Monday, October 05, 2015

“In my closest circle of friends — you know the ones, the ones who are the family you choose instead of the one you are assigned — when someone is having a difficult time, we will remind each other that there are as many paths as there are people, and that while none of us can walk another’s path for them, we can all raise our lanterns a little higher, and let some light spill over to make the going less difficult and scary and lonely. ”Commenter, Teaspoon, via Kate Harding's Blog

Hey guys!  I know it's been forever (only five months, but who's counting?), but can we just agree to put aside the awkward part where I say how sorry I am, and you all read it and forgive me anyways?  Agreed? Good.

I can't make any promises about writing going forward, as things here are even less settled than they were the last time we spoke, but I miss this.  I miss you, and our weird conversations, and having a place that nobody I know in real life ever comes.  I miss the words - so much - and I think, just maybe, that my brain may be turning that light bulb back on a bit, which is a relief, let me tell you. (I don't think you ever get over the fear that the words just... won't come back this time.  At least, I don't think it's a fear I'll ever get over.) 

So anyways ~ how's about a quick update?  Next week, my brother, my mother, his kids, his sister-in-law and I are off for a quick jaunt to the Happiest Place on Earth, and it feels so incongruous to where everybody's actual feelings are that it may just be the most ironic trip ever.  -- Excepting the nine-year-old, who has a countdown on, and can't hold any non-Disney related conversations, and it's adorable and annoying in (nearly) equal measures.  -- We're nearing the anniversary of their mother's death, and it's definitely being felt: there's so many other anniversaries on the way to that one - her brain surgery date, her last hospital admittance, the day I came to stay 'for a bit' - and each one is a little dig in someone's heart, a little pinch they can't seem to ignore. 

My brother's grief continues to be overwhelming.  He's made some positive steps since last year, but as the anniversary approaches, I can feel a lot of them sliding away.  His mood vaciliates between pissed off, checked out, and maudlin, and the kids and I seem to often be at the mercy of them - it's hard to help a kid through their tough day, when their dad is upstairs slamming doors and ignoring people.  I'm cutting him as much slack as I can, because I DO get that some days are harder than others, but... tantrums in front of your children are a line I am dragging him back across, some days to both of our peril.  The thing is, I can see how hard he tries - on the days he's trying - and I guess I know him better than anyone else does, because I can SEE how much he's hurting, all the time, and I can feel what an accomplishment it is that he even gets out of bed most days.  And I wish he had the space for his grief and the time for his grieving... that's what I'm attempting to do here, anyways, is make it a little bit easier on everybody else, but... when you have kids? You just don't have the luxury of grieving the way you want to.

He can't afford to bury himself in a hole, or hide himself in his room.  And neither can these two kids. 

Both of whom are doing exceptionally well - with various issues here and there: The little one knows a lot more about anxiety now then I wish she'd ever have to know, and the older one walks around some days as if it's his responsibility to... do everything.  Which, at 15, I do not want him to feel, but I'm unsure how to prevent it.  Everybody's got stuff they're working on/out, and November 10th is fast approaching. 

So why the Disney, you might be wondering?  Well, a cousin is getting married in Florida, which normally, would just require us to send a card.  But between my brother's regrets that he and Nancy didn't just spring for the Disney vacation they might have taken a few years ago, and the 9-yr-old's puppy dog eyes, my brother decided that they had to go.  So: from Tues - Saturday, we'll be hitting up the parks, and attempting to draw out as much of the happy when can for some kids who could desperately use it.  (Although the 15 yr-old is not onboard our happy train - AT ALL - he's upset about missing school, and thinks he's too old for Disney (ha!) and all sorts of other cliches about sullen teenagers that get dragged off on their family's vacations.  I may as well be living in an 80's movie, honestly. )

This is going to be very difficult, spoon-wise, and health-wise for me, but they need me, so off we go.  Wish us luck.

In other sad news, SisterS's mom passed away - suddenly, of a heart attack - last week.  She's understandably shaken, as is my Oldest Nephew, and my heart breaks that I can't be more there for THEM right now.  Not that there's anything you can say when your mom dies (as I have learned quite extensively over the past year), but not even being able to just sit at her table and let her cry or rant or whatever she wants to do is making me feel extremely guilty.  I am doing what I can by text message, and I have to hope that it will be enough.  That I can help, in any small way.

Two of my other sisters have relocated over the summer - SisterCh to her mother-in-law's basement, which is not optimal, as you may have guessed, and SisterK to a far superior apartment out in Berkley, California, while her beau does some graduate work & she works for a literacy non-profit. 

And our best news of all is that SisterJ and her husband are expecting a new little bundle of joy to add to our hoard!  (Let's be honest: we all know if I was a dragon my horde would consist exclusively of books and babies.  Like: for real.)  The baby will hopefully making his arrival in February, which means a baby shower is in the works for the next little while as well. 

So, I'm apparently full up and bursting with news guys - a real mix of who knows what. 

But the light bulb - while still slightly dimmer than one of those energy efficient ones - has clicked back on.  So hopefully, we'll all be around when it hits full strength. 

 Thanks for hanging in, you guys.