I saw it coming - or rather - in hindsight I see when it started coming. First I stopped making things. That should be - from now on will
be - a harbinger of TheBlackCloudOfGrief. With half my brains in my fingertips, whenever they don't have anything to do - whenever I don't want to do anything manipulatively creative, I need to take a look inside and see what's bugging me - and maybe see if I can treat the sadness by being kind to myself.
Sometime in the spring I put down the sweater that I am 2 inches away from completing. I often don't finish things because, hey - ENFP
- no interest in completion anyway. Often that little math puzzle of the decrease at the neckline can be enough to put me off my game - to trigger Startitis.
The trouble is - I didn't
start anything new. I just ... stopped.
If half my brains are in my fingertips it's not surprising that what they have to say tends to spew onto the page - in forums, diaries, blog posts - but the silence was masked by the ordinary chatter of day to day living. The well of creative conversation was drying up and it was only now and then, when I was asked "what do you think?" and I had no answer - or when I thought "I ought to blog about that" and then sighed and felt it was all too much trouble - that I began to grow suspicious.
And then the drawing. Or - the lack of drawing. Even when my little cousin came for a week and I still didn't feel the love of pen or pencil. Oh - I got out all the toys - but ... that rush of creativity just wasn't there. I felt a glimmer of it in Missy Foster's basket class in June - but that flicker of thought of adding New Toys to my life, while not unpleasant - or even unborn - was too feeble and too impractical at this moment - to be nurtured into real shopping therapy. My house is already stuffed with Good Toys that I'm not using and the next few months of my social calendar are stuffed too. Nice to have a social life, I know, but it does mean there's no time for New Things.
Then came the dreaded Brat Eating. You know what that is - when you lean against the kitchen sink with the ice cream carton in one hand and a spoon in the other. When you reach for those salty crackers at 11 p.m. and say "I don't care". When you say "just for this morning I'm going to put butter on that." That Brat Eating has brought on the Scale Failure that I experienced this morning. It was not a pretty sight.
It was yesterday afternoon's Kitchen Sink Ice Cream Sundae that smacked me up-side the head, but it was a brief conversation with a friend who'd lost his son a few weeks ago that scraped the film off the window into my heart. I began by commiserating and asking tender questions but it ended up with me vomiting out my own pain. Fortunately it was just a bit at the end - at least - I hope I didn't turn the conversation into something completely All About Me - but oh wow. That's when I realized that pretty soon I won't be able to say "a year ago Mama and I ...." We're coming up on the anniversary of her death and it's quaking inside me. It hurts so bad. The future looks so bleak - no wonder I don't care how fat I get and besides, Mama and I both loved ice cream so much. I can see her still, with a bowl of it in her hand, sitting in her rocker and promising the universe that "you see - I didn't eat any breakfast and I won't eat any lunch so it's alright to eat this ice cream - and it's just a little slice of cake".
Well. Mama was a cutie and a nut and riddled with self deceptive tricks. Besides - I didn't care if she ate badly - and for goodness sake - she lived till she was 91 years old. What more do you want? What more do I want?
Huh. I'll tell you what I want. I WANT MY MAMA!
I have lost loved ones before. I miss them terribly but the missing is a sweet act in itself. When I have that ache for my mother-in-law I also have a rush of joy filled memories. She too, could be exasperating and say the goofiest untruths - and I thought they
were cute too. And Pop - my father in law - oh my - I knew him for such a short time and yet his impact on me was so profound - so lasting. Then there's Daddy! I miss him too - but mostly I miss the entertainment factor and my goodness - he left that
behind, because there's always another story about Daddy - one for every social opportunity - every need for comic relief - every time I need to remember that it could be worse.
But this missing Mama.
Okay. So it's been eating away at me. It's grief. I am grieving still and even if you think it - you better not say "Get a life". This fleeing from grief that is the new societal more is just crap. It's a denial of everything that makes having a life worth living. I am still grieving and by golly I'll grieve till I'm done with it. And I'll cut myself a little slack about the Kitchen Sink Ice Cream binge but I think now that I know what's going on I can maybe do something else that's as indulgent as ... you know ... Cappuccino Crunch.
I know there is joy up ahead. Pardon me while I wallow a little bit longer.