Sometimes realizations come along and simply cut you off at the knees, leaving you thinking, “Oh!  OH!  So that’s what!”

I had one of those days last week, as I was struck with this internal truth bomb: DENIAL & AVOIDANCE.

I like to pride myself in being direct and driven.  I see a problem, assess the pieces, consider options, and then act without looking back.  I am decisive and motivated once I’ve chosen a path.

Lately, though… not so much.

I’ve been avoiding talking seriously to people who matter.  I’ve been procrastinating about certain business-management tasks. I’ve ignored this blog.  I’ve immersed myself in all the “busyness” I could find. I’ve been futilely angry at the Universe.   All because it was easier and safer than accepting what is and letting it be real.

I’ve been desperately, if unconsciously, waiting to wake up and discover that the nightmare is over and life is back to normal.  But that’s not going to happen, and I finally awoke to the reality of my own denial.

I came home from Mexico to visit in July.  I stayed because my Mom is sick.

This month, the “sick” got a diagnosis and the saddening prognosis that it’s not going to get any better.  She has a degenerative brain disease that’s stealing her words, her ability to calculate and reason, and her ability to process language.  She’s losing herself, and I’m losing her.  It kills me.

That, more than anything, surprised me.  I tend not to think of myself as sentimental or dependent and I’ve learned to armor myself in practicality- or so I thought.  It’s especially surprising given my often-rocky relationship with my mother.  Part of my truth-bomb this week involved shifting my perspective on that.  My mom and I have never seen eye-to-eye.  I’m liberal, bordering on pagan, extrovertedly social, and open; she’s strictly Christian, introverted, and often closed.  We’ve butted heads and admitted to not really LIKING each other very much over the years.  In spite of that, for a very long time as I grew up, it was just me and her against the world.  We’re bonded by years of teamwork as we struggled to survive and get ahead.  Even when she hasn’t liked the person she saw me as, she has supported my decisions and loved me unconditionally.  Not a lot of people can say they know what unconditional love looks like from the inside.  I can because of my mom.  She is deeply and personally important to me, and the thought of losing her- slowly, as her personality and faculties deteriorate- both frightens and devastates me.

Not talking about it.  Not blogging to share it.  Not doing the needed tasks.  Not allowing myself to admit that I am grieving and its well-founded rather than frivolous.  It all meant I could pretend it wasn’t real, that I didn’t have any reason to be sad.  Then I could push it out of my mind. Except denial and avoidance just led to anger, anger at every little thing that didn’t go my way and even general anger at the Universe itself.

That’s not “dealing”, though.  That’s avoiding a problem, and it’s not healthy.

So… here’s to me taking one step at a time and letting life move forward, even if I’m sad and scared.  Here’s to me saying it publicly and letting it be real.  Here’s to crying at random, and not being ashamed.  Here’s to self awareness and acceptance.  Here’s to my mama, and to making the best of the time we have.    Here’s to accepting that life doesn’t go the way I plan- hardly ever- and digging to find the beauty in the manure pile.

(Disclaimer: I realize this particular entry has nothing to do with writing or wandering.  Hopefully it sheds some light on why neither has been a priority lately.  My novel has been re-read, edited, and returned.  I’ll be final-drafting as the Spring continues.)