It is morning, earlier than usual, but yet, I am awake (like always) and looking at today’s date. I realize that four years have passed since my last trip down to Ft. Lauderdale in good old Sunny Florida. I know this because the date has been tattooed into the top of my wrist and commemorated for a special reason.
I get lost sometimes. I think we all do. Life piles up on us and bills come in the mail, things break; situations arise that are beyond our control, life happens, and we grow more distant from each other as the days go by.
It is easy to become part of the problem and lose to the clock or calendar. It is easy to forget important things and lose them to the distractions that come with everyday life.
Put simply, and without any doubt, we take life for granted. We expect life will always be there. Tomorrow will always be there (because it always has been in the past) so we push things off until the next day or the day after that. We procrastinate. And sometimes, one day becomes two days and three days become four. Time has a way of fitting in between us. And I swear, even if we don’t want to, this is how we all drift apart.
I am in my loft now with a cup of coffee to my side. I have a pile of papers to my left and a pile to my right of business lessons that I was supposed to learn.
I have a few letters to write for business reasons and some things I need to plan for. In a short while, I have to go to a five-hour safety course. The class is required by my work and will take up most of my morning, both today and tomorrow.
This is fine but both classes are mainly boring and pointless. But yet, I think this is my point. Life happens. Situations arise and we have no choice but to do what we have to do.
Life is life and I am not sure why we pretend to be anything different from honest about it. I don’t understand why people struggle to say the truth in their heart or their mind.
The truth is there is no right or wrong when it comes to thought or feeling. And for some reason we pretend not to think or feel. We do our best to show face and “Do the right thing.”
I remember being frustrated with the phone calls I received from nurses and doctors.
After a while, the calls became more of the same. They all started the same way, asking the same questions.
Asking “Are you the son of Alice Kimmel?” and then the reports came out like a teacher calling a parent to tell how a child misbehaved in class. Only, in this case, the roles were reversed. I was the son which had somehow become the parent.
I can see now how I was, frustrated, anxious; mad that I couldn’t change things, mas that I had to deal with this, and mad that I had to interact with doctors and nurses and phone calls like this.
I took time for granted. I took life for granted too. In fact, I took everything for granted because I never expected the obvious, which is the obvious fact that one day, the time for people in our life will stop.
I remember the call and thinking to myself, “What is it this time?” I remember the call the week before, which was another call about a problem. I remember leaning into the nursing staff. I remember leaning in to one of the doctors too. But this call was very different.
I didn’t expect the nurse to say what she said. I didn’t expect the serious intention or to hear the words, “You have to get down here. You Mother is dying.”
Instantly, the adult in me went away. More accurately, the rawness of me was exposed for what it was. I was angry this happened. I was angry life happened the way it did. I was angry for the loss of my Mother long before she passed away. I was angry that I did not have the “Picture perfect” family or the “picture perfect” life and that the people I had to contend with had everything they wanted; yet meanwhile, I was struggling to make ends meet.
I was angry that my conversations were always laced with frustration. I was angry that we argued. Put simply, I was angry that I was angry and hated the world because of all that I had on my plate.
There is no other way to express this, except honestly.
I was behaving childishly, bitching on the inside when the truth is; I just wanted to run from the responsibility. I wanted to run from the thoughts and feelings. I wanted to separate me from the ideas I had of not having what I wanted, of not being who I wanted, and of never feeling capable that I could become who I wanted to be, for feeling poor, undeserving, and underwhelming. Yes, I was angry.
All of these ideas became very apparent to me when the last phone call came through. I suppose what was most apparent was the obvious fact that this was the last time I would ever receive a phone call asking, “Is this Benjamin Kimmel,” which was followed by the next question, “Are you the son of Alice Kimmel.”
God, I wish how this phone call was just another that would’ve been more of the same. But it wasn’t. Life happened and I get that. I wish I handled things differently. But I assume everyone says things like this.
Hindsight is 20/20, or so they say. And in hindsight, I can see where I wish I had done things differently.
You moved away when I was in a strange time. Our lives went in two separate directions. I was resentful for so many things, which I did not blame you for, but yet, I can see where I held you responsible for things that were far beyond your control.
I am sorry for this.
I wish my focus was less financial and more meaningful when I was younger. I wish that I knew how to interact differently and how to feel comfortable in my skin.
You always tried to comfort me and help, but like a kid, I swore I knew what I was doing. I pushed you out.
You just wanted to help . . . and me, my head was full of so many things that I could not connect or convey my thoughts in a way that I could honestly communicate the struggles in my heart.
As well, if I did find a way to connect my thoughts or convey my feelings; this would make them real, which meant I would have to deal with them.
Sometimes I wish things were as easy as dinnertime with your mashed potatoes with brown gravy and chicken cutlets. Sometimes, I wish there was a magic button, like the cinnamon toast you used to make for me, and suddenly, BOOM! all was okay.
Sometimes I wish I was able to get out of my own way. The last few years have been scattered with ups and downs.
Some of the ups were highs I never imagined and some of the downs were more depressing than anything I had ever felt. The highs were created by me. The lows were created by me as well.
Mom, I hate pretending and I don’t like it when people tell me what you see. I don’t understand how they can say this because people only see half the story.
I don’t like the thoughts I have sometimes. But at least I understand they are just my thoughts.
Mother Theresa kept a dairy, which came out after she passed away. Turns out Mother Theresa had thoughts and desires. She had doubts and questions. Turns out, Mother Theresa was human too. So maybe i’m not in such bad company.
I was thinking about this when I woke up. I realize that our thinking gets in our way and how this happens all too often.
Rejection is more often an assumption and poor assumptions are problematic in my world. To be honest, I think the world locked inside our head is more problematic than the problems we actually face.
I wish you were here, Mom.
This way I could call you to tell you all that’s going on. Good things are happening. Bad things too. But my thinking does its trick sometimes and talks me out of enjoying the good things I have in my life.
If you were here you would try and talk me out of this. You always tried to cheer me up. And Mom, I promise if you were here, I would let you.
As kids, we often tell our parents to, “Stay out of it!” and we shrug them off and say things like, “I know what I’m doing.”
And then one day, we get a phone call . . . and just like that, it is over.We find ourselves wishing the phone would ring or wishing we never said the things we said like, “Stay out of it,” or “Leave me alone.”
It’s been four years since you’ve gone. Some days it seems like so much longer. In some ways, it seems like you happened in another lifetime. Today though, I’ll just sit back next to my window in the loft and watch the sun come up and think of you wherever you are.
I love you, Mom