The other night I dreamt that my Grandma was offering me a plate of egg rolls. Grandma used to make all kinds of yummy things but never egg rolls. Due to my active dream life I often look up dream interpretations. Through that I know that when one dreams of a Chinese person it usually represents wisdom or sage advice. Applying that to my dream I think that the dream is about me missing my Grandma’s wisdom and advice. Or maybe she was giving me advice. Maybe she’s telling me to eat. Take care of myself.
At first I could eat and was eating like crazy. I knew Grandma would not like that though. She was always so careful with her diet so to eat my way out of grief would not meet her approval. Then I had a phase where meat was making me sick. I completely lost my appetite for it. Sometimes I would be able to eat it but throw up after. Finally, I lost my appetite completely. I would eat nothing or just one meal a day. Maybe just a handful of nuts.
I am thrilled to say, that I am losing weight! Sad to say, its like this. I was thinking too that it was time to make Empanadas. I love my Grandma’s Empanadas! The baking ladies have been making them with me since I moved here. We also all make tamales for Christmas. As much as I love those foods, I just can’t imagine spending a whole day in Grandma’s recipes. I won’t be able to call her if I’m unsure about a part. I think this year, I’ll pass.
At Pizza Night last week my lack of appetite came up with my friends. There were lots of questions regarding my motivation for not eating. Honestly, I have an appetite but I am ignoring it. I’m hungry but I just don’t care. I know it’s not healthy but I don’t care.
We talked about my search for comfort. Melissa mentioned that when her Grandma died there was a bird that came and flew all around her and every now and then a bird will come and linger near her and her family and she feels her Grandma near when that happens. Stacey said that similarly she has butterflies show up around her even out of season and she feels they are her Grandma in spirit coming to be near.
“Yeah, I don’t have that,” I said. “I keep looking and she’s not around. I don’t feel her.”
“You know, my dad is gone but I never ‘feel’ him near. I find myself using his phrases and jokes a lot and some days I think of him more than others. I think that’s when he’s near.”
Friday morning Caren announced that she wanted to go for a drive to “leaf peep” as the Aspen’s are all turning gold. The idea of wasting a day riding around looking at pretty leaves sounded right up my alley but I was not really up for a day hanging out with friends. I found out it would just be Caren and Robby and decided I could roll with that.
I rode in the back with a bag of Cheetos. Every now and then I would ask Caren to stop for a picture op. We pulled over at one spot with rows and rows of shimmering yellow Aspens.
“My Grandma would love this!” I sighed.
“See, this is what I mean,” Caren said. “This is when she’s near. It doesn’t have to be tangible. I know it upsets you when you hear Neil Diamond songs because of their connection to her but that could be her too.”
I mulled that thought around while I walked in the golden shade of the trees. Later we drove by a beautiful flowing stream. Caren u-turned and parked near. I am not a fan of natural waters. They make me nervous. They are unpredictable. Who knows what’s in there or how strong it is. Right now though, I don’t care so much about what’s good for me or safe. I hopped out onto the rocks and walked balance beam style on logs that were across the stream.
Be careful. You could fall, I thought to myself. Hmph. Who cares if I fall? I might get wet. I might get scraped up. Maybe break a leg. I’m ok with that.
Skipping from rock to rock with the gurgle of the water beneath me, felt great! It was nice to not care or worry. I wasn’t worried about what needed to be done at home or about the time or about being safe. It was great.
Maybe she’s near right now like Caren said. Maybe that’s why this feels good.
When I got home from our little field trip, Man was already home. He gave me two gift bags.
“One is for you and one is for Caren for helping out with the kids last week,” he said.
Inside were gift cards for a 1/2 day at the spa. Permission to pamper myself! Not “permission of my husband” sort of thing but more like an excuse for me to lay around and have other people take care of me for 4 hours without feeling badly about it. It’s perfect! (Caren loved it too. “Tell Man that next time a house plant will do just fine,” she laughed.)
Saturday and Sunday were really great days. The family all pitched in and got the house cleaned up. We had fun hiking with Caren and her family and all the performances of our show went really well. One cast-mate asked me why I was in such a good mood.
“Seriously? You guys keep asking me why I’m so down and now I’m finally up and this is odd too?”
I started to think that maybe the Zoloft had finally kicked in. On the way home from our matinee performance Sweet Caroline came on. I reached to change it but remembering Caren’s words, let it play. Maybe it was Grandma calling. I didn’t feel comforted but I didn’t feel aggravated either. Once home I helped Man get the boys to bed and ready for the new week ahead. I didn’t really have anything else to do so I announced that I would be going to bed too.
“It’s 8:30,” said Man. “I’m going to stay up a little longer.” He went into the office and fired up his favorite computer game.
I got in my coziest jammies and curled up with my cat. I wasn’t tired though. My thoughts reviewed the last few days and how great they were. That train lead to the following week. I need to make decorations for the school’s 50th birthday celebration. No big deal, just a couple of signs actually. Also Bug’s birthday party is Saturday. I usually go all out for the boys’ parties. I am not feeling it this year though. I have even asked Caren to make his cake for me.
How can I decorate so that it looks like an effort was made but without actually making much of one? I wondered to myself as my chest started to hurt. K. Think of something else because now you are getting worked up. Let’s see…I’m looking forward to the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.
Every year the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is held in Albuquerque. It’s the world’s largest and is such a fun event! My son’s have never been but we all decided at Grandma’s funeral that we should all meet up for it. My mom often would go to the festival with a group of friends and they would stay at Grandma’s house. I’ve been a couple of times and have great memories of it. Caren, being a fellow New Mexican, is coming with her family too.
When I’m there I can go by Grandma’s house. Maybe I can sit on her porch. I’m going to visit her spot at the mausoleum too. Maybe take flowers.
And then I burst into tears. I tried to stifle my sobs so as not to wake the kids or alert Man but soon he was in the doorway of our room.
“Are you crying?”
“Hold on. I’m going to turn off my game.”
That statement alone almost made me stop crying. Typically Man handles my tears with discomfort. He leaves me to cry alone or turns over and goes to sleep. He’s not mean. He just doesn’t know what to do. Now he was dropping everything to sit next to me with a box of Kleenex while I sobbed in his arms!
I told him why I was crying and my hopes to see her house.
“Honey, someone else lives there now.”
“I know, but I’m going to ask. I don’t want to go in. Just sit on her porch. You and the kids don’t need to come. I’ll go alone or maybe Caren will go with me.”
I cried more and ranted about the unfairness of the whole thing. I’ve been robbed! My sobs rose and I started to get really mad. Suddenly I hauled off and punched Man in the chest.
“Hey! Why are you hitting me?!” he nearly shouted.
“Because I’m mad! I’m mad, mad, mad!” I spat back.
Man had me in a tight grip to restrain me. I struggled against him.
“Let go! I’m not going to hit you! I’m not going to do anything.” I wrestled in his arms until I started to bawl again. When my posture grew soft, Man’s grip turned to a comforting hold.
“I’m sorry I hit you,” I sniffed. “Did I hurt you?”
“No,” he chuckled. “It just surprised me. You almost hit me in the face.”
“No I didn’t. I knew my target.”
He kissed the top of my head.
“Are you sure you want to go to the Balloon Fiesta?” he asked.
“Yeah. It’s very fun. The boys will love it and I’ll get to see my cousins. I want to go and I really want to go to Grandma’s. I know it won’t bring her back or even stop the hurt but it’s just a frayed hem that I need to stitch up. It may unravel every now and then but it’s just something I need to do right now.”
Last night I dreamt that my Mom and her friends had rented a condo up here. My Grandma and her friends rented a neighboring one. I went to Mom’s condo and all the ladies were sitting in the living room facing the same direction. They were facing my Grandma and her friends who were performing a song and dance routine in their pajamas. This is something my Grandma would never do. My Mom and her friends would totally do that but not Grandma’s crew. One lady was wearing lavender flannel jammies and singing that coming to visit the mountains was great because it gave her an excuse to wear flannel jammies.
This morning Kathy called.
“It’s cloudy and dreary out. I need to do something fun so that I don’t get bummed. How about coffee?” she asked.
I was feeling anxious this morning as the tasks I had counted off the night before were beckoning me. Plus there was the whole having to have conversation thing…
“Yeah, that sounds good. I’ll be there in 15 minutes.”
Caren met us at the coffee-house too and we sipped coffee and talked for 2 hours. It was good but the whole time I was on the edge of my chair ready to bolt.
“Ladies it’s 10:30! We need to get busy!” I gonged.
They agreed and we parted ways. I had just arrived at the house when I got a call from Stacey. We talked for about 20 minutes while I laid on my bed. The subject came back around to my not eating.
“I hope you know I wasn’t accusing you of having an eating disorder,” she said.
“Nope. You speak frankly and I always appreciate that. Nothing you said was hurtful. I don’t know why I’m not eating. I just don’t care to.”
The talk of food though reminded me that I was hungry. I went into the kitchen while we talked and looked for something to eat. Nothing in the fridge looked good so I went to the pantry.
“Pita chips!” I shouted. “That seems to be all I want right now. Chips.”
“Hm…now why is that? Is it a carb thing?” Stacey wondered out loud. “Maybe its the convenience, like because you don’t want to make anything.”
“Oh my gosh! That’s it. That’s totally it. I don’t want to put forth the effort. Better just to be hungry.”
“But wouldn’t you like something warm?” she cooed. “Like soup? Wouldn’t that be great on a day like today?”
“Ooo yeah! I should go to DaKind.” (DaKind is a “souper” yummy soup place up here.)
“Oh yeah! That would be great! You know what? I’m going to bring you some food.”
“Oh! We should go out to eat. Do you want to go to lunch?” I asked.
“Hey, yeah! I do! The other day you said you were craving pasta. You still want that?”
“Oh yeah! That sounds so good!”
Stacey snuck out of work and in a matter of minutes was in my driveway. She had a container of frozen DaKind soup wrapped with a ribbon. Flowers and a butterfly decoration were tucked into the ribbon.
“For another day,” she said and then she handed me two books. “This one is trashy. This one is Godly. They will both do you good!”
I had an amazing lunch with Miss Ray Of Sunshine. I ate as much pasta as I possibly could. We both moaned and groaned our way to the car.
“I’m going to have to go home and sleep this off!” I said. “Gah! I’ve done nothing today! I went to a coffee-house, to my house, to lunch!”
“Michal, that sounds like a lot to me. That was a lot of socializing. That’s a good thing. Sounds to me like you have spent the day taking care of yourself.”