I’m staring at the laptop, trying to think of a good way to sum up what I’ve done since I last wrote here.
Well, let’s see. School ended in a flurry of concerts and class plays and standardized tests and half-days. My older son got his driver’s license. My ex-husband moved. I’m sure I will have things to say about all of this at some point.
But for now I’m still muddling along feeling stupid and slow. I drove to get the children at their father’s new house (half an hour away, very inconvenient, the mind boggles) and bumped right into his lovely girlfriend, who was walking her dog on the street. She hugged me. “I’m so sorry about your grandmother,” she said, and I started to cry. Well, that’s an exaggeration. My throat closed up and there were tears and I had to stare at the sidewalk in mortification, and she (bless her heart) got all teary-eyed too and when I could speak, she hugged me again and said, “For god’s sake, don’t worry about crying, I cry at the drop of a hat,” which made things worse. I wish crying were cathartic for me. It never is. I can’t ever progress past the initial stages, unless I’m shitfaced, and I’m never shitfaced any more.
Everyone–you helpful commenters included–suggested I needed time to simply be sad, and so I decided to take a week and do absolutely nothing. I finished an assignment and turned it in on time (this felt like a small miracle, actually) and then I set about wasting several days in a row. I read some books. I went for walks. I swam in the pool, which opened on Memorial Day. I hung around with the children, and drove them here and there, and sat on the sidelines at baseball, and watched my younger son’s class sing songs and perform little skits based on Aesop. I went to my boyfriend’s chorus concert and his daughter’s dance recital and ate dinner with his family afterwards, and through it all I felt as if I were underwater, dead to the world and separate from it. Then school ended and the week became a second week. For fourteen days now I’ve done nothing, and I’m fine as long as I don’t think too hard, or as long as no one is kind to me.
The one bright spot has been a renewed closeness with my brother and sister, both of whom feel the way I do about our grandmother. My sister in particular has been a tremendous comfort. “She loved you. You shared a name. It’s terribly sad when that connection ends,” she told me just today, after noting that not even adopting a Labrador retriever puppy has managed to cheer her up.
I’m starting to feel twinges of occasional guilt, but it’s mostly abstract. There is work I should do, there are projects I intended to start this summer, my driver’s license has expired, the usual chores await. Doctor’s appointments, financial matters, phone calls to insurance agents, thank-you notes. But the children are out of school and around all day next week before the older one starts work and the younger one starts day camp, so I may just coast a bit longer. Another week. Why not? I’m rereading murder mysteries whose culprits I misremember. I go to bed early, sleep poorly, rise late. The kids are a comfort. The days just go by, one after another, at a remove.
And I guess I’ll miss my grandmother forever. The simplest revelations still astonish. Today, for instance, I thought, I will never see her again. Not exactly rocket science, but somehow it shattered me.