Inked

Okay…I’ve waited to post this picture because I wanted it to heal completely.  For those of you who knew her, you will recognize this as my mother’s signature, in her handwriting.  Surprisingly, getting this tattoo has helped me more than anything.  It’s nice, having it on my wrist, and being able to see it every day.

Jarred at Lucky Devil Tattoo in Wichita did an amazing job, and I will be going back there for future tattoos.

http://www.luckydeviltattoo.com/

Life, Loss, and Illusions

This month has been hard for me.   Hell, the past three months have been the hardest in my life.  I’ve been thinking a lot.  About growing up.  About reality.  About that happy little illusion every kid has that tells you that everyone around you is invincible and they aren’t ever going to go away…

I was in high school when my grandmother passed away.  I think that even then, I was able to keep that illusion going.  I mean everyone knows they are going to lose grandparents.  I was old enough to understand what was going on, but young enough to not completely understand what loss meant.

When Uncle Don passed, that happy little illusion began to fall apart.  I could see the cracks forming.  For the first time, I had to face the fact that I would start losing the people who meant the most to me.  It took me years to come to terms with it, and I was still in a bit of denial…

Then mom was diagnosed with ALS.  Suddenly, I had no choice but to come to terms with it.  I was still in denial for the longest time.  Right up until January.  For the months, I refused to even consider that my illusion was just that.  An illusion.  I kept telling myself that the doctors were wrong.  That of all the people in the world for this to happen to, it couldn’t have been my mother.  The most amazing and incredibly strong woman…the woman who took the crap hand life dealt her and somehow turned into a freaking Royal Flush.  It Just.  Wasn’t.  Happening.

And then I got the absolute worst phone call of my life.  Honestly don’t know how in the hell I made it home in one piece.  My Aunt made a point of (repeatedly) telling me to go the speed limit.  Well…70 is a speed limit…just not on 400.  And I swear, if that jackwagon hauling a trailer at 50 mph hadn’t turned off when he did.  I don’t even know how I kept it together for my dad those first two days.

What was left of that nice shiny little illusion of mine exploded like the Mythbusters had detonated 80 pounds of C4 on top of it.  And I’ve been trying to figure out how to go on without it. Just when I think I’ve got it figured out something reminds me of her and I break down all over again.

I was doing good.  I really was.  And then I woke up last Saturday morning to go to the Farmer’s Market.  I decided to check my e-mail, and there was a message from my Uncle out in Tacoma.  My Aunt Andrea had passed that morning.

That e-mail scared me…Not because of what was in it, but because of how I reacted.  There was none.  Nothing.  No pang, no tears, not even anger.  And I don’t know why.  Andrea means as much to me as everyone else.  But I felt nothing.  I must have read that one sentence e-mail 50 times, and I didn’t even so much as blink.  I still don’t know why.  It took me three days to feel something.  When I finally read the obituary.  Uncontrollable waves of anger.  I could have punched through the effing wall I was so angry.

Haven’t we been through enough already?  Haven’t we done enough grieving?  Every time I think there are no more tears left to cry, something reminds me of Mom, or Granny, or Uncle Don, or Andrea and I lose it again.

I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.  Something’s missing in me now, and it’s changed me.  I don’t feel the way I used to.  I look at things differently now.  Everything seems muted somehow.  I don’t see the world through that childish illusion anymore.  It’s just different now, and I can’t really explain how.

Every day that the sun sets on a world without Mom, Granny, Uncle Don, and Andrea in it is a day that the sun sets on a world that isn’t as beautiful as it used to be.