I'm having a difficult day today. Sarah left to go home with her dad for several weeks and the house is as quiet and empty as the tomb it is. I think too much when I'm alone. When there is nothing to draw me externally, I begin to look inward and truthfully, that's a dark place.
The weekend was rather a letdown. I had to do the yard work and I hurt myself so badly after weeding the flower bed on hands and knees, and then doing trimming I could hardly move all weekend. I hurt from my neck to my feet. My arms, back, neck, and even my stomach were sore. I was glad to see my son, but I was out working most of that time trying to get the weed trimming done before the weather turned or suffering in my chair. I still have not finished the trimming and it is raining today.
I went for a walk, thinking it would be good to get me out of the house and would lighten my mood. It did not. If walking in the rain can't make you feel better, it's pretty bad. I can't say I have any real physical pain. It is maybe 2-3. The agonizing pain of the weekend, which was really strained muscles, is now nearly gone.
While I was working on some paperwork earlier, I wondered when exactly children begin to have no use for their parents. I raised two sons. I assumed they loved me. I adore them. Elder son does things for me and has always done so. If I'm sick he always shows up and calls. Not so much my younger son. Now he lives in another state so it would be impossible but he lived most of his life up the road a bit. He put up cabinets once.
So, as I stood staring at some stuff I'm clearing out it was with only a slight shock that I realized in 35 years I've never received a mother's day card, a birthday card, a get well card, or any kind of card from my children. Not one. Not ever. Neither of them. When they were in elementary school, they may have made a couple. I don't think I have them. If I do they're in a folder somewhere.
Nor have I ever received gifts of any kind from my children. They've taken me to lunch a few times. I've bought more of our meals for every occasion. The only real gift I ever got and I know was bought with great thought and love is a beautiful collectible doll in a glass case. Mike got it for me when he was about 12 and I can still remember his face when I opened it and how much that doll meant to me. She is in my bedroom right now, carefully protected from harm in her glass case. I open it sometimes and touch her. She looks a bit like a bride. Jerry bought me a doll, a few years later "because she looked" like me. She's in the living room.
Once, when he was married to his previous wife, the younger son sent flowers. I think it was for my birthday. I showed them to my whole office. Elder son has taken me to lunch a few times ... when he had the money. Younger son has on occasion bought my lunch.
But I have no special mementos to point to and say, my son got me that. Except the doll. I have no file of beautiful cards to Mom. I have a file of cards from my aunt, my sister, Sarah, my ex-daughter-in-law, and maybe from my Dad and step mom.. whom I hardly know. I even have a file of letters from some people. There is a file of sympathy cards I received from people when Jerry died. You will find no cards from my sons when I die.
I also realized I never got flowers or cards from Jerry from probably the early 90's, if then, not even anniversary cards. There are none in my folder from him, but I vaguely recall getting one or two. When we first married I used to get flowers now and then. The last time he bought me flowers was around 1999. It was for my birthday and they were in a cute pumpkin planter. He'd take me to lunch on Mother's Day and my birthday so I suspect that substituted for cards and gifts. For the last 10 years of his life, I bought my own Christmas presents.
I remember being at work when people got flowers on Mother's Day and I'd leave the area because I didn't want someone to ask me, "What'd your family do for you? They did nothing.
I'm not sure why this all came to my mind today. Maybe because the emptiness of my home is a mockery of all that I thought I had once. To wake up one day and everyone is gone and you realize you really weren't special after all is a bit of a shock. How did I miss it? Was I so full of myself that I thought I was really important to these people?
I've never said anything to anyone. I just kept it quiet. I stayed silent. Honestly, I was usually embarrassed by it. It doesn't make me feel better, putting this here today, but I think I've hit bottom. It took me a long time to get here. The fall is pretty steep. My only rationalization is that there are various stages to grief and I suspect some of the realizations I've been having over the last year have something to do with it.
When you go through things after people die, you learn things. Some are things you knew but forgot. Other things are things you should have known but didn't. And still other things are things you wish you'd never found out. You find things that hurt, some that anger, and some that just confuse you. I've experienced all those.
I don't like writing this post because I don't like whiners. But for once in my life, I'm not staying silent. I'm not going to pretend there isn't a problem. I'm not going to make excuses for other people's bad behavior, attitudes, and actions. There are things that are just wrong, and ill-mannered, and selfish.
I can't change the past or the present. I can't fix what is already set in stone. Somehow I have to figure out how to make life mean something without the things or people I thought gave it meaning.
Maybe, as someone once told me, there is no meaning. We just move through our life like pinballs, racking up points here, losing some there but never really making an impact on anything. The sacrifices you make are pointless and go unnoticed everywhere but your own mind. Ultimately, we have no one but ourselves to live with and if we can't do that, we might as well just die.