Tuesday, August 14, 2012


All summer, I've been under water.

Some days, literally. Kentucky summers are always hot; this one was oppressive. The pool was my escape when it was too hot to even sit on the couch and wish the folks who built our house had put the vents in the right places.

But every day I was under water in spirit. I have felt endlessly adrift and separated from the bright, noisy world above the surface. I have been removed, distant, and muted. Not that this is a bad thing; I think anyone who suffers a sudden loss finds themselves in a cocoon of some sort for a while. If we didn't, I don't think we could bear it.

Last week, after struggling to rise for the three brightest months of the year, I broke the surface. I gasped for air, took a look at all the vivid colors and hazy sunshine and gleeful noises, and decided, like that beloved Disney princess, to be part of that world.

I'll never be the same person I was in March. Losing my mother has changed me forever. I kept waiting for everything to go back to the way it was; I thought by summer's end I would be healed and be myself. I've come to realize, however, that being healed and being just the way you were are not really the same thing. I am out of the extreme depression I was in in the weeks immediately following Mom's illness and death, but I am not the same. There's a new normal. Learning this has gotten me out of the water and onto dry land. But the person who crawled out is not the one who jumped in.

I've thought, several times, that I could never laugh again. Or that I could never be funny again. That I could never again see the humor and absurdity of even life's darkest moments, an ability which got me through cancer and through three other losses.

I have laughed, though. Maybe not as loudly, maybe not as often. Yet I have laughed. And I've even been laughed at. And I finally see the funny around me. Pretty soon, I think, I will be able to write about it again.

I guess what I'm saying is...I'm back.

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