I Just Don’t See How

I am glad to have had this week away. The timing couldn’t have been better. Nadiya is selling the house and Natalie and I have to move. It’s a huge, elegant house, the kind of house that has to be “staged.” Nadiya already bought an apartment where she’s moved her dog and three cats, and where she now mostly lives. She’s turned the house over to the realtors, who are in the business of making the most  money they can in a way that I find creepy.

I have nothing against making money. Money is good. But me and my daughter and certainly my dogs don’t figure into the realtors’ plans. They want us gone, which is the only issue where Nadiya has set her foot down. We can stay right up to closing if that’s how long it takes us to find an apartment. But to the realtors, Natalie and I are “The Third Floor” and “The Sewing Room” and “The Other Bedroom” and I don’t think the clear but angry email I sent to remind them we are actual human beings changed any minds. We were told what to pack up and what of our furniture would be moved. We are living out of boxes. This weekend was the Big Showing. When we got home from California Friday after midnight, we drove straight to my friend Kirsten’s for the weekend so that not so much as a toothbrush was in view or (God forbid) a stray hair was on the sink to remind anyone that we live there.

I’ve left the dogs with my mom for the week, and I’ve been put on notice that when the house is to be shown we are not to be there. When Natalie and I are both out of the house, we are not allowed to leave the dogs. The painters informed Nadiya that the dogs regularly poop on the third floor. We live on the third floor. I would know if the dogs “regularly” pooped up there. If  one of them pooped when the painters were there, s/he probably had an upset stomach in which case Nature wasn’t calling, She was screaming.

I haven’t worked full-time since Philip died, but now I have to. Turns out the job I found is temporary, so I have to look for employment elsewhere. I’m looking at apartments I don’t know if I can afford and that will please allow my dogs and please leave me money for food once I pay the rent. If I take a job with a shelf-life, what do I do with two dogs, a daughter and an extravagant rent when it expires?

And I hear my son saying, “Have a little faith, mom. It’s okay.”

I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing: I’m looking for a job and looking for an apartment and I’m looking for a reason to think any of this will be okay because none of it is going the way I am wanting it to go. I’m scared and I remember a couple weeks ago that Ron, over at the xanax diary, wrote, “…life isn’t really about the good times, the celebrations or victories. Life is really about the struggles we face and how we face them.”

I am not facing this well. I just don’t see how this works out, and reminding myself that my portion is no worse than anyone else’s is no help because all that means is things can get worse.

You work your faith – whatever it looks like to you – when things get rough. It’s easy to have faith with a son who has your back and a daughter by your side, a job that’s comfortable and a place to live you call “home.” I don’t think I’m going to look back on this and be proud of myself. Last week, finding out the job was temporary put me into a semi-coma, where I remained for the second half of Natalie’s competition and for which she called me out.

“I asked one thing of you,” she said. “Just to be here to calm my crazies. I need to be able to come to you. I saw you across the floor at the gym. You looked like death. And I was on my own.”

She’s right. I got unexpected news that I did not want to hear and instead of going all Krishnamurti on it, I panicked. I’ve already said worrying doesn’t prevent anything, it just makes you miserable before the inevitable. Seems I’m unable to follow my own advice, especially where money is concerned.

What I’ve left out of the equation is Life. That the things that happen unexpectedly don’t always break your heart. I went to see my grief counselor yesterday. We talked about work. What does Philip tell you? he asked. All he says is, “bake.” I answered. I walked out of there deciding to get back to it, to start making cakes for a restaurant that’s given me a standing order and to take it from there. Then Natalie called. Want to have dinner, she asked?

So she, James and I sat down to dinner at the new upscale diner with a menu that included wraps, veggie burgers, all-day-long breakfast and the ubiquitous panini. When we finished eating, a man who worked there came to ask how it was. Are you the owner? I asked. I’m one of them, he answered. Do you need a baker, I asked?

He introduced me to his dad, who said they’re going to need a baker at the seventh restaurant they’re opening, and for now I should bring them some cakes and we’ll take it from there. As I’m writing this I’m waiting for the first one to cool so I can bring it over.

You’d think I’d trust Life a little more, especially with Philip whispering in my ear. Panicking is familiar, and it’s still what I do. There’s more to this, of course, more to Life and its mysterious ways as I’ve experienced them, particularly with respect to my son. And in my next post, I’m going to talk about some of it.

© 2013 Denise Smyth


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. behindthemaskofabuse
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 17:47:54

    Sorry it’s so hard. My Hubby is out of work do to layoffs for the third time in 4 years, it’s so scary. What about selling your baking online too?


  2. Ron Stempkowski
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 18:23:01

    I think the honestly with which you write might indeed make you proud of how you’ve handled things when you look back.


    • Denise
      Jun 30, 2013 @ 18:52:18

      I know things are hard but I cry too much and I’m not good at putting on that happy face. I am sorry to hurt my daughter; it is so crazy to lose my son and lose my home and lose the job I thought I had…talk about life lessons. And I assume you don’t mind that I linked you. I know that’s what blogging’s about, but it almost feels like I’m invading your privacy. Ha. Listen to me. We’re on the internet and I’m talking about privacy! That’s just my way of saying I respect and admire your writing, your clarity, your spirit. It’s a breath of fresh air, and I do need to breathe.


      • Ron Stempkowski
        Jun 30, 2013 @ 22:01:04

        I’m honored you linked to my blog. I can’t imagine what you’re going through. As with my in-laws you lost a child, it has to be devastating. All of our paths of grief are different in so many ways, but similar in others. What I hope you remember is that you’re tying your best to deal with your loss honestly. And that doesn’t mean it’s pretty, but it will serve you in the end. And if it’s any help you to you, I’m a HUGE believer in “fake it ’til you make it.” =) Remember to be kind to yourself.

  3. Denise
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 18:27:02

    The only issue with that is that I have to have some sort of certification from the board of health. If I’m to get serious about it – and I’m doing the work to figure it out – I’ll either try to get a restaurant that I’m selling to to let me use their kitchen, or maybe I can rent a kitchen from a church.

    As far as online, well, I make beautiful vintage pillows and blankets, as well as laptop covers that I should be selling…it’s just so hard to focus with trying to move and all. I don’t want to work at a desk, I want to sew and bake. I have to figure it out.


    • Denise
      Jul 01, 2013 @ 10:00:41

      Ah – “Be kind to myself.” Just the conversation I was having with a friend last night – sort of crazy that when I get upset, I blame myself…well, that’s part of the work I need to do. And just let me say – glad to have found you ;o)


  4. tersiaburger
    Jul 01, 2013 @ 12:19:28

    Ah my friend I wish I could help one way or another. One day at a time. Lots of love and hugs. xxxx


  5. Denise
    Jul 01, 2013 @ 12:33:29

    Thank you, my friend; love and hugs back to you. I am so sorry we had to meet this way, but I’m grateful that you’re there.


  6. tersiaburger
    Jul 01, 2013 @ 16:53:48

    My dear friend, Thank you for visiting often and leaving inspirational comments on my blog. It really means a lot to me. Please accept The Loyal Reader Award! http://tersiaburger.com/2013/07/01/the-loyal-reader-award/


  7. Denise
    Jul 01, 2013 @ 19:15:45

    You are simply too kind – thank you.


  8. Becki Duckworth
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 23:41:50

    Listen to that voice and let it guide you.


  9. Denise
    Dec 18, 2013 @ 08:31:25

    Thanks, Becki


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