Sad Enough for You

I’ve got the beginnings of another cold, and this time, I know it’s because there’s something in my room that I can’t find that’s making me sick. Perhaps it’s a dish I forgot to take downstairs that got pushed under the bed while I was trying to organize and missed it. But whatever it is, people don’t get sick this often, and I think a deep clean with Fabuloso™ is necessary. As I quote often from Ralphie May, Fabuloso gets out third world dirt. If I end up taking the road of full-time job with laptop tether, I’d like to find a housekeeper, for two reasons. The first is that obviously, my room would always be organized. The second is that I tend to keep it up so that I’m not embarrassed when the housekeeper comes over. I’d like to hire someone who could really use the money, and I couldn’t care less if they’re legal in this country or not. I just don’t know how to reach out to someone like that. But that is putting the cart before the horse, because I need enough money to hire an employee before I hire an employee, capiche?

But thoughts of coming home at night with my room spotless and my laundry folded are deep motivation for finding any sort of job, and I am sending out resumes and filling out applications like a fiend. I am blessed in that my rent and bills are the cheapest I’ve ever had, so even if I worked at Safeway, I’d still have enough money to pay someone else. This is because I don’t really spend money on anything. When I left DSI, I had three and a half months’ worth of living expenses saved up because I wouldn’t leave the house. Most of that was because not having a car made it where I was so exhausted from my commute that I didn’t have room in my life for anything fun. The rest was that my savings account meant more to me than leaving the house.

Because I had that cushion, after I lost my mother I came home and completely decompensated. I couldn’t even make myself take a shower and get dressed some days, and though I have graduated into wanting to get back into real life, I ponder the re-entry greatly. At this point, I will take anything to make my savings account happy, but I do not want to be distracted from going back to school. The only reason I’m just now thinking about it is that I haven’t needed a degree to get where I wanted to go previously, and now I do. I need two of them, actually.

Because I want to work in the inner city with the homeless population, it is possible that I could get grants for loan forgiveness with grad school. I don’t know about undergrad. I am going to make an appointment with a counselor at Howard to see where I need to go from here. It’s not important that I go to Howard for undergrad, but it’s where I want to go to grad school, so I will start there and branch out. There are a few courses I could take at a community college, because even though I am a second-semester junior at University of Houston, there’s a couple of first and second year classes that I need to take care of… like a math class and and a sophomore English class like “Intro to Writing.” I am not worried about passing English. I took freshman comp at Wharton County Junior College and on the first day, our professor said that she just wanted a benchmark for where we were in our writing ability, so she gave us 30 minutes and a topic. She thought it was so good when I was finished that she made me read it in front of the class. I wish I could remember what it was about, but I’ve slept since then.

But back to Howard….

Howard’s divinity school is United Church of Christ, which means that I could get all of my denominational requirements done at the same time I’m taking classes. If I went somewhere else, I’d have to go to school first and THEN work out how to get ordained in that denomination. The only reason I find it a bit sad is that so much of my soul is Episcopalian, but I just cannot even. I know that the Episcopal church would be a good fit for me, but there is no changing the liturgy under any circumstances, and as I’ve pointed out before, I am a writer. It’s what I do, and it’s what I’d like to continue to do with my bulletins. When I was at Bridgeport UCC in Portland, when I preached, I also put together the orders of worship, so that the calls and responses were something I’d come up with myself. I enjoy preaching a great deal, but to me, what was even better was hearing 150 people read out loud something I wrote, because as a writer, all we want is for our words to be read.

That being said, it doesn’t mean I don’t want the choir to wear cassocks and surplices, either. 😛

I have so many ideas, and at this point, no where to put them. But that will change over time as I achieve one goal after another. The hardest part is finding momentum in the midst of deep grief, because as I was telling one of my friends, the hardest part of losing my mother is that people expect me to get back to normal, and there is no normalizing this. There can be a new normal, but the grief regarding what normal used to be is often overwhelming. My natural depression is made so much worse by the added situational depression of losing a parent, and it’s not something you can explain to anyone that hasn’t lost a parent themselves. They just have no frame of reference for it. I actually had one friend tell me that they didn’t want to hear about my grief because they didn’t even want to imagine losing their own mother.

And another said I didn’t seem that sad, and it would have been so much worse if I’d lost my father instead. I said, “because it would have been so much harder to lose my right arm than my left?” That shut ’em up.

It’s hard not to feel internalized rage at the stupid things people say to me, but I have to remember that again, they have no frame of reference for what I’m going through and won’t until one of their parents dies. In the words of Jesus, forgive them Father, for they know not what they do. The comment about losing my father over my mother absolutely undid me for days, because the idea that I “didn’t seem sad enough” was heartbreaking. What is “sad enough” supposed to look like? I’m already metaphorically tearing my clothes and refusing to engage with anyone on most days. Is that sad enough for you? There are days when I can’t even pick up the phone, I’m so depressed. There are days when, because I don’t have anywhere to be, I don’t get out of bed. There are days that when I do, I regret it. It’s been since October that my mother died, and except for a few outings, I won’t even go to the grocery store regularly. My appetite fluctuates between EAT ALL THE THINGS and eat nothing for a few days until my appetite returns. IS THAT SAD ENOUGH FOR YOU?

In fact, right now I have to send a text message to Hayat and tell her that since I haven’t been grocery shopping, everyone has taken up all my space in the fridge so that if I did shop, I wouldn’t have anyplace to put my groceries. What does that say about how long it’s been since I’ve bought milk, eggs, etc.? What about that? IS THAT SAD ENOUGH FOR YOU?

What about being glad that Dana and I are divorced so that I don’t have to engage with anyone unless I want to? That I don’t have to take care of a marriage and my grief at the same time? Glad that Dana doesn’t require my attention and love so that I can be as absolutely selfish with my time as I want, even though I know she would have been so supportive of me that I wouldn’t have even had to sigh before she was johnny-on-the-spot with a hug? IS THAT SAD ENOUGH FOR YOU?

What about on my deepest, darkest days, feeling like going to college and grad school, getting remarried, having children (my own or my partner’s), etc. is pointless because my mother won’t be there to see it? IS THAT SAD ENOUGH FOR YOU?

I started this entry with so much hope for my future, but something got under my skin and I just spiraled into all of the anger I feel. But again, very few people are equipped to deal with others’ grief, and I have to be loving and forgiving because they really don’t have any clue what nerve they’re hitting on any given day. Being sad enough is not something I feel I should need to prove, but because it runs under the surface, people are apt to comment on it. But it doesn’t take much to make me come undone.

Which is why I don’t engage. I want to be by myself as all this processing gets done, because others’ input is often not helpful, because again, they have no frame of reference and are just trying to help…. and can’t.

I need to reach out to my friends who have also lost parents, because they understand that absolutely helpless place…. the one that says despite external appearances, I am DEFINITELY SAD ENOUGH FOR YOU.

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