167 days. My Mom died 167 days ago.
Well, 167 days, 17 hours, 3 minutes and 7 seconds, but who’s counting?
I am finally able to walk the house in my underwear if need be. If need be, please. I don’t need to parade around in my underwear, but that’s exactly what I do now. Because I can. With a kazoo and streamers, the whole nine yards. For the simple reason that I am the only person in the house.
And yet, I caught myself today closing the bathroom door when I went to take a piss. For the simple reason that I AM THE ONLY PERSON IN THE HOUSE.
I think I forgot to tell myself that she’s dead.
Yesterday, I reached for my phone to text her. Not even a reach, really, it was more a flinch, me wanting to reach for my phone. But I caught myself with that stomach-wrenching re-revelation that there’s no one to get that text. The revelation that comes again and again, so many times a day. She is never ever coming back. I haven’t really acknowledged it. Out loud, yes, to other people…yes. But not to myself.
I think my brain is finally attempting to catch up to reality. I spent the last four months of 2019 numb. I’m not a crier by nature, anyhow, but I really didn’t emote much about her death, aside from the actual day…and a couple after.
For the past month, I’ve become incredibly allergic to all sorts of things. My eyes water at Publix commercials and I nearly had a full-snot crying jag during the finale of “The Good Place.” Thanks be to Jaime Murray that I don’t wear mascara. I’d look even more of a mess than I do already.
I joke. That’s what I always do when I’m hurting. I make jokes. It’s a go-to deflection/distraction/protection mechanism when things get too real.
And I gotta tell you, things are pretty fucking real right now. If you see me in public, you probably have no clue. I smile, I chat with friends at karaoke, and they don’t know. I’ve been putting on The Show my entire life. Trust me, I have shelves lined with acting awards from fooling people into thinking everything is going great.
It isn’t going great.
Three people know this. Well, three people knew this. Now, I guess you know it, too.
I talked to a friend, and at the end of that conversation, she made me promise I would tell my shrink how bad things are. As it turns out, I already had a regular appointment with my shrink 3 days later.
I didn’t fuck around, either. I told her straight from the moment I walked in the room I was not doing well.
“How bad are you doing?” she asked.
“Very. Really, really bad.”
“Are you having thoughts of hurting yourself?”
“Yes,” I admitted.
“Do you have a weapon in the house?”
“No, I don’t have any firearms. You know I won’t own one for this specific reason.”
“That’s good,” she said. “Have you thought about what you might do?”
“And what is that?”
“Who needs a gun? So messy. There’s a far easier way.”
“And what is that?” she asked again.
“I’m diabetic. I have four insulin pens in my fridge. I’d only need one.”
“Mr. Erikson, do you need to be hospitalized?”
“If I felt I needed to be hospitalized, I’d have gone to the ER instead of keeping this appointment. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting there.”
“Do we need to control your insulin, to keep you from–?”
“That could never work. First of all, if I was going to go through with it, I wouldn’t be telling you about it. Second, I’m a diabetic. I need my insulin. And unless you’re going to make me come in for every dose of insulin, there is no practical way to control it. You can take away the other three pens and only let me keep one at a time, but I’ll still have way more than I need with just the one.”
She didn’t like that answer, exactly, but I’m honest if I’m anything.
Fast forward 30 minutes and I am now starting a new antidepressant and seeing a local therapist in a couple of weeks. I’ve had enough therapy to choke a battalion of horses, but here I go again. Because, you know, you do what you have to do, fake it till you make it, etc etc. I figure what the hell, I’ve faked it for over half a century. I’m sure I can manage to hang on another two weeks to see if this therapist is any good.
Yes, it is incredibly dark between my ears right now. I’m not going to lie about it. I really don’t see much point in…all of this…any more. I feel like I’m way past my expiration date and I’m just passing time. Waiting. But I am not going to act on these feelings.
Besides, I have too much to do to kill myself. I need to sell this house so I can get a whole new place. And I’m going to be excited about it, according to friends who tell me I’ll be excited about it.
I’ve been trying to get my schedule in order because I’m so scatterbrained and distractible right now, it’s very easy to rabbit-hole me. But here it is now, 8:00 in the morning, and I haven’t yet been to bed. So much for schedules. Still, I got a lot done tonight…laundry, dishes, I put together a grocery list. For where I’m at? That’s saying something. Right now, just brushing my teeth is a monumental task.
When I get up in a few hours, I’ll lay in bed for a bit, contemplating my role in the universe. That’ll take a few microseconds before I move on to the existential ennui.
Then I’ll finally get up, only because pissing my bed would make me even more depressed than I am now, and I’ll go into the bathroom and close the door to pee.
For the simple reason that I am the only person in the house.