In January of 2012, I resolved to start blogging again – and honestly, I intended to. Life intruded, quite rudely. A few days after this last post, my mother passed away. Not the person I thought of as my mother, but my actual mother. I hadn’t seen her in quite awhile, many many many things were unresolved in our lives, she hadn’t met my grandchildren, and for the most part, wasn’t even part of my life. It still devastated me. It also greatly complicated my life, as she died without making the proper arrangements for either her estate, or my disabled brother, who’s entire life revolved around her, and who’s support depended on said estate.
My brother is (was) essentially incapable of taking care of himself or any of those things that adults deal with. This wasn’t always the case, but years of untreated mental illness culminating with a conviction for manslaughter rendered him basically a child upon his release about 7 years ago. And now that child was my responsibility.
Aside from this, I returned to school in 2011, out of boredom and because there are so many things I don’t know. Since that time I’ve picked up new degrees in history and business, and transferred to yet another university where I’m currently studying finance and non profit administration. At some future date (June of 2014), I will finish with a masters in business, a minor in psychology, and a certificate in non profits.
So, back to the messed up estate. It was, and continues to be a mess, but I see the light at the end of that tunnel too.
After burying my mother, and getting my brother situated with a full time care giver so he could stay in the home he lived in for a decade, I got back into school. And then the person who I thought of as my mom died. For sadness, and more drama.
And then my brother kept “getting into trouble”, mostly revolving around unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, 3 times, and 3 totaled cars. No injuries thank the goddess. Why was he wrecking cars? He can drive, but he was also suffering from mostly uncontrollable diabetes, and (unknown at the time) suffering small strokes as a result of both his abuse of anti psychotic and anti depressive medications, and the nearly toxic cocktail of HIV medications. It’s pretty hard to control a 57 yr old man who doesn’t want to be controlled, despite all the ways a person tries to do this – outside of some kind of oppressive lock down facility – and trust me, I did consider it.
So for about a year, I barely slept through the night, either because of worry, or because of some outright crisis.
In the meantime, I gained yet another beautiful grandchild, plus a new son in law and a new daughter in law.
And I never missed a class or a spot on the dean’s list.
Then in March of 2013, my brother died peacefully in his sleep. While this may have seemed like a relief – it just opened a whole bunch of new wounds as I went through his things; journals and diaries and other personal records – and found out that the brother, in fact, the entire family I knew, I grew up with, had so many secrets. Some of them heartwarming and sincere, but most of them icky and dark and things I could have gone to my own grave not knowing.
I made it through spring term, but took the summer off to regroup, deal with a houseful of “collectibles” and secrets, and try to find my center, because seriously? It was all over the fucking place.
My parents, my alternate parents, and all siblings are gone. I am the last, the oldest of my generation, and the keeper of the family history for my kids, grand kids, and my nieces.
What I’ve learned about grief could fill a book, but it comes down to just a couple of important thoughts:
Nobody grieves the same. Whatever you’re feeling is okay.
There’s no time table for “getting over it”.
Everyone has the strength to get through it – they just have to find it. For me, it’s letting people feel badly for me, accepting that care, and thanking them for it. That is way harder than it sounds. It’s also reaching outside myself and helping others. I find that I’m happiest these days if I’m able to help or give to someone else. That sounds so freaking trite, but it’s the absolute truth.
So it’s okay if you’re thinking “wow, that’s a lot of stuff” because it is. It’s a lot of stuff. The hurt turned me inside out. If I go a day without crying at some point, I feel pretty accomplished. If you’re thinking, “shut the hell up Doc, you probably deserve it”, that’s okay too. Maybe I did. But these days I’m trying hard to keep my karma balance to the positive.
I am going to keep blogging. Facebook is lovely, because it’s real, and people can’t be someone they’re not because they can hide behind an anonymous blog. My “regular” readers are already my facebook friends, and therefore, they are no longer imaginary but real people, with names and lives and I love that part of life. I really do.
But don’t ask to friend me. If you’re my friend, you’re already on my “friend’s list”. If you’re not, and you’re reading this, you’re probably one of those people who convinced me that blogging had a black side that I didn’t want to be part of. It’s okay, I’m over you. Being over you means I know your secrets. Now I just pity you.
I want to blog because there’s a new generation of people out there doing the same things I did, or doing them, and blogging is a great way to network. I wouldn’t know any of my “imaginary but now real” friends otherwise.
I started blogging when my kids were little, really little, and unschooling was radical and weird and people said they’d grow up to amount to nothing and they’d hate me. None of those things happened. My kids are happy, healthy, gainfully employed doing things they love, have families of their own, and kids, and purpose. Two of them have their own thriving businesses. There’s a new grand baby due in September (that will be 5), and a wedding in June. I see at least one of them every day. Life is really really good.
And that’s my update. I don’t resolve to blog every day, but I do resolve to update all the broken links and outline the new direction(s) my life is headed.
Should be fun, don’t you think?