Doilies and Death

Sometime in the next handful of days, I’ll be leaving my safe little world of nothingness that I’ve settled into here in the middle of nowhere. Despite my previous “shithole” post and less than flattering description of the community I’ve called “home” the past few weeks, I have to admit this is a nice little Airbnb. It’s decorated exactly like I think my mom’s house would be if she weren’t dead…and if she hadn’t become a hoarder in the last 15 years of her life and filled her house with rotting garbage, dirty adult diapers and swans. So many fucking swans…cloth swans, glass swans, pewter swans, china swans, brass swans, wooden swans, cement swans.

So when I walked into this house the first time and saw the exact same 1980’s Home Interiors picture of a cottage in the wildwood and doilies on the furniture, a part of me felt at home. Truthfully the aloneness has been a little overwhelming (especially once I discovered how distasteful I found the little community itself) but the home has been comforting in a strange nostalgic little way. The child in me is comfortable because the home in which I’m staying is reminding me of a childhood. But the adult me knows that childhood home was never really safe and was so traumatic, my psyche splintered into separate personalities and brought me a lifetime of chaos and heartache from which I’m still trying to recover. A true paradox – the theme of so much of my life.

From here I’ll travel back to my home state of Missouri, where I’ll spend some time with a dying friend and with my children before returning to the Florida Panhandle for my second annual winter on a beach. I can’t wait to get back on the sand and watch the brilliant sunrises and sunsets. I can already feel the salty air on my face and hear the seagulls. I hope I find the same peace there this year as I did last – that I hear my soul speaking over the chatter of my fractured mind, that I feel the peace in knowing I’m Divinely created and Wholly loved, that I feel aligned with my Creator, my world and my existence. I hope I can learn to breathe again while I still have breath.

Between me and the beach stands two weeks in the company of others. My life has become mostly solitary over the past two years as I’ve sought to blend my we’s into a me. Being around other people, even those whom I love dearly, causes me to say and do things I regret; none so much as when I hurt the feelings of my children. I hope someday I can trust myself around others but for now, even short visits like the one coming up bring a risk of creating new chaos, shame and bad memories for myself and others. I always tell myself that it might not happen “this time” but it always does because I have moved fully into a phase of disorder in my attempts to consolidate myself and can no longer even pretend to be ok. While this is progress in a clinical sense, it worries and confuses those who know and love me best.

For example – my dear friend who is dying from a long list of health issues complicated by Lupus will be my first host. She is a kind and sweet woman who, as she’s becoming increasingly immobile over the past few years, has become completely addicted to her television. She turns on FOX network programming on a HUGE set in her living room each morning around 6:30 a.m. and it blares it’s mind numbing programming and obnoxious commercials into the small space throughout the day until it is turned off when she goes to bed. She doesn’t lower the volume for conversations and she only looks away from the screen when she is criticizing others for not watching the television with her. The television is her god and she is openly critical and offended by anyone who doesn’t watch it with her. It has been a long time since I’ve been able to visit her without making her cry when my sharp-tongued part gets fed up tells her to shut the fuck up. Sigh. Maybe this time, I keep telling myself, she’ll turn off her television god and relax with me in an afternoon of laughter and chatter reminiscent of our friendship when we first met and fell in love. Maybe I shouldn’t go, I ask myself; knowing this isn’t possible because she will then cry because I didn’t visit. Maybe this will be the last time I get to see her, I remind myself and the questions are answered.

Death is such a constant theme of my life these days. I’m grateful for the clarity that it brings to my own life as I face my own end. But more than anything, I’m grateful when it reminds me of how precious time is with those we love the most. Doilies and Home Interior pictures can only remind me of my mom but nothing will ever bring back the 20 years I spent ignoring her because it was too hard to be around her. And regret is a total cunt.