Thursday, November 18, 2010

empty nesting

it's like all my nesting instincts have gone haywire. I sweep at least twice a day. I scrub pots, and then leave them on the stove with the suds still in them, to dry that way...only to find them again later and start the scrubbing all over again. nothing is ever clean enough, tidy enough, organized enough...

last night I awoke in a terror around 3 am. e had not yet come to bed (this is normal on nights he works, as he doesn't usually get home until midnight or 1 a.m. and then stays up late as he unwinds.) but last night it bothered me. really, really bothered me. I called to him, asked him to come to bed. he said he was on his way. within five minutes, I was screaming. the terror was in every cell in my body, I couldn't lie there in bed one second longer. I got up, and started scrubbing my bathroom. when that was finished I moved into the kitchen. e came in and got me as I stood washing dishes and sobbing. he held me, and brought me back to bed. even with him there in bed with me, breathing with me, crying with me, reassuring me and loving me, it took me probably thirty minutes or so to resume a regular breathing pattern and to fall asleep. it was awful.

this morning, I woke up early.

and started cleaning.

I feel a lot like Lady MacBeth, or at least her words came to mind this morning as I scrubbed out pots and pans and scoured countertops: "Out damn spot." I don't remember enough from high school english class to remember the story of Lady MacBeth, I am ashamed to admit. but I recall an image of her hysterically washing her hands of blood and uttering those words. (I think it's because she killed someone. Note to self: drinking during lunch in high school and then being out of it for afternoon classes makes one sound like a dolt in trying to recall great works of literature.) So I don't know that the analogy is entirely perfect, since I really don't feel like I *killed* Otis, I really don't.

at the same time, it's like his blood is everywhere, and I can't scrub hard enough to remove it. there will never be enough organization in the house to bring him back to me. it's like I'm still nesting, still trying to make my home perfect enough so that maybe, just maybe, he'd want to come back and live here with us.


Merry said...

Wish I could give you a hug. Can only say again, this part of it will pass and there will be a little peace and respite to come.

The derisive laugh-at-myself bit of me, (the bit that makes black humour jokes in SCBU while hanging over a crib of a dying baby)wishes that Freddie's death had made me want to clean. No such luck here ;)


Anonymous said...

All the bleach in the world can't take away the stains can it? At first I didn't care if the whole house was covered in a layer of dig shit. Now I am back to obsessing about clean. I just wish it helped- today has been a backslide and all the cleaning and organizing in the world will not change that fact. Doesn't mean I will stop trying though.

Thinking of you sweet Sarah- and I am so glad that in the deepest area of your heart you know that the only thing you did for Otis was give him life- not death, He takes all of your love with him- I truly believe that.

sarah said...

Merry, if you didn't live so far off, I'd be tempted to offer to come to you and clean your home as well...

and leslie, sweet leslie, I"m sorry you're in a backslide. sending love to you, and hoping both our boys are feeling all the mama's love that surrounds them, all the time. xoxo

Hope's Mama said...

Everything you write sucks me right back to a similar stage in my own grief-hell. I wish I could somehow suck you out of this mess, but I know you have to (sadly) go through it.
I'm not sure I'm fit to say it gets better, but it changes, and it wont always be as brutal as this.

kate said...

i wish i had words - but i don't have any. just the strongest desire to hold you and support you and love on you.

kate xx

still life angie said...

Those repetitive motions are so important, they are like Buddhist mantras, or rosaries repeated ad infinitum. Scrubbing the spot. I totally get it. Ann Hood wrote in her book Comfort about knitting, endlessly knitting, after her daughter's death. I don't know. I think the nesting instinct does go haywire. Our boobs leak. Our bodies grieve, and our brain can't process this most unnatural of things--losing your child. As Sally said, wish I could pull you out, and also keenly aware that our bodies, souls and hearts all must process the hole where our children should be in its own time and way.

æ said... you.

hayley said...

I remember this description by a female anthropologist of dirt as being simply "matter out of place". cleaning seems like such a strong ritual for reordering the world, reclaiming it as a place where we have power against the elements and time. I am so sorry sarah. love to Otis and you.


Jenn said...

Me too. So much me too with the cleaning and the scrubbing and the organizing and all of that. Sometimes it makes me feel crazy but I remind myself it's a coping mechanism and one day it will be better. xx