Friday, November 20, 2009

November 19th. Running Position

Who do I call if I have car problems?

Which mom said she’d be happy to get the kids?

I can’t remember. Panicked I start dialing familiar numbers. No one picks up.

Tuesday, I needed a man to talk to about my car so I found two standing on the school yard.

I said “What should I do?”

They said “Ask this.”

I smiled. I said thank you, feeling sheepishly stupid for not thinking of it myself. I went to our car mechanic, the one we’ve had for over 5 years, and asked…

“Can I drive this to the Sierra Foot Hills on Sunday for Thanksgiving week?”

He called later and said, “No.”


“In fact, it’s a good idea to think about getting a new car…soon.”

I smiled. I haven’t had a new car in 11 years. Our mechanic used phrases such as “radiator and slight crack,” “left rear cylinder head gasket appears to be leaking” and “need two new tires.”


Thursday, the wheels (I think) took his comments seriously.

Today …. One mile from home, the car felt like it was running over those rut thingys…the kind they have on the side of highways to wake up sleeping (or talking) drivers.

½ mile from home the whole car was movin’ to its own awkward but deep beat.

The kids gripped the seats.

I pull into the drive, they opened the door…

“What’s that smell mom? said Langston

“Ew, mom! What stinks?” regurgitates Pallas.

“Mom, the car smells…I’m getting out of here!” says always concise boy, Ezra

Nothing to see.

And then I see the list of things that needed to happen tonight.

A run to the store that included bread for breakfast.

Ezra. Black pants. School play. Tomorrow.

Speaking engagement me…tonight.

Tomorrow: Ezra’s class play, therapy for me, class birthday party for Pallas. Groceries for the car trip on Sunday, a night out for me. A run to the movie store?

I get in the house and start to yell at them…the ones whose needs are part of the stress but who are as innocent of their effect as the rain.

I stop. Better words come out of my mouth. “The car thing is really stressing me because….”

“I am sorry I yelled. It is not your fault.”

“This is very hard without daddy. At times like this I can’t see how I will get it all done.”

“Yes. Thank you. Putting your clothes away would help.”

I breath and dial for…. kids.

Langston ride – check

Pallas and Ezra ride – check

Pizza is coming, quiche will have to wait.

Me ride to school? No. Car first. A school play will be missed. It’s the first one. It won’t be the last.

Can I get the car rental earlier than Sunday?

Who will pick up the kids from school?

I can’t remember who to call.

I can’t remember who said they’d help.

How will I get to the birthday celebration? I don’t know. I will ride my bicycle if I have to but how will I get them home?

I will think about it tomorrow.

The morning is planned out, I know how I will spend the first two hours. Those two hours managed to the best of my ability, to the best of my fucking ability. I sit down and contemplate ending it all right now.

This is so, so, so hard. And I’m cold. The house is cold and he used to warm me up in bed. I’d face into him, knees curled up, his arms still able to reach around me. He’d pull up his legs, his thighs warming my feet and ass. And I’d giggle and shiver and he’d laugh too. The heat would radiate off of him onto me. “How is it possible for you to get so cold?” He’d ask, shaking his head. Every winter this is what we did.

His death is isolating.

Didn’t she send me an email once offering to go to the store for me?

Didn’t he once offer to take the kids after school?

Have I called her too many times to ask yet again?

It’s month 7 and

I have forgotten who has offered.

And now that I need something like a car a ride, a grocery run, I can’t remember. I can’t fucking remember who said they’d be happy to……

I can’t ask anymore.

The vulnerability of asking wrings me ragged.

I sit here in this house wanting the stress, the pain and the planning, always planning (always, always, always planning) to go away. My mind, my grieving, widowed mind hung with its various levels of fog (or is it smoke) is useless.

I sit here in this house, cold, hoping tomorrow won’t come. If the sun refused to rise, I won’t have to get up and make sure my feet and legs are in running position before they touch the floor.

And all I really want to do is sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep. The world is passing me by and I’m good with that. Let it move on. My straw is to narrow and bent and kinked to suck life out of it anymore. It’s sucking me instead. I’d rather stay right here…in the nothingness.

I am fearful at how quickly I come to the edge. With just a few extra drops, my cup over flowth and I almost go under.

I will go to bed, cold, hoping that tomorrow will be better.

1 comment:

  1. This is an amazing post. I was so struck by how it honestly captures the huge mix of emotional, practical and logistical issues that bombard a parent in your situation. I was especially moved by the observation that the needs of your children "are part of the stress but [they] are as innocent of their effect as the rain."

    A copy of this would have been good to have had to give to people in my life who just didn't seem to understand the deep scope of grief and having to be an only parent. You say it all with "This is very hard without Daddy. At times like this I can't see how I will get it all done." That image of a woman starting the day with her feet in the running position before they even hit the floor says more than words.