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The past couple days, I’ve missed my brother so much I feel like I could reach into my own chest, pull the longing out of my heart and actually hold it in my bare hands. It’s that tangible. It keeps coming out of the blue and knocking me down. Sucker-punches.

It probably doesn’t help that this past week has been difficult at home and at work. Zoey was sick, then Danny got sick, and I was pretty much in charge of everyone and everything for three or four days. I held everything together, but I was not Anna Sunshine… I’m not proud of it, but there it is. Then today, I had to go into work on third shift, and although it was for a great cause, it knocked my already-tired body even further out of whack.

So now my defenses are down and all my weaknesses are going completely berserk, all the things I fight all the time… all the bad ideas and negative talk. It’s like every Achilles heel I have has taken a major hit this week. I’m tired, and I’m lonely, and at this point with so much happening in my head, I’m getting confused — rattled. It’s like I just stumbled off of an out-of-control merry-go-round and I’ve gotta stagger around for awhile, wishing everything would just be still while I get oriented.

When I die, chances are pretty high that I’ll leave a lot of dirty laundry behind. In a way, this doesn’t bother me, because at least I won’t have to deal with washing it. But then again, that means I will never, ever, ever live to see myself totally caught up on the laundry.

Since we had our little Phoebe put to sleep last week, I’ve felt all sorts of things… incredible guilt, sorrow, longing, and relief. Relief that she’s no longer suffering, relief that we no longer are having to watch her slow decline and ask ourselves over and over if we’re handling this right, and relief that our home is the cleanest it has been in well over a year. But, curiously, I haven’t felt a need to talk to her, ask if she’s okay, apologize, etc. It’s like I’m pretty certain she’s okay. I miss her around here, miss her voice and her sometimes theatrical personality; miss her begging for ice cream or appearing at my side for a cat treat when she hears the rustle of the rat treat bag. I miss her healthy, younger self… who would head-butt my arm in the morning while I drank coffee, who couldn’t just accept your pats but had to reciprocate with rubs and kneading and kisses and her sputtery purr. I miss her… but I don’t worry about her. I realized that earlier this evening and — surprise — I feel guilty about it.

Danny is awfully sick. He came down with something pretty rapidly this evening. Now he has a temperature of 101 and can’t get warm. I know people get sick, and run fevers, and look awful, and then they get better. I’ve had to do it myself. Everyone does. But I am so afraid something is terribly, terribly wrong — that I’m missing the opportunity to rush him to the ER. (Maybe this is how I’ll be from now on… anytime someone gets really sick, I’ll act normal outside, and fly into a blind panic inside.) Earlier I caught myself bitching in my worst martyr voice that I was going to start a load of laundry, then put away allll the laundry on the bed, then clean the kitchen. He said not to try and do too much, and I heard myself say — in that put-upon-and-not-thrilled-about-it tone — “Well, it needs to be done, and if I don’t do it tonight it’s not likely to get done tomorrow. Oh well — just the way it is, right?” Of course now I feel awful. And it would just serve me right if something happened to him and that was our last dialogue, me bitching.

The Hurricanes STINK this year. Holy crap. But you know what… even if they were smashing teams left and right, I’m still not sure how interested I’d be in watching the games. I’ve tried, I’ve watched two so far, and I’m about a third as interested as I used to be. I don’t really know who the players are anymore — when I used to go to games, I’d always get a program and read the sucker from front to back, and it was a good way to learn and remember who the starters and backups were, where they were from, what year they were in, etc. I’m so far removed from that whole world now that watching the ‘Canes is pathetically unfamiliar. I might as well be watching an episode of “CSI” (I don’t watch it, never have, don’t know who the hell anyone is on it).