you passed. I’ve heard it never gets any easier. That sucks. The worst part of having a mother who was my best friend, who was such an amazing woman and role model, is how big of a void your passing leaves in my life.

I hope that one day your memory only calls up happiness and not this wrench in my heart. Like you wrote on my poster–that awesome gift you gave me as a going-away present for the Peace Corps with all of my friends’ pictures and space for them to sign their well-wishes. You wrote, down in the corner near a picture of us at the beach: “Honey, may you always think of me with a smile on your face and in your heart–I’ll love you forever and beyond. Mom.”

I miss you, mom. I’ll always love you forever and beyond, too.

-A

Beam Me Up Video

“There’s a whole ‘nother conversation going on
In a parallel universe
Where nothing breaks and nothing hurts
There’s a waltz playing frozen in time
Blades of grass on tiny bare feet
I look at you and you’re looking at me

Could you beam me up,
Give me a minute, I don’t know what I’d say in it
I’d probably just stare, happy just to be there holding your face
Beam me up,
Let me be lighter, I’m tired of being a fighter,
I think, a minutes enough,
Just beam me up.

Saw a black bird soaring in the sky,
Barely a breath I caught one last sight
Tell me that was you, saying goodbye,
There are times I feel the shiver and cold,
It only happens when I’m on my own,
That’s how you tell me I’m not alone

Could you beam me up,
Give me a minute, I don’t know what I’d say in it
I’d probably just stare, happy just to be there, holding your face
Beam me up,
Let me be lighter, I’m tired of being a fighter,
I think, a minutes enough,
Just beam me up.

In my head, I see your baby blues
I hear your voice and I, I break in two and now there’s
One of me with you

So when I need you can I send you a sign
I’ll burn a candle and turn off the lights
I’ll pick a star and watch you shine

Just beam me up,
Give me a minute, I don’t know what I’d say in it
I’d probably just stare, happy just to be there, holding your face
Beam me up,
Let me be lighter, I’m tired of being a fighter,
I think, a minutes enough,
Beam me up
Beam me up
Beam me up
Could you beam me up.”

Following in Her Footsteps

I had another realization tonight. I’ve known for a while that many things that have happened to me in my life–choices I’ve made, relationships, key decisions–have mirrored those in my mother’s life. I spoke about that in my eulogy, about how all women eventually become their mothers. But what I’d failed to realize is how things would turn out if I decided to consciously follow in her footsteps.

I can’t follow them exactly, of course. I didn’t skip grades in school (in fact, it took me waaaaay too long to finish, but I went further than she did). I’m not a programmer, though I do work in the tech industry. I prefer to read books of substance, not trashy romance novels. I hate dogs. I will never have a dog. Ever.

Anyway, you get the idea.

Tonight, I went to a meeting of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). I knew mom belonged, and I knew her mom belonged, but I didn’t think either was very active. I do remember going to a DAR conference with mom when I was a kid. I think it was in Atlanta. I don’t remember much but a sea of gray-haired old ladies. I figured that’s what DAR was going to be: a bunch of old ladies. Not that I have anything against old ladies. Much to the contrary! I’m also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, and those old(er) OES ladies I met in West Virginia were some of the kindest people I’ve ever met, and I’ll always care for them, and them for me. I’m still getting to know the ones here at my OES chapter in NC, but I’ve found them all to be very nice as well. It’s just that I’m 32, and I don’t know how many old-lady organizations I can belong to right now.

I was pleasantly surprised. Most of the women at this DAR chapter are my age, slightly younger, or slightly older. Most are working women or stay-at-home moms. One woman I sat next to had three piercings per ear and tattoos on her inner wrists, and we bonded immediately, of course. This is not my mom’s DAR. And they’re all very active in charity and community work, all centered around the DAR’s mission, which is to support American patriots, past and present. It was really cool. I’m looking forward to getting to know the ladies and getting more involved.

I had to stand up, along with the other newcomers, to introduce myself. I prepared by making a mental bullet-list of the highlights: separated and extremely excited to be starting my divorce process on Monday (everyone cheered), RPCV Lesotho, MA in PWE from WVU, editor at a well-known software company.

Then a very rare realization: I am awesome.

I’m an awesome person. I’ve done a lot of awesome things. I have a decent list of accomplishments. I think I’m a good person. I try to be kind, even though I often fail. I try to be generous and loving and giving. Even though I’m not always there for my friends, my friends are always there for me. That has to mean something. (Maybe that I’m a bad friend?!)

I should back up for a minute here. This is my first day back from vacation. I went out to CO for the wedding of a good Peace Corps buddy. The other RPCVs who were there weren’t ever close friends of mine, though we knew each other and got along just fine, but we all share a common thread that makes us family. I met a guy who was two weeks back from a long stint with US AID in Afghanistan. I had drinks with people who distributed malaria nets in Sudan (including the groom). I met nurses and non-profit workers. Almost everyone there was doing something that mattered. It made me feel a bit like a slacker because I’ve let my non-profit ball drop, but I think it’s about time to pick that up again.

Anyway, that experience–reconnecting with people who are LIVING and not just existing–reminded me of things that used to matter to me. Those things got lost in this past year of stress and grief and loss and, like my (occasionally) trusty GPS, recalculating.

If I can remember that I’m awesome, that I can do awesome things and make a difference in the world during the few years that I am blessed with the gift of existence (because, let’s face it, I’ll count myself very lucky if my life isn’t half over at this point–mom’s was at 32)…if I can remember all of that and get myself back to walking the trail mom blazed for me…well, that would be a good thing, I think.

Relevant post script: The whole time I was with the boy, he kept telling me that he wasn’t the right person for me. I can say a lot about him, but one thing I can’t say is that he ever lied to me about anything important. He was right about most things, actually. He called me magical, special, “why do you have to be so perfect?” And he said he wasn’t the right person for me. I should have listened to all of that. Because it’s true.

Okay, so maybe I’m not as adult as I’d hoped. Sometimes it’s very difficult to keep my teenage self at bay. It’s like there’s a little ball of emotions that belongs somewhere back there in high school. It might be because I never experienced all the things most people do during the usual times, so it’s not quite out of my system. As an overweight, nerdy kid, I hardly had any friends, much less any experience with romance beyond the pining, unrequited type. I didn’t have my first boyfriend until I was 16, and even then, it was online. We met once in person right after I’d turned 17, and then it ended in a rather dramatic way for reasons that I won’t go into here (though his domineering mother was the main one).

Anyway, my first true experience with head-over-heels, throw-reason-out-the-door, all-consuming love was when I was 25 years old and in the Peace Corps. There I was, determined to keep my heart and my hands to myself in a country ravaged by HIV, when in walked a man named Katiso. I’d never experienced anything like it before, and I haven’t experienced anything like it since. From that first moment, I was done for. It wasn’t a choice. We had an insane connection that I didn’t understand. I’m not kidding when I say that I could tell when he was in the vicinity because my body started to vibrate. I remember the first time that happened…feeling like that, then looking out the window of the school staff room and seeing him coming around the corner. I wrote a short story about it and compared it to a dog whose ears perk up whenever its owner comes home. That relationship didn’t work for a myriad of reasons, but when it was over, I went C-R-A-Z-Y, hysterical in the true sense of the word. It was so bad that the Peace Corps medical officer pulled me back down to the city for a week just to get away. All of the angst you’d expect from a teenager losing her first love came out all at once.

I swore I’d never let that happen to me ever again.

Never say never, though.

I will admit to feeling a similar reaction–though milder, true–at the end of my most recent relationship. I was perfectly fine until I found out he was already seeing someone else. Then I felt the crazy bubbling to the surface. It frightened me. And I don’t think it was just this particular situation. I honestly think this was just, as my Basotho students would say, “the last straw that broke the camel’s back.” Loss on loss on loss on I-just-can’t-take-anymore loss.

It took me another week after that to start feeling okay. Not a bad timeframe, really. I’m impressed. I credit it to my amazing support network of family and friends, as well as my new-found comfort level with going to some random therapist and vomiting all this crap out at someone else.

But you want me, exactly one month after you broke up with me, to go to your band’s show and hang out with you and your new girlfriend?

Am I really that adult?

I wasn’t going to go. I knew it wouldn’t be a good situation for me. But I ended up having to. See, I’ve formed a relationship with the rest of the band members too, and I was dreading the shift from help-load-up-and-hang-out-before-the-show to paying spectator. The way it worked out, the boy asked if I’d drive him to the show, so I still got to do what I’d always done before, and it completely removed any future awkwardness for me with the rest of the band. That part was good. Had I passed on the opportunity and skipped the show, I’m not sure I ever could have shown my face again.

The new girl had to work, which is why I got to drive, and she didn’t show up until a little after 9. I was hanging out in the green room with the band and the boy’s father, who adores me, when she came up with her friend. I was already a bit tipsy, I’ll admit. We shook hands. The boy had her sit on the couch next to him. Then she put her arm around him and started fingering his neck, and that was about all I needed to see.

The thing is that I sincerely want him to be happy. He says she’s a good girl. He seems very happy with her. I’m very happy for them. I want him to feel free to do whatever he wants, and I still want to be a part of his life. I’m not jealous (like all of my close relationships with males, I know parts of him that she probably never will, and that gives me a stupid sense of superiority). I don’t want to be back with him. I can’t even say that my heart hurts anymore. I do feel at peace, at least with this situation. But I am not adult enough yet to be able to sit there to watch my ex being fondled. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think so. I think I just need to listen to myself. I told him if I felt awkward or weird, I’d walk away, so I did. I didn’t see them at all the rest of the night. I hung out with the boy’s dad and aunt, and then when they left, I fell asleep in my car until the boy was ready to leave.

Anyway, this blog is supposed to be about me and my mother, and I have to say that I’m having a very bad day in that regard. Dad’s been out of town, so I’ve been to the house once a week to water the plants and feed the birds. It’s so difficult for me to be there. I use her bathroom and think about all the times I was impatient with her while trying to help her. I walk through and remember the time she fell in the shower. I walk through her room and see her there in the bed, and later where the hospital bed was placed. I go through the kitchen and remember being angry that she wouldn’t change her diet so that she might live a little while longer. I remember all the ways I could have been better, and I wish I had the chance to go back and do it all over again, even though I know I couldn’t have done anything any differently because I’m only human. Most of all, I miss her.

Overall, though, I’m really doing okay. I’m putting my life back together. I’m getting myself back in shape, slowly but surely. I still have a job I love and work with amazing people–I honestly could not be at a better place with a better group of folks because I don’t think it exists. I have a network of friends who love more more than I deserve. And the whole world is open to me.

Remembering, now, that time when I went insane over Katiso…my friend Mphanya, who didn’t speak a lick of English, came over to my house. He said I had no reason to be sad because the whole world was open to me. I could do anything. At least, I think that’s what he was saying. And it’s true–I have opportunities that not many other do. I should be taking advantage of them and doing something that makes a difference instead of wallowing in inconsequential nonsense. I need to be more adult. I need to move on. I need to be the person I was meant to be, and I need to stop being derailed.

If someone could tell that to my little ball of teenage self, I’d greatly appreciate it.

 

Finding Peace

My birthday did not at all go as planned, but it was still a good day. As my co-worker reminded me, happiness is a decision. I decided to make it happy. I started the day with a long hike at Umstead. It was supposed to be rainy, but it was a beautiful (though humid) sunny morning. Then I went home, had some lunch, and read through both of the “mother remembers” books that mom filled out for me. I learned some interesting things, like I was speaking in sentences at 17 months and that I’m pretty much exactly like my mother in almost every respect.

The boy was supposed to spend the day with me. It was a matter of contention. When he ended things, he said he still wanted to spend my birthday with me to show that he cared. It didn’t work out exactly as either of us had hoped for a number of reasons. He came over and talked with me for about an hour, then told me he didn’t want to go to the dance performance, even though I’d already bought him a ticket and everything. So I went by myself and had a great time anyway, then met dad for an awesome dinner.

My main birthday present was supposed to be a new phone, and the boy was supposed to help me set it up (that’s his thing). We went back and forth about when he’d have time to help me set it up. He came home late Saturday night (Sunday morning?) and asked if I wanted to come over to get started, so I did. He showed me how to do most of what I needed to know, and then I spent all Sunday getting it set up right. It’s awesome. I love it.

So starting Monday, I went back to myself. Back to the 6AM workouts, tracking food, spending the evenings reading and going to bed early. I started feeling better immediately, but my heart still hurt.

The boy and I still talk a bit during the day over chat. I told him Wednesday that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to go to his band’s next show, which is a week from today, because I didn’t think I’d be able to handle seeing him with a girlfriend so soon. We talked about it for a while. Something that came out was that he said he felt like we’d just been friends for the past few months. For some reason, that settled me a bit. I guess it makes more sense to me now how he was able to jump into another relationship so quickly. I’m still confused about a lot, but my heart isn’t quite as sore. It’s nice to feel a little bit at peace.

Things are on the upswing. I’m trying to go back to doing the things I was doing the last time I felt happy, and so far, it’s working out well. We’ll see how long it holds out.

Overwhelmed

This week has been both horrible and amazing. I suppose that’s only fair. Although, honestly, I’d settle for some boring ol’ normal at this point.

On Monday, I discovered completely by accident (believe me, I wish I hadn’t) that my ex of only one week and a few days was already in a relationship with someone else. Not only that, but with someone we met at the same time at his band’s last show in late July. I thought I’d been doing okay with the whole break-up thing, but I was surprised at how much that threw me for a loop.

See, everything is straight in my head. I understand the whole situation. I’m okay with us not being together as a couple. It really is the best decision for both of us. But I cannot get my head to convince the rest of me that everything’s working out just the way it’s supposed to. It always does. I KNOW that. I just don’t FEEL it right now.

So I flipped out a bit and got myself back on the couch to talk to someone. My previous lady is out on maternity leave, so I had to vomit up all this information on a new lady’s lap. I don’t think I like her, but I just needed someone to talk to, so it all worked out. She didn’t have any time to talk, what with the divorce and mom and breakup and new discovery and all of that stuff spewing out, but I sure felt better afterward.

Then late on Wednesday, one of my very best friends arrived from Russia via New York. We stayed up much too late for a weeknight talking about things, and then we hung out on Thursday before he headed off to see his family in Jacksonville. It was great. Our relationship started out with us kind of dating back in 2005 before I went into the Peace Corps, then we reconnected as friends through letters while I was there. (Sorry, folks, he’s married now.) What was great, though, was that he reminded me what it was like to be with someone who is continually striving to be better, who treats me like I’m something to be treasured, who supports me making healthy decisions. I’m so glad the timing worked out the way it did. Seeing him again and remembering all of these things I used to want relieved so much of the pressure I was feeling.

I’d warned my manager that I was having a rough week, and all of my co-workers know this will be my first birthday without mom around. They’ve all been great…tons of “let us know what we can do to help.” They took me out for a birthday lunch today at one of my favorite places, and it was the largest contingent of people we’ve ever had at one time going out to lunch together. Some of them kept telling me that I must be very popular! I said it might be a mix of that and a good restaurant choice…hehe.

Before we left, one of my co-workers told me to have a good day tomorrow. Not just that, but to MAKE it a good day because it was truly up to me. So many of the prominent Buddhists write about this all the time, about how “Happiness is available; please help yourself to it” (Thich Nhat Hanh). It’s so simple, yet so complex. He’s right, though. Every moment, I have the choice to be happy or not.

And then I got home to find flowers on my doorstep! Two of my very good friends, whom I haven’t seen in ages and ages, sent them to me to tell me they love me. Not just that, but some awesome beer glasses from yet another friend I haven’t seen in forever and more cards than I think I’ve ever gotten, all with sweet messages about how much mom would have wanted me to be happy and about how much they love me.

I’ve been saying lately that I don’t understand how I could possibly have so many friends and yet feel so lonely. I really don’t feel lonely anymore, though. I feel incredibly blessed to have so many people in my life who genuinely care about me and want to bolster me as I go through this horrible time.

I was freaking out because I didn’t want to be alone tonight at midnight. But to be honest, I’m happy it worked out that way. I’m having some beer. I’m going to clean the house (they replaced the a/c unit and it smells like the worker’s nasty BO, gross). I’m going to eat leftovers from my awesome lunch today and remember how lucky I am to work with such awesome people. I’ll probably watch a movie. I don’t even know if I’ll stay up until midnight. I bought stuff to make salmon benedict for breakfast tomorrow, and I got prosecco and OJ for mimosas. I was going to go on a hike, but it looks like it might rain…I might go anyway. Then I’ll get to see Ronnie’s dance company perform and have an awesome dinner with dad. I even bought a gluten-free cupcake while I was at the store this afternoon in case I don’t run into any birthday cake or the restaurant doesn’t have any gluten-free desserts. No excuse for any sadness! And my old trainer from the gym called and talked to me a bit, and I promised her I’d be back to the 6 AM classes as of Monday morning. It’s time to take my life back.

Thank you all SO SO SO very much for your continued love and support. One of the biggest things I learned from my recent relationship is that not everyone is lucky enough to have experienced unconditional love. I have it all around me. I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but I will be grateful. You are all giving me the strength to heal and move on from the incredible amount of loss I’ve suffered over the past year. Thank you.

Loss is Loss

My birthday is in six days. I’m alternately excited and sad.

And to make it even more fun, not only do I have to deal with missing my mother, but the boy broke up with me last weekend, so I have to deal with that at the same time.

I shouldn’t say it like that, though. It’s not like he was mean about it. It’s not like it was out of the blue. It’s been bound to happen eventually. We both care a lot about each other, and I believe it when he says he does not want to hurt me. I think the timing could have been better, but such is life. I gave it everything I had. He had nothing to give. So that’s that.

I’ve been struggling with why I’m so upset about it. When I look at the situation objectively, it’s clear that this is the best thing for both of us. We both want to figure out a way to keep our friendship, and while that might be really hard, it means that I’m ultimately not going to lose the part of the relationship I care the most about. I shouldn’t be sad. I learned a lot from the relationship and from him. I grew in many different ways. He helped me recover from losing mom and to deal with much of my grief. I think I’m a better person for having met him. I know he’s not the right person for me, at least not right now. So why am I so sad?

I just got off the phone with one of my best friends. He said that loss is loss, even if it’s a good loss. He also said that it takes about three years for a person to recover from divorce, so I’m probably still dealing with a lot of that, even if I was relieved to be out of the marriage. Plus, mom. That’s a lot of loss for one person to deal with. And to be honest, that’s one of the reasons it took so long for me and the boy to end things: he didn’t want to add to my loss.

I don’t know how much loss one person can deal with, though. At least not without crumbling and breaking. I guess I’ll find out.

16 Days

Only 16 more days until I turn 32. Even though that must seem young to some of you, it’s hard for me to believe I’ve gotten so old. I remember a time when I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it to 18.

I’m still very worried about my birthday. I hope it’s not as sad as I’m expecting it to be. I don’t have any plans except to see a dance performance (seriously, you should all come…Ronnie West is the best dancer I’ve ever seen in person, and I know this show is going to be AMAZING…plus, you can wish me a happy birthday!), and then dad’s taking the boy and I out to dinner. It’ll be a very late dinner, which dad wasn’t really up for, but I really wanted to see Ronnie’s show. I’m glad we were able to work it out.

Things have been relatively stable for me. I haven’t lived so close to my best friend since I lived on Johnny’s street in Vilas. I’d forgotten how nice is it. I’m spending the majority of my evenings hanging out at the boy’s house. While my cats are a little sad about it, I’m glad to have the company. It also makes me feel more secure knowing that there’s someone who cares about me living so near, just in case I ever need any help or anything.

I’ve been doing a lot better with food. I actually haven’t binged on food in…it seems like it’s been a month or more? And I’ve corrected my diet over these past two weeks so that I’m getting back into a comfortable routine. I’ve also been much better about exercise. I’m trying to remember that it’s not about how I look, but how I feel. I feel so horribly out of shape. I’ve felt unmotivated and heavy, like it’s just too much effort to move. I do struggle to do the things I used to do, and I can’t do the things I used to do at the same level. People keep saying that it comes back quickly, but I don’t know about that. I just have to keep chugging away at whatever level I can. I’ve been trying to find more fun things to do so that I look forward to it. I got a deal on Shaun T’s dance video series…it’s hilarious having the dude who runs the Insanity program teach me how to disco. I also got a voucher for three private Pilates equipment sessions. I used to do that once a week…did that for years. I had my first session this week, and I felt equal parts blissed out and destroyed. I wish I could afford to continue with it. If I don’t end up going back to HEAT, I might be able to figure out a way to do it. I guess we’ll see.

I still miss mom. Sometimes conversations about death come up, and it’s hard for me to explain what it was like to be present to witness it. I think some people have an idealized version of what it might be like. It’s not pretty. And it leaves holes and scars.

It will be one year in October. Dad rearranged the beach schedule so that we’ll have the beach that week. We’re going to take her ashes.