I'm soo relieved to be home!!! Beau is doing his homework and I'm stuffing my feelings with pasta and a salad from Soup Plantation.
I went with Mom today to clean out Dad's safety deposit box. It took so long and was hard to do. My Mother is trying so hard to keep from having to feel anything, it's amazing how she does it. I haven't seen her shed a single tear. I've been crying so much my eyes look alien to me. They're weird and swollen, my eyelids are like little transparent crescents. They scare me when I look in the mirror.
Mom doesn't want to deal with anything that will make her feel sad, not just now, which would make sense, but always. She has a very powerfully developed set of defenses. It's been this way for a long time now. I remember her yelling at me when I was just a teenager for suggesting we go to a movie that made her sad. I think it was Gallipoli or something. She attacked me after we left the theatre. It was hurtful, shocking and totally irrational, and just one of the many things that have made it impossible for me to trust her. Although when I tried to kind of hide her marriage certificate under some papers so she wouldn't have to see that right now, she saw and asked me what it was, then she took this quick sad breath and I could tell she was hurting. She's just so tough all the time it's hard to read her. It's also really painful not to have anyone who was close to my Father to share this with. I can't weep with my Mother and have her give me any comfort at all. She won't acknowledge that either of us are suffering any loss, but to her credit, for once she isn't telling me not to cry. I'm doing my best not to cry around her but God how I yearn to talk about my Dad with her and have a good cry together. That's not likely to happen though.
All of their friends want to tell me how great it is that he died. I know they mean well, but I really, really, loved him, and never got to have the relationship I so desperately needed to have with him. As long as he was alive I could always hold out this hope that it would someday happen, we would somehow manage to be friends, he would let me know that he loved me like a Father, without all of his usual judgment. Do you know the last thing he said to me was, "Oh Christ what do you have to talk about that for?" It came rumbling up out of his veiled consciousness and hurt me when I was being solicitous; just asking him what he was looking at. I think he didn't mean anything by it, but I was so accustomed to being considered the annoying, bad daughter that when he'd get gruff and snap at me, it would hurt so much I would often leave in tears.
This morning I finished the obituary and went over it with the editor of The Times. Of course neither of us noticed the glaring omission of the day and date of the services. I felt pretty great about that. At least my Mother was pleased with it and didn't get upset, it's so painful for me, when no matter how hard I try sometimes, I still get criticized. I mean it's hard to be going through so many of my own feelings of loss, while at the same time trying to be supportive and loving of Mom, and then to have her do something like criticize what I'm wearing, or comment that my fingernails aren't clean, when they're fine. I mean today she started asking me how many calories were in my protein bar and lecturing me on how many I need to eat in order to lose weight. Like I don't know that? God, if had ever been that easy I would have been thin years ago.
I've been calling their friends on the phone to tell them that Dad passed away, sigh, to invite them to the services, and the gathering afterwards at their golf club. It's comforting in some cases, and then really painful in others. One old friend of my father's, who we thought didn't really care about him, because he never came to visit him after he got sick, broke down and started sobbing. Then of course I started crying. It was so moving to hear this kind-of, tough guy try to laugh to cover his sobbing. Poor men, it's so horrible what society has done to them, by conditioning them from childhood to be tough, and not allowing them to cry or express their feelings. He told me how much he loved my Dad and said that he was such a sweetheart of a guy. That made me feel so good and sad at the same time.
I called Father Dohnie, who came and said prayers for my father the night before he died, and asked him if he would be the priest at the services. He is clearing his schedule to be able to say the mass. That was nice.
I'm kind of upset that my Mother's friend Jani, who I always called my "Aunt Jani," (yuck, barf) is going to be riding with us in the limousine to the services. She's been this thorn in my side for years. She's like this jealous older sister who is always competing with me for my Mother's affection and attention. She's also always angling to get things. If Mom has a nice antique that she isn't using, or a painting that she's set aside, anything of monetary value or social cache, you can bet Jani will try to get her hands on it.
My Mother just told me today that when she talks about me Jani tells her to stop because she's sick of hearing about me. Isn't that nice? She's the same gal who, when I dyed my hair wild red, like I like to do once in a while, made this really cutting remark about my doing it because I was "dying for attention." She is such a bitch. My Mother told me that she just changed her will, leaving her $100,000.00 when she dies. Well, isn't that nice? You know, actually I think it's nice that my Mother is going to take care of her friend by doing that. I just don't want to be around her because she always makes me feel so small. I don't know why really, I mean I've always loved her, always wanted to be her friend because Mom was, but there's something cold and frightening about her, a steeliness that frightens me. Maybe that's what they see in each other, this money-loving cold social ambition, a need to wear beautiful clothes and the struggle to look perfect under all circumstances.
It must seriously fly in their faces that I don't give a shit about conventions and go around barefoot and bra-less, that I got fat and don't really give a shit about their shallow values, being pretty and neat all the time, finding a man with money who will marry me for my cultivated beauty. The whole thing is a fucking joke anyway, when you consider how we look when we die. My Father was a mess with his purple feet and his, oh God I just can't describe it, it hurts too much, it's just that it's so clear to me that we aren't about what our bodies look like, and I think it takes depth to get that.
Yes taking care of our bodies is important, being healthy is important, but having to have the right hairstyle, working so hard to find a discounted suit at Lohmans or somewhere, so everyone will think we bought it at Neimans, and having to have the right purse, and the right car, and the right luggage; the most expensive purse and watch; having our nails done, and our roots colored just right so all the different shades of blonde will match, facelifts, and liposuction, and implants, and all the rest of it just doesn't matter, if the love of the person you end up with, depends on all of those things. Or is it that you're supposed to have all of that in play in order to lure him in like a spider, and once he thinks he's won this trophy prize, then maybe he'll learn to love you for who you really are inside? Except that all of the energy it must take to hold it all together all of the time, doesn't leave much room for the things that really matter. If you make a religion of running around worrying about youth and beauty all of the time, you're bound to be let down someday. I doubt there is a lot of inner work or self exploration going on.
I am sooo tired of trying to get people who don't like me, to like me. I get the same vibe from Jani that I always got from my creepy ex-mother-in-law. I'm just always so willing to love that I never recognized it for what it was before; judgment and dislike, possibly bordering on hostility, and hatred.
You know how when something happens to you, you seem to see it all around you; like when you're pregnant, everyone else seems to be? Well, I keep seeing Father's and daughters. I'm watching Ally McBeal and she's sitting at the piano singing with her father. Oh Christ.
Noemi just came in and told me that one of Spooky's little kittens died, not one of the ones that you've seen pictures of, another one whose pictures I hadn't put up yet. I was just looking at him and thinking how cute he was snuggled with his other brother and sisters today. I'm afraid to ask what else can go wrong because I really do know just how much worse things could be. I'm so numb I feel nauseous.