carose59: common unhappiness (empty and aching and i don't know why)
"Well, If He Actually Went Mad—Or Thinks He Did . . . ."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

So, I woke up this morning feeling terrible in a vague, existential, maybe my body is on wrong kind of way. I spent a long time in the bathroom working crossword puzzles because that soothes me and will sometimes make all the bad stuff go away.

It didn't.

I got ready for work, even managed to hit the post office to drop off the latest Netflix DVD without screaming, or crying very much. Got to work.

I took my blood pressure before I left the house and I don't remember what it was.

I took it again here and it was OK, but my pulse was 115, which probably explained my headache. "I am having a terrible, no good, very bad day," I said to nobody.

Actually, what I said was, "I'm having a fucking panic attack." And I took my blood pressure eight more times and kept getting error messages, which my brain insisted on interpreting as the little machine looking at my real numbers and saying, "Oh, my fucking God, this cannot be right!"

Though it probably wasn't.

I considered the logistics of the emergency room. Methodist is close, but I don't know where to park. Community is a little farther but the parking is easy.

Leaving would be considered an incident and would go on my permanent record.

I told myself I wasn't ready to die just yet, then I started crying and took my blood pressure again. The numbers were normalish. My pulse was down to sixty-seven.

This crap has been going on for days now, and why not? My mother died and I'm exhausted and the people in charge where I work hate us all the way Donald Trump hates us. And the new slacks I bought are weird and I was late for my appointment with Diane the other day and just can't seem to get anything right.

And I'm disturbingly aware of the back of the left side of my head. It doesn't hurt, and I know what it is—it's a muscle thing coming up from my left shoulder, but when I'm scared it becomes an aneurysm waiting to explode in my head.

It's not an aneurysm.

As I was sobbing just a moment ago, head down on my desk, I was thinking that this was what I was supposed to be doing when I see Diane. Only what good is that, having somebody watch me cry? It's like having somebody watch you vomit when you have food poisoning, it's a symptom—a good symptom, you want to get the poison out. The crying is what brought down my pulse rate. I need Diane for other things.

I don't know why, but I always think of Kimberly in moments like this. I miss her.

*Randolph Carter

New poem

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 04:33 pm
carose59: poetry (by Henry Gibson)
The Death of God

And then the moment comes.
You see it happen: darkness at noon, just as it says in the Bible—
only it's just another summer thunderstorm.
The world trembles
slides silently away.
You have become alone—
ultimately, permanently, sui generis
(springing from no-one):
truly the only child.

You finish your chicken&stars soup and play another game of solitaire, wondering why there is no fanfare
only rain.

But it always rains when the world ends, the thunder coming to soothe you.

Released from your obligation to worship and attend, you have more time to wander aimlessly and stay up too late.
All of your mistakes belong only to you now and no-one gets a say.
Your life is your own and you have no idea how to do this.
You are standing on the horizon—that mythical point where the future drops off into its own infinity. If you look down you can see straight through to nowhere.

It would be exhilarating—
if you could feel anything
if you weren't numb from all the years of feeling too much
if you didn't keep falling asleep.

You pick up socks to wash and cat food cans to throw away, brush your teeth and set the alarm, buy food you will forget to eat, write notes to thank people for their notes of condolence:
yes, she was a wonderful person,
yes, it was time,
yes, she will be missed.

You do not tell them what a relief it is.
You do not tell them that you don't go to that church anymore.
You do not tell them you don't care that you will never get your wings.

You can fly without them.


Friday, 3 June 2016 11:18 pm
carose59: MKK (richer than i you can never be)
Who Else Loves You Enough To Send You Notes Written On Cats?*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Wednesday, I went to visit my mother. With me I took her fuzzy pink blanket, her rosary, and the Humphrey Bogart bag.

In the late seventies, Humphrey Bogart was very hot. You could buy things with his picture on them, and Pat bought a canvas bag. She had it when I met her.

When my mother was in the hospital with her broken leg, I gathered up the things she wanted and took them in the Humphrey Bogart bag. After that, Humphrey became my mother's companion whenever she was living away from home. She wasn't all that crazy about him as an actor, but she was very fond of him as a companion.

My mother was happy to see her fuzzy pink blanket; with some help, she spread it over her legs. She was happy to see her rosary and she fingered it earnestly the whole time I was there, moving her lips. But she wasn't saying the rosary. Maybe only a Catholic school girl would be able to tell the difference, but it was like watching someone turning the pages of a book, knowing they weren't actually reading: you can just tell. It was what I was expecting. I didn't bring the rosary for her to pray with; I brought it because she's told me how much she likes it, the way it feels in her fingers. I brought it for the same reason as the blanket: sensual comfort.

I was more hopeful with Humphrey, but she didn't recognize him. I brought him home again.

Yesterday evening, I went to visit my mother.

She was making an "Rrrr-rrrr" sound, very agitated, when I came into the room. They were restraining her wrists. She had been pulling out her IV and peeling off her heart monitor stickers. She's been in a-fib the whole time she's been there and they're giving her something for it, so she really needs to keep that IV in.

If you're going to read the next part, please read it through to the end.

Listening to my mother making frightened, pain-filled sounds, seeing her uncomprehending eyes, my heart broke. There is nothing in the world that hurts me like an animal in pain and not knowing how or why. For most people who react strongly to animals in pain it seems to be their innocence that's the big thing. For me it's the incomprehension that tears me up, that helplessness that comes from not knowing why you hurt. More than anything my mother seemed like a good old dog, hurting and abandoned and not knowing why this had happened to her.

There are people who would be appalled that I just compared my mother to a dog. But I don't consider humans better than animals. And I know my mother wouldn't be offended by it.

My aunt Shirley once asked if my mother wasn't worried about me being the one to make her end-of-life decisions and my mother said, "If she treats me half as well as she does her cats, I'll be fine." I got my value of animal life from my mother.

Today I just came home from work. My mother has been moved back to the rehab place she was in before, this time for something called Comfort Care. It's not rehab. She's not going to get better. Possibly she'll be moved back to the hospital. She won't be coming home.

I don't know how I feel.

*Jenny Lawson
carose59: the past (today's music ain't got the same soul)
I'm Going To Memorize Your Name And Throw My Head Away.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

(That subject line is a metaphor.)

A couple of weeks ago, on my way home from work, I found that the first building where Pat and I lived was being torn down.

I'd been expecting that for a while; it was condemned some years ago. It's only a few blocks from my house and I pass it every day to and from work, so I'd been watching it decay and dilapidate. We only lived there a year, but it was our first year and it was special. On the ground floor were little stores—a grocery, I remember, and on the corner, a flower shop. The man who owned the building was the florist Up a flight of stairs were apartments—eight altogether, I think, four to a section.

Today it was nothing but dirt, a tiny field.

Yesterday, I bought a new phone.

It wasn't a choice, exactly; it was necessary. The screen of my old phone died, and with everything going on right now, I need a reliable phone.

It took four hours, and I'm planning on writing about that later. But while I was at AT&T I threw away part of my past.

Pat had a cellphone first, because of her falling. A couple of them in succession: first a big, brick-like thing, then a smaller brick-like thing, then a nice silver flip phone. She got the last one the year she died, and I got one just like it at the same time. I think it was sometime in the early spring. We played with them a lot; we'd call each other from the same room and answer saying things like, "I can't talk now, I'm busy," or "What do you want?" or "You have the wrong number," or "Why do you keep calling me?" We had fun.

(This is the thing I miss most, the frivolity, the having a confidante. I've got this bluetooth thing that I'd like to experiment with and if Pat were alive I would ask her to call me so I could see what happens when I get a call, so I could practice using the silly thing. Even just answering the phone is complicated and I have to keep telling people, "I got a smart phone but it didn't make me any smarter." Pat would like that. Pat would help me, and she'd enjoy it.)

We were on a family plan, and we had talked about getting my mother a phone. But Pat died. So I just gave my mother Pat's phone.

And she doesn't use it. The only time she's ever used it is when I was taking her to Coumadin Clinic; she'd call to come pick her up. I've been paying for it every month for twelve years for it to live in a drawer, but I'm a very good daughter. I can't make my mother carry a cellphone, but I can make sure she has a cellphone even if she won't carry it.

It's been annoying and frustrating, and expensive when you consider it was completely going to waste, but it kept me from having to do something I really didn't want to do: releasing Pat's phone number. I really wanted to keep Pat's number.

Yesterday I cancelled that line. A woman who can't talk doesn't need a cellphone. If a phone rings in the forest and there's no-one to answer it, what difference does it make?

Pieces of my life are falling off or drifting away and there's really nothing I can do about it. All I can do is let go so I don't go with them.

*Oscar Levant

Oh, Happy Easter

Sunday, 27 March 2016 12:51 pm
carose59: the rose behind the fence (rose is a rose is a rose)
The Worst Thing Of All Is Not Knowing What You Look Like.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

So I was sitting here, crying and beating myself up over my (possibly imagined) sins and it seemed like a good idea to put them in black and white pixels.

It's my own fault I'm fat and will probably die younger than I "should."

I have wasted my life being unhappy.

I'm responsible for Pat's death, and I have now lived to be older than she was when she died.

I'm responsible for the deaths of several of the cats who loved me, particularly Mimi.

I was unkind to Shere Khan (who was mostly Pat's cat) because she had issues that annoyed me.

I honestly do wish my mother would die.

I was a terrible daughter to my father.

For several years I had a mad infatuation with a dead guy who I believed was talking to me in my head, and I did not keep this a secret.

This is not what I was planning on writing today, but I've stopped crying.

We are all each others' mirrors.

*Aaron Raz Link
carose59: PLS (moses supposes his toeses are roses)
"My Room Is Making Me Very Sad. I Would Like To Kill Myself. May I Have A Different One Tomorrow, Facing The Front, Perhaps?"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Many years ago when Pat was away visiting her family at Christmastime, I did some cleaning and renovating. I cleaned the bathroom to f fare0thee0well, bought a new shower curtain which I cut down to make curtains for the window in the shower wall, used the remainder to cover the place where some of the tiles had fallen off, and generally wore myself to a frazzle making the bathroom pretty.

But I didn't stop there. I also assembled a bookcase we'd bought and put it up in the tiny hall that leads to the bathroom. Previously there had been an ironing board sitting up in that spot. The bookcase was more useful. I have no idea what lived on it; I know that nothing that's there now was there then.

It all looked very nice, and I was most pleased with myself when I finished. I couldn't wait to show Pat when she got home.

Pat was less than enthusiastic.

I think she liked the bathroom; I really don't remember. It was the hall she didn't care for, the hall with the bookcase. The bookcase that covered up her eagle collection.

Pat loved eagles and had been collecting them for for well over ten years. Some of them had been broken in our moves, and one little stuffed guy succumbed to old age and leaking stuffing. It was hard for her.

When we moved into the house, I suggested she hang her collection in the hall. The hall is short, with two doorways on one side and a wall and archway on the other. I said the wall could be her eagle wall.

I said the wall could be her eagle wall.

And then a few years later I put up a book case in front of the eagles and expected her to be happy that I'd just forgotten everything I'd said.

In my defense, I was high when I did this. I know this because I only ever do major house cleaning stuff when I'm high. My brain doesn't know how to housework unless I'm nicely hypomanic. So I can say I was not in my right mind when I did this. But it doesn't help, because I did hurt her.

The bookcase is still there. So are the eagles. I don't know why we didn't move them. This niggles at the back of my mind every time I actually see the bookcase (as opposed to walking past it without really seeing it, the way we do most of the time with the things in our lives). I can't seem to stop hating myself for this, even though I know Pat doesn't hate me for it anymore. I do believe she loves me and forgives me and wishes I'd stop crying about it. But I just don't know how to do that.

*David Rakoff
carose59: dreams (whose mind watches itself)
You Raced A Piano? Hot Damn, Herb's All Right."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Pat and I were driving around the west side of town, something we did pretty often when she was at Goodwill. I don't think we were that young; I think we were living together. But there was a funny hesitancy, a shyness to our relationship that never existed in real life. It was as though we had gone from being acquaintances to intimates with no gradation in between and we weren't sure how to proceed.

It was night—at least, it was dark out—but we were talking as though the day was just beginning and trying to decide what to do with it. And I don't think it was early morning, I think it really was night. We were both very reluctant to suggest anything, for fear it would throw the relationship out of whack somehow.

Finally we settled on something, I don't remember what. And then we decided to go get Chinese food.

I don't remember us actually getting the food, but then we had it and were on the road again. Pat made a left turn under an overpass, across a grassy median strip, drove a few more feet, then made another left turn—I couldn't see where—and the car disappeared. At the first left, I was no longer in the car, and I couldn't find it or Pat.

I believe I called Pat's sister, who seemed to know where Pat was, but didn't tell me. I spent some time walking around a parking lot, looking for the car.

When I woke up, I repeated the details of the dream to myself so I'd remember it. This turned out not to be a problem since I immediately had the same dream. Only this time I remembered having had it.

The feeling was the same: new and wonderful but strangely diffident. I was very happy.

Then Pat made the left turn under the overpass and I was standing at the side of the highway, watching the tail lights disappear. But this time I knew what was going on, so I took out my cell phone and called Becky while I chased the car. I ran across the street to the median strip, then crossed the highway going the other way. I'd lost the car, but I kept going after it. I wasn't going to let Pat disappear again.

But again, I didn't find the car or Pat.

*Venus Flytrap
carose59: cleaning & housework (it's next to impossible)
[Originally posted elsewhere December 30, 2006]

Seriously. I'm baking brownies and I added a couple of splashes of white creme de cacao. (And I'm a little buzzed because I have no tolerance for alcohol and I just finished licking the bowl. Yeah, I know, it's ridiculous. I'm not drunk though, just a little looser.)

But I've got other stuff I need to get rid of. It's insane, I have bunches and bunches and bunches of stuff that I'm keeping because I know there are other people out there who would be happy to have it. The problem is, I don't know who they are.

It's X Files stuff,i, mostly, and some Starsky & Hutch stuff. Pat was a True Believer, she loved The X Files long after I fell away from it. But we bought every fucking magazine—you know, the ones that had "The truth is in here!" on the cover. Yeah, guys, clever the first time, but you're not the first. Pat kept scrap books, and bought artwork and action figures, and trading cards, and I don't know what all. I have a bunch of the pro tapes. And there's a 1997 desk diary sitting here next to me right now. I have no idea if she ever wrote in it or not, though I suppose I could look.

I'm not saving it because it was Pat's. There are things I am saving because they were Pat's, but I've thrown things of hers away, and I've given away things of hers—given them thoughtfully, to close friends, and given them just to get them out of the house, to AmVets. I don't think AmVets would want a bunch of X Files scrapbooks, or a ten year old desk diary. The tapes, though, I could probably sell.

I keep thinking, every time I look at it, that there are things out there I would kill to have, things other people have thrown away, and I hate waste, and I hate the idea of throwing away things other people might want.

OK, the brownies are done. Between the creme de cacao and chocolate chips, it's very possible it might make me begin to levitate, so if you don't hear from me for a while, that's probably why.

[I gave the tapes to my cousin. The brownies are gone. The rest is still here.]
carose59: it's all in my head (the wind of the wing)
In My More Lucid Moments I Realized That Insanity Was A Fairly Reasonable Explanation For What Was Happening To Me. The Problem Was That It Wasn’t Useful Information. Realizing I Was Crazy Didn’t Make The Crazy Stuff Stop Happening. Nor Did It Give Me Any Clues About What I Should Do Next.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I've been through this before, when Pat died. I had dizzy spells, and my anxiety levels went through the roof, and I had trouble doing things, particularly driving. Intersections with stop lights terrified me; I was sure I was going to be T-boned at every one I drove through. I started screaming as I drove through them. Maybe it helped. I got better, anyway.

I'm there again. I know it's the anxiety over my mother, it's making me crazy. I didn't go to work today because there's some snow. I don't know how much. I was screaming yesterday, when the streets were clear. Today I would have been driving five miles an hour and deliberately stopping at green lights. So I stayed home.

I'm trying not to worry about this, trying not to see it as the shape of things to come, a harbinger of being self-trapped in my own house. I don't think it is. It's a symptom of a problem I'm having right now, and I'll either acclimate to the situation or the problem will resolve itself. (That's a euphemism for my mother dying.) I'm pushing myself when it's necessary, but the rest of the time I'm trying to be kind to myself.

Whenever I have to stay home, I require myself to be productive. So far today I've done some cleaning in the kitchen, and I'm hoping to cook. Being productive assuages my guilt. To quote Carrie Fisher, "I feel I'm very sane about how crazy I am." Since I can't eliminate it, I try to make my crazy work for me.

In related matters, Meg has gotten hinky about going out. He seldom just runs out the door anymore, even when the weather's perfectly lovely. Because I'm responsible for everything, I worry that he's picked up this new trepidatious behavior from me, that I'm making my cat agoraphobic. (This isn't totally unreasonable; I knew a woman whose dog was on tranquilizers because her stress levels were stressing him out so bad.) And on the other hand, I worry when I urge him to go out, that there's a predator he's aware of and I'm sending him into danger.

Of course, there are indoor cats who never leave their houses. I can't be one of them, but Meg can, if he wants to. And once spring comes and I have the door propped open, I'm sure he'll run in and out again. Maybe I will, too.

*High Anxiety, Mel Brooks
**Mark Vonnegut
carose59: PLS (moses supposes his toeses are roses)
"No. No, No Please, I'd Rather Stay Out Here. What's—What's That? Lilacs? No. No, It Couldn't Be. It's Two Weeks Early. Guess I—Guess I Always Wanted To Rush The Lilacs."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

When she died, all she left behind was a small silver ring.

It almost fit my little finger, so I took it to a jeweler to have it resized. (It was the same jeweler we took both rings to to have them engraved.) The girl who helped me warned that stretching it could break the ring’s pattern. I told her it didn’t matter, the pattern was already broken, I just needed to wear the ring.

And I wore the ring. I lost it twice, and thought I lost it one other time. It frightened me when it happened, I cried. But I still wore it, because you don’t put something you love in a box unless it’s dead.

So I wore it. It clicked against my own ring, and when I took them off, I always put the little ring inside the big one, to protect it.

Yes, I took them off. We both took them off. She wasn’t even wearing hers when she died; her hands had been cold and it kept slipping off. (Should that have told me something, her hands being cold? Are cold hands a harbinger of death?) We didn’t play silly games like acting as though taking off the rings was a betrayal of some kind. Sometimes my ring would hurt my hand; sometimes it would be so cold, our fingers would shrink and the rings would want to slide off. We’d take them off for safekeeping.

But mostly, we wore them.

Mostly, I wore them.

Until yesterday morning, when I woke up and the little ring was gone.

I stared at my hand and thought, Why did I take it off? Because it seemed that in my sleep I had taken off the little ring.

I stripped the bed. I searched around the bed. I looked in the car and drove to the grocery, just in case it happened earlier than I thought.

I wondered if she had come to take it back, to take it away from me because I don't deserve to wear her ring.

I cried.

I talked to my cousin, about how hard it was, that my house is such a mess and that my eyes aren’t working that well right now—one cataract surgery down, one to go, no glasses to help me see the world, making searching just about impossible.

My cousin, whose house is as big a mess as mine, commiserated.

And that’s when I realized that, while the ring is not on my finger, it is in my house. I’m not wearing it, but I am living with it.

My ring is lonely, but my mind is quiet. The little ring is free.

When she died, all she left behind was a small sliver bird. For nearly ten years, I held the little bird close to my heart, until yesterday it flew away.

*Sam Crandall

New poem

Friday, 14 August 2015 03:41 pm
carose59: poetry (by Henry Gibson)
Talking death to the skeletons

I went upstairs to talk about death
and the law
and the end of the world.
The end of the world was part of my testimony, there only for context.
It would not matter to the court.
And it didn't.

I was judged on my hair, which is too wild,
and my hips, which are too wide,
and my eyes, which cry,
and my mind, which sees things nobody else ever sees/believes/understands.

I can talk like a lawyer, but what I say never stays inside the lines.

I asked my question and was told that death was but a scientific fact.
I should expect nothing because I deserve nothing. That was written down somewhere.

It made my story moot, but I was still required to tell it because the judge always wants everything.

And I was running downhill too fast to stop, so I told it: first the prelude, then the end of the world.
It was moot
so sad, but so what?
Even if it was true—and there was only my word that it was true—the statute of limitations had expired a lifetime ago.
What was I even doing there?
Upstairs, where the judges live—
thin and rich and thin with sparkling white hands that do not touch books touched by other people—
what did I want?
What did I expect?

What could I say?
I didn't want to talk to you in the first place.
I never asked to.
Why would I, when you stole my matches and left me standing in the snow?

The judge tried to offer the conventional saying that indicated she would have been sorry for me, if such a thing had been in her purview—but I wouldn't let the words invade me. I made her keep them.
It was my only victory.

I had to smile—the door wouldn't open until I smiled.
Politely, I drank tea with Goebbels and Godwin, one lump, no lemon,
and pretended I was fine. The knife hadn't hurt. I didn't need that eight ounces of flesh, or that cup of blood.
I sang a song and smiled a smile—
a traitor's smile, a song of collaboration,
because it was either collaborate or set them all on fire.
And they had stolen my matches.

I left, hiding my loss behind my breastbone.
It was the one thing I wouldn't let them have to laugh at later.

If I ever get a new life, they've promised to uphold the warranty on it—just the way they promised before, when they lied. But it doesn't matter.
I don't want a new life anyway.
carose59: health matters (an intuition of mortality)
If You Think I Understand All This, You Will Be Profoundly Mistaken.*

-:- -:- -:-

I've been on vacation this week, and so far I've spent two mornings sitting in Pat's old chair, wrapped in a blanket, sleeping with the TV on.

It's very comforting and very relaxing.

I've got a C-PAP machine, and I've been using it for the last month. According to the machine, I'm doing great. But I feel like I'm not relaxing, and I wake up with a backache every morning from laying funny. (I have to lay with my face off the pillow so the mask doesn't get pushed out of position. I don't like sleeping on my back, and it's not recommended anyway.)

But I miss is the sensual pleasure of just sleeping like a normal person. It's like being put on a diet of pills, pills that are perfectly calibrated to give me the right nutrition, but what joy is there in taking pills?

And I can't get past the ridiculous, pointless thought of how, if Pat was alive, it would make things so much more complicated: no more just snuggling and falling asleep, I'd have to strap on my mask and turn on my machine and figure out how to lay. It's been ten years since I could do that anyway, but that's the thing that makes me so sad.

On the plus side, it's a very quiet machine. I can lie in bed and listen to it rain. And after one night of just staring at the box all night, Meg decided it's not dangerous, and now he ignores it and sleeps with me the same as before.

*Aaron Raz Link
carose59: PLS (moses supposes his toeses are roses)
"Evidence?! Evidence?! I Spit On Evidence!"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Pat used to do this thing that drove me crazy. I’m overly sensitive, physically, in a number of ways, and one of them is, I hate being stroked. Rub your fingers over my arm more than a dozen times, and it starts to hurt. The back of my hand is even worse. Pat liked to hold my hand in the movies, which was nice, but then she’d start stroking the back of my hand with her thumb, which would then start hurting, and I’d have to make her stop.

I’m telling you this because there’s a tendency when somebody dies to forget they were flawed, they weren’t perfect. I don’t care if people want to think Pat was perfect; it’s me I’m having trouble with.

It’s the way the human mind works; we think in absolutes, in dichotomies. If Pat was Good, I must be Bad.

So I try to remind myself of her failings, of which that was a minor example, but I'm not here to say bad things about Pat. I remind myself of her imperfectness, then I feel like a bitch for doing it, which puts me right back where I started. So I’m going to do something new.

I was a selfish bitch long before Pat started showing recognizable symptoms of muscular dystrophy. For that matter, I’ve been a selfish, egocentric, whacko bitch with delusions of literature most of my life. Crazy, wanting to be somebody else, always trying to slide out of reality because it didn’t feel like it fit right, crying over nothing, selfish, awful, selfish. Always. Right from the get-go. A lot of bad things happened to me when Pat started getting really sick, my mind started protective maneuvers, but that’s not when I got selfish or bitchy or crazy or mean. I was always all of those things.

That’s my new mantra: I was always an awful, selfish bitch.

Doesn’t sound like much, does it?

But here’s why I think it’ll work better than the other, you aren’t a bad person line: I’ve never believed that. I’ve always thought there was something fundamentally wrong with me, so telling myself there isn’t doesn’t work.

So, I’m a bad, selfish person. But Pat loved me. That’s not a defense, it’s a fact. She loved me beyond all reason, and she didn’t see me as a bad, selfish person, she didn’t think I was mean to her; I know, because I asked. A lot. And this was before she needed me to look after her, it was when she could have walked out the door whenever she wanted, just taken the car and gone. She wanted to be with me, for reasons I can’t quite fathom, she wanted to be with me. She didn’t see herself as stuck with me. She really, really loved me. (I know, it doesn’t make any sense to me, either.) Whatever I was doing, I wasn’t doing it completely wrong. And Pat wasn’t a victim of my bad bad badness.

I’m trying to hang onto what I believe I know of her. Not being able to trust myself, my perceptions, the things I remember, or think I remember--that makes it very difficult to say anything definitively. I find myself saying, “Pat always liked--” and stopping to correct myself, to qualify, to say, “At least, I think she liked it,” whatever it was. Because how can I be sure? Particularly, how can I be sure if it was something I liked? How can I know she wasn’t just humoring me? She would, you know, to make me happy. (We once watched a TV show for two years before I found out she didn't really like it, she was just watching it because I wanted to.)

But if I didn’t know her, did anybody? If I let myself doubt everything, does she just disappear into maybes and I thinks and waffling and doubt? How can I write about her if I have to keep qualifying every definitive statement I make? I’ve lost her already, but I can’t lose my ability to write about her, not just because I need to write about her, but because who else is going to? Someone has to write about her, someone has to say who she was--what’s the point of spending your life with a writer if that writer doesn’t even write about you after you’re gone? I mean, there has to be some upside to living with an egocentric lunatic with delusions of literature.

I’m a bitch, but I did pay attention to her, I did know her. I just have to keep telling myself that, and I have to keep writing.

*Dr. Rameau
carose59: mourning (i forget just why)
{I wrote this June 28, 2004, but I never posted it. I think I didn't think it was finished, and maybe it isn't; it's a little abrupt. But if it were to continue, it would only take you down the same path all my other grief-stricken analyses of grief go, so maybe there's no point to finishing it. Or maybe there was no point anyway, and that was the point. Anyway, it's part of my past, it's lucid, and it's over four hundred words. What more does it need?}

"Yes, It's Sludge. I Thought It'd Make A Nice Change From Coffee."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

The other day I went to the flea market on East Washington Street.

We used to go there all the time; we spent hours there, looking at records (we got most of our collection there), at jewelry, at all sorts of things. We bought a wastebasket full of old jewelry, necklaces mostly, and used it to make our own beaded curtain.

I'm trying to get back on the horse. Apparently this includes long-dead horses, since we hadn't gone to the flea market in years. But I wanted to walk around, look at things, see if I could find . . . I don't know. Our past?

What I got was dizzy. Hideously dizzy; I didn't sit down, but I didn't really look at anything, either. I couldn't really see anything. I just wandered around and tried not to run into anything.

After that was Home Depot (where my cousin Patrick works). We were there last summer . . . .

Was it last summer? Or was it the summer before? Already I have no idea. Anyway, we were there to buy a fan, which we did. Was it the oscillating fan, the one I just broke? (I took the cage apart to clean it and the blades and it wouldn't go back together again. I have the cage held together with those plastic tie things that have gotten so popular. They're very strong, and I used hot pink ones. Pat was laughing at me when I broke the fan. That made it worthwhile right there.) I drove to the north side of town one dripping hot day to buy another, but they must not have had one because we don't have another oscillating fan.

I'm trying to come up with a way of explaining how pointless things seem without Pat around. There are people to spend time with, and I love them, and I have more time to spend, only—they aren't her. And anything interesting that happens to me just hangs in the air, then drops to the ground. Who needs a fascinating life with no one to talk to about it?

(There is not a day that passes that I don't say to myself, "I hate myself and I wish I had been kinder, better, more attentive.")

*Agador, The Birdcage
carose59: it's all in my head (the wind of the wing)
You Can Just Open Your Hands and Let Go.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I was lying in bed last night thinking that maybe my cough is actually cancer, and I could go to the hospital in New Jersey and at least see Wilson in the hall while I wasted a day or two or—how long did Cindy Lou Who have to sit there while Cameron diddled around? "I'm dying and you make me spend one of the last days of my life in a hospital exam room?! Quit hugging me, bitch, if I wanted somebody hugging me, I'd go after one of the cute doctors you've got here—OK, your hair looks better this season, but still!"

Anyway. That wasn't where I was going.

I was lying there thinking of what I would do if I was dying. Included on my list are: going to New York, getting laid by a cute guy, going to talk to His family, finishing this stupid story series and then burning it. Buy some fireworks next May when they start opening the stores again and send it up like a Roman candle. Maybe I'll do it anyway. My nihilism needs some fireworks. When I go, I'm going like Sonny.

See, I'm into burning now. I'm in the process of burning a bridge not behind me, but while I'm standing in the middle of it, I've lit both ends and I'm just waiting for the fall and I just don't care that it's going to be loud and probably unpleasant, my adrenaline's high enough, I could fly if I need to.

It's a stupid way to live, fantasizing about maybe being terminal because of course I am terminal because of course we're all terminal. My mother's making plans on who to give family pictures to (not me) because I have no one to pass them on to and I've seen them and seen them and seen them, and what am I going to do with them, sit around and look at my great-aunts? It's a stupid way to live.

I'm going to the movies with a guy I've known for a long time and who Pat said had a crush on me. Maybe he'll be the first guy I sleep with. Maybe we'll just have dinner. Maybe I'll tell him I write slash, or maybe I'll try to explain to him the weird thing that happens to me when I try to give blood, or about the voices in my head. Maybe I'll just randomly start telling people what's going on in my head—Him talking to me, sometimes getting messages from God, sometimes from plants or the sunset. I can make a list, of who I've told and what I've told them, and chart the results.

Mood is falling. That was a fast apex. I have to redefine myself, by the friends I don't have anymore.

*Sarah D. Bunting
carose59: it's all in my head (the wind of the wing)
And I Can Take Or Leave It If I Please.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

My mother is seventy-five years old, and not in good health. We talk a lot about her dying, and how everything will go to me. And lying in the dentist's chair today, wondering why I was lying in a dentist's chair, I came up with this plan. (Wait. That sounded a little like Laurence Olivier had abducted me and was asking "Iss it safe?" And this is not the case. I was wondering what I was doing there because I don't know why I'm wasting all this money on teeth that will last longer than I plan to.)

When my mother dies, I'm going to get on a plane and go to NY and spend my limit on every credit card I can get my hands on, and spend every liquid dime I have, and when that's done and I'm 100% broke—owing nothing, owning nothing, you should pardon the expression (and I know it's not quite accurate, I'd be owing the credit card companies a fortune, but this would be a last "screw you" to them)—I'm going to kill myself. I don't know how yet; something to do with blood, I think. Maybe razor blades, maybe I can borrow a gun. Hey, maybe I can even buy one. I've only ever held a gun once in my life, maybe I'd like it, owning one.

I'm hurting, and I can't see any end to it coming. All the now-you-can-do-this-with-your-life bullshit is just that. I want to go where I feel right, and I don't think there really is any place like that, but NY has been a narcotic for me. I want to go O.D. on it and not have to worry about how my life doesn't fit anymore.

The truth is, there has only been one person in my life who has ever had unlimited time for me, who has ever—

And I don't see it ever happening again. When I was eighteen, I was more adventurous, and prettier, and quite often happier, I think. More entertaining, anyway.

*Suicide Is Painless, Johnny Mandel & Mike Altman
carose59: mourning (i forget just why)
Forgive Me, I Seem To Be the Only One Wallowing In This*

-:- -:- -:-

I was signed up to, but a fear they would put the needle in my arm and the world would go black and I would never come back overcame me and I had to back out. The guy I talked to was very nice (though of course I didn't tell him any of that, I just told him that ten weeks ago my girlfriend had died). The fact that my eyes kept leaking probably had something to do with it. I doubt they really want you giving blood if you're crying.

First I'm afraid if I go to NY by myself, I'll disappear into the streets of Brooklyn. Now I'm afraid if I give blood, I'll close my eyes and go into the dark and never come back. I don't mean die (I am afraid of death but mostly because I'm not finished). I mean—I don't even know what I mean. Disappear. The earth will close up where I was and I will not, will not have, will never exist.

Also, I kept seeing all the other times I've given blood, and gone home feeling so fragile and Pat taking care of me. Not doing anything, just being there.

And now they're doing commercials on Bravo for the Inside the Actor's Studio Bette Midler was on and every time I see one, I start crying. I should have just stayed home and watched it with Pat instead of going to the hospital to visit Darby. I'd wanted to see it—had been looking forward to it. I should have stayed home with her and maybe we wouldn't've had that fight. She wasn't even mad at me, I was mad at me and I couldn't stop screaming because I was so hurt by such a small, stupid thing. I wasn't trying to hurt her, I was trying to get the pain out of me, trying to let her know without sounding as childish as I thought I would have if I'd just said it flat-out. Apparently sounding unreasonable and psychotic is better than sounding childish.

I wander around with this mantra: "I wish I was dead, I wish I was dead, I wish I was dead," going through my head. I force myself to go for walks (though I don't have to today; it's hot out, I don't have to walk when it's hot). I force myself to cook and to talk to people, to smile and be cheery. I don't go around people when I'm crying because why should they be unhappy? The nature of the universe as we have known is different, but nothing has changed, nothing has changed.

I should have closed up the house before I left for work. It will take a long time to cool down. If I felt better, I would go out to eat while the house cooled off, but why? I'll go home and have the last of the chili, watch L&O, tell myself to go to bed at eight and stay up 'til ten. I wear a nightgown to bed now; one of Pat's because I don't seem to have any summer nightgowns. I turn on the TV when I get up in the morning and watch parts of a tape, whatever happens to be in the VCR. Sometimes I just sit there and watch, not moving at all. I don't care if I'm late for work. I only keep going in because someday it might matter if I have this job.

My heart is doing its fluttery thing again. Summer is nearly over and now I have to go through autumn alone, Halloween, which we always celebrated, sometimes with scary movies. We used to have parties, a million years ago when I didn't have to clean the house by myself and it was possible to get it in good enough shape to have people in. Halloween was a special holiday for us.

And after that comes Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and I'm going to be sending out Christmas cards alone—Pat always wanted to send out our cards the day after Thanksgiving. If I send out cards at all, I won't send them the day after Thanksgiving, because it was always my fault when we weren't ready yet, and now, even if I do it, even if I'm ready, I won't send them out that day because it just seems mean to do it when she doesn't care about it anymore.

Mean the way getting the cable guy to finally come out and fix the pixilation problem, because Pat wanted that taken care of and I couldn't get the house cleaned up, and now I had it taken care of because I didn't fucking care how the house looks, I was tired of paying all this money for a lousy picture.

Why couldn't I have started not caring about it sooner? Because the only reason I don't care is because Pat is dead and I don't care about anything anymore. I just need the TV to keep me from going crazy. But it feels so mean to fix this after she's gone, and it's why (well, one reason why) I haven't done anything to fix up the house the way everybody keeps saying I could/should. (The other reasons are, I'm too tired, and I don't care.)

It feel so awfully, awfully mean, as mean as yelling at her about the damn spaghetti—I should have just gone and cooked spaghetti for her and pretended to eat (she would have been upset if I'd only cooked it for her. Did I convince her she wasn't worth it? Where did she get the idea I was so important that doing things just for me was all right, but doing things just for her wasn't? My awful, horrible selfishness?)

I feel like this should be teaching me to be a better person, only I'm not going to learn, because what the fuck is the point of becoming a better person now that Pat is gone??

I have to quit crying now so I can go home and watch TV.

I am not the person I used to be.

*Hank, The Men From the Boys

Pat used to sing to Pooh-Bear [Sundance]. She changed the words for him because of his tail (which he held curved so the tip of it was against his back). We called him the handle-tail, and Pat would sing, "I'm a little Pooh-Bear, short and stout. Here is my handle, here is my snout. When I get all steamed up, hear me shout, 'Meow! Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow!'"
carose59: mourning (i forget just why)
"He Paints a Painting a Day Because He's In Prison For Selling Quaaludes."*

-:- -:- -:-

There are no messages for me on my voicemail at work. The phone does not ring for me, unless my mother happens to call, a very seldom thing.
There is no reason for me to have my home number on the speed dial. The cats do not answer the phone when it rings.
It's Tuesday again.
I get up on Tuesdays, wondering why I'm still here. I hate Tuesdays.
It all happened yesterday, yesterday. No time has passed at all. Everyone else has moved forward and my feet are buried in that day, I don't move forward at all. It was twilighty when I went to wake her up. I didn't know she was dead until they told me. I wish I had. If I'd known, I wouldn't've called anyone right away.
My mother thinks I've had the worst thing happen to me, waking up next to Pat, dead. (Pat dead, not me. Waking up dead. Some mornings, waking up dead doesn't sound so bad, but I don't know how to arrange it.)
Anyway, my mother. I didn't tell her it isn't, the worst part is I never got to hold her again, though I did pet her hair, and I did kiss her goodbye. There are zillions of analogies and none of them is right. Everything is the same and everything is different. I want to just get on a plane and fly to Coney Island (I never got to take Pat there), I want to walk along the beach (but I don't know why), I want to ride the Cyclone, I want to move unhurriedly through it all. But I don't know why because there's no point going out when there's nothing to come back to.
I don't know if I'm depressed. Maybe. I know I just don't care about much of anything. Things that used to matter cause a twinge, then vanish. People who used to rule my life—

I still love them. But I don't know why. What difference does it make?

Take the sun out of the solar system, then explain to the planets how to get along without it, without gravity. Let me know how it works out.

*Herb Tarlek


Thursday, 29 July 2004 11:18 am
carose59: mourning (i forget just why)
I think I will learn the Latin name of every songbird, not only in
America but wherever they sing.*

-:- -:- -:-

I'm crying because I know that, if she came back tomorrow, I would still be the same selfish bitch I've always been, that this is who I am, a once—and—future failure.

I'm crying because I know it's my fault she's dead, and if she came back, I would still want to go out every day, away from her to walk and talk to myself. I wouldn't stop being selfish, even if God gave her back. If she came back, I would just kill her again. I know this, and I hate myself for it.

I'm crying because I wasted so much time with other people, because I was mean to her, because I was scared so much, because my neurosis got in the way of me opening up, because I hid from her, because—

You know how in French Kiss Meg Ryan suggests she and Timothy Hutton chainsaw their sofa down the middle as a way of evenly dividing their stuff? I'm crying because that's what's happened to all of my stuff. Chainsawed right down the middle, and even though both pieces are right there, they're not fixable.

She used to sing to the cats, songs she made up for them. I tell them now, "Mommy—the good mommy—is in heaven." We argued over who the good mommy was.

She used to—when there was something strange or funny on TV that she wanted to ask me about, she'd raise her hand like JT in Return of the Secaucus 7, when they're playing school. "Mr. Donnelly?" she'd ask, and I'd say, "Yes, JT?" And then she'd ask me things like why it was all right to chase park squirrels and not street squirrels, or any one of a million silly questions that I would then make up pseudo—serious answers to.

Except sometimes I was tired, or I had stuff that had to get done. Tuesday I was in the kitchen crying because I was in the kitchen, cutting up the catfish for the stew and I wanted it done fast so I just stood there, cutting it up instead of dragging everything out to the living room so I could do it where Pat was, so we could be together. Crying about doing it even now when—well, yes, she is in the living room, but in a plastic bag and a cardboard box. Crying about every time it seemed important to get something done away from her—sorting laundry in the backyard because the weather was pretty and I liked being out in it, instead of taking it in and being with her, crying about going out to talk to the flowers, leaving her alone—

parting is all we know of heaven
and all we need of hell (Emily Dickinson)

How could I leave her alone so much? Is that why she's left me alone? Does she still love me at all, at all?

*Intention to Escape from Him, Edna St. Vincent Millay
carose59: RSS (music set me on fire)
"If You Want To Be There For Me, Just Make It From Further Away, OK?"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

In this book I'm reading, the little boy died. (No, it's not Cujo.) I'm going to have to spell-check this carefully, because I'm crying too hard to see the monitor clearly. The little boy died.

And I'm back with Celia, inside her skin, and I'm getting hysterical.

My red pen is missing. I can't do Christmas cards without my red pen. I spent an hour, and missed IMing with Andie, because I was searching for the cell phone.

He died. Where does life go, where does it go? I can't understand it, I just feel this loss echoing in me like Quasimodo's bells going crazy in my head. Why do I feel this loss, it's not my loss, I never even met Him, He just moved into my head when I walked into His mother's house.

(I can't find a consistent way of writing about Him, and I value consistency highly because reality shifts and if you know that you always do a certain thing a certain way, you can recognize it again and you don't get lost. Only I can't do that, so I always get lost. I'm lost now.)

My father died this year.

When I was about nine years old, a woman hit a telephone pole at the corner of our street one evening, and the pole snapped. It didn't break where the car hit (yes, there was a car, it wasn't just a woman hitting a pole, she was driving a car), it broke a couple of yards above the point of impact.

Was the woman injured? Did she die? I can't remember. The power went out, so a lot of us were outside, sitting on our porches, watching whatever was happening—an ambulance arriving, the Power and Light truck. It was summer, the dark was late in coming.

I didn't understand about the pole, how it could break in a place it wasn't hit, why being hit in one place would make it snap elsewhere. I asked my parents, and I'm sure my father explained—he would have known that sort of thing. I don't remember what he told me, but I understand it now.

You take the hit, and you don't even feel it. Everyone is worried; something terrible happened, but you don't know what to do with their concern because you feel fine. Life goes back to normal, until suddenly something snaps. And the something isn't what got hit. A brick hits you in the leg and your arm snaps. How do you explain that? How do you explain that the reason the cable bill is late in December because your father died in February? The connection here is . . . ?

The connection is, I don't know. I don't feel right. I'm out of sync with everything, including paying bills. I think about it, worry about it, but I don't do it because—

I don't know.

The little boy died, and now I'm crying, not over him, it's never over the character in the book, it's about a real-life thing that hurts to much, or stands to close, for me to see it; I can only feel it in reflection, hear it in echo. It has to be oblique, because if I felt it in real-time, it would kill me. The little boy died, so I'm crying over Him, and my father, and myself.

It's always about myself. But we knew that, didn't we?

*Dr. Mahesh "Bug" Vijayaraghavensatanaryanamurthy

July 2017

23456 78

Style Credit