Yesterday, the pressure felt steady but intense. The "pressure" I refer to was mental...I have a lot of work to do in the office, I have a house to sell, etc...and physical...my chest felt like it was tightly wrapped in cellophane. I keep telling myself that things will be getting easier, and maybe they will, but there's always that "X factor" in life that you can never plan for that somehow always keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Reflecting back, there are times when I wonder just how the Hell I made it this far. This especially came to light last week at work during a conversation I was having with our site EAP (Employee Assistance Program) person. Linda, who is one of nicest human beings I have ever met, just wanted to make sure I was "okay" in light of my mother's passing. The resulting conversation punctuated just how difficult it was for me to be the good son. My mother was never what you would call a positive person, and the every Sunday the time we spent together was far from "Tuesdays with Morrie". In fact, at times it was horrible. It was as if every Sunday I was dipped in negative goo, willingly, and was powerless to do anything about it. Caught between a sense of duty (as a son) and a need for self-caring, the good son always won out. I did my duty and paid something of a price.
As I explained to Linda, about 50% of the time I spent with my Mom she was in her "normal" mood, which was a kind of dull-edged pissed off. About 40% of the time she was downright nasty, complaining about everyone and everything. About 10% of the time my Mom could be supportive and caring. Now to her credit, that 10% usually came when you needed it most (such as when I was going through my divorce), but it was still by far and away the exception and not the rule. The worst part of all was that there was no predictability to her moods. But yet I soldiered on.
Linda, by the way, was amazed at this micro-story. A quarter century of Sundays more or less stolen from me, all out of a sense of duty. This was in addition to countless other times when I would come over during the week to do things for my mother, such as helping her with a federal tax problem in late 2012. Anyway, all of this this makes me either a great son or a moron. Maybe a little of both. Regardless, I am still acclimating to having my Sundays returned to me.
It all does fit together in a way. Maybe part of this "swimming up stream" feeling stems not just from the tactical things I am doing; maybe part of it stems from that feeling that I am looking back and seeing a part of my life so polluted.
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It's Sunday morning, and I write this in a lovely home in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. It wrote the above yesterday, on my cellphone, while (continuing) to feel physically really damn bad. Now I have the benefit of having gone to bed at about 9:30pm last night and waking up this morning at about 6:20am or so. I slept reasonably well and reasonably long, two things that have escaped me for months.
I suspect that there will be more to come in the "Mom decompression" department.
And I need to work on some other things as well.
And it's Sunday, with nothing negative to (not) look forward to.