August 22, 2006 - 1:53 pm - Bax's naptime

The past couple of days have been wrought with trickiness.

Glitch #1: Oaklyn experienced the worst fire recent memory right across the street from Haddon Learning Center. And while the daycare was untouched by fire, dealing with the smoke and debris has forced the center to be closed yesterday and today. Fortunately, Michelle was available to sit for Baxter for a few hours this morning so that I could at least begin to consider planning for my course (which I start teaching next Wednesday night at Udel).

Glitch #2: I have been having trouble accessing my bank account info online for 2 days – can’t get balances, Quicken isn’t synching up properly, and my on-line bill paying isn’t working. Problem? Mike is dead. They finally processed the death certificate and now all the on-line banking features that had been in his name don’t exist. It took an hour on the phone this morning, but I think I’ve reestablished the online accounts in my own name. But what a drag to sit down and quickly pay some bills only to discover a whole additional headache you didn’t know existed in the first place.

Glitch #3: I’ve got a LOT of logistics on my mind. Actually I could use some help with a lot of this. So, as I’ve done this successfully in the past, here I shall try yet again.

  • Is anyone available to pick up Lonia at the airport on Saturday at 8:45 am and bring her here to my house?
  • Is anyone available to be here at my house at around 10:00 am Saturday morning to drive Mia (from Csz Indianapolis) to the DMV in Cherry Hill (about 3 minute drive from my house). We need to submit final paperwork for the sale of Harvey and I think I’ll have too much going on to get to the DMV myself. I don’t need to be there, Just Mia does, with paperwork in hand.
  • Is there anyone out there who is not performing in Sunday’s show who might be able to be at World CafĂ© Live with me from about 2 pm on before the show – just to help me with all sorts of running around? I don’t know what I’ll need yet, but I figure I’ll need something. Like a drink…
  • Anyone able to come to my house to pick up the large fishbowls, table tents and tablecloth that will all be used on the donation table that Michelle Weissman will be sitting at right in the lobby at WCL? I want to make sure all these things get to the space at like 5:30 and are set up and ready to go so that when people start arriving they can just plop cash/checks into the fishbowls.

"Glitch" #4: Mike’s gone and I hate it.

I hate it so much. I super-hate it.

My therapist talked to me this morning about recognizing the difference between pain and suffering. Pain is the result of the actual event itself. Suffering is what comes from thinking about and digesting the pain. Pain is unavoidable. Particularly in this situation. But, David suggested, while the pain is sharp and real, if I adopt an almost-Buddhist approach to this journey, I may be able to minimize the suffering.

To sit, as I did today in his office, and sob and sob and say over and over how much I simply “hate this” is to experience the pain itself. The goal is to say “I hate it,” and stop there – to avoid slipping down that slope where you ask “why” and “I wish it could be like it was,” and “Baxter will never know his dad,” blah blah blah. These kinds of thoughts swirl around me and I find them utterly destructive. Asking these questions is really just pouring salt into an open bloody wound.

So, pain = inevitable and necessary. Suffering = controllable and avoidable.

I’m thinking of it a lot like mediation. Acknowledging and floating on top of the hurt that I feel without feeding it with too much mental energy. Experiencing it physically and emotionally, but not with my rational mind.

It think that David was working on this little Buddhist theory over our last couple of sessions. Each visit I would tell him a new reason why Mike’s death sucks. Down to minutia: We’ll never go camping again. Christmas will be so lonely. Baxter’s first school play will be excruciatingly sad. I’ll never hear Mike make a new joke. He was and would continued to have been an amazing father.

Finally, David told me that there were too many IQ points sitting in my chair working with all their energy to come with new reasons why this is dreadful. But in the end, do all those individual fucking reasons really matter? No. It sucks. It fucking sucks. That’s it. So why even go beyond that.

The rest of these thoughts are what make the pain spiral into self-pitying, gut-wrenching, miserable suffering.

So, rather than feed that beast, I am going to try to write a whole lot of “I hate this. I hate this so much.” and leave it at that. Of course, I may continue to stew in my own creative miserable juices and come up with reason 58,563 why this sucks, but my hope is to avoid that kind of swamp and try to hover above it instead.


On a totally different note, Philadelphia City Paper is doing a story about Mike, me, the blog, and our journey. It will be in Thursday's city paper. www.citypaper.net.


Beth said...

Glitch #3 - If Mia doesn't mind a ride in my really dirty car, I would be delighted to take her to the Cherry Hill DMV on Saturday morning at 10:00.


Anonymous said...

Good luck hovering! :) I wish I read your post/ was able to hover years ago when it felt like my world was collapsing. You are incredibly strong and even in the midst of your own pain, your voice helps others...it certainly helps me.


Michaela said...

Danna--I'll be home and, though larger than life, would be a willing volunteer to show up at 2pm at WCL. Just let me know.

The Brain said...

Thanks, all. I think Tresa will be my right hand woman starting at 2 pm at the venue. And Beth will be escorting Mia to the DMV. I think Kris O. will be on fishbowl duty on Sunday. Still looking for someone to pick up Lonia.

Thanks again to everyone who offered. It's so huge knowing that I can ask for help and people deliver.

Heide said...


I am so freaking proud of you. It all really sucks. I cannot begin to imagine what you are going thru so I wont say I can feel your pain.

Is your therapist going to the show on Sunday? I would love to shake his hand and thank him for helping you hover thru this hell.


Cara said...

I'm happy to pick up Lonia on Sat. a.m.