Archives for December 2013

Merry Christmas, Mom. Wish You Were Here.

Not where I wanted to visit my mom this Christmas.

She always made it special – her decadent walnut/cream log rolls, family requested Velveeta, green chile, ground beef taco dip and thoughtful gifts (although sometimes she forgot you weren’t a teen anymore and couldn’t pull off that short shirt with multi-colored dread beads hanging off the edges).

When I was working on a Dominatrix pitch and didn’t make it home for Christmas – she sent me a riding whip amongst more typical gifts. The dude I was dating had a tradition where you brought your sent gifts to his friend’s house and opened them in front of the stuffed and mid-afternoon drunken guests. Pulling out the whip was quite a hit.

And so was this year. I’ve lost most of it. Grief suffocating me, paralyzing me, a constant companion. I sink like dead weight in the bed. It was difficult to be around balconies, too tempting to jump.

I don’t look in the mirror much, first because I have similar features to my mom and it haunted me, now because part of my spirit is gone. The loss is visible. Color and levity washed out of my face.

It took seven months to feel “present” again. And triggers (like my mom’s tombstone arriving) set me right back. “Merry Christmas, Mom. Wish you were here” echoed over and over when that happened. I wanted her tombstone to be there by Christmas, but the reality that I’d be standing on that cold ground instead of hugging her and shopping for antiques and nudging her morning piddle-paddle along so we could get going, devastated me. Again.

My understanding, compassionate friend Ana and my cab driver, Sam from El Salvador – were amazing to me as I totally lost it that night. I HATE crying and now I’ve accepted it happens – it fucking happens all the fucking time – anywhere, in front of anyone.

You can tell those who have never suffered anything tragic. They ask you ridiculous questions at the funeral, expect you to come out for a show just a month after the tragic event that shattered you forever. I used to be one of you, I envy you. As my cousin and I said to each other at my mom’s funeral – “This shit happened to other people.” Then my uncle (his dad) was hit by a car and my mom shot herself.

Yeah, I’m still furious. At my mom for not reaching out to all of us who loved her, at “God,” at a country that pretends to be compassionate and educated but is primal when it comes to addressing mental illness. And at the NRA – at least start donating to mental illness community groups if you want to “absolve” yourselves from every bullet’s harm.

What’s getting me through this (’cause it sure as hell ain’t done) is compassion. I am so grateful for my Aunt Suzie, Aunt Sandy, Aunt Joan, Aunt Dawn, Uncle Tom, Uncle Mike, and friend and cousin-in-law Tanya – they helped my brother Jeremy and I pack up my mom’s house when we could barely stand. My mom saved EVERYTHING and owned a consignment store so it was no easy feat to pack up her house. Her life.

We cried, laughed, shared items we knew would be meaningful to one another.

And I am grateful for my mom’s friend Gail, who is always searching for the answer why this happened and why my mom broke her promise not to do anything to herself. And to her brother Randy (my mom’s partner), who kept vigil at the house until it was sold and fixed things that broke.

I have many more cousins and friends to thank too – next blog!

No words can express the bond my brother and I have melded through this trauma – constant allies in a soul shattering situation – no nonsense over dumb shit. And my boyfriend Mark is truly a saint. Standing by my side when I had no idea where – or if – I could stand. And dealing with my tantrums that came out of nowhere. It’s easy to be set off, to act out – when you have no idea where to throw the darkness.

Glen Hansard has a song – “You have broken me all the way down” and – while it’s about a romantic relationship – it resonates. The loss of my mom has broken me. All the way down.

My birthday is tomorrow. The first one without my mom’s call, her encouragement, her Hallmark card with a sweet handwritten message. Life will never be the same.

Miss you, Mom. Wish you were here.