My pretty mother, Cookie Kelly.
This happened in the middle of March:
I haven’t had the wherewithal to do much lately. That’s another one of my new words, wherewithal; like melancholy. Not new like I haven’t heard of them before. Of course I’ve heard of them before. I’ve just never used them before. Not until I quit smoking and became melancholy and have recently lost my wherewithal like I lost a receipt or a nickel. It’s just gone. Poof.
I’ve been depressed. That’s why I lost my wherewithal and have become melancholy. They say there is no right time to quit smoking, but I’ll tell you, I think this is a really bad no-right-time. My mother is dying of leukemia. Let’s face it—it doesn’t look good. This is my mother. This is the woman who was the prettiest mother in the whole school, who caused kids to say, “That’s your mother?” and me to look forward to parent/teacher night so they could see her. This is the woman who wrote “yummy” on the top of recipes she gave me, who scraped the paint off the windows with a razor blade in my new home, and who helped me give birth to my children. She was so excited over my daughters. Jamie, her first grandchild. And Kelly. When Kelly was born, still attached to the umbilical cord, she was so excited she screamed, at the top of her lungs, “She looks just like you Kurt! She looks just like you!”
I love her more than anything in the whole world and I’ve worried about her dying, in fact, my whole life. That’s how attached I am to her. That’s how much I love her. No one wants to lose their parents. But you expect it to happen when they get old. You brace yourself. You’ll be sad and you will miss them, but you expect it to happen to old people. Fathers in slippers and mothers in housecoats. Not someone young and red-headed and who still screams with excitement. How will I go on without her? That’s what I want to know.
The worst part of all is I know she is suffering.
On top of that, I’ve gone into menopause. I think it was triggered by the trauma of my mother because when I went up to Jersey to take care of her for a month last summer, that’s when I missed my first period. I missed my period and I thought, “Oh, this’ll be hot shit if Kurt’s vasectomy fails after thirteen years when I’m away for a month and my ex-husband has suddenly reappeared and is conveniently around all the time, wooing my parents with offers to fix the furnace and bringing them flowers and candy. That’ll look real good…” But it wasn’t a failed vasectomy. It was the beginning of menopause.
Oh, there’s all kinds of things. Kurt was laid off last year and yes, we went back into our own business and it’s going okay, but it’s still a struggle. It would be hard to make a living out in the middle of nowhere in good times, never mind when the country is practically in a Depression. Factor in that we started this on a shoestring and you will agree that we are magicians if we pull this off.
We moved three times in six years. They say moving is on the top ten list of most stressful things. Right up there with death and divorce. We moved a whole farm across country, to places we knew no one, with no jobs and no real plan except… this place looks good.
I’m not even going to get into the Evils.
Then I’ve got the regular stresses. These are the things people normally say is the reason for it being not the right time, like the roof leaking or getting a speeding ticket. Suffice it to say that I’ve got my share of those. Not speeding tickets though. Knock wood. I’m not a speeder. I got a ticket one time for having studded snow tires on my first car, a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500. Convertible. Powder blue. 427 engine. I had no idea what studded snow tires were, so really, it was not my fault. Actually, I still don’t know what studded snow tires are. (I don’t know what a 427 engine is either but the boys told me that’s what I had and they were very impressed so I go with that.)
Anyway, all of this together is knocking me for a loop but I’m not supposed to complain and whine because there is no right time to quit smoking. I’m sorry but I think I have a bigger no-right-time.
Still. I did everything you’re supposed to do to succeed. I’m not going to go into it all; it’s too long and boring. In the end, I felt so bad, I couldn’t stop crying. I also wished I was dead. That’s not me. My girlfriend, a psychiatric nurse, warned me not to take that lightly. So I went and got an antidepressant. I’ve never taken an antidepressant before in my life. I was mad I had to resort to that to stay off the cigarettes. But it was too late. I also went and got some cigarettes. I’m sorry. I know it’s wrong. But I immediately felt better. And I haven’t shed a tear since.
Except happy tears. And that story is coming up next. It has something to do with a horse…