Silencing the Pianos

I don’t want to write today, and haven’t for a while. I keep thinking that if I put Christmas off, it just won’t happen this year. On the other hand, I don’t want my Advent series to be missing anything, so I’m sure I’ll finish that, too, once I stop feeling the need to push away the baby. It’s people like me that need the baby the most, and right now I can’t stop myself. Christmas has never happened for me without my mother… not once… so why not just stop all the clocks (a poem that speaks to me deeply because even though it is about romantic love, one line is silence the pianos. Some days, I laugh through my memories. Today is not one of them.

I am sure this is a passing feeling, but it’s where I am.

My friends have been over-the-top in their love and care of me, and it is working. But at the same time, there’s only so much other people can say which ease my mind for more than a moment at a time. People have often told me what grief is like when they’ve lost a parent, but grief is as individual as a fingerprint. There is no overarching message, no one-stop shopping to fix it based on learning about the experiences of others.

No one told me that I’d be extremely jealous of people who still have their mothers, especially when they are so much older than me. No one told me that there would be moments I’d actually forget my mother was dead, and everything would all come crashing back as if it was happening all over again. No one told me that I’d feel in some ways as if my future was ruined, not overall, but that immense, intense part where my mother is on the front row of everything I do, cheering me on.

No one told me what it was like to feel like half an orphan, that in a lot of ways, even though Lindsay and I are into our 30s and I will be 40 in September, it feels like my dad is taking on the role of single parent even now. For the record, he’s doing a bang-up job. It’s just that now I have one less person to call, one less person that will talk to me until we both run out of things to say… or, more accurately, my mother transitioning from talking to asking for tech support.

One time she even flew me in from Portland to fix her computer because it was cheaper than taking it to Best Buy. Unfortunately, this is completely true.

Speaking of Best Buy and Christmas, I know I’ve told this story before, but it should be put here as well. You can download Red Hat disc images and burn them yourself to install, but if you bought it at an electronics store, it came with a year’s worth of tech support. I put it on my Christmas list that year… it must have been my sophomore year of college. The following conversation ensues:

Mom: I need a copy of Red Hat for my daughter for Christmas and I have no idea what that is.

Best Buy Guy: Wow! Linux is a big operating system for a little girl!

Mom: She’s 20.

The look on Best Buy Guy’s face was priceless, because he didn’t say anything after that.

And honestly, I can’t say anything more, either.


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