Overwhelmed is what I am and that which accounts for my silence, although I am most chatty towards you in my head. Finding a place to wade back into writing is a challenge. But I miss writing; it’s a way I can stay me and, at the moment, that is a struggle. (More on this later.)
So here is one major stream.
Two weeks ago, one of my brothers had a massive heart attack, klaxxoned to the hospital, had to be paddled back to life, and was then rushed to emergency quadruple bypass surgery. The surgeon wanted to operate at 11:00pm as my brother was in danger of another major heart attack. Only when he was being wheeled into surgery did he allow my sister-in-law to telephone us. At the time she called, late at night, I was sitting at my desk in near tears, struggling with my mother’s rapid mental deterioration. I stunnédly stumbled into bed wondering if my brother would survive the surgery. He did.
I have so much to do that I just melt into mindlessness, like staying up until 1:00am to watch HGTV flip and renovate house shows. Even reading seems like a chore, although that does not prevent me from dreaming and planning to read. I am listening to The Count of Monte Cristo as an audiobook. Great fun for the most part and it does help me to relax and sleep.
On Sunday, I fly to New York for three weeks. There is much apprehension there, … always the “what will I wear” conundrum. However, what will I return to? A much more diminished mother? Will Cooder survive my absence? Will the goddamned spider mites ruin my new tomato plants?
This post is barely adequate but I have been desperate to write.
THE MISSING PERSON
He comes to report himself
A missing person.
Hand him the form.
He knows how they have waited
With the learned patience of barbers
In small shops, idle,
Stropping their razors.
But now that these spaces in his life
Stare up at him blankly,
Waiting to be filled in,
He does not know where to begin.
That he cannot answer even
To a description of himself,
He asks for a mirror.
They reassure him
That he can be nowhere
But wherever he finds himself
From moment to moment,
Which, for the moment, is here.
And he might like to believe them,
But in the mirror
He sees what is missing.
It is himself
He sees there emerging
Slowly, as from the dark
Of a furnished room,
Only when it is dark,
One who receives no mail
And is known to the landlady only
For keeping himself to himself,
And for whom it will be years yet
Before he can trust to the light
This last disguise, himself.
— Donald Justice, The New Yorker Book of Poems