The sweater

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I realize that I actually do not owe anyone an apology for not blogging more, but I’m going to apologize anyway. It was never my intention to blog daily, but I do like to blog frequently enough that the regular readers don’t give up on me! So if you’ve checked in and found nothing new far too often lately, I really am sorry about that. It means so much to me to have a receptacle for what I write (I hope you don’t mean being called a receptacle! I mean that in the most reverent way!) and I do hope you’ll bear with me while I do what is needed to keep the vehicle that is me between the lines.

It’s probably no great surprise that my life is not a picnic right now. Several of you, in fact, have told me that it is surprising that I have kept on in light of my mother’s passing, when any sane person would have known to go into wound-licking mode. That is not what I was guided to do, however, and I guess running my life into a ditch is my clumsy way of figuring out that it needs a complete overhauling. Things that have been neglected for far too long are no longer looming in the background, but are right up in my face. The house is filthy, my body and emotions are in serious need of TLC, and my relationship with Rick is crying out for attention.

I’m finally making a little headway (is that a pun?) with the grieving. Let me tell you about the sweater. When I was at my dad’s in April, two weeks after my mom died, (I was back home in North Carolina for my niece’s wedding), piles of my mom’s clothing, etc., were in the guest bedroom where my sister had been sorting it all for charity and such. The day I left, I picked up one of her sweaters—a very soft cashmere-like coral one—that had been in her wardrobe for as long as I could remember, and when I held it close and breathed in, it smelled just like her. Well, it pulled the plug on my feelings and got the tears flowing like nothing else had. After a moment, I put it back on the pile and got my suitcases loaded and headed out. (Dad was at a physical therapy appointment and we had already said our goodbyes.) On my way to the airport, I called my sister, who’d been sorting the clothes, and told her about the experience of the sweater. She said, “Did you take it with you?” and when I said I had left it there, she insisted that I should have taken it. “Why didn’t you?” she probed. “I don’t know—I just couldn’t,” I responded. As we said goodbye and I drove on, I realized that she was right. I really, really wanted that sweater. So when I got home, I emailed her and asked her to put it in a plastic bag (to preserve the Mom smell) and send it to me. It arrived the day before I was leaving for Louisiana and I just couldn’t open it then as I didn’t feel I had time to have the major meltdown that was one sweater-sniff away. So I left it sealed in the box. Once I got back from the trip, there was still too much going on for the first couple of days to do it justice. And by then, I was almost dreading opening that package. But Monday morning, I knew it was time. I got it out and snuggled up with it (someone suggested that I put it on, but Mom quite a bit smaller than I am, and it would just about fit my head!) and listened to Ashes, and cried and cried and howled a bit and cried some more. What a perfect trigger for me. It’s going to make the feelings so much easier to access. Linda was so right. I needed that sweater.

I got my thank-you notes for the condolence cards, etc., written at last today, which was a relief as it’s taken me almost five weeks to get to them. I still have some thank-yous to write to the wonderful folks in Lousiana, but writing them will be a pleasure, as was writing the thank-yous for all the sweet notes about Mom. It’s funny how you can set yourself up to think of something as a chore, and when you finally get around to doing it, you wonder why you did that to yourself as you realize what you dreaded was a joy to do!

So I’ll be tending my life and clearing out the stuff that’s keeping me at lower frequency. I will report on it as often as possible and as honestly as possible. It seems that to keep the energy clear, I can’t just pretend to you that everything is hunky dory and that I’m closer to Eden than I am. Perhaps there is some healing for us all in my sharing the process—if not, I know there is for me at least.

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Where To From Here?

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This page contains a single entry by Julia published on May 26, 2005 3:06 AM.

More catching up from LA trip was the previous entry in this blog.

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