Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Thoughts on the Good and the Guilt

It has been a really good day.  It wasn't supposed to be.  I was in class last night until 9 and got home with a wicked stomachache--swore I was getting sick.  It was also maybe 4 degrees outside and I couldn't get warm.  I got into bed and kept trying to put my icicle-feet on Eric, who was having none of it.  I made him get up and turn the heat on and finally fell asleep.  I woke up this morning tired and feeling vaguely nauseous.

But there is a world of snow outside my windows, and I didn't have anything particularly stressful on the schedule at work (for once), and so it ended up being a lovely day.  From my office window I can see the Golden foothills socked in with fog and giant flurries.  Downtown Golden is lit up like a Lite Brite.  I got nominated for another teaching award today.  I spent most of the day making mix-tapes (okay, cd's) for my friends.  A colleague and I are going to work on an exciting new project together.  Another colleague, one I met in Britain about this time last year, finally got back to me on a paper we're going to write together (I had thought he thought what I sent him was crap and never wanted to talk to me again).  An old friend called to check on me, and I'm just about to head out for beers then go home to my sweet girls and my Eric.

Pedestrians brace against the snow and wind as they cross a street in Denver's financial district

My therapist reminded me last Saturday that what I'm going through with my mom is terrible.  I have to take the time to feel sad and to grieve and to be afraid.  I will feel guilty about having good days.  I will feel guilty about not "doing" anything to help her.  I will feel guilty about saving myself.  But I have to remember all the blessings in my life, too, and remember that I can stand on my own two feet, surrounded by all the love in the world.  

I'm thinking a lot about this.  Is that okay, that I've abandoned my mother to save myself?  I know that my leaving her and cutting her out must be painful for her, though the forms her pain takes these days are completely foreign to me.  What if something happens and I did nothing to stop it?  What if something happens and my abandoning her was the cause?  It's not that I don't think about these things.  It's not that they don't torture me in the middle of the night.

It's life really is good, though, and it's hard to let her in when she seems to poison things.  And my dealings with her since August seem to have done nothing but rile her up.  So if I try to get involved with her again, won't it be just to assuage my own guilt, and not because it's good for either of us?  Isn't my guilt for myself and not for her?

But the real questions are, and always have been,

Is it okay to leave? 

Hadn't I already left?

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