***It usually strikes without warning -- the grief.
All day I'd been pumped to watch new episodes of my favorite shows - Earl, Office, Grey's, and E.R. Was even going to tape the pilot episode of Ugly Betty, as it appears to be quite a cute show.
Mom Nature had other plans. A huge storm rolled in, bringing with it hail, tornado warnings and power outtages, and it knocked out my power around 7:30pm. So I stumbled through my cluttered house and found the flashlights, found my book, found my radio, and having first-hand knowledge of the sluggish response times of local utilities, I settled in for a night of reading.
I'm currently reading Ann Howard Creel's The Magic of Ordinary Days. (I believe this was a recent Hallmark movie; I'll need to see if/when it'll be on again). The story takes place in Colorado during WWII, and is told from the first person voice of a woman who has undergone some major changes in her life, including the recent loss of her mother.
At one point the narrator describes how she misses conversations with her mother. And that's when it hit me -- I could not remember the last time I had a real conversation with my own mother. And yet she's still alive, still healthy, save for her diminishing mental faculties. I cannot remember the last time my mother asked me about any aspect of my life. And once in awhile, that realization hits me quite unexpectedly, right where it hurts, and I cry. I rail at the universe for taking her away from me, even while she's still alive.
In the quiet of a storm-darkened house, when there's just the pattering of rain on skylights, soft voices on the radio and the dim light of dying flashlights, without the distractions of light and clutter and television noise and internet escape, one sometimes has to face these emotions head on.
And even as my brain tells me I should just rejoice that she still lives a good and happy life, I mourn the loss of the mother I once knew, who would ask me about my work, who would attend local events with me, who was my friend, who was my mother.
And as I lay stretched out on my couch in my dark house, book on my lap, flashlight in hand, I really began to wallow in the self-pity, railing against other things -- my never-ending headache; the fact that no one ever calls to check on me during a storm; the fact that it was now 10:30 and the power was still out and I'd missed every show I'd wanted to see tonight.
Sing it, Linda Ronstadt: poor, poor, pitiful me. Waaaaa.
And it was right then that power came back on. In an instant, as lamplight spread across the house, the clutter of my life flooded in to numb me back into unconscious living.
To be surprised by grief on another day.