A couple of days ago a nice girl named Madaline Zedblick put out into the interwebs that she was passed a journal made by my husband Donald Edwards inn 1990. Donald put blank journals in airports with his name and address on the back cover with the command README written on the front.
Madaline was on a bus in India and a girl who spoke some english passed the journal to her and she has been on a quest to find Donald. From his former address in Allston MA she tracked down my father in law, also Donald Edwards and sent him an email. Luckily for us his Dad passed it on to Donald and contact was made.
It is amazing to me that a journal, found in an airport in Massachusetts could find its way all the way to India 25 years later, remain in one piece and passed to someone who found it to be a treasure worth sharing.
People are amazing and I can’t wait to read it. Thank you to everyone who shared #donreadme.
The universe and everyone in it is amazing.
Not everyone has the opportunity to work where your mother died and be at work on the anniversary of that day. It wasn’t as weird as I thought it would be. In fact, it was pretty ordinary.
But isn’t that just like death, to be ordinary? Loss, is so common. It happens every minute on this rock hurtling through space circulating around a ball of fire. Keeping that in mind, you would think it would be dramatic, right?
The living keep on living, held down by gravity driving to work, pooping, arguing, buying dinner, kissing children, laughing, crying blahblahblah. The dead, well, we don’t know where they are or even if they are.
Pieces of people get inside you and stay forever. Your parents especially are actually parts of you. You inherit all your mitochondria from your mother so you are always more your Ma then your Pa. Those pieces that remain feel like they are still there.
People seek confirmation of the presence of those they have loved and lost in mediums, meditation and prayer. Pawing over objects that hold their scent, looking at pictures as proof of their existence.
I think we are just reassuring ourselves that we knew them. Confirming they were real to begin with to validate our longing and grief.
Whatever is meaningful to us, those that remain on this rock certainly can’t mean anything to someone who is dead. I am sure they have better things to do.
As do we, so, so long , SO LONG. Its nice to still know you.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief just works itself out, points its toes, fills up all the spaces and sets up camp. Grief moves on when its good and fucking ready and leaves you like the tide going to its lowest ebb of the day.
There weren’t many things I thought about when I was in my early teens except what sounded good, can I do it, do I have enough money to do it and then when my steady boyfriend arrived in my life concurrent thoughts of his well being were included in those questions in regards to my next pursuit. I worked to live and planned travel from the Boston Globe travel section, making notes and making expensive long distance phone calls because the internet had yet to be invented for mere mortals.
I talked to my Mother all the time. I called her constantly. She rarely called me. Well, at least that’s the way I think of it now and since she is dead and can’t correct me I declare that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. A year before my mother’s death Princess Diana was killed in a car accident in France. I was so struck by her death, the unmeasurable loss her two sons will endure without their protector and facilitator in all things now that she was gone and what a loss it was for mankind as she was an example of someone famous who didn’t really want it but tried very hard to only do good things with it. I remember talking to my mother about it and she was totally unimpressed with my distress. I attempted to convince her how sad it was but she just didn’t get it. I told her that if she died I didn’t know what I would do. Mothers, they are important.
I don’t believe she was impressed by that either.
Who are mothers if not people we are constantly standing on our heads, juggling fire while speaking Mandarin? They are our audience subjected to the constant “MOM WATCH THIS”. Watch me as I wear lipstick for the first time. Watch me as someone breaks my heart. Watch me have a hangover. Watch me fail math. Watch me graduate from school. Watch me make my own money. Watch me buy my own christmas tree. Watch me putter around my house. Watch me get married. Watch me travel. Watch me change my hair color. Watch me change my job. And love me, no matter what.
A year after Princess DIana died, Jeanne absconded with my childhood and it was burned up with her body and mind and buried in the ground.
The phone ringing in the kitchen is muffled with all the covers over my head. Molly is up and will get it. I can lay here a bit longer. In the half sleep half wake I am feeling pretty neutral and then I remember and like when a wave catches you off guard at the beach and pounds you instantly into the sand beneath it I huff out in a whisper, “Fucker.” I toss the covers off and get up and I don’t look in the mirror. The phone stopped ringing but then starts again.
It’s my mother. I know it. I don’t know how she knows but she must. Maybe the fucker called her as one more giant thing to shit all over in the guise of worry for Molly. I clench my fists without realizing it. Fucker. Unclench them and pull on some pants and a shirt. The phone keeps ringing. Shit. Where is Molly?
Opening the door and listening in the hallway to the phone, the stupid dog outside barking I can’t hear Molly anywhere. I open her bedroom door and she is lumpy under her covers probably ignoring the phone, me and everything.
“Mol. Mol-dolly. Get up, okay?” I say and close her door, walk down the stairs hand trailing along the bannister to steady myself, reach the bottom step into the kitchen and put my hand on the phone. Its vibrating. Taking a deep breath, I pick it up, “Hello.”
“Will you accept a collect call from..” and I hang up. Fucker. I take the phone off the hook.
I wonder what Molly will do now that her father has driven away in our only damned fucking car.
Fucker. I am done, I think, but don’t actually believe myself. He isn’t handsome anymore because he is always drunk and I don’t find him attractive any longer while I am drunk.
Fucker. I contemplate calling my mother but I don’t. Yet. Maybe he will call me later, out of gas, spent all his money on something temporary and can’t get any where he wants to be so he will want to come home. Home to Molly. I know I shouldn’t feel competition with our daughter for his attention but I do. He didn’t leave her but he left me.
He left me while I begged him to go.
I walk over to the music and shut it off, drink the rest of my drink and turn off the light standing in the dark, still in my underwear and look at my empty bed.
I’ll call my mother in the morning, make a plan to leave before he can come home. How quickly can I pack up all of our stuff? Christ the kid has lot of shit and my old furniture is heavy. Do I want to drive a big assed truck back to my parents house?
Molly is little and she will learn to live like this, without him, easily. It will be easy because I just won’t talk about him anymore.
Fucker. I’m done. I get in bed, pull up the covers roll over and his pillow smells like him. I pick it up, walk over to the door and toss it into the hallway getting back into bed and close my eyes. Closing your eyes you can pretend to sleep until it just comes up and you are out.
I hear my Mom’s door open and she walks down the stairs to let the dog out for the night. I hear bottle clinking, ice cracking and the door closes and she walks up the stairs shutting her door. The music goes on, the sad music I know she stares at herself in the mirror while she listens and drinks.
I wonder if she brought the whole bottle. Usually she only brings the bottle upstairs for Dad because he gets clumsy walking back and forth up and down the stairs after a three drinks. Dad has fallen down the stairs. On the nights he doesn’t drink as much he has terrible dreams and yells out in his sleep and Mom comes into my bed and sleeps with me.
Maybe I could sleep with her tonight if she’s drunk enough and won’t notice I’m there.
The music goes off and I am sure she’s gone to sleep. No kisses for me good night. I go to the bathroom to brush my teeth even though no one reminds me.
Pulling the covers up and rolling over back in bed, alone in the dark, listening for Mom to get up and remember to say goodnight. I stare at the closet door, thinking about the pieces of the dinner plate and imagine Dad sleeping somewhere, curled up in the backseat drunk not missing me, not missing us, not missing Mom.
As I close my eyes and try to sleep I see Dad’s face that night he killed our other dog. Mom kept shouting at me to go to bed, don’t look at Dad because it’s not Dad. But I can see it’s Dad so I know it’s Dad. I didn’t like that dog because he always peed in my room and barked at me when I tried to play on the swing outside. Just because I didn’t like him doesn’t mean I wanted Dad to kill it. Won’t he feel badly? Won’t he be sorry? Isn’t it mean to kill a dog? I think, even though Mom tells me not to look, that he could do that to me too. Easy-peasy. He could do that to Mom and I know she understands this even though she stands really close to him trying to get him away from the dog as he kicks it around the yard screaming in the night.
Mrs. Schandler opens her back door and the porch light goes on and she yells she is calling the police. The police come. Dad gets taken away and stays away for several months and I don’t really miss him. Mom misses him and buried the dog all by herself behind the shed in a deep hole so the raccoons and foxes don’t dig it up.
Buster likes to lay over top of where the other dog is buried and I wonder if he knows about what is underneath him.
If I stare at the mirror long enough it’s almost like I don’t have a face or a body and that makes me feel better. I keep checking to see if I can really be seen and the longer I stare the more I am convinced I don’t show anything.
I wonder how far my Dad has gone and know he will never come back and maybe that will make Mom better. Maybe she will look for me, the me inside me despite how I look on the outside. She always says I have his eyes. I want my own eyes and I don’t want his. I look over at the closet door where I keep my box and think about his dinner plate and here Buster bark outside the back door since the rain has stopped.
Walking down the stairs avoiding the creaky one smelling the pot of food no one really wanted to eat. The last supper or the first one depending on who you are in this house. I hear Mom in her room getting dressed and hope she won’t come back down tonight.
The phone rings and rings and neither of us pick it up. Outside the window the grass and trees are a deeper green because of the lightning. The storm that makes things grow.
I wonder how long it will be before she packs up the whole house and we move just incase he comes back to find us.
I don’t think it will be long so I go out the back door and let Buster back in the house and don’t care if he rolls around on the couch to get dry. His wet footprints track across the kitchen. The birds are back to singing in the dogwood tree. The sun has come back out falsely shining for a short time before the sun gives up and goes to bed. It’s almost tomorrow everyday at this time.