Thursday, August 13, 2009

In the Day

My world has been rocked so severely this summer that I badly want the emotional space to absorb and deal with crises in other people's lives. Things are going on in my extended family's lives that need a certain amount of what's left of my heart, and my heart needs to rebuild by being there for them and by being here for myself.

To whit, this is Day Six of a clean abstinence that pretty much drifted down on me in a meeting. Something about having acquaintances console me and stroke my arms carried that ineffable grace we all need to take whatever the first step toward healing is.

My crisis upon arriving back from Arizona is abating. I know my manuscript will be accepted; Henry has departed for the suburbs and is beyond my clutching grief; my prescription company has finally gotten back in touch with me; there is a modest amount of income coming in from dogs and from coaching writers, a gig I find I really like. I'm a tough and honest judge of writing, but I'm good at it.

My loose ends seem still to cluster around the book, however. When will the legal department vett it so that the second payment can be made? Will the woman who participated in the book sign the necessary waivers? How in the world can we make a January pub date when we're already so behind? Should we move it to June or the following year?

My mother is such a moving target of good, lucid, humorous spells, followed by bratty breakdowns, followed by gasping, gray-faced immobility and incoherence, that I can't say much more except that my parents will be moving back to Montana in September. This, of course, has consequences for me. I'm not looking forward to regular visits to the ghosts of my home town. It's twice the expense of flying to Phoenix. There is one Very Very Important Person in Arizona who I'll know longer see every so often. And all of this has been coming to a head in the last two weeks, with about three or four weeks to go -- a time period in which I must make some money and will be away for eight days in Czech-fucking-Republic. I just accepted a boarding job that will end with a last walk just before I go home and pick up my bags and leave for JFK. Last night, in sorting out the dates, it all became real to me.

So add a dose of extremely useless guilt that I'm not on the spot to help with this move.

I have serene moments and once-a-day or so meltdowns. Today I will write or call a good friend of my parents' who is one of the heads of the "Alternative Catholic Community" in Missoula to ask him to perform Last Rites for Mom. My mom's involvement in forming the ACC is how she got ex-communicated. I call it "Our Lady of Off-Off Broadway". Suddenly I find their inclusiveness ("Our Father and Mother...") not quite as hilarious. I need them. I will be easier in my heart for the Rites and I think Mom will too.

But today is today: surprise! I've got dogs to walk and board out. I have Zoloft to pick up at the drug store. I have finances to take a serious look at. Writing this is heroic but then each action in the day feels heroic -- brush my teeth? Impossible. Do it anyway. OK, if I can do that, maybe I can take my meds. Maybe I can wash the breakfast dishes. Maybe I can pick up a few things at the store. Car on the Hill is so far and beyond those mundane things that I feel like a weight liftress.

I doubt I'll dive into my novel today but I might get to Psychology Today. What I'd really like is a mani/pedicure -- my fingernails are so long they account for half my typos.

In this day, I will try to be fair by my dogs. I will try to keep my needs up to date. I've been eating deliciously. I've begun toasting old fashioned oats in a skillet -- high heat for about five minutes, stirring often -- then adding them to yogurt with vanilla and blueberries. Summer tomatoes are in and deserve better than my usual dressing, so it's been olive oil, salt, lemon juice, cayenne (helps digestion) and black pepper (helps depression). I can really taste the greens and the tomatoes this way. Dinner has been yogurt, late. Comfort food at the dangerous part of the day.

I think I'll look into some electronics I'm interested in today. I think I will gave a giddy little hop for meeting each impossible challenge -- dog gigs, grocery shopping, emails, looking after my body. I was smart enough to start the morning off with half a klonopin: my brain is scrambled eggs and I've been forgetting keys and dog things and words because I'm already onto the next hurdle. Klonopin settles my brain down enough to -- well, write this before I go walk Boomer. Wear life, as an acquaintance says, like a loose sweater.

I'm feeling everything at once today. Fear, grief, shame, loss. Tranquility, acceptance, hope, relief. Anticipation, eagerness, pride, gratitude, love. My hatred is minimal and I have little curiosity -- don't really want to read or write. But then, when one is in the midst of all of that going active on at once, missing one defect and one asset ain't all that bad.


Laura N said...

It sounds to me like you are handling life beautifully in the face of all you are going through. I'm glad you took the time to write about it here. Thinking of you today.

Unknown said...

Bravo, Frances! I admire you.

Anonymous said...

Frances - So happy to see you here....I look forward to your COTH entries - thank you for making time for your fans

Anonymous said...

Hi, Frances:

I just found your site. I have read PFT twice and cannot thank you enough for sharing your story, both in the book and here.

I don't know you, but feel as if I do (I am sure many feel the same way).

Keep on keeping on, Frances. You have a large cheering section!



Gallis said...

Hang in there Frances.

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