please don’t go, we’ll eat you up we love you so

“I cry a lot because I miss people. They die, and I can’t stop them. They leave me, and I love them more.”

Maurice Sendak

Over the years I’ve thought about—and attempted—quitting blogging. I began blogging back in 2006. I’ve gone dormant for long periods of time (especially on the sweet bi and bi—eee gads), but somehow I’ve always ended up starting again.  I’ve tried sussing out why I write and for who, trying to come up with some logical reason that anyone would want to know anything about what rattles around in my head. Then someone or something dies, and I am compelled once again to take heart to keys and get. it. out. Friends, someone and something has died again, so here I am.

This past month my cousin Pamela passed away. She was my dad’s sister’s middle daughter. She had brain cancer. I didn’t know her; our families stopped being family in the late 80’s early 90’s. Not knowing her, I am sure, will turn out to be one of my life’s biggest regrets. My side of the family has been estranged from hers for a long time; I don’t know why. I only know it was a source of great pain for the whole family—her side and mine.

For those of you who know me, you may think this sounds a little like déjà vu. It is, a little. Before my mother disappeared, I was estranged from that side of the family as well. In many ways, I still am, though not for lack of trying—on their side and mine.

It’s hard, the whole family thing. For me, it’s tied up and tangled in with grief, loss, pain unimaginable. It carries rumors and accusations, stories that sound more like fishing tales than real life. I wasn’t there for most of these events, and my connection to these stories are only through the shaping of my own life by the people who lived through it. I love my family, but dang there is some rough choppy water under this bridge.

This past week I lost something, some part of me I can’t quite out a finger on yet. A few friends held up a mirror in front of my face and I did not like what I saw. Most of you know that this time of year brings about some generally unwelcome feelings for me: its mid-winter and the anniversary of my mom’s disappearance. It is effing cold out and the sky is perpetually some shade of grey. This friends, is when depression tends to settle in for a long winter’s nap. Despite my best efforts, and the efforts of those around me, I have not been able to keep it from coming around again. So I say to you, welcome back depression, welcome.

However, I am now declaring that this year will be different. Today, is different. Here is why: I will just get up and do*, again. I will welcome the depression in like a long lost family member. It will be awkward and uneasy, of course, like my other familial relations. But this will not stop me from welcoming the gift it holds. I will take little steps to be who I think I can be and who I am.

I will reach out to my family and face the discomfort and love that it holds. I will say I am sorry when I am sharp in tone and content. I will listen to people, ask good questions, and I will not listen to the made up bullshit story in my head. I will ask and not assume. I will hear my hearts deepest longing to belong, and know that I am, and I do.

 

*get up and do: a famous direction my mother often gave. Sort of her own riff on nike.

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