Fifty

Today’s the 50th day in a row that I’ve blogged. Not that a lot of those posts actually said anything important. But it seems significant to form a thought and write it down. Real action. Sort of. Whether those thoughts develop into something more substantial is a different story, but looking back at the past 50 days, all those posts had potential to become more. It’s encouraging to see the potential in things.

I can’t decide whether the past 50 days passed slowly or quickly.

The next 50 days are summer days.

Should be interesting enough.

Ten minutes left in the day. Cutting it close.

Here’s another clarinet video. Still in the mood for cheesy love songs. I’m a real sucker for those.

A Park Today

A family of old trees stand together. Their trunks shoot straight up before branches spread out the sky. I love their shade. Their calm presence. Their steadiness.

These trees help obscure an old house adjacent to the park. The house looks scary. Signs along the fence read, “No trespassing.” The trees in that yard are also old. The other foliage is overgrown. Branches gnarl and twist and canopy what might be a lawn.

Large arches signal entryways (NO TRESPASSING), but simple chainlink lines the perimeter. Between long, stamped-down stretches of rusty webbing, it stands somewhat upright.

The family of old trees serve as sentinels. They warn against going past them. They are a much more effective fence than the janky wire barrier. I do not go beyond them.

The straightness of the trees gives me strength. Bestows courage. Grants power.

The will to stay away from that creepy, old house.

Power Outage

The power went out in my neighborhood today. It might have lasted two hours. We spent the time reading and playing outside.

We also went out for tacos.

I mean, it was 75 degrees and breezy. I’ve experienced worse conditions during a blackout.

The NYC blackout of 2003, for example.

But even then, that seemed like a huge party.

That was a weird blog post from so long ago.

Oh! My blog had a birthday this week! 18 years old! My blog can vote and will likely attend a two-year school before transferring to a university.

Congratulations, blog. I wish you the greatest success.

More on My Mental Health

Last night a friend texted me. She’s the kind of friend who composes lengthy missives describing what’s going on in her life. We don’t text every day, but when we have time. Or when we remember. Sometimes a week or two pass before one of us responds to the other’s most recent texts. Which is fine, because when we do text, we are thorough. She’s a much better writer than I, but I often reciprocate in length and efforts at thoughtfulness when I reply to her.

When I received a series of long texts from this friend last night, she asked how my June was doing, and that it took a long time before a certain difficult month for her became significantly less difficult.

That’s when it hit me.

My erratic sleep. My lack of motivation. My blanking out a lot of the time. My distraction.

I replied that she just might have gotten to the bottom of my depressive behavior.

My subconscious self still seems to be grieving.

Coming off that very first day of June–our wedding anniversary but also that extremely mournful day in 2019–a lot goes on this month that trigger layers of different feelings.

That’s the main cause, and that’s what makes the most sense. I generally love summer. The heat. The sunshine. All the quality time with loved ones. But June this year feels off. I don’t know if I’ve processed things enough, or if I have guilt from not moving on or moving on too quickly. Or that I have grief appropriation: she wasn’t my mom, but my feelings somehow can’t compare to Carla’s actual relatives.

And I know I shouldn’t be comparing feelings. And I have feelings about that.

Anyway, I guess sadness waxes and wanes, and this month in particular is waxy. And has a high pollen content.

I’m so exhausted.

Two Cool, Regular Things

  1. Earlier this week I put our Pride flag up after seeing a neighbor had theirs up. This morning the neighbor across the street from us put up their Pride flag. This is really nice because we live in a conservative county, and I appreciate people in our community having common opinions and principles as us. Happy Pride, everyone!
  2. We are starting a Summer Outdoor Movie Series. Reilly came up with a list of solid B or better movies (OR possible guilty pleasures) that all happen to come from the same eight-year period from the early 1980s to 1990. This is a nice chance to chat with friends and not have to think too hard during a movie.

Showtime starts at 9pm. We had a microburst earlier this afternoon. Let’s hope the rain plans around us.

Cemetery Time

We visited Nana again last night, June 1 being the second anniversary of her passing. In addition to the many bouquets of flowers left at her gravesite, we launched some balloons in her honor.

It’s a lovely idea, really: the releasing, the floating. The beauty of the symbolism.

And the evening was perfect: the coolness, the breeze, the perfect sky.

Reilly’s sister picked up the balloons. She chose colors that match Carla’s favorite rose from the front flowerbed. Reilly’s dad; his sister, her son; his two brothers, his sister-in-law; a close family friend; me, Z, and he. Each of us held two balloons.

Z counted us down, and then we let our balloons go. They drifted away together. Upward, joining the heavens, becoming sky.

An Undeniably Complicated Day

(Mostly from Instagram)

Perspective shifts. Broadens and deepens.

We also celebrate nine years of marriage today.

Nine years are a big deal because it’s right before 10, which is always a big deal.

And this year in particular feels hopeful on the ever-so-slow upswing from the COVID-19 pandemic. We got through this year together. Like we can more robustly support efforts in increasingly struggling countries, because we have the reassurance of vaccination. We want to use our privilege to help others gain leverage. 

And we are on a sluggish yet fortunate political upswing since the election. Yeah, I went there. We’re lucky to support each other in this. Progress is observable and more measurable. This adds to our hope.

Grad school. Child. Homeownership. Loss. Healing. Compassion. Love. Love. Love. Love. We are happiest together. I love you, my man.

Nine years.

Let’s push for 90.

From Instagram June 3, 2019

I wrote this two years ago:

Carla loves gardening and working on her yard. If you’ve seen her yard you know the love and great care she puts in the beauty she creates. I’m no gardener, but for the past couple of weeks I’ve been out in our yard, pulling weeds, planting flowers, meditating, crying: devoting that time to her. Yesterday morning I was pulling weeds, Z was running around in the yard, while Reilly was working on the obituary. It occurred to me that not only is this yard work–this beautifying a space–a good way to remember Carla, it’s a quiet way to feel a certain communion WITH her. It is sacred.

For the past couple of days we’ve been working hard trying to rebeautify our yard. I really love remembering Carla this way. It crossed my mind today while pulling weeds when we first found out she was sick, I wanted to ask her about all her gardening secrets. Which I didn’t do. And I didn’t think it was appropriate as her time here shortened.

I took some video footage of some of the greenery in our yard and put it to music. A modest tribute.

June 1 Eve, 2019

Two years ago today I weeded one of the back flowerbeds in the afternoon. My mother-in-law’s condition had taken a drastic turn for the worse. Her life in the balance–one foot in mortality, and the other beyond–weighed heavily on my mind. I thought of all the things I wanted to say to her. I knew we’d be heading down to visit her at home that evening. Thrusting the shovel into the soil and crying. Pulling weeds and crying. Standing in the middle of the flowerbed, feeling the most profound sadness.

We drove down. Nana lay in bed, writhing from pain. I said some of the things that crossed my mind earlier, not knowing if she was lucid. She seemed to have heard me and calmness swept over her.

We came back home. Got ready for bed.

Reilly got a call around 2am.

We drove back down.

Seven hours later she was gone.

We wouldn’t really sleep again that whole week.

We visited the cemetery last night with Reilly’s family. The entire grounds popped with bouquets on every gravesite. Memorial Day weekend.

As we pulled next to Reilly’s mom’s plot, Z said, “Hi, Nana.”

We all sat by Nana. Papa watered her bouquets, and we told stories. Z sang for us and kept us laughing.

There’s a lot of people to remember this weekend, but we’re always going to remember Nana first.

From Instagram Today

For my birthday yesterday we went to Paris.

JK! I got a green screen, and we’ve been playing with it.

I also got some books and cards and music and clothes, and a fun meal out with the family. And time with friends.

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. You sure do know how to make a gal feel excited to be alive.

Happy Sunday, y’all.

45, let’s go.