The block of time between April and May, without fail, has always been a flux of significance in my life. It’s when I got married, when that all came to a demise, when I started my new lease on life… I reflect a lot around this time of the year and well, this year wasn’t short of monumental memories and life changing events.
I road tripped on my own through rain, mountains, snow and wildflower clad desert (on the same day!) to spend time with Ginny in Arizona. On my way there I stopped near the dunes where I had my massive femur fracture accident. I didn’t expect to have feelings about that but I did. How can I not? I almost bled to death in that swath of sand and the fact I stood near there 37 years later, limbs intact, isn’t lost on me. Ginny took me to visit Saguaro National Park – got to see some petroglyphs, Rattlesnake Bridge, tons of ridiculously cool cacti & chipmunk butts. The company, laughs and eats were supreme. I’m so ridiculously proud of her for so many things. I really need to tell her more.
Days after coming home from Arizona, Stephen came to visit – getting to see him after 3 years was medicinal. There’s a lot to be said for reconnection with those who have known you, and stood by you, for almost half your life. Shortly after he went home, the call we knew was coming arrived. “She’s gone”.
Life sure has a way of stacking you up with emotionally challenging moments and while I had years to prepare for it, it doesn’t really hit you until that moment comes. My Mom suffered entirely way too long from Alzheimer’s and her life came to an end on April 18th. A mere week away from her and my Dad’s 60th wedding anniversary. I have been intending on writing something a bit more formal to summarize her and her life but it has been such an absolute whirlwind of emotional chaos, while trying to work, parent, processing difficulty and all while trying to keep your head above water at the same time? Yeah. Not quite ready for that one.
We knew it would be like this. The call, the hustle to get home, the saga of a last minute journey to Mazatlan, funerary service and the novela-like comedy that came with it. Let’s face it, when it comes to Mexican Familia, it will always be interesting especially when it’s mine. All things considering we all managed to get there as timely and as best we could considering the logistical nightmare of my family being scattered everywhere. And while the circumstances were not ideal, getting to be in the same place as my sisters, niece, child and my Dad and Tia all at once has its special place – and we brought levity where we could with good eats and getting to sink my toes in some Pacific kissed sand.
Grief is such a complicated and complex emotion and everyone processes it so differently. I will say that this version of me certainly handled things a lot differently than old me would have but having Reza there with me was a full circle moment that meant so much to me. My outlook on death, rite and ritual allowed me to find and truly glimpse into Mom’s transition, even if it was hard to look at that mortality because it shared my features and felt the grit and ash of her remains on my fingertips.
She was there when we arrived into the world and we were there to see her leave it. It is one of the most poignant and beautiful moments of my life. It didn’t really hit me hard until we were departing on the plane, I’m listening to The National and sitting next to my own child – absolutely ready to come home and start healing. Tears in my eyes and her hand over mine. This one is going to take a while.
A common theme for me in everything right now is “surrender”. Right now, I am in retreating and cocooning. I’m exhausted of being seen as strong. Or how people keep adding more daggers to my already heavy rotation of juggling because they think I can handle it. These hands are bloody and tired – I long and ache for more travel, adventure, seeing new things, reveling in everything beautiful. And being in fight or flight all the time is bone breaking and unsustainable. There is a pang that there is something larger on my horizon and as scary and heartbreaking as it is, and will be, I need to let things develop and unfold the way they’re meant to instead of trying to swim against the current.
In the words of El Guapo, “you cannot force open the petals of a flowarrrre”. I unravel on my terms these days. One thing I will say: I have really paid close attention in the past two months about who understands and shows up. Selflessly. My family and chosen family are something else and I am so fucking fortunate for it and them.
I am so fucking loved.
Oh! And I got to see The Cure for the 4th time with my birthday twin B! It was Reza’s first time and I am stoked we got to share that one. Core memory: Unlocked!