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Tonight, at 6pm, we have our first family counseling session. The first of five sessions of the “Grief Series,” sponsored by Hospice, and taking place in the Sadler Bereavement Center. All those little neat titles – we’ll just take that heart-wrenching life event and all that consuming grief and just put it in a neat little box, tape that bad boy right up so you’ll only have to get it out on special occasions. I know, I know, I’m being cynical and negative… Hospice is good. Five sessions of family grief counseling is good. Having a building called the Sadler Bereavement Center is good… I mean, they couldn’t exactly call it “big white house for sad people,” now could they?

I’m actually looking forward to this session tonight. This is the first “formal” sharing that our family has had – right after Mama left, we talked about it all the time, and now we don’t talk about it at all. And there will be other people there, all who have lost someone in the last 12 months. I’m nervous about the presence of other people – our family hasn’t shown a great deal of social prowness in the last few months, and I’m worried that we’ll offend someone/everyone who doesn’t understand that when we laugh, we’re not really laughing. It’s one thing to offend the financial “borrow, borrow, borrow” guy a few weeks ago; or to request our own personalized tour at Lander this past Saturday so we wouldn’t have to endure the questions/needs/interests of others. But it’s something else entirely to hurt or disrespect someone who’s already hurting because their lives just shattered into a million tiny pieces. That, I want to avoid at all costs.

Things have changed in my family dynamic in the last few weeks. It’s difficult to really pinpoint exactly what it is… March 17th was a turning point, or as Daddy says ALL the time “we’ve turned a corner.” I feel different. I think that Sue, Jen, and Daddy feel different. But we haven’t talked about our differences. We’re just letting them manifest, and then I guess we’ll acknowledge them eventually… Maybe when we feel more comfortable with them ourselves? I wonder if this session tonight will be our acknowledgement “vehicle.” I don’t know. What I do know is what I can see on the outside…. Daddy went back to Michelin and is CeilBriting the hell out of the Upstate. Sue is growing – I can see it in her eyes, hear it in her voice – she has hope again.

Jennifer – I just don’t know. I don’t understand her. She gets angry when I try – she says that I’m trying to “psycho-analyze” her, and I guess she’s right. It’s all I know how to do – she doesn’t talk to me, and I’m left with the silence, the Maggie chatter (and please don’t misunderstand – I love that Maggie incredibly, and I like to hear tales of her antics). But Jennifer has to exist independent of Maggie… she just has to. She existed before Maggie, which means that the person is still in there – I just can’t see her. I miss her. But maybe she’s ok. One of my biggest faults is that I inflict my processes onto other people – if I need to talk through something, then they must need to too; if I need to go to therapy and spill my guts once a week, then they must need to too. I really, really want her to go to Dr Jerry, but maybe she just really doesn’t need to. Maybe she and I are so different that she’s actually going to work through this whole thing in her head, and she doesn’t need to talk about it at all. Or maybe she is talking, but just not to me. Which would make me sad on a selfish level, but mostly relieved that she’s talking to somebody. I don’t know. I don’t like going to Townville, but it doesn’t bother her – she seems immune to the cloud that descends on me and gets thicker and thicker with every mile toward that little brick house. Maybe Townville is her therapy?… Part of me is worried that she’s going to read this and be mad at me – but most of me knows that she doesn’t even read my blog, so there’s not much chance.

I’m gonna quit my job as a buyer and get my psychology degree. Then I won’t have to apologize for psycho-analyzing the world. I’ll just say “shut up and sit down on my couch.”

I woke up this morning, and realized that I hadn’t felt devastated or shattered in several days…. maybe a week? Somewhere along the way, after my Mar-17 corner, I’ve started feeling better. And I felt guilty. And I feel guilty now. How can I be “feeling better” without Mama? How can I even be functioning without Mama? How can I get excited about my new china cabinet without being able to show it to Mama?

I think about her constantly, in such a steady stream that I don’t even realize how often. Yesterday, while I was applying vast amounts of Old English to my new-to-me old cabinet, I thought about her…. almost like a ticker across the bottom of the screen. Mama would really love this cabinet Mama would say that this scuff mark isn’t too noticeable I wonder what kind of touch-up marker that Mama would use on this scratch I can’t wait to get Mama’s wedding china and arrange it with mine it’s so crazy how much alike our china patterns are we’re just alike me and my Mama she would love this house I hope the rug that Bobby’s Nana is giving us for the dining room matches Mama’s lamp it’s really important to me to incorporate Mama into every nook and niche of this house because it is her house in a way it’s the house she always wanted.

But it’s not as painful as it was. I haven’t felt haunted for the last few days, maybe even a week – maybe because I’ve been too busy with the Iowa journey? Or maybe because I’m learning how to compartmentalize my thoughts, and I haven’t allowed myself to think about it? Or maybe I’m just “getting better”….. That feels so disrespectful, like a betrayal of Mama, to even think that.

And my nights are better now – perhaps that’s also contributing to the feeling of ok-ness. I’m taking Rozerem and my dreams are like little movie previews – snippets that are very enthralling while they’re happening, but are immediately discarded as soon as they conclude. There’s still a hovering feeling of unrest – the knowledge in the back of my mind that I dreamed something disturbing – but I can’t remember it, so I guess that’s all that counts. For now at least. I’m worried about becoming addicted to Rozerem… it’s “non-narcotic but may carry a risk of dependency”.. whatever that means.

I’m ready for today to be over – the family counseling session is sitting in my mind, and all the emails and voice mails and little projects aren’t significant enough to break through…

Jennifer wants to go to Virginia this weekend. I don’t want to go. Like really, really, REALLY don’t want to go. I feel guilty that I haven’t contacted them since Christmas. I feel angry that they haven’t contacted me. I feel impatient with the mental coaching that will necessary for us to make it through a night. I feel annoyed that I have to give up my weekend, and selfish that I’m begrudging the time I’m giving my grandparents.


Ok, I’m done…