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Uh, Santa Cruz...

I'm finally back in Santa Cruz for a few days with Archie, ostensibly to start getting stuff sorted out and donating the excess to goodwill. I couldn't sleep last night, nocturnal as I am and anxious as I always get before heading down here. I managed about 3 hours, maybe 3 and a half tops. Yikes! Many many cups of coffee and one aborted nap later, I feel all wound up inside.

I started sifting through some of my mom's things, just a few surface envelopes and various items that were on top of her bedside table, and I came across about 20 Get Well cards that her coworkers had written to her when she was in the hospital. I started reading them, and I just froze. I mean, what do I do with them? Throw them out? I don't know, there's so much I need to do, and I'll be handling far more emotionally charged issues when I go through, say, family photos, but... I mean, when am I going to be able to face this?

Her room was just closed up and ignored after she died. I couldn't bring myself to do all the cleaning and sorting and and boxing after she died. Today I opened the windows to let some fresh air in and unmade her bed, stopped to sniff a pillow to see if I could pick up some scent of her, but all I got was a nose full of dust. It hurts a lot to have to approach someone's life in this way. Like it's something inconvenient and cluttered that needs to be disassembled and thrown out.


( 11 uh-ohs — Make a mess )
Feb. 11th, 2002 05:52 pm (UTC)
You are doing a tremendous job. This is a huge step :)
Feb. 11th, 2002 11:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you...
Wow, thank you for the words of encouragement.. I feel as if I have a slightly better handle on things now, later, after I've spent some time calmly sorting through things. I have a clearer perspective on the situation, I think.
Feb. 12th, 2002 06:58 am (UTC)
Re: Thank you...
I am sure it has been very hard for you. I'm sure that calm time has helped a little :)
Feb. 11th, 2002 07:03 pm (UTC)
Good for you. *hugs*
Feb. 12th, 2002 12:01 am (UTC)
Go, uh, team!
Thank you! I'm being reminded of my mother constantly right now, but in a good, sentimental way. I'm wearing my mom's medic*alert bracelet right now, and I found my baby teeth inside a fancy ornate metal container. I also found a book containing really explicit family history data which goes back 11 generations, which kind of blew my mind. I only have to do this about 1,000 more times, and I figure i'll have a handle on this.
Feb. 11th, 2002 07:33 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry.

That must be the most difficult thing in the world to be doing right now.
Feb. 12th, 2002 12:26 am (UTC)
...Thank you
It's difficult, yeah... I think grieving is the thing people are the least equipped to endure because society doesn't acknowledge death as a very important part of living. I wish I'd spent more time with my mother when she was so ill, but I didn't know how bad it was, she didn't want me to know. She didn't want me to worry. I get the sense now that she was afraid and in pain and didn't want to scare me. Going in to her room and cleaning away some of the dust was therapeutic, I think. Another step closer to dealing with my sadness and anger.
Feb. 11th, 2002 07:35 pm (UTC)
oh, honey,

i can only imagine how incredibly difficult and painful this must be.

if you ever need an ear, or a beer, or whatever, feel free to call.

i remember how hard it was to get rid of my dad's stuff, and i didn't even do it, my mom did.

my heart is with you.

Feb. 12th, 2002 12:41 am (UTC)
Aww... geez!
I really appreciate your warmth, thank you. I might take you up on an ear or a beer sometime.

My mom had to deal with my father's death about 2 years ago, and even though they'd been divorced for over 20 years, she had to see to all of the arrangements. It was all long-distance, all done via fax and phone. It was really hard on her, but she didn't really ever let on. After my mother's death, I found copies e-mail she'd written which touches on her sadness and worries about me and how I would take it. I had a strange sense that she was saving all of this mail for me to find.

Also, and this is surreal, I think she once read me one or two of your poems, which really freaked me out when I read your book. Now that is weird. Had you previously published any of the work in Why Things Burn anywhere?
Feb. 12th, 2002 10:56 am (UTC)
Re: Aww... geez!
Well, she was obviously saving it -- whether consciously for you to find or otherwise. Sigh. It's so hard...

Um... yes. Some of the poems in Why Things Burn were published prior to the book, in various journals. So it's possible, though it also could have been poems from Pelt, etc.

That is a little weird...
Feb. 12th, 2002 02:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Aww... geez!
She essentially saved everything as far as I can tell.

I remember that she read me the poem about Albuquerque, specifically, because that's where Joel used to live. I think she also may have read a few others. She was in a writer's group in Santa Cruz with Claire Braz-Valentine for several years. Her poetry was very funny, and almost always about food.
( 11 uh-ohs — Make a mess )