Three weeks ago today, I woke up and learned that my cousin Rodger had died.
I talked about it a lot that first week and I’ve tried to not talk about it that much since because he would not appreciate me becoming a griefball. And because there’s really not that much to say about it besides, “This really fucking sucks.” Which is true, incidentally. Really. Fucking. Sucks.
And the family has all scattered back to their respective corners—Monica and Marley back in California, my aunt and uncle back in Florida, me in Baltimore and my mom in Salisbury. It was good to be together but it’s good to be back to our routines, too.
Except that I’m really not back in my routine. Generally, as you know, I am a hardcore reader and I haven’t been reading anywhere near as much lately (the final tally for January was 15 books, I think, which is about 50% below what my total would normally be). And it’s weird because usually when things are hard, I escape into books like nobody’s business. Nothing to see here, move along, I’m just gonna enjoy the new Gayle Forman over here. (Which incidentally I still have not read and won’t get to for ages because it is going to be all review books all the time until I make a better dent in this pile.)
You know that X Files episode (I think it was the third, maybe fourth, of the first season) that’s basically a take off of The Thing? The Arctic researchers who have that weird alien parasite that takes them over and they say “We’re not who we are”?
I’m not who I am.
And so I did what I always do when I feel like everything’s falling apart all around me. I called my best friend Jen. And while I don’t know when I will be me again or how to get back there or even how to fake it consistently (although I have to say, I think I’m mostly doing an excellent job; ask me about my Oscar predictions!), it’s just wonderful to talk to someone who will remember who I am and who will keep reminding me until I can figure out how to get and stay there.
And I keep focusing on this (no reading, random inability to spell or think) so I don’t have to think about the reason everything’s so different. Because it’s awful when I think about that.
So anyway. Three weeks down. An entire life to go.