Good evening.

It's been forever since I posted. I think about posting every day, but I'm finding that when I'm going through a more shadowy period, I am not comfortable with it. Partly it's because I don't want to freak anybody out; partly it's because I get so bogged down by interwoven layers of feelings and issues that I don't know what the hell to say without blurting EVERYTHING out.

For awhile — overall, really — I've felt better than I expected. For the longest time there was a tremendous sense of peace, a feeling that everything that's happened is okay… certainly NOT what I wanted, and not something I like, but still okay. After Mike died I felt drawn to reading about the afterlife, where we go, how it works, how it ties into organized religion. Very comforting stuff. But after about a month and a half, I frankly got tired of thinking about it.

So, about a week or so ago, I thought: I'm done with this for now. I'm going to focus on my actual life again for awhile. The rest of us are still here and the show has gone on, and I'm ready to go with it. It was a remarkably freeing thought, and for a couple of days afterward I felt really good. Sort of mentally refreshed. Like I really was facing forward.

And then, I don't know what happened, but I seemed to slip beneath the waves a little. There are two problems to this. First, there is apparently NO predicting how my moods are going to shift. Ever. No matter how strong I feel one day, no matter how firmly on the ground I think my feet are planted, the tide has a tendency to sneak in on me, and then there's that pull at my ankles, and WHOOOSH all of a sudden I'm struggling to breathe.

On top of this instability, add the second problem: When I have a bad day, it's never really the type of bad day I expected. It doesn't feel like grief. To be honest, it feels like PMS. One minute things are fine, and the next minute everyone hates me and everything sucks and I have no patience and I want to cry and eat chocolate and take a nap and kick people in the shins. And I usually have no idea why. I try to control it, but it never works for long. It doesn't feel like grief… it feels like PMS. If it was crushing grief, sorrow over my lost brother, it would at least make sense.

So, just when everything felt relatively decent, it went to hell. I was a mess, crying at work out of the blue, snapping at the people I love most, and daydreaming about kicking people in the shins. This went on pretty much nonstop for several days, and let me tell you, it was miserable. I knew I was alienating everybody and I felt like there was nothing I could do to stop it.

In the midst of this emotional havoc, I realized that deciding to focus on real life does leave one big issue: my brother is no longer in it. Facing forward is great and all, but there is still a big hole and a huge group of loved ones trying to reorganize our hearts and minds and lives to cope with it. And my feelings toward him, at least for now, are changing. I know he existed and I have a ton of memories I love, but all the same, I have this unnerving sense that he was never here, he was not my brother, that I never knew him. I seem to think of him as a stranger, someone I knew OF but didn't know personally. Kind of like… oh hell, I don't know, David Letterman. I know who he is. I assume he exists. But I don't really know if he's for real. And if I ever saw him in person, there'd be that realization that there really IS a David Letterman and he's standing right there!

Now, think for a moment about this. This is my only brother; I love him dearly. He was such a brilliant light in so many lives, mine included. But it's hard to miss someone when you feel like you never knew them. Do you know how screwed up this is? To think of someone you loved and lost in such a cold, almost hostile, detached way? I hate it. It makes me so uncomfortable.

I don't know what this is, but I'll be glad when it gives way to whatever comes next.

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