Running in Place

We got back from the States early Monday evening. Thanks in large part to the fall back to standard time, we gained two hours, but that hasn’t helped me much. I came down with the flu on the day we left. Ran a fever even. A real one that doctors would recognize. Normally my temp barely cracks 97 F, so anything over 98 leaves me feeling like death. A recognized fever floors me. My sweet husband pulled all the driving duty then on the way home so I could sleep, but I still feel punk.

Even ill I managed to start NaNoWriMo and should push past the the 15,000 word mark this weekend. Surprisingly, to me alone I suppose, was that the words just run like water from a tap on this project. I am also finding it easier to merely tell the story and not seek perfection as is my wont when I write – although not necessarily on this blog as my husband and Silverstar can attest.

After having a second piece at 50 Something Moms picked up for syndication, I am feeling pressured. It is entirely self-pressure, but it is stifling me a bit idea-wise. I also have no idea what to do with the publishing credits I now have. How to parlay them into a new opportunity has become my new dilemma.

I am missing my dad quite a bit. I was speaking with him daily and around the time I would usually call I find myself becoming sad. Rob saved a phone message for me last year with Dad’s voice. I played it yesterday for myself and discovered it was the birthday call he made to me not quite a year ago. His voice sounded so weak and the message was very short. It was nice to hear him again.

My brother sent me an email mid-week asking me to call him. This was after I had talked to Mom and discovered he’d called her and hinted around for money. He knows better than to ask me for money, but I am betting he wants me to talk Mom into helping him. That will not happen. But I am not putting off the return call for any reason other than I don’t want to speak with him right now. I cannot assure myself that I won’t tell him exactly what I thought about his behavior just yet. After an entire year – plus a difficult summer – of dealing with him over the phone, I need a rest. Am I my brother’s keeper? It would appear so but even keepers need vacations.

I have received condolence cards this last week. One from the Holy Family Schools, probably the alumni office – now there is a job, keeping track of the family deaths of old students – and another from my oldest friend, Lisa J. who is actually younger than I am but I have officially kept in touch with her longer than anyone else I have ever known.

Lisa J and I go back to 5th grade at Resurrection Grade School. That’s about 35 years. She sent a card offering her sympathy and memories of Dad. Chiefly, she recalled that he was always working on one or the other of our cars, a consequence of never buying one that wasn’t used or older than 8 years. She also remembered him fixing a flat on her bike, which I don’t remember at all. Finally, she remembers him scolding us about people who leave mass early.

“Would you leave a movie ten minutes early?” he asked.

She says that has always stuck with her.

I didn’t read a single card I received after my late husband died. Didn’t send one “thank you”. I frankly found the cards impersonal and a stark reminder of how alone I had been on that journey and how only his death seemed to spark people. I don’t feel the same way about the cards and wishes I have received about Dad. Listening to Mom talk about reading and replying to cards has done much to take the sour taste of my own experience out of my mouth, though it hasn’t made me forget or suddenly want to dig them out and write a bunch of belated thank you’s.

Trying to get back into the swing of life as usual this week has left me feeling a bit like a gerbil on a wheel, but slowly routine is seeping into my bones.

7 thoughts on “Running in Place

  1. My father died when I was 38, 16 years ago, and I miss him and think of him every day. Writing about him helped keep him “present” over the years, and was very therapeutic. Hope you’re feeling better, and congrats on your lovely current piece on 50-something Moms Blog

  2. Sorry to hear about the flu on top of everything else. You have so much going on, and you handle all of it with such grace. Feel better soon.

  3. Glad you’re feeling better. I was hit with a flu last weekend but it left quickly, thank heavens.

    Reading about your travails with your brother makes me glad that the four of us get along so well. Thank you for providing some perspective.

  4. writing notes to people who sent cards, flowers and donations to the church was great therapy for mom and me after dad died… everyone hits it differently. and i still talk to Dad, even though he’s been dead for five years. no answers yet, but it’s good to unload on him…

  5. Having just returned home from having new windows put in, I am also a gerbil on a wheel. Glad you got such a nice condolence card, sorry about your brother. Take care of yourself.

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