The Place in Between



Dear Mama.  It’s been nearly six months since I’ve posted a blog here in this place in between.  In between where I am and where you are.  In between.  Where my posterity will visit after I’ve traveled to where you are.  I’ve come here.  Numerous times.  I’ve written.  But I finish nothing.  Why is it so difficult to write since you’ve left?  Why is it so hard to open the door to here.  Here.  Because this is where I inevitably meet you.  I can’t escape it.  This is my place for now.  The place where I write.  Think.  Record.  Willing my children and grand children to not forget me.  The thing is.  When you left almost a year ago, it seems not only did you take my voice, but you came here.  Where memories stay alive.  And so.  Every time I open this door, there you are.  Beautiful you.  My young mama.  With your dark hair falling at your shoulders into a flip.  With your dresses full of skirt and life.  

mama, daddy on top. max, tammy, me on bottom

mama, daddy on top. max, tammy, me on bottom. mama’s hair in a flip, wearing one of her dresses with a full skirt, like i remember her

And maybe my grief is too much.  And you’ve taken my voice so I finish nothing.  It sits here.  Where I come nearly always in the morning hours now.  Before life starts.  Before appointments to go to.  Before letter writing and bill paying and dinner making.  Before my monkey mind kicks in and closes the door that can’t be opened when busy starts.  I found this draft today.  After the pain woke me in the wee hours of the morning.  After I cried myself awake again, thinking of you and the ten years you’ve been gone.  Oh wait, only almost a year.  But it feels like ten years.  And your laugh is almost gone.  And I have to dig it out with effort to hear it now.  After I finally decided I had to come here and try again, I did.  And this is what I found.  Further down the page of unfinished things.  And I thought.  Maybe someday a grand daughter will read this.  And discover the quiet.  The place in between where she is and where I am.  And maybe I’ll give her the voice you took from me.  And maybe she can finish something as she sits here with me.  Like I’m sitting here with you.  And suddenly it becomes as difficult to close this door as it was to open it.  Because it’s the place in between.  And you are here.  And I don’t know when I’ll be able to open it again.  Just know that I’m still writing.  Still unfinishing things that maybe will get finished someday.  For her to read when she comes, and I am gone.  Because I will be here waiting…

It’s Monday morning.  The beginning of another week.  The house is quiet.  I lay here in bed, listening for sounds of the world waking up. The garbage truck is making it’s way slowly through the neighborhood.  The sun is starting to make an appearance, which is more than it did yesterday when it was hiding all day behind rain clouds.  The light is bright as it shines through the blinds and sheer curtains that cover my bedroom windows.  The curtains soften the harsh light, but I can tell the sun isn’t being shy at all today.  There are no birds chirping.  No dogs barking this morning.  The sound of traffic in the distance is faint, and I have to strain to hear it.  I had to take Nathan to school this morning, so I know the world is awake and busyness is all over the place as people make their way to work and school, or whatever will keep them going today.  But if I had not seen the busy, I would not guess it was there because it is so quiet here in the empty house.  I’m quite separated from it, as if I get to choose whether to join in or not.  Is it possible to photograph “quiet”?

I look around me and see disorder everywhere, nothing like my life used to resemble.  Things are out of place, piles of mail here, blankets tousled on the bed there, medicine and herb bottles filling both bedside tables.  Ten years ago, I would have never allowed things to get so “out of hand.”  Keeping things neat and clean and organized was how I made sense of the world around me.  I used to long for days when I could just lay in bed without a care in the world.  Now that’s all I can do.  For the first few years, it bothered me beyond distraction.  I would use all my energies in the day to try and do what I could no longer do, frustrated in the end at my failure.  The next few years I did my best to let it go, not worry so much about it.  Now, all I can do is observe.  The thing is, I am beginning to realize I will never go back to that life of busyness.  Without fully knowing how much recovery I will gain, I lay here trying to picture this new life and what it looks like.  What does a normal day look like anymore?  How much will I ever be able to “do” in a 24 hour period?  How much sleep will my body require?  How much rest will I need during the day?  It’s a fascinating thing to consider.  And I wonder if I’ll be able to teach myself how to live it, this adjusted life of mine.  Is this what it’s like to grow old?

But all is not sad.  No.  There is too much happy around me here in my peaceful home with my perfect laughing family.  So after I close this door to the place in between, I will watch videos like this.  To bring me back to the broken life that I love.  Where laughing is normal and happy is always.  And children and grand children fill up the places that you left empty inside me.  Because that what family does.  We fill each other up with all that we need.   Isn’t it wonderful what a 15 second video can do?  Or a 5 second laughing out loud that wafts up from the floor below, where teenagers are playing and eating and laughing.  And suddenly I am strong again.  And I can close the door to the unfinished things, back to living a happy happy life.  So thank you to my little Bentley, to my perfect family, for giving me my happy!

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