…and just like that she was gone, breathless, dead, and I’ve spent the past 4+ weeks with five incredibly funny and mildly angry old queens.

Also, and according to the google, it’s been 59 days… 59 days since my mom was a living, breathing human being. Also, it means that I’m 59 days into this grieving process and I can’t decide if 59 days is a long time or a little time. I suppose it’s both, because… because grieving is so weird, y’all.
Sometimes, I allow my mind to take me all the way back to those moments right before and right after she died… and then it all seems a bit weirder….
I suppose grief looks a little different for everyone. After all, we are unique beings with different life experiences, and like it or don’t we take those experiences into our grieving… What I do know is this, it sucks, mostly.

About 15 or so minutes after she died, I remember walking outside to my car to get something, and as I was walking back towards the house I noticed how beautiful the flowers looked, the ones I planted for her birthday, and the outdoor furniture of my grandmas, and all of the rocks I carried from the backyard to the front yard… and I just stood there for a moment… soaking it all in… and then a flash of rage came over me… and I kicked over all of the chairs and tables and smashed all the flower pots, and then, one by one, I picked up those heavy rocks and threw them as hard and as far as I could so, about 512,160 feet, give or take a few, so, Tulsa, I threw every single rock all the way to Tulsa, but only in my mind.

I went back into the house and it felt like chaos… there were lots of people. Some I knew, most I didn’t and everyone, except my mom, was busy doing weird things… like pouring liquid morphine into a bag of cat litter which seemed wasteful… especially because I was pretty sure I could find a better use for it, but nobody asked my opinion, just my signature… and then the funeral home lady showed up, and did you know, the funeral home people will steal your bedsheets? I didn’t. Had I known, I might have put the cheap sheets on the bed… I guess. I don’t know for sure, maybe not.

I’m still trying to find the words to describe the next 30 days… what I can tell you is this, not much was getting in, and even less was getting out. Imagine a giant wall of box fans blowing at all different speeds, between you and the rest of the world. Friends would call and ask me questions about what’s next etc… and my answer was usually, “I don’t know”… the only thing I did know was that talking, reading, writing were all things I didn’t have much energy for …

And so, I painted… and wondered things… little things like:

-Where does all that love go… now that death has so rudely interrupted it.. where does it go…? because really, you can’t love a dead person.
-What do funeral homes do with all those bedsheets… ?
-And what am I supposed to do next?

This list goes on and on… however, as far as the whats next part… the only thing I could come up with is to just keep on loving God, and others too.

and then 5 queens showed up at my door… and began packing up and moving all of my moms’ antiques to a warehouse for a huge estate sale… The old queens are full of stories, y’all, and when they speak about one another (and they do) they lovingly, or mostly-lovingly, refer to each other as “old queens” and so, it’s been a lot of fun, not to mention, I’ve learned so much, y’all, and I have a lot of stories I want to share.
For instance, one of the queens is about 5 or so years older than I am, and ya’ll, he does an impersonation of my mother that is both hilarious and disturbing. I’ve experienced him doing this impersonation of her a few times, and it sounds just-like-her, and yet it doesn’t… because it isn’t her it’s just a distorted version of her, an imposter… which probably explains why his impersonation, even though it’s funny, it’s disturbing, a little. At the same time, I know that in his own weird way, he loved my mother, and I know my mom loved him too, sort of like an adopted middle child, probably… which means, I have a new to me older sister, and his name is Josephina or sister Jo, for short, and that’s exciting.
Also, it’s been a lot. A lot of distractions which are good for me, I think, and a lot of people-ing which takes a lot of energy for me even on the best of days. I always look forward to the days of no people, no talking… and it hasn’t happened yet, so, I’m still looking forward to that day. The house is mostly empty of antiques now, and my time with the queens is coming to an end so, soon, maybe.

Also… the instant I typed the word “imposter” my mind started spinning so, I’ll probably have to go and ponder on that for a moment and 3 days…

And then on Sunday, y’all, Sunday, I was sitting on my front porch looking down at my phone screen when I sensed that someone was walking up on me so, naturally, I look up and scream…ok, that’s not entirely true, I didn’t scream, but I wanted to scream because, there’s a woman standing in front of me, and I don’t know her, but mainly because this was to be my first no people day…

The queens told me they would be going to church to pray for their attitudes which sounded like a good enough idea to me… however, I was looking forward to a quiet day. A no people-ing day, a day of no talking…. And now there’s a strange woman standing in front of me, and she’s talking… she knows my name, and she’s introducing herself as… let’s call her Nancy. Anyhoo, Nancy says all the things, she’s sorry about my mom, she just wanted to stop in and check on me, and more than once she asks how I am doing. So, I answer Nancys’ questions, a few times, and thanked her for stopping by, a few more times, and each time I’m hoping Nancy will take it as a clear sign that it’s-time-to-go… like, scoot Nancy, turn on your heal and go already, but she didn’t. Instead, she says, “I haven’t lost a parent yet, thankfully, but I know that time is coming, and I’m not trying to trump the death of your mom, but I lost my adult son to suicide, eight-years-ago, so, I know what you’re going through.”

And just like that all my thoughts scattered into a million different directions and collecting them wasn’t an option… so, I start talking to God, in my mind, like, “Oh, God, I don’t know what you got going on here but lets not forget that according to the google, my mom just died, like 55 days ago so…be gentle… else Jesus’ gonna give you some serious side eye…”, and yeah, I realize Jesus giving God side eye is a silly notion… not to mention theologically messy, but that’s not the point… so, the next thing that came to mind was a flashing neon sign which said, “#blessed” in hot pink letters… which made me chuckle, a little, but only on the inside because I’m still facing what appears to be a very disturbed Nancy… and I’m still not even sure I know how words work… let alone trying to string them all together into something that forms a sentence… so, I sat there a minute longer and waited for the words to find me, and as I begin to speak, I look up and notice Nancy is slowly melting into a giant puddle of brokenness right in the middle of my sidewalk… and now I’m feeling a little panicky and I’m like, “ oh, God, this is-this is awkward, and I can’t awkward with others today, and what is even happening, God, 55 days, remember…55 days?”
It’s hard to say for certain, y’all, but God told me to “shut up.”
So, I did, and then I got up from my chair and helped Nancy to her feet and I hugged her, and she cried even more, and then just like that, she turned on her heel and walked away. I suppose sadness is one of those things that has to be shared, if for no other reason than to sit with it, I guess.

Also, I may have inadvertently led ya’ll to believe there was a point to all of this, and there really isn’t. Sorry.

Also, also, it’s only been 59 days since my mom died so, be gentle, grieving is weird.

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