The first anniversary of her death will be on September 1st.
In the year since my mother died, I have experienced days of grief that just came over me, an intense sadness: unshakeable, persistent and gripping.
And then, inexplicably, the darkness leaves and I’m set back into temporary equilibrium. I no longer cry easily and my laughing is real.
But the fragile happiness goes away again, and then the days of moodiness, anger, sadness, loneliness, self-destructive thoughts and a yearning to have someone hold and comfort me, comes back.
These are those days: these late August days.
Since I was a kid I’ve always hated August.
I hated its hotness and its humidity. I hated its interminable thirty-one days of family beach vacations. I hated coming back to “reality”, to school and to work. I hated August holding us in its grip of tall corn and short tempers, melted ice cream and burning asphalt. August is the threat of impending hurricane, school, and work held back by the ruse of calendar.
There is really nobody close to reach out to.
The advice, always, is to just get busy with something. If you had a full-time job, if you had kids, you wouldn’t be in this state-of-mind.
I think of that stinging indictment delivered by a friend in Chicago: “You’ve chosen a selfish life.” How selfish to feel.
So I go to MacLeod Ale and have a few beers and talk to people I know, not about anything deep, just something human and non-virtual.
I hire a model and take photos and think I’m taking great photos. He puts them on his Instagram and I put them on mine. And then he takes my photos off his Instagram. And I close down mine.
There is no solace or satisfaction in art when you go online. What seems great to you is crap if it doesn’t garner 8,000 likes.
There is a mighty fine job interview with some super smart people and the opportunity to work on something interesting. It pays well, it’s nearby, it might turn out to be stimulating.
So I go in for the job meeting and then I wait for an answer.
And I must stop myself from imagining the rejection, even though that is what happens most of the time.
This morning I wake up and see a gruesome news story about the killing of a news reporter and her photographer, the wounding of another woman, and the pursuit and eventual death of the suspect.
It is just another morning of murder in America, refreshed every single day by the shooting of some other strangers in some other states.
I follow the story of the news crew killings on Twitter. They reveal the identity of the killer. Then he posts his POV video on Facebook and I watch it.
What kind of madness is this?
Is social media making people ill?
We are all enraged by something. The ubiquitious gun and smart phone make our most bestial and primitive urges possible. We can act, produce and distribute our own unspeakable fantasies for the world’s consumption and entertainment.
In this new epoch of human life we are all Gods stage managed by the Devil.
I decide the cure is to lessen my place in the virtual world. I will delete something, I will stop doing something online, I will take my eyes and thoughts out of the Internet.
When you are in mourning, they say there is no time- table for recovery. You imagine that the hour will arrive where grief, a monster of no particular form, shall scatter and take with it remnants of memory, love, and attachment.
You go through the day, in motions: working, cleaning, driving, shopping, cooking, and watching television.
You drink a beer or two and feel something elating, calming, relaxing and pleasurable.
And when the beer wears off, you are deep in touch again with something you tried to forget. And you cry and cry but there is nobody to pick you up and hug you.
You are alone, facing something final.
You are in a grieving mood.
Awaiting redemption and answers and the return of normal life.