Monday, September 10, 2007

Monkey mind

I've opened the "New Post" window half a dozen times in the last week and closed them each time after sitting here staring at the ready-and-waiting blank text box.

My mind is swirling with fragmented thoughts, many of them anxious, and I don't seem to be able to put them into words that are going to say anything to me or to you. Usually writing is very therapeutic for me, but I think some of my thoughts lead to dark places that are speculative and unfounded, and home to an entire megacity of ice weasels, and I have tried to stay away from them.

So let's see where this takes me.

My uncle's death made me feel very disconnected from family, and I've touched a few of them via e-mail, but that's not tremendously satisfying. It has made me very aware that while my cousins and I share some DNA and some common childhood memories, there really isn't much else, at least in recent years. We had a big family reunion in 2001 -- a month before 9/11 -- and every sibling except my mother was there (she was too fragile to travel). Most of my cousins were there, some with their children and children's children. It was at once fun and stressful: I missed my mother and dad very much, and felt that my mother's sibs should have called her during the event, which they did not, although I talked to her daily.

In fairness, two of her sisters and their daughters visited her just weeks after to share pictures and stories, and in fact got stranded because 9/11 happened the day they were to fly back to the West Coast and nothing was flying. I very much appreciated their visit to her, and she did too, especially with the subsequent events.

I felt then that there were many twigs on that family tree that I would never know -- in fact, would be hard pressed to recognize some of them outside of a family setting. It's a big family -- six sibs, 17 cousins, and a whole big bunch of seconds and thirds and in-laws. They have lives, busy ones, with young children and careers, and few of us live near each other.

On the other side of the family there were four sibs, with only one still alive, far away from here. We never had a reunion, and there's at least one cousin I'm not sure I'd know by sight. Nine cousins there, and I stay in fairly regular touch with a couple of them. And none of us live nearby.

So I've been working on wrapping my arms around the fact that I have acquaintances who are relatives, that everyone has busy, involved lives, and that their extended family is their immediate family -- their parent(s), children, grandchildren. Oh, we still share that heritage, but the connection gets buried underground for the most part.

I think too that I've been dwelling perhaps overlong on family because mine seems to have fragmented in the past few months, and it is painful. Right now communication with any of our children is zip, and I miss them very much. The choice to communicate or not is theirs -- and to be honest, we don't understand the whys and wherefores.

One is going through painful personal growth, including a divorce, and has chosen for the time being not to stay in touch with us. This is a child neither of us raised, although she was loved, and with whom we had established an adult relationship within the past 10 years -- but it was at a disadvantaged distance of some 2000 miles, and with unspoken expectations that were not met -- by golly, it's hard to read minds at 2000 feet, much less 2000 miles! We hope -- and believe -- she will come out stronger and better, and that we will eventually be in communication with her again. We are sending her occasional cards and letters to let her know we love her.

Another has chosen not to communicate since that late-night phone call a few weeks ago where we finally were pushed against the boundaries we'd had to set -- for our sake, and for hers, although I'm sure it doesn't feel like that to her. We don't know the outcome of that crisis, and yes, it is cause for ice weasel parties. Her cell phone is not working. We've written a letter to her last address. We believe she will be okay because she is resourceful, street-smart, and has experience and credentials to find a decent job. But not knowing is hard. We love her too. We believe she knows that deep down. And we believe she will call us when she is on her feet.

The third is the one that has me completely at a loss to understand what is going on. She is a beautiful, competent, talented young woman who has owned her own business, bought and fixed up a house, gathered a following of fans for her work. And she's battling depression now, possibly more, and she's not talking to me nor her dad. I found out this weekend that she moved to a new place a few weeks ago and that she is working. But not from her lips. Not from her fingertips via e-mail, or even snail mail. Just silence.

We saw her just about six weeks ago, and while all was not well, it was a wonderful visit, and we talked openly and candidly, and she seemed to miss me as much as I do her. I've talked with her only a few times since, and received an e-mail three weeks ago -- and then nothing. She has removed herself from a very toxic work situation -- yay for her! -- but I have many, many fears -- most of which have only a tenuous foundation. For instance, I wonder if she continued health insurance, and if she's still on meds. And if not, what effect is it having? Where is she working (I know she's working in a restaurant -- but I've only found that out in the last couple of days)? How is she feeling? Does she feel secure with her roommate? Does she have enough to eat? Does she feel secure at ALL? IS SHE OKAY!!!!???

and why. Why, oh why, is she so reluctant to call me and tell me? To talk to me? Or her dad?

So last night the ice weasels had a party. I knew the invitations were out, but I wasn't sure when it would take place. jAnd they partied hearty until -- oh -- I stopped looking at the clock after 2 a.m.

And I realized that while I know how to deal with physical illness or many other life issues, I have no clue what to do with major depression issues, or similar personality disorders. I know enough to know that it varies wildly from person to person, that I mustn't take it personally and that I neither caused it nor can fix it. I don't know whether to give her space and write notes (I don't know if she checks e-mail -- I've been sending those, but also have done snail mail card -- all just supportive generalities), or to call her now that I have her phone, to let her come to me or to go to her, to just show up at her door, or what.

And the ice weasels considered all of those last night, in addition to a whole darker side that I don't want to even consider talking about. They danced around all of it. Made up new angles that I hadn't thought of. Partied hearty until I finally -- finally -- fell asleep.

And I guess that's what I needed to get out, hm.

I'm sure I'm not done with this topic. I have more questions than answers -- and I also have enough sense not to bombard any of them with questions, but to work on patience to allow them to tell me what they need to say at their own pace. So the other lesson here -- AGAIN -- is patience. My never-done, never-completedly-learned life lesson.


May your ice weasels go into hibernation for a very long time.

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