* I have been OFF THE GRID for a long time, now, friends. I've lost contact with what a lot of you are doing. I've even been off Twitter. 140 characters were even too many, it seems. PATHETIC. At any rate, I've accumulated lots of crazy shit to talk about but no time-slash-inclination to talk about it.
* So, BULLETS IT IS. I don't even know where to start.
* Our childhood home was sold. So, officially, someone else lives in the house where I grew up. When I close my eyes, I can still picture where [the vast amounts of clutter] things lived. When I picture those things [like my wedding dress, balled up at the bottom of The Little Sister's bedroom closet] I have a sudden shock when I realize that the space is now empty-slash-filled with someone else's shit [and my wedding dress is in a box somewhere in The Little Sister's basement.]
* A week or so ago, I found out that my aunt was sick. 12 hours later, she died. It turns out she had forbidden my cousin to tell anyone about her illness. (The illness and the circumstances around its discovery and her decline, incidentally, were quite similar to those of my mother. Because of this and other things, my cousin wanted to talk to me right after the diagnosis but, as I said, her mom didn't want anyone to know.) Although I have no judgment about the way each individual chooses her way of dealing with such a thing as finding out she has terminal cancer, it strikes me as...odd? Painful? I don't know. Like I said, I don't/can't/wouldn't judge. But it was surreal to find out that she was sick only hours before she died.
* The Little Sister and I decided that the right thing to do was to go home and show up for the funeral. It's what I wanted to do for my cousins, whose pain I have known and for and with them, I mourned. I was not particularly close to my aunt (the wife of my father's brother) but I was close to my cousin growing up and those bonds, for whatever reason, still feel strong.
* It is an odd thing to attend the funeral of someone after you've lost your own mom. I remember when my grandmother died, almost exactly two years after my mother, that my grief felt...shallow. I was 8 months pregnant and very uncomfortable but it was more than that. My mom, only 58, was gone and that pain kind of...eclipsed the pain I felt when I lost my grandmother. It was like getting a few stitches two years after having had a conscious open heart surgery. I felt that way again, at the funeral of my aunt. I was also happy to my extended family and so the surreal feelings just kept coming. Weird.
* When my mom was dying, there was a long period during which she was lucid and able to reflect and converse. I say a long time but I'm talking like 4 weeks. Over the last week, the cancer was so advanced and the medicine so strong that she was only able to hold occasional conversation. During that month, she asked about my aunt and my cousin repeatedly. They had been the closest of the In-Laws and my aunt's absence was...conspicuous, made more so by the presence of literally every other Italian family member in the tri-state area. At the time, it puzzled me. Then, it enraged me. By the time they came, the day before she died, she was in the throes of 'terminal agitation' (just as awful as it sounds) and she was unable to communicate at all. I basically threw them out, the agitation was so...agitating.
* When my cousin finally called to tell me about her mom, I had kind of forgotten the anger I felt at her not showing up to see my mom. I chalked up their absence to having difficulty dealing with a tough loss and those feelings were reinforced listening to my cousin and the struggle she was having. It brought me back to those days and night of endless vigil. To the frustration and grief and sadness and tension and pain. And to what comes after. The pain that was waiting around the corner for her and her family. I was grief-stricken for her. And then she said, 'I thought you'd never want to talk to me again.' 'Why?' I asked, mystified. 'Because of your mom,' she said.
And just like that, something inside me popped. Lifted away and vanished. The anger had been there, I suppose, lurking. When she said that, I released it. For good.
"Don't think that," I said, meaning it, "everyone has a different way of dealing with things like that. I understand."
And I do.
* Sigh. Sadly, there are so many more fucked up facts--mostly having to do with the state of my kids' noses (STUFFY! AGAIN!) and shit like that but I fear that I've used up all of your patience and attention with DEATH TALK. The next thing I post, so help me, will be my son's birth story. Birth! Happiness! Babies! Yay!
* Have a good weekend, all. Thanks for listening.