I had a very interesting conversation today with a dear one. She has been following the blog, and also checking in with me on pretty regular intervals when I'm in New York, so she's getting a much fuller, unedited picture of my coping mechanisms and mourning process. She commented that she's noticed that I am authentically manifesting good things.
We all know that in situations where we are rubbed raw and can't pretend, where our emotions rule in almost unconscious ways, we discover truths about ourselves. This is one of those times for many people in my life: my immediate family, of course, but also our extended circle. I watched Gary instantaneously, and now continuously, put my needs ahead of his own. He has never once faltered in his support, never shrugged away from me coming home and flooding his shoulders with my tears and snot again and again, never lost his patience with my crazy mood swings. I see my uncles and aunts sitting next to Mom's bed day after day, simply being a presence in the room, another life force and an extension of support for both of my parents. I see now how the family friends are really just family, who have jumped in to any role necessary, without being asked. And I watch myself, riding the waves of emotion that come. Anger arrives. Of course it does. It has always come to me, as a result of one thing or another. I have long known about it, and been afraid of it. As a teenager, anger ruled me. But I started to hate the anger, and its hold on me. I found things like this poem by Brian Andreas: "I once had a garden filled with flowers that grew only on dark thoughts but they need constant attention & one day I decided I had better things to do. " and song lyrics from The Indigo Girls, who Mom and I saw every summer in Seattle before I moved away "darkness has a hunger that's insatiable" and realized that these things are true. If we give into anger, it's so difficult to climb out.
So I had practice, long before I really needed it, of not giving in to the anger. And now, when I feel that I really have no choice in the emotions I'm feeling, anger only visits occasionally. Something else to count in the gifts I have received.
Some of Mom's gifts from today:
- a happy stomach
- fried chicken for lunch
- visitors bearing laughter
- strong physical therapy
- a completed outfit for the wedding