Sometimes I wonder if my sadness over R's death is outsized.
Tsunamis, bombings, floods.
My neighbor's house burned to the ground last week.
R is dead. No more pain. No more worry. She is as she is. As she will be. Forever.
The first time I heard someone use the word 'tragedy' in reference to my daughter I was surprised. Tragedy? How could that be right? Everyone knows that tragedies happen far away from here in corrugated tin huts with inadequate plumbing.
Tragedy needs a good head of steam. It should start with years of social injustice and oppression that create an unsustainable situation that completely crumbles under the weight of a natural disaster. This was just some bad luck in our otherwise lucky lives. R was just one tiny person.
It was the most horrible thing I've ever seen happen to another human. Her body rotted from the inside out. She died slowly, in pieces, right in front of me and I couldn't do anything to stop it.
Even so, I've only glimpsed the bottom of the pit and I have no interest in getting any closer.
This process is slow and grinding. Some portion of each day is spent shoring up the compartments in my mind, remembering how to get along to go along. I'm pretty proficient. I can have hours of normal conversations and experience genuine interest and engagement with something other than my own thoughts.
I keep it small.
I don't call or email anyone for frivolous reasons. My co-workers probably think I'm chained to my desk.
I don't watch the news. I don't read about important world events.
It seems best to not start things that I won't be able to finish.
I pour my energy into maintaining a socially acceptable exterior and keeping C happy and I just don't have any to spare--not consistently anyway.
I can't tell if it's the sadness or the walling off of the sadness that's more wearing. They feel so integrated now. It might be easier to let it all out and be done with it.
Summer makes me a little manic. Fall and winter are depressing. Despite my pollen allergies, I think spring might be my favorite. Springtime is for nostalgia.
I'm not exactly ancient but I miss being young and carefree. I want to lounge around in the sunshine and neglect my responsibilities. I want to sip on an iced coffee and get incensed about politics.
I spent the better part of my young adult years in North Carolina and every spring I get this urge to go back there and see if I can find that other version of myself lurking amidst the magnolias and excessive politeness.
But I don't have the time. And we all know that it's impossible to go back.
Instead I've just been scratching my itch by listening to this song and reminiscing about earnestness and banjos.