As you're probably already aware, other than the first nine days, August has not turned out to be a great month for me. It's not the first time, either. In August of 1998, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer; three of my brothers were in a plane crash that killed two of them, as well as the fiancée of the third. And then Thomas almost died after his lungs collapsed.
Fast-forward 10 years: Argus died, followed by my mother less than a week later. The timing forced my brother to fly on the 10th anniversary of the crash. My mother was buried on what would have been her 47th wedding anniversary. And I got to spend excessive amounts of time with family members I don't ever see anymore. In some cases, these are people I don't want to see anymore.
But I did get to spend time with my brother and sister and their families--always fun—and before we came home from Virginia, we were able to spend a really lovely day with Thomas' parents. Other than a higher than normal level of stress, I thought I was doing ok. But the stress level is not really abating and it certainly didn't help that one of our neighbors called code enforcement on the chickens. That's right: at lunch time yesterday, the nice man from code enforcement came by because one of our neighbors called to say that we had roosters--not allowed in the city--rather than hens, which are.
And ridiculous though it may be, that seems to have been, if not the last straw that the camel could bear, then perilously close to it. My temper is razor thin. Last night I was having trouble drawing a full breath. I’m stress eating, and we’re not talking carrots. I can’t stay awake, but when I actually manage to stay asleep, it’s most definitely not restful. And now I have that sick and sinking feeling that generally precedes a need to go to bed and stay there for a month.
I’m certain that, at least in part, it’s the guilt I feel for not being more strongly affected by my mother’s death. Or because I didn’t recognize the person they were eulogizing; the woman that my older sister spoke of, her voice heavy with tears. Why I didn’t know that mother whose death caused my brothers to weep. And now I’m left wondering if that person truly existed and, if so, why I didn’t make a stronger effort to get to know her.
The stress, irritability and depression are familiar demons and I’ll fight them, of course. I always do, though when so much seems to come at once, it’s oh, so much harder.