Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #88 - 90 days and 88 blog entries

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #88 - 90 days and 88 blog entries

Hi Mom,

Here we are at what feels like a milestone. Today marks 90 days since you died. Three months. Often, it feels like longer. But in some ways, it feels like it was still last week, yesterday, or a few minutes ago. I still cannot wrap my head around what it means that you're gone. I still struggle to understand it, believe it, accept it. I suspect I will feel this way for a very long time, maybe for the rst of my life.

But today, I do not wish to ruminate further on my grief journey. Today's subject is more specifically this blog itself.

I had a comment on Facebook the other day from a dear friend, who meant well, but who may have been better off sending me a private message as her public one stirred up some reactions. Since she shared her thoughts publicly, I see no reason why I cannot re-share them here.

I have known Elizabeth a long time, so I take her comments in stride. You can see my response in the image from Facebook shared above, Mom. You remember Elizabeth, as you loved her Christmas cards with all the cats. I see that Elizabeth is writing to me from a place of love, and as she still works out her own experiences with the loss of her father, as she mentions. It's funny (to me) that she uses the wings analogy because my friend Walt Curley just wrote me (privately) and shared a story about his mother coming to him as a bird and then flying away. It's a common image, but still, it's ironic (in an Alanis Morissette way, as in coincidental and possibly a sign of synchronicity) that she used those specific words at the same time another friend used them. And yet each friend had a different purpose in communicating about wings and flight.

Elizabeth feels she is giving me good advice, and maybe advice she wished someone had given her during her grief process, shortly after her father died. Maybe she thinks my daily reminder to everyone that you died three months ago, Mom, is excessive.

So let me address why I am doing this blog, and what it means.

There is history here. In 2013, I found out I had prostate cancer. Not very advanced and not very difficult to treat, but still it was a bit of a shock, and learning about it changed my priorities. A blog project idea I had rejected two months prior as narcissistic suddenly seemed a very good idea. A week after learning I had cancer, I no longer worried that people would think I was narcissistic. And so, I started the T-shirts Blog project titled 365 T-shirts, which I wrote for year. The blog project really helped me. The daily writing discipline became very important to me.

(ASIDE - I fully explore this issue of narcissism, here in T-shirt #77, but there is also some cool stuff in T-shirt #180.)

And so, two days after you died, Mom, it struck me that another blog project was just what I needed to deal with my grief. It hit me that day (a Monday) that I would not be able to call you on the phone and talk to you any more, so I decided to make a blog that would continue those conversations. I already had this Sense of Doubt blog in operation, so I just started to feature "Hey, Mom" here.

This blog is more than a way for me to work on grief. This blog serves as a vehicle to allow me to exercise my writing muscles on a daily basis. Some days generate more content than others, like today, but the goal is to talk to you, Mom, and by extension to give me a platform to really write about whatever I want.

Like with the T-shirts blog, the daily writing discipline helps me make sense of my life and to like my life rather than to hate it; and so even when work and anxiety and stress try to suck me down the storm drain of life, I have this blog to look forward to doing and it helps me keep going from one day to the next. I made a promise to you, Mom, and thus by extension to myself that I would devote myself to daily posts for another year, like with T-shirts. So far, so good, though there are a few posts on here (there are on t-shirts, too) that I consider unfinished.

It's sort of a misconception that this blog will be a daily reflection on grief in general or even my grief in particular. Surely, the sense of loss pervades the blog as I have a sign off every day about how I love you, Mom, and I want someone to give you a kiss, which is the exact way I used to end every phone call to you (or a goodbye when I saw you in person and could kiss you myself).

The grief is here and all around me, but the blog is meant to be about my life. Really, it's about me. My subject matter concerns the things with which I am concerned. Along the way, I will write about you, Mom. I will draw on memories. I will reflect on my feelings and share about grieving. But in the final analysis, I am doing this blog for me, about me, about life, and in that sense, it's a celebration. Because, after all, I am still here, living, loving, crying, and dancing for joy. I am not miserable. I am not sad all the time. I eat sushi and drink cocktails. I play music and sing loudly as I dance around the house. I ride my bike, take the puppy for walks, and play Ultimate. Life is happening. It's hard, sometimes, but I grab it by the horns and wrestle. I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world. I live.

If this blog is about me, or even my private conversations with you, Mom, then why share it? (ASIDE: And, yes, dear readers not my Mom, there are private things that I share with Mom that I do not put in writing here.) If it's just writing exercise, then why would anyone want to read it? I don't know. I do not expect readers. Though I mention readers from time to time, the only reader I really imagine is you, Mom, and you are not so much reading it after its publication, like other readers, as accompanying me as I write it. You are here with me. You are seated right next to me or on my shoulder or on my back. I FEEL YOU very strongly in all these locations at once.

So, again, if this is about me but for you, Mom, and you are here, then why share it with the world via social media? Well, gee, isn't that the whole purpose of social media? Isn't my daily blog post like a status update? Writing is meant to be read by other people. I have never been very big on doing writing that I am not planning to show other people at some point in the future, the exception being notes for a novel or piece of short fiction.

Writing is meant to be read, and so I share. I have had a great deal of positive feedback, which I have written about here on this blog on numerous occasions. In fact, I just wrote about the feedback subject nine days ago in Hey Mom #79, though my favorite post on feedback is Hey Mom #31 "forever and ever." The positive feedback I have received has encouraged me.

So, the blog is meant to be read, and yet I am not invested in whether people read it or not. It's out there for people who want to tune in, but I am not expecting any readers other than you, Mom. (ASIDE: Though occasionally I will tell people close to me like my Dad or Liesel to read a specific entry.)
Yet, since I have written about this issue before, had my friend Elizabeth read those posts, she might not have shared her advice with me or at least not publicly where other people could react to it.

I had had people close to me tell me that they think what I am doing is excessive. And yet, like Elizabeth's remarks, these comments come from a fundamental misunderstanding of what I am doing. The blog is not about grieving only any more than the T-shirts blog was about cancer. After all, I did not call it "Chris' T-shirts Blog about Cancer." In fact, cancer was not really mentioned at all, though the confession of it is hidden deep in T-shirt #77, which was also the first mention of the cancer. Cancer just provided the motivation to do the daily writing. Now, your death, Mom, provides me with the motivation. Your death gives me a theme to work with, which is much more overt than the cancer for the T-shirts blog. But it's just that, a theme. Sometimes I will write about you, sometimes I will write about grief, and some times I will write about ending my candy fast as I did here in #73. And the farther away I get from your death, the more the blog will be about my life and less about my grief.

If you're a reader, and you're reading regularly, sporadically, or if you found this blog by random chance, thank you. Drop me a line. I appreciate you.

Like this good friend, who wrote something encouraging on Google Plus.

Mom, you may remember a poem I wrote called "This Poem is Not About You." It's very approriate to what I am trying to communicate here. I would share it now, but I am afraid this entry is already too long. Besides, the poem would make a good stand alone entry

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 90 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.02 - 21:11
and again 1510.03 - 9:20 (gee, nearly exactly 12 hours later)

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