That which remains
Posted on July 22nd, 2014
Outside in the condo parking lot, a Providence Home Health truck is loading up the things that had been keeping my neighbor alive. Despite her (well, to be nice about it) lack of outward affection to her neighbors, she had a lot of family and friends, and seeing them clean her condo and deal with her things has…
…has made me think about things like: I have a lot of things, mostly books and shoes and clothes and dishes. (I have a lot of dishes, although most were gifts and remain in boxes. I’ve been using these same Pfaltzgraff pattern, long ago retired, for more than 20 years and I’m still not bored with it.) So I have been getting rid of as many things as I can (again). It doesn’t make me more alive to have more things, so why do I have them? I have bags of clothes to take to resale again.
…has made me think of things like: what if something happens to me and kH and no one is there to explain to pH what the significance is of the china in the boxes or the sterling spoons or the jewelry engraved with family nicknames? The family photos for which there are no duplicates (although they are scanned and in a family tree online). There is a major downside to this family estrangement nonsense, although it still doesn’t outweigh the benefits. (There is also the terror that she would end up with my family and be taught I am/was an awful person.)
…has made me think of things like: I am approaching what is probably my midlife, barring an accident or illness. Halfway, if I’m lucky, if medications do what they’re supposed to. (Or maybe someone’ll slip a walnut into my salad tomorrow and that’ll be it. You never know.)
…has made me realize my will is woefully out of date.
…has made me remember the day when I caught kH looking at his death benefits and realizing, hey, his depression isn’t some passing black dog. This shit is real. (We are not past that place yet.)
…has made me realize that it is weird to not be the [more] depressed one. That this was my role in my natal family (as it turned out, it was everyone’s role, except I picked medication and they picked booze), that this was the thing I struggled with for so long, but yet I am not the depressed one. I enjoy things. I get out of bed and get dressed and I go out. I am stressed and anxious and I am probably not truly happy because of everything that I’m juggling, and it is heavy, but everything that bothers me now has its roots in something external to me. I may do my shame spiral, but I didn’t bring this on myself.
…has made me think that last thing may be the most obvious thing to everyone else, but it is the most liberating to me.
…has made me realize that I can’t control kH’s moods. I can’t exhaust myself being the cheerleader, which is what I’ve tried to do. I can’t organize, plan, or navigate his way out of where he is. It’s his deal.
…has made me accept that whatever happens, I will endure. I can get through this. It may take a lot of time and a lot of medication, because hello, biochemistry!
But it has also reminded me we are fragile bags of salt and water and metal, and while we think we are very important, someday there will be the Providence Home Health services truck and there is nothing we can do to stop that beep-beep-beep.
I would rather it be later than sooner, and so as long as I can, no matter how hard it gets, I will keep going.