Sunday, February 23, 2014

The little things

I have an iPod touch that my parents gave me for my birthday in 2012. I don't have many games on it, but I have a few - Fruit Ninja, Text Twist, Temple Run 2. 

I recently had to restore my iPod because  of some weird issues, but I thought hey, no problem - everything important is backed up. I can access my notes, I can reload my music, it'll be fine. 

Today I went in to play Temple Run 2. I'm actually pretty good at it, and I wanted a little confidence boost. I had racked up all these points and lives, and I was excited to play without worrying about dying - I could just use one of my many lives and start up where I left off. 

But everything was gone. All the lives, all the points, all the extra features I had earned for my avatar. I was back to square one - zero points, zero lives, and some dude as the avatar instead of the kickass female character I had worked my way up to.

It sounds ridiculous that this would matter. I mean, who the heck cares? It's just a game, a game I haven't played in months. 

Except I played it this time last year. A lot, in fact. When my mom was to the point in her decline when all she could really do during the day was sit in her chair and watch reruns of NCIS, I would sit nearby and play Temple Run. When she got to the point where she couldn't get out of bed anymore, I would hold her hand with one hand and hold my iPod in the other and play it as she slept. It kept me entertained, and occupied but not too occupied, and probably a little sane. And now all those stupid points and all those stupid hours - they're gone. 

Of course I know that those hours aren't really gone. I still have the memories, and the blog entries, and the images of her burned in my brain. But every little piece, every little keepsake matters right now, in this first year. So I just wish I could get those pieces - the tangible ones, the ones that aren't supposed to be lost - back. Just for a little while. Just so I can remember. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014


I've been feeling overwhelmed lately. There's so much to do at work, so many friends to spend time with, so much grief, so much... I can't even gather all the pieces of everything that are swirling around calling for my attention.

As I was sitting and thinking about being overwhelmed, and about being kind to myself in the midst of it all, I thought about my mom. I thought about how determined and persistent and organized she was before she got sick - she was driven, just like me. And then I remembered what she was like after she got sick.

She was still driven - she worked her butt off through physical, speech, and occupational therapy. She went through chemo and radiation, and a multitude of pills and injections, and all with lower physical capacity. But she also let herself off the hook - she ate burgers and fries, she had dessert every day, and she watched TV without cross-stitching, or reading, or all the other things she used to do to multitask. She treated herself. And I think if I asked her for advice today she'd say, "treat yo self."

Thinking about her telling me to treat myself overwhelmed me, but this time with grief. I was wracked with sobs and having a hard time breathing. My heart physically hurt, and it felt like it was going to be ripped apart. And I couldn't control it - I couldn't stop crying, I couldn't start breathing, I couldn't stop my heart from hurting.

So I prayed. I said "Jesus, help me." And into my head came Psalm 23. Over and over again I prayed through my sobs, saying, "the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want... even though I walk through the valley of death and dying I will fear no evil, for you are with me." Over and over and over again until I could breath, until my heart didn't hurt. It was weird, and good, and comforting, all at once.

Now I have a plan to keep my self from being overwhelmed - treat yo self, and Psalm 23. I think my mom would have been proud.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Run away (10 months)

Today I just want to run away.

Today I want to go somewhere where spring is in full bloom and there's no tinge of sadness to it. Where I'm far away from my life now, and even farther away from my life when she was sick. I want to get a new number and a new name, disconnect from everything and reinvent myself as someone else, someone completely new, someone who isn't missing a mother.

Everything reminds me of her. So if I leave everything behind I won't be sad anymore. Except its not really things or even people that remind me of her. It's just being; being me makes me feel the pain of her not being here anymore.

So I'll start over, be someone else and I won't feel any pain anymore. Right? Isn't that how it works?

Because I'm tired. I'm tired of hurting and I'm tired of crying and I'm tired of grieving and I'm tired of being exhausted and I'm tired of going back to my life, my jobs, my routines from before, as if there wasn't a hole where my mom used to be.

Rationally I know that running wouldn't do much. In fact, I'd probably feel more alone, more sad, more in pain. But for the moment running feels like a reassuring fantasy.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


I can still remember that night (that morning) she died. I can walk through it, step by step in my mind. And it's not just a memory. I remember it vividly, like I'm re-watching a scene from a movie I've seen a hundred times. I know every line of dialog, every camera change, every mark of every character in the scene.

Most of the time I don't revisit it. I don't relive it. But sometimes something triggers it. A story from someone else who has lost someone, a word that connects me back, an image that looks a little like something from those last days.

It's painful. It takes my breath away, it takes my words away, it takes away everything except reliving those moments and a steady stream of tears. And so I ride it out, I walk through the scene over and over again until I catch my breath, or until someone brings me back, or until...

And then I'm back again, here, now. And my heart feels heavy and my face feels wet and I just feel tired.

But I also feel release. Like I just exhaled a breath I was holding, like I just stretched out a muscle that was cramping.

Maybe if I walk through it enough I'll be able to let the memory go. Maybe it will be less vivid, be less raw, be less real. Maybe the edges will start to get fuzzy, and it will be beautiful instead of painful and soft instead of razor sharp, and.... Maybe.

Monday, February 3, 2014

It was always going to be a totally shit time (Part 2)

This time last year my mom's tumor came back.

This time last year we knew the end was coming. Really coming. With an actual timetable - two to three months. (It was two months and 13 days.)

This time last year I wasn't prepared - for how short the time ways, for the neverending tears, for the supportive and loving friends, for her to die.

And this time around I'm still not prepared. I'm not prepared for how much this hurts, even nine and a half months out. I'm not prepared for the tears. I'm not prepared for how exhausted I am. I'm not prepared for how little I feel capable of doing.

I don't know what these next two months and 13 days are going to look like. Or the next months and days after that. I guess I'll just have to be kind to myself, let myself veg and mourn and sleep and cry. I don't really know what else to do to make it bearable.

Except for hugs - I might ask you, friends, for hugs. Because sometimes that's just want you need.