I’m bad with time. I’m always running late, and I’ve procrastinated everything I can my entire life. I’m also debilitatingly impatient, so I almost always take the quicker and easier route, even if I know it’ll hurt me in the long run. Depending on the situation, my brain manipulates my perception of time’s movement, so I’m constantly fluctuating between feeling like I’ve lost a day, and thinking I’ve got a lifetime. I don’t plan, save for the itinerary I run through in my head that almost never materializes, and even when it does I forget I wrote something down so it winds up being all for naught anyway. With all these shortcomings, it shouldn’t be any surprise I’ve handled the last 363 days so poorly. Still, I thought so much would be different after the first year.
I honestly can’t perceive that it’s been a year. My mom was a huge part of how I measured the calendar. I didn’t look at the date. I counted days by how long it’d been since I last talked to her or when I was going to see her next. So when she died, I lost my ability to measure my life’s own chronology, among infinite other things of course. I know days have gone by, but I don’t acknowledge them. The farthest out I can plan, or recognize, is when I wake up and when I fall asleep. That’s all I look forward to anymore. I look forward to waking up because I can go put in a useless workout that’ll distract me with just enough endorphins to give me the false hope the ensuing day will be worth a damn. I look forward to falling asleep because it’s the only time in the day I see her.
Which I have, every night. For the past 362 days I’ve dreamt of my mom. They’ve ranged from simple comforts like being somewhere with her and giving her a hug, to torturous hellscapes where she’s yelling and berating me, making me jerk awake with a tear-soaked pillow. But even in those I’m grateful, because I see her. I get to pretend she’s still here. I get to lie to myself that I haven’t lived a full year with her gone.
I think that’s the thing that’s probably hindered me the most. I can’t get past the day she died. I can’t even get to it. To me, time stopped at 5:30 on Friday, June 29, 2018. That’s the last time we texted. I was in the middle of combing the ole cow puppy with flea spray while my girlfriend was at the eye doctor, and mom and I were remarking on the uselessness of the “natural” flea spray I previously tried on Belle. She made a comment on Belle probably not liking the hippie spray anyway because it made her smell like an orange, and I didn’t respond. Do you know how guilty that makes me feel? I
could’ve SHOULD HAVE kept talking to her. I could have gotten one more I love you. But I didn’t. I saw the text and ignored it, and she died in her sleep in the middle of the night with an unrequited conversation, having not heard from her only son. So no, I haven’t gotten past that day.
But it seems like the rest of the world has. It seems everyone else thinks a year is forever. It seems like everyone else thinks we should all move on with our lives, and that pisses me the fuck off. My mom, the cornerstone, the epicenter of my existence, died, and in that instant I went from living in a world I’d known for the last 28 years, a world of assurance, to one of unfamiliarity. I got thrust into a world that didn’t give one flying fuck that she had died. It didn’t even blink. Suddenly I was forced to carve out a life where she didn’t exist, and nobody cared that she didn’t. I didn’t ask for any of that. I asked for either A) me to be able to move her in with me and support her completely, to finally pay back all the sacrifice she’d made for me or B) have her outlive me (I know that one’s selfish) but instead I got put in a place where nobody gives a shit that Judy Bisgard isn’t alive anymore.
That’s what’s so infuriating. For all the sympathy, all the condolences, all the “she’s going to be so missed,” bullshit I heard for maaaybe two weeks? Maybe? Nobody really cared. To most of the people who came calling after my mom died, she was nothing more than a number, an account that suddenly needed to be reconciled. They cared that she died only so far as they could be assured the money she gave would keep coming in. People she did business with for decades looked me in the eye for about five minutes worth of sympathy, and then promptly proceeded to start questioning what was going to happen to the accounts she had with them. It made me livid. It shut me off from every money-sucking piece of shit who called. I ignored everything until Christmas, for a full six months I didn’t say one word to any of the bastards who left me voicemails because I couldn’t get past the fact that the people in my life who pestered me the most about my mom’s death only cared because they wanted money. I watched friends and family stop checking in, stop talking about it, and gradually became overwhelmed by the bill collectors being the only ones who spoke her name.
Needless to say, Saturday marked the first, and absolute worst year of the rest of my life. I’ve spent these last 12 months doing nothing but crying, and getting mad, and hiding my emotions from the entire world, and procrastinating every affair I can until the last possible moment, all while feeling nothing more than a burning longing to just hug her again. To just know what it’s like to feel her existence. I know God isn’t Santa Claus, but I thought surely something good would come out of this. It hasn’t. I’m in financial peril. I haven’t been truly happy in a year. I just want to go back. Maybe the next year will hold more than the last one has, but all I know for now is the first year has been awful.