I’ve had a hard time staying in the moment.
During the last few months, there was a grim chorus chanting in my mind. Over and over, a perseveration on the passing of my mother:
She is going to die.
I’m going to lose her.
When will it happen?
I felt pretty crazy. Anyone would, with relentless thoughts like that. I mostly kept them to myself, but felt driven to a dark and lonely place.
Now, its not a secret rumination, but a topic for family discussion. We are discussing arrangements for after she has passed. She’s receiving hospice services. She looks great, but there is a beginning of an understanding amongst everyone, and not only the neurotic adult daughter, that this is it, folks.
The chorus has gone silent, but I now feel mechanical, and my days seem played out, as if I’m an actor in a role and my real life is tucked away somewhere else, waiting for me to exit stage left and get back to it. I felt strangely disconnected when the hospice nurse visited yesterday, as if she represents some other alternate reality. She couldn’t possibly be here for my mother– it feels to strange, too unreal. I nod and smile on cue, however– maybe I’m a good actor.
The fogginess (which must be some flavor of denial) drives me nuts. But my days have been very busy: caring for my mother, my grandmother, attending to out-of-town guests, coordinating holiday meals, taking care of the house and keeping in touch with other family by phone. Maybe there isn’t enough left over for me to process, to “get it.”
“Getting it” is hard. I remember when I visited Beethoven’s grave in Vienna as part of a college music and history course. My professor stood in the cemetery and told us students that, above everything else, he wanted us to “get it-” to not just see a beautiful monument on a superficial level, but to understand the gravity, the importance, the reality of the place. Have it bore deep down into our skulls, that this is real, this exists, this is where the great man’s remains are. To feel the connection and the meaning. To wake up from a world and from tendencies of thinking that aren’t rooted in actuality, and to be right there, next to Beethoven (and Brahms, and Schubert) and take it all in.
Maybe there is some balance I can find, between perseveration and just checking out. Some way I can tolerate the agony of the present in order to take in the many blessings there as well.