I usually write posts about writing. Today isn’t going to be one of those. Today is going to be one of the ones that talks about my personal life experiences a little bit. I write what it feels like I need to write around here. Maybe someone out there needs to read this one. I hope it finds you if you do.
Half an hour ago I was in a total funk. I was in my own head, and it was really dragging me down. I was hungry, but didn’t really feel like eating. I was trying to read, but not enjoying it (this is weird for me, trust me). I was writing a little until the idea stalled and I started in with the self-doubt. I wondered if it was really trash, my writing was terrible, I made a huge mistake thinking I could do this. It was a crappy spiral, honestly. Maybe I should back up to how this really started, which is something I can only ever see when it’s over.
If you read the blog you know my grandmother died last month. I was very close to her. She was the strongest woman I know. You’ll also know that I believe in spirits. I called them ghosts in a post once, referring to my first incident with my grandfather (her husband). I somehow feel like spirits is a better word. Since my grandmother died I’ve had a really hard time connecting with Papa. I’ve tried, but it’s not the same. I worried, in my post New Normal, that he was gone. That the connection we had was somehow severed. Then, maybe a week or two ago, I sent a manuscript off to a publishing company who I really want to work with. On the way home from the post office (because they want actual paper manuscripts, weird and outdated as that may be) I tried talking to him. I asked him for a little help getting that safely in the right hands. I connected with him. It was brief, but I felt it. That was huge for me.
I tell you that to tell you this: I have not tried to talk to my grandmother.
Anyway, this morning I sat down at my computer. I had promised myself I would spend some time today doing a little research on flights because I need to fly back for the celebration of my grandmother’s life. It was hard. I had to let myself journal about why it was hard, which had a lot to do with admitting she is gone. I haven’t fully come to terms with that yet, no matter what I may say. I was fine, journaling helps. I found a few flights, passed the information onto the people who needed it, and wrote. I wrote a lot. It felt great to get so much done on the manuscript.
At a breaking point I grabbed my phone. I was taking a food/drink/pee break but I was planning on coming back. The phone had a Facebook Messenger alert. “Betty Hanington wants to connect with you.”
I know I’m not the only person who saw a message like that today. My husband sent me a text message indicating he got the same one. My cousin from back east put on Facebook that he got the same. But at that moment, walking to the restroom with my phone in my hand, it stopped me completely. I haven’t even tried to reach out to her and here was this.
She wants to connect with me.
That started the funk. There’s no way to scientifically prove it, but I know it. I wasn’t ready to try and reach out to her. I felt like I needed to. Cue inner turmoil. Cue funk. Cue negative thoughts.
Sidebar: the book I’m working on talks about how all the negative you put out into the world has a physical power and can take over your soul if you let it. Just in case you read it someday (you know, when it’s done and edited and…) and wonder where the idea came from.
Anyway, I spent the better part of the day dealing with this. I was starting to wonder how I was going to pretend I was alright and get through the rest of the day. I was actively trying to shake myself out of it, reminding myself that I had to keep moving and stay positive.
Then, I just did it.
I was making lunch. Water was boiling away on my stove (mac and cheese is a comfort food, man) and I was walking from the bathroom (where I washed my hands) back to the kitchen.
I stopped, right there in my hallway. “Thanks for believing in me,” I whispered. Because, in all honestly, I talk out loud to the spirits. I do. Then I took a deep breath. “I can pretend I’m talking to him right now, and a little part of me is. He believes in me too. But I’m talking to you. I can’t explain how much it means that you believe in me. I know you do. Maybe more than I believe in me. I’m sorry I haven’t been talking to you. It’s easier to talk to him. I’ve had more time to get used to him being gone. I wasn’t ready for you to go. I’m not ready to admit that you are gone. I miss you like crazy. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for everything.” It was fast and it was sloppy, but I said it. I felt that warmth in my gut, the one I associate with spirits who are listening. I have no idea how to explain what I felt, but I felt something.
If you were looking for scientific proof that my funk was because I wasn’t talking to her, this is as close as you get. I feel so much better it’s ridiculous. I feel like I can function and be normal again. I just feel BETTER in so many ways.
Thanks, universe, or whatever algorithm forced out that random Facebook Messenger notification for making me realize I can and should reach out to my grandmother.
It turns out I wanted to connect with Betty too.