When I awoke, a year had passed.
Don’t ask me where it went; I couldn’t tell you. The earth kept spinning as I drifted in a fugue, beginning at 1:07 a.m., June 2, 2013.
That was the day my mama died.
“Let’s call it at 1:10 a.m.,” Nurse A said to Nurse B, but my aunt and I knew better. We had both heard her breathe her last, both had looked at the clock, and then, each other.
They rounded up. The nurses rounded up the moment my mother left me, as if she had stayed three precious minutes longer than she actually did.
And from that rounded-up moment on, the rest of my life has been a blur.
That summer, as I drifted away, winter blew in and made a place to stay.
When I wrote those words in June of 2014, it was the first anniversary of my mother’s death. That was as far as I could get.
Time and again, I’ve returned to finish.
Nothing, nada, zilch.
Yet, here I sit, my fingers poised on the keyboard, trying once more.
It hasn’t been easy, my time in the abyss. For awhile, I was numb, which allowed me to address critical matters that demanded my immediate attention and kept me occupied for the initial part of the grieving process.
I half-heartedly blogged in attempts to stay connected, to keep my budding career afloat, but my desire to write — or do anything, for that matter — slowly trickled away. I only managed five posts last year, if you even want to call them that: two reblogs, two redirects, and a posting of a story I’d written for a competition.
My starring role on social media dwindled to cameo appearances, where I’d act as if — as if everything was okay, as if I had it all together, as if my heart wasn’t broken into a million tiny pieces. I’d hoped a little camaraderie would pull me up, but all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, you know? Nothing could put my heart together again. The person to whom I’d always turn in times of struggle like this was gone.
I felt utterly alone.
Little by little, the cracks on my “I’ve got it all together” surface widened until I simply couldn’t continue. I wanted time to stand still and it didn’t. On March 7th of last year, when the family dust finally settled enough to expose the world before me, I looked for the nearest dark corner and disappeared into the shadows. If the world wasn’t going to come to a halt while I grieved, I had to stop it myself. Or, at least, my little corner of it.
I dropped balls, forewent opportunities, and mishandled many of my affairs. Now, I’m picking up the pieces of my shattered dreams, one by one.
That which does not kill us makes us stronger, right?
For us writers, experiences like these will someday make it to the page. The protagonist in my current wip loses not one, but three important people in his life. I realize now I couldn’t have reached the depths I needed to go without having felt the pain of these last few years myself.
As a matter of fact, today’s post is another redirect to Writer Unboxed, where I’m talking a little more about depression, the long journey back to the surface, and things you can try if you’re experiencing the same — what worked for me and what didn’t. It’s called The Writer and Depression: When Comedy Meets Tragedy.
Come over and visit. Say hey. And if you’re going through something similar, seek help. Let somebody know — friends, family, clergy. They are there for you.