“Bones are broken and the will is sunk
How did everything get so fucked up?
Do you want to change your mind?
You can always change your mind

You and I could quit this scene
Build a town and then secede
Like an Adam and an Eve
Cause to the dreamers go the dreams
But the leaders have the lead
It’s a frightening, frightening thing

Born to the land of opportunity
Of manifest destiny
Do you want to change your mind?
You can always change your mind” -Guster

my words are still not going to capture the extent of what happened. out feelings. our fears. our… confusion. since the country has elected a new president, i am still looking to put together the pieces. i have looked to my heroes and even they have not been able to offer any inspiration or encouragement. it is harrowing. people are comparing 11/9 to 9/11, but as it remember it, our country bonded together after 9/11…

tonight the Pats play and flag is unfurled and the anthem is sung… I suppose life will go on. As President Obama said… the sun will still rise.

the country has validated all the horrible, hateful, hurtful things that one person has said. or at least stated that bigotry is not a deal-breaker. that it will be tolerated.

i don’t know where we go from here. but i think love still trumps hate.

I grieved her when I realized I was losing her to alcoholism. I grieved her again when the alzheimer’s became evident. I grieved when she moved to assisted living. I grieved when I cleaned out her house. At some point, one would think there’s not much left to grieve…

But there always is.

“Throw me no life vest
I’m not drowning
My lungs are fine
I am breathing for the first time
Like I have so many times before

The salt in the air is the salt in the sea
Is the salt the earth, is the salt in me

So please, let this vessel go down
I am taking on water
I am so far from the shore
I am giving my flesh to your body
Ocean open wide once more

Tell me no tall tale
I’m not climbing
Your walls are down
I am feeling for the first time
My way in is my way out

The salt in the air is the salt in the sea
Is the salt the earth, is the salt in me

So please, let this vessel go down
I am taking on water
I am so far from the shore
I am giving my flesh to your body
Ocean open wide once more” -Hoots and Hellmouth

I’m not going to lie–and I’m not sure why I ever thought I should–but cleaning out my mom’s house is really tearing me up, both physically and emotionally. It is just too much. I don’t even have words. Sometimes I have to remind myself that she’s not dead. But she’s definitely not the same person she used to be. I feel that she would want me to have a lot of her (and her mother’s) belongings… and that to not take them would dishonor her. But I have no space and the excess stuff is causing me stress. We are at critical mass.

When I was visiting mom last week, she told another member of the community that “It’s just so hard” having a daughter. The other woman asked her, “What’s so hard about it?” My mom answered something like “watching her grow up.” (Her language is always so convoluted now.) The other woman said, “Yes but you have to let them fly.”

I wondered if this undercurrent of rhetoric has always been what’s brought me back home. And what’s made me feel so guilty about my own… “flight.”

Looking through my mom’s belongings… it’s so interesting what she kept (and what she didn’t), even in the throes of her dementia. She kept many many letters from her students. My God, she was an awesome teacher. Numerous (numerous) students wrote to her from college… about life lessons they learned in her classroom that had served them for years. One student apologized for cheating and said my mom’s comment of “Why??” with a zero at the top of the page had changed her life forever and made her prioritize things like integrity and self-respect.

My grandmother saved some great things too… One was a project I had to complete by interviewing members of my family. My mother wrote a letter to me. She was happy for me. But she “missed what was.” I was destined to regret growing up from a young age.

In all, one thing is for sure… being home has forced me to process a LOT. It is overwhelming. All memories seem tainted by recent events–i.e. the dissolving of our family structure. It is hard to remember that just because some things weren’t forever, that it doesn’t discount their once treasured value.

I don’t even know what to say. I’m crushed… I think. Now is probably a good time for a gratitude list:

  • Getting the airport family together again
  • Sunny 70-degree days
  • Being close to mom
  • Having a trip down memory lane with dad while we clean out the house
  • A working car
  • Tiger
  •  A (beautiful) roof over my head
  • Getting to see Will’s new house soon!
  • Pumpkin beer
  • Getting organized… albeit a process
  • The stars at night (it’s been so clear and dark)