Part of my daily writing goal was to be honest and not edit myself as I wrote. To literally just write every single day.
I made this goal knowing there would be many days I did not want to write or days when I thought I had nothing to write about or days when I had to squeeze in my daily blogging at 11:59pm. I made this goal knowing that it would, one day, force me into a corner of writing honestly about stuff I never want to write about.
And I avoided being honest yesterday--instead writing what felt like a flat, frivolous post about snow closing numbers on the radio in the 1990s. I didn't even like it as I was writing it and only hit publish to check a box. Since yesterday, I've felt off. Not myself. I know why I feel this way and frankly I don't want to talk about it, but if I don't, I'll be stuck writing nonsense that I don't even like.
If we are going to do this together for one year, I suppose dark bits of my personal truth will start to slither out and those messy bits will appear. You may think you've already seen the messy bits here and there; but let me tell you, you haven't.
I guess we've reached the day when I let you all see me without my make-up on.*
Since last week, some memories of my brother's final days** have been creeping in. It started with thinking about a friend's husband who is on a ventilator battling COVID (he is not dying, I want to make that clear) and remembering the ventilator my brother was on and then being sucked right back to his bedside.
Then there was a replay of an old Pearl Jam concert--which made me remember the last concert I went to before David died (Lady Gaga) and the first concert I went to after David died (Pearl Jam in Seattle) and how for my brother who so loved music, there would never be another concert I could bring him to. All my crazy dancing would not be in honor of him or with him but in memory of him.
Then I disappointed someone I love and in turn, disappointed myself. I remember being a kid and crying after I got in trouble and was crying in my room over the disappointment of myself and my parents, when my non-verbal brother, who was underestimated by everyone in the world, knocked on my bedroom and brought me a tissue. David won't ever knock on my bedroom door again with a tissue.
And then it snowed and I remembered the big hill at my childhood home and all my sled runs, all day and all night, mostly alone. David wasn't much for sledding and I always wished he had been. And it makes me so damn angry and broken from start to finish that he was not any of things he could have been and now he is simply nothing but a memory I cannot unravel or shake or enjoy.
It is that fucking mud that I am stuck in. It happens more than I admit even to my own husband. It's been three years, but I am still in that neuro ICU and I am still in scrubs trying not to vomit in grief and horror and pain while I willing allow his life support to be removed and surgeons to harvest his organs.
I don't even ever want to write what I wrote or let anyone know because it is my deepest, darkest shame that I cannot and will not move on with this.
I hate this place. It makes me unable to sleep and breath and be normal. It is not a place of fight or flight, it is a place where I simply lie down on the floor and pray everyone notices me enough to step around me but not enough to acknowledge me or help me, but really I am that stuck.
The crazy thing is, tomorrow, might bring me back--mocking the elderly and their medical appointments or laser focused on my goals or laughing about sewage. Or maybe it won't. I never know how long I'll be here.
But for now, I think I have to be here. And I am okay--that's the thing--I am not un-okay. It is just that this is a very big part of who I am--a part I don't like and a part that makes me ashamed. I know that is silly to ashamed of grief---and it isn't grief exactly that I am ashamed of, it is the ugliness of my grief that shames me. Someday, maybe it won't. Maybe saying out loud is the way forward. For now, I am doing the things I have to do, faking it until I make it out of the mud.
*Note: I am wearing actual make-up. I am not elevated enough to actually not wear makeup, even when I might say I am not wearing makeup, I am. I always am. And tonight I had to do a Facebook Live, so the eyeliner is in full effect.
**His eulogy is here. His story is on my Instagram feed (@TrishAdkins)