I have moved three times in the last two years. It looks like we're about to make it four.
This Sunday, we found out that the offer we had made on a house in Riverside was accepted. We were having lunch with my dad in Oceanside at the time, about to bring a U-Haul tuck to my mom's house to pick up the things we wanted to keep before the estate sale. Michael and I had spent several days sorting through drawers and boxes and closets, an experience both painful and enlightening; it felt like an archaeological dig, excavating what remains of her life. I found I was looking for clues, evidence, some hint of when her mind started to turn against itself. I brought boxes and boxes of papers and old photos home with me to do further excavation, further inquiry. I doubt I'll find any definitive answers, but I want to flesh out her story for myself as much as I can.
It breaks my heart to think that my mom will never see our new house; it's a pretty amazing house, much bigger than anything we thought we could afford. It was built in 1939 (the year of my mother's birth, which I find comforting--it makes her feel connected to the place) but was redone in the 70s, and has traces of that decade throughout (including four of those foresty photo wall murals I coveted as a kid; the whole place feels like a ski lodge inside.) The night after we first looked at the house, I had a dream I was in the kitchen there, and received a note from my mom. It was a note from her true self, not the delusional and paranoid person she had become at the end. That felt comforting, too--it also gives me a kind of memory of her in the space. And the fact that we found out about getting the house the day we had the U-Haul truck feels important, too--I was able to take some of my childhood furniture that we wouldn't have kept otherwise, since our current house can't accommodate it. It almost feels as if my mom helped orchestrate the deal; it certainly feels bashert (Yiddish for "meant to be". Another reason it feels this way is because we had been looking for a house to buy in Redlands for months without any luck, but we found this house the first day we started to look in Riverside). Of course we still need to get through the home inspection, etc, so I don't want to get ahead of myself, but for now, it seems to be moving forward. It should be a fun house for Asher to grow up in; lots of space to play and dream.
I'm not looking forward to the actual move, but I've done so much moving recently, I know it will be okay. In December, I realized that I had experienced so many things that are on most people's "most stressful experiences" list since the previous December. Between those two Decembers, I had officially gotten divorced, moved twice, gotten pregnant, gotten laid off, gotten married, given birth and lost a parent. And now we're adding buying a house to the list. I definitely have more white hair to show for all of it, but it's been a good--and nearly continuous--reminder that life is about change, that nothing stands still (but we can still remain standing in the process. And life is full of beauty even in the midst of the most devastating changes.)
Monday, January 11, 2010
It's been seven weeks since Asher was born, six weeks since my mom died. Time has become strange--a crawl and a blur all at once. I often don't know what day it is. We're doing well for the most part--Asher is amazing; he has started to smile and coo and continues to bring us so much joy, even in those moments of heart-stopping grief that have a way of sneaking up on us.
I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and love after I announced my mom's suicide; it has buoyed me more than I can express. I owe a lot of you emails and phone calls and Facebook messages; please forgive my lack of communication--it's been hard for me to keep up with everything, both because I have a baby in my arms most of the time and it's not easy to type one-handed (as I'm doing now) but also because I've been in cocoon mode and doing anything beyond nursing Asher and talking with my family and remembering to eat every once in a while has been overwhelming. I'm starting to feel as if the fog is lifting and I'm more ready to be part of the world again (the picture above is from Asher's first outing to a park this weekend), but it's going to take a while to catch up with everything. I'm so grateful that UCLA and Antioch were understanding about my decision to step away from my online teaching obligations this quarter--it was a difficult decision to make (I love teaching, love my students) but there is no way that I could have kept up with the work right now.
There is so much more to share, but maybe I'll wait until I can type with both hands. Please know that I'm doing okay and am so thankful for all of the kindness I've received. There have been many gifts in these last few intense weeks; your support is among them.