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Thursday, March 26, 2015

List making

Here's ten things I haven't done since Cory died:

1.  Made brownies with Jake.
2.  Baked sea salt chocolate chip cookies from scratch.
3.  Used my shiny red Kitchenaide mixer for anything.
4.  Cooked the corn chowder that made Cory hug me.
5.  Cooked Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon.
6.  Enjoyed a Christmas.
7.  Felt completely safe.
8.  Kept the guilt away.
9.  Felt like as good of a mom as I used to.
10.  Looked forward to the future.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

How to Break Up with a Guy

Cory and I were an absolute mess together.  Perhaps this is best illustrated by telling you how we roleplayed how to break up with a guy.  I was the guy.  Cory was to be herself.  We sat at the dining room table, me with my legs splayed apart in a masculine fashion, and Cory sitting with her knees together like a lady.  She took one look at me as I made to scratch my non-existent scrotum and just cracked up.  "Mom!!!!  Be real!"

"Cory, I AM being real!   I'm getting into character!"  I retorted.

She laughed a little more and we tried to set our faces into serious, pensive expressions.

I waited, and when she'd paused so long that the silence became awkward, I said, "Hey baby, you from out of town?"

Cory snorted, and we were off on peals of laughter again.

"Okay.  Okay. I'm sorry.  I'll be good!"  I promised.  "How about you be the guy, and I'll be you?"

She nodded in agreement.  "Okay."

We took up our assigned postures and began again.

I looked at her, and said, "It's not you.  It's me.  I need some time to just work on me."

Cory abandoned her role and giggled, "Oh my God, Mom, have you really said this to people?"

"Hey!"  I said indignantly.  "I'm trying to help you out here.  What do you want me to say?  You're just not good enough for me?"

She stopped short.  "They usually aren't."

We looked at each other, serious for a moment.  Time spun out, but the giggles returned.

I found the lowest register of my voice available, and said, "Hey, baby!"

We were back to the drawing board.


It's really hard to do this alone.  Tim has started sleeping in again, and that's a sign that he's getting depressed.  I knew it would happen again, but I was hoping for a longer space between episodes this time.  I don't think I'm going to get one.

 Instead, I think he will gradually- protesting all the while that he's not before turning over and falling back to sleep- move away from me, Jacob, and the rest of the world.  He takes refuge in sleep, and while it's not the worst he could do, we miss him when he's gone.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

We Persist

I had the chance to talk about art as therapy, Cory's illness, and losing a child at the local college the other night.  I've done this a few times, and it's always interesting to see how long I can hold out before I start crying, and what questions people ask.

I could really only share my experience using art to cope, I have no schooling or training in this area.  The thing that popped into my head driving home was this:  writing and drawing has kept me out of the psych ward more than once.  When I feel completely depleted, and just want to collapse somewhere and be fed and watered like a fern, sitting silently at the required therapy groups, I remind myself that I won't be able to have my journaling items with me on the ward, and that usually curtails any fantasies I'm currently nursing about running away to the hospital for awhile.

I still don't consider my doodles art.  They keep me busy, but they aren't as good as real artists produce.  I do enjoy going through them, though, months or years later, and being transported back to an exact moment where a woman even more lost than I am now, used color and line to communicate her horror and despair to others around her.

I meander through these pages that are smudged and sometimes crackle when you peel them apart, and I can see my progress, my winding, two steps forward- three steps back, unwilling, angry, protesting progress.

Cory is never coming back.  I will not run into her at Barnes and Noble.  Of that much, I'm sure.  The rest of the stages are sketched and doodled, painted and drawn...they run off the page; they return when I thought I'd seen the last of their ugly faces.  They persist.  And so do I.

So do I.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


So where were we?  Oh yes, not in a good place.
So what happened?  The same thing that has happened before.  I fell completely apart, and slowly started to put myself together again, with help from mental health professionals, and frankly, a wonderful new medication that has returned my sleep and appetite to nearly what it was prior to Cory's death.  This is amazing, and I'll tell you more about it, but first...

I was feeling homeless, spinning out of control, just searching and trying to find a way to feel less unsettled, and less of a vagabond.  I took a couple days away from work, and tried to be as kind and patient to myself as I would be to a dear friend in the exact same situation.

Something that occurred to me while enjoying these quiet moments was that Cory would likely have given a lot for one more day.  Just one.  I have got to make myself look for the small joys, and draw them near.

I affirmed again that there is nothing and no one that will ever fill her place.  She is my heart, always, and always.  It is so difficult every day to accept that the accident happened and she is, indeed, gone.  It takes me by surprise upon waking often enough to make my anxiety climb the walls.

While I was home sick, I remembered my father commenting after the accident that Cory would want us to keep going because she LOVED life, and lived it to the fullest every chance she got.  She knew how to have fun, and she loved deeply.  As her nurse said to me, "She never stopped trying to have a good day."  She had to get that strength from somewhere.  Be patient with me, dear readers, as I appear dumbfounded and look behind me to see who you might possibly be referring to...could she have gotten such strength....from me...?  Maybe?

Then one day, while collaging, which is fast and intuitive and completely frees my mind, I thought about this- what if I had a choice between having Cory for nineteen years or another child for every day until I died?  Well, I'd pick Cory, no contest.  She was amazing!  So there you have it.  I  can't really argue with myself on that one.

From there, I started thinking about what a rich history with her that I have to draw from- so many songs, movies, moments, and milestones.  We  planted so many seeds, so so many, and they are still sprouting.  Still!  We were each other's constant for nearly 20 years.  It was a love story for the ages, and I was blessed to be part of it.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Back at the Coffeeshop

A couple weeks ago in my "workbook":

I've been having some bad thoughts again.  The future without Cory seems so vast.  I sometimes wonder what could possibly fill all the time that sorrow hasn't already claimed?  

This back and forth relationship with grief is so reminiscent of breaking up with the love of your life and getting back together, only to break up yet again:  heady euphoria soon followed by a teeth-rattling, jarring crash to reality, complete with all its shortcomings. 

I despise this cyclical pattern- progress rewarded by utter failure, which is, in most cases, publicly witnessed.  What  idiot thought this up?  You'd think you should be able to serve your time, and then be released from suffering.  I feel like I'll be dragging these shackles around with me until some fool runs me over with their car, too.

Angie would say this mindset is a choice, and to that I say, "Geez, woman, I just don't know."  It's an endless cycle, and that gets pretty depressing when you stop to think about it.  I'm not sure how to view this differently if pain is always crouched around the next corner stalking me.

Two days later:

A Personal Inventory

I don't feel good today at all.  I can't think straight.  I have so many ideas all at once, I feel like I'm swimming in them.  I don't want to be around people.  I just want to be home.
I kind of hate everything, but not everything at home when I'm with my boys, the animals, and my art things.  I'm so weary of this whole mess.  Bring her back, already.  I'll give you everything I have.

  Her heart was my home.  I feel homeless.

Thoughts & feelings:  Paranoia, anxiety, fear, stupid, worthless, miserable, out of control, more anxiety, not good, rough, lost, my bones hurt.

Eye makeup can hide a lot.

To be continued...

Saturday, March 7, 2015


It's really conflicting to catch yourself in an unexpected moment of joy, even as your heart lies underground.  The guilt begins tip-tapping at your window, asking to be let in.

Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.
I am safe.  I can handle this.