Four times a year, for the very best weeks of the year, I had a sister-wife. Those were the weeks when Terry came to Chicago for shows at the Merchandise Mart. She would set up camp in our guest room, complete with the steamer and the extra hangers and the running shoes she kept in our closet year-round.
In my husband Olof's and my relationship, I've always been the one who resisted change and he the one who embraced it. So I was puzzled when the big tree in our front yard died, Olof refused to let it be removed. But it was when he started using "feeling" words about the tree that I became officially alarmed.
My grief appears when it needs to appear now that I am open to accepting it. I deal with it by writing and talking to my wife and kids. I also deal with it by trying to help others who are experiencing the incredible difficulties of coping with a loved one suffering from mental illness. Things are better now.
I'd planned to tell Mom how much I loved her, but it was too late. I swallowed the lump in my throat and instead all I could hear myself say was, "Mom, I can't look at you, because if I do I know I'll lose it." We took one step, then another, and walked what I didn't know would be the last walk we'd ever share again. And just like that, she gave me away.
Being thrown back into the world with a heightened sense of self brings me to a place I can't turn back from. I am in a mental and emotional purgatory but now that I've given myself a chance to speak to all of this, I have found some clarity. I'm going to let my hard days be hard days, and thank my good days for shining light into the shadows.