It has been two months since my mother died.
We had a life celebration service for her and it was wonderful. We cleaned out her apartment and it wasn't terrible. Everyone has been so patient and lovely and considerate. Mother's Day was sweet. No problem.
So I was thinking, "Grief ... not so bad."
I have also been thinking that the language around grief may be insufficient. "How are you feeling?" is the usual question, always asked with the most honorable and kind intentions.
"Fine." "Good." "Okay." is what I usually say.
And it is totally true and not true at all. I think grief should be put in the same sort of category as love. If you exclaim, "I am in love!" you get asked for the details - the who, when, what, where, why of the delirious fall.
Grief is also a delirium. "I am in grief" would be more accurately encompassing. It is easier for me to tell a tale of the strange landscape of my mind than to categorize the "good" or "badness" of my feelings. To understand your feelings is to understand delusion while you are stuck in the messy, compelling middle of it.
So here is a tale. The last several nights my mom has decided to make an appearance in the extraordinary, ephemeral space between awake and sleep. There, for the briefest second, I watch her laugh so hard she almost spits. I watch her place the heels of her hands into her hips and rub the pain out of them. I watch her play card games on her iTouch. I watch her stare out the rear window of her apartment, cigarette in shaky hand, wheelchair in the parked position.
And there I appreciate that I am 100% unprepared to acknowledge the loss of her just yet. I feel the weight of what I am NOT dealing with as though I am wise therapist to my own reluctant psyche. I can see the grief I am not feeling as plain as day. Who would enter that tsunami willingly? Not me.
Usually, my space between is dreamy and forgetful. Short an imagined erotic encounter or two, that which happens in that everyday, split-second thinning-of-the-veil interlude tends not to stick with me for the long night of circus-worthy dreams nor into the next bright day. Notably, that space is where all my genius literary epiphanies occur then vanish. Poof!
But these glimpses of my mother are not vanishing. My mother is in that space between for a reason and I know I will continue to find her there as long as I need her. Or maybe as long as she needs me.
It really does make perfect sense. My mother loved to sleep as much as -- sometimes more than -- she loved to be awake. When she was alive, her sleep lust bugged me; it represented depression and absence to me. Now it's okay. Now it is more than okay. For now, it is everything I need.