i am living in the apt. i grew up in here in manhattan's upper east side (for those not familiar with nyc, i live near carrie bradshaw of sex and the city).
when i was growing up, everyone in my family was an alcoholic. this made for a slightly grim childhood - actually, i was pretty adult with adult responsibilities from my earliest memories. but, i did get along well with most of my family and esp. my mother.
when i would get annoyed with her drinking and morose behavior i would think about how happy i would be without her. i was waiting for her to die so i could start my own life. i moved halfway around the world to get away but that didn't make me a grown up - quite the opposite really. while she sat passed out in her chair i would imagine having the apt. all to myself and mentally redecorate!
fortunately, i was able to go to al-anon , a 12 step program for families and friends of alcoholics, and get some clarity on the disease of alcoholism and have compassion and love for my mom before she did indeed die of drinking this year.
i miss my mom but i sure don't miss that disease.
now i do have the apt. all to myself and i must say it's very peaceful here without alcoholism hanging over everything. i am redecorating ... and i wish my mom was here to see it, she would like some of the changes i'm making. maybe even a lot of the changes. oh, who am i kidding. she hated change!
one of the things i wanted to do was repaint. a lot of the apt. was painted yellow and there's not a lot of sunlight (typical nyc) so, i felt like i was living in a yellow submarine. i decided to change the color. the landlord is supposed to pay for painters to paint your apt. every 7 years. it's been that long and i arranged with the management office for the painters to come. then the office wanted the paint chips to approve my colors! then i had to sign a waiver saying that when i move out they will be able to paint the apt. white because the colors i'm choosing will be so soft. whatever. then, the painters came and took one look at the size of this place (1800 sq. ft. which by nyc standards is ginormous) and told the office it would cost $1600 to do two coats. cut to the part where i am now painting myself. i have never painted an apt. before. i am crap at it. i started with the guest room b/c if i screw that up, well, i don't have to sleep there.
i am thinking of this as the universe testing my desire to change the apt. and make it my own. do i really want this? yes! this does remind me of my favorite expression, if you want to see if god has a sense of humor, make plans.
painting myself also gave me an opportunity to grieve my mother a little more. mostly i feel relieved, which doesn't leave a lot of room to grieve. while i was painting the master bedroom i realized, my god, she's really gone. b/c the only way i could ever paint what was her bedroom the color that i chose would be over her dead body! that sounds funny, but i did really cry.
i truly believe god is calling me right now to simply live my life. go to work, come home, play with the dog, cook my meals, see my boyfriend (yes, sister mary alternative has a boyfriend because i'm not a nun yet!), see my friends, live my new life without mom. i did become a grown-up through grace before my mother died, but now i'm entering a new phase of grown-up life. it's very difficult to lose one's mother. i do see that it's much more difficult when you're not married and have no children. i feel lonely at times, and that's where god is calling me - to sit and be in that lonliness, in that grief. it's a true and honest feeling and that is how god really communicates with me, through my feelings.
sitting in my garden or my apt. alone, letting my feelings work through me rather than denying them or running away from them or simply tuning them out, that is the tension of the cross for me. and, of course, i'm not alone. christ is with me. although it's hard to feel that some of the time.