The more I don’t want to hear it, the louder the echo sounds

I spend too much of my time in a hurry I don’t understand.

It’s tempting to pin it all on work (with the stream of emails, the need to have things to put up on a giant whiteboard as indicators of forward motion, the meetings with their “what will you do differently because of this, tomorrow?” questions), but not entirely accurate.

Because in the not work stuff department, there is the matter of my inconvenient and difficult feelings, and how I’d rather not have them. So I create this self-imposed pressure to hurry up and get it over with, to get back to the not-feeling-this way part, the part of my life where I’m not thinking about my mother and the upcoming anniversary of her death. Where I’m not reminded that about this time, six years ago (long enough to be over it, clearly, past it and untroubled, right?) the work I was doing involved washing sheets, doling out medication, sitting with Mom and her pastor to plan her funeral, and witnessing goodbyes.

And waiting. The terrible kind of waiting where you know the event you are waiting for is inevitable, needs to happen, in a logical way it will be a relief when it happens, but still, how can you sit around and wait for that? Will you know it when it happens, when what you are waiting for is probably going to be something not happening, the next breath that doesn’t come? The waiting that stretches out in the dark to be endless, because everything is harder in the dark, it’s some master rule of the universe that the hours after midnight and before sunrise are endless. The waiting that ends and opens up some entirely different world, where something central is missing, and how do you wait your way through that?

So I’m in the middle of a long weekend this weekend. I gave myself a time out from work, because the hurry parts were making me cranky and weepy. The hurry part where I don’t want to take the time to slow down and breathe and be here now and all that other touchy feely crap I so desperately wish did not apply to me in any way has been making me particularly irritable. I’ve learned enough to recognize when I’m irritated with virtually every person I interact with, it is really me, not them. Damn it.

This is the part where I admit it’s still hard, every March into April. Every year I think it it won’t be, I think this year will be different. I think I know better now, I’m paying attention, I’ve put in my time and I’m not going to be grief’s punching bag. Then I realize the gloves are on my own hands, I’m the one making it harder.

It’s not fair, it’s complicated, and it’s spring. Again.


My Mom would have been 57 years old today. This is the first time since she died that her birthday has coincided with the holiday.

I’m not really sure what more I want to say about this. It felt wrong to let the day go by and not mention it here, so I am. Mom has been on my mind a lot lately. Probably because her birthday was coming up, probably because there are things going on I know I would be talking to her about — Lisa’s trip to Tokyo, how my new job is going, the new Harry Potter movie. Big things and little things.

I think it was six months after she died that I got a cellphone. I remember stopping in the middle of the sidewalk in Downtown Crossing when I thought, I’ll have to give Mom my new number and then realized No, I won’t. I can’t. That was a little thing with big stopping power, at the time.

Then, it would have seemed impossible that her birthday would fall on Thanksgiving and that I would ever be okay. Now, three years later, I enjoyed the quiet, low-key day Lisa and I had together at home. We ate turkey. We watched The Muppet Show, something I remember being allowed to stay up an extra half hour to watch when I was little. We talked to family. It was a good day.

I know I have a lot to be thankful for, and I am.