Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Snark that Springeth Green [PG-13]

On Saturday, July 17th, 2010, we got a morning phone call from NY, that my 85-year-old mom-in-law had been taken to the hospital with congestive heart failure. All day we waited for the next phone call.

But when the phone rang it was my father next door, saying that my mom was going into the hospital with congestive heart failure.

I didn't know what CHF was, really. I would never have believed that my dear mom-in-law would see her 86th birthday (2 months later) much less be back to driving and active life, which she now is. At the time we thought we might lose them both that very day, and Larry and I were basket cases.

We sat in our (South Carolina) ER waiting room with my parents, and we tried to talk normal things like the garden. The Brussels sprouts were doing well.

Mom summoned a smile and said, "Well, your mom will be very happy to help you eat them."

Days later her doctor discovered the MAC infection that was too much for her, and she died on the 28th.

We ignored the Brussels sprouts and most everything else. Every time I looked at those pretty plants, I'd think, "We should think about how she'd enjoy them, she'd want us to enjoy them." It didn't work. Everything went to seed and the gardens dried up into rectangles of dry brown stalks. As I felt a little better it seemed a shame, but at the time, the very thought just reopened the loss. We debated whether we'd even do gardens this year.

So flash forward to mid-February in South Carolina and a couple warm days. And the dry brown stalks have re-greened and are producing little sprouts. Photo taken Feb. 17th.

This seems like some kind of Spiritual Symbolism. You can't say no to The Giver of Life, for Lo! the .... something something [INSERT BIBLE QUOTE HERE].

I'm coming back to life too. And we will hope it's only a phase of my fuller emotional engagement, but i am grouchy as holy hell.

I'm sure no one has noticed. Shut up.

But it does not resemble Biblical doves with olive leaves, and rainbows of promise and renewal. I yell at everything.

Stupid kitchen knives that won't slice an onion evenly.

Stupid [bleeping] gigantic water tank in our bedroom closet taking up a desperately-needed quarter of its space so I have to stand on something to reach teetering piles on high shelves, which fall off when I try to pull something out. Really hate that water tank.

Stupid Facebook's "New Photo Viewer, created because we Luv our members so-o-o much! Or maybe because if it ain't broke, we fix it!" that CROPS THE BOTTOM OFF MY PHOTOS. And claims it doesn't, when I go to the charmingly spelt "help centre."

[Bleeping] giftwrap industry. The giftwrap industry is phasing out flat sheets and the choices are gift bags, which don't pack well when you have to immobilize a breakable, or big rolls, which are holiday-specific, to force you to buy more instead of using the leftovers. And then store them. It's a whole Temperamental post in itself.

Getting angry about spam email is the most pointless of the pointless, but spammers have destroyed what started out as a great way to message, and the more copies I receive of Hookup2nite! and money scams and TARA! wanting to read my palm, the angrier I get. I find myself wanting something very ugly to happen to "Tara." Then I convince myself that since this is a spambot and not a human being, it doesn't harm my soul to wish it. But my Higher Power probably wants me to remember that it's the thought that counts.

Oh, and there's a whole rant I wrote but haven't posted, about a video that subtly mocks and humiliates older women. I want to take the little bastard CameraPerson and ... never mind.

My Craving To Criticize threatens to take me over. I read other blogs (no, none of this refers to you guys who are on my blogroll) and want to write whole long responses full of phrases like "What planet is she on?!" and "mentally deficient puling," and "Praise Jesus! feeling good about ourselves is the cruise-ship to Hell, you tell 'em, honey!"

I know my readers kinda like my snark posts and I'm happy to do them at times, but a constant stream of it doesn't wear well. I'm indulging myself with this post, but believe me, the 10 separate posts it could have been would be overkill. Yet it's all I seem able to write or think lately. I'm really not in the mood for The Examined Life, I have no desire to examine my life right now, I just want to eat chocolate and say swear words, but I kind of need to look beneath it all at the cause.

The real me is a grouch, but I'm also well aware that none of these relatively trivial things is what I'm really angry about.

What am I really angry about? The last half of 2009 I went to 5 funerals in 6 months, including my uncle, Dad's only brother. And I begged off of attending a 6th funeral. The summer of 2010, you know about. The illnesses and deaths of people dear to us have kept slamming us since. Larry's uncle, who meant a whole lot to him, died a few weeks ago. We are wrung out and feeling brittle and I really want to slash God's tires, but I get sent to Celestial Voicemail instead. Your fury is important to us, please hold.

So I blow up about matters either trivial or outside my sphere of influence. That Serenity Prayer again. What can I change and what can't I?

According to grieving literature anger is part of the grieving process, and there's no exact formula as to when you hit that patch. I've hit it. So, at the moment the voice of the turtle is heard in our land and it's saying, "%$*#!"


Catherine said...

Oh, honey -- snarkiness is chicken soup for the grieving soul, so go ahead and indulge.

This too shall pass, as you already know. And it will also come back now and then ....


Sherwood Harrington said...

I love this post. Sorry that you've had to feel so lousy for so long in order to give me some enjoyment with it, though.

I think I started yelling at people an order of magnitude more than I used to when my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 97, then my dad with congestive heart failure shortly thereafter (he never COULD let her have center stage all to herself), and then, etc. etc. etc. I guess that's the penalty we pay for outliving people. Lots of them.

I love this post also in part because I admire your ability to snark in a way that both expresses your pain and allows me to chuckle at the same time. I can't do that, so when I feel like snarking I write about obscure history stuff instead as kind of a diversionary tactic.

Struck a chord in me, you did. Can you tell?

Christy said...

Dang - six funerals? It hasn't even been two years. I certainly think the snark/anger period is still in effect.

Praying for you tonight!

Mike said...

I'm with Sherwood. I think the fact that you can express this all so well shows that the illegitimati haven't really got you carborundumed all that much, despite their best efforts.

southernyankee said...

God bless the Turtle, @!%&*!!@*!

ronnie said...

Perhaps the only thing that eases my pain and/or rage when I am in that dark place is the capacity to write about it. And write about it well, on a good day. I hope this gives comfort to you as well, because this is a beautifully clear and coherent and well-written and engaging expression of what you're going through.

Remembering that people care about you a lot - even people who've never met you - might help too. Sure helps me.

Tough times. You'll both be in our thoughts.

Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

I occasionally say "You guys are cool" and here i go again - the good wishes are warming.

In a way i feel like i'm lying when i reword the anger in a funny way. If i have to stop and say "hmmm, too snarky" and think up a funny metaphor, then is it really honest? But i decided it is, because the process of writing it, and stepping outside my own head to find the humor, is good for me. I'm blessed in SO many ways!