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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Grief and procrastination

Love in a cup
It’s been almost two months of procrastinating, of avoiding, of making excuses. Come on, raise your hands if you can relate to the idea of wanting to hide behind, well, anything, instead of doing that thing that needs doing. I can already see some tips of fingers pointing toward the ceiling of those shy hands not wanting to admit that they, too, have put something off. Come on, who’s with me?

What’s your excuse and what have you avoided doing, you ask? Well, I've failed to promote on this very personal soapbox of mine the June issue of Six Hens in which I write about an unfortunate night on my journey through adolescence. I've blamed my procrastination on the fear of hearing judgy voices that might suggest that I deserved to have a near stranger rape the 15-year-old version of myself more than 25 years ago.

But honestly, it has nothing to do with that.

Promoting something here that has nothing to do with grief means I have to admit to myself that I actually had the brain capacity to write about something besides losing my 11-year-old son. Sure, many people reading this know I launched a snazzy lit mag last year in grief’s wake. And managing all of that takes a lot of un-grief-related brain cells. But after writing there and here exclusively about how much having your kid die fucks you up in the most twisted and permanent way, promoting my magazine that includes a story about my ancient history feels all wrong. It feels like I've accidentally cracked open some door to the new normal, a horrible place I’ve read so much about in grief magazines that spew feel-good, grief #7 in this article

I associate the idea of new normal with I'm doing betterNew normal is a place that I will reject with every inhale I draw for as long as my lungs grant me the power to do so. As if you could wake up one day and realize you're actually not all that heartbroken anymore that your totally awesome kid died. As if there is such a magical place with unicorns and rainbows. If there was such a place, the streets would be lined with Ambien and Zoloft and Ativan. I don’t want anything normal because life without my son will never be normal. Even if you put an enticing adjective like new as a disclaimer in front of it. 

But *why* does it matter that I managed to write about something else? And *why* does it matter if I promote it here on this soapbox?

Perfecting the art of not doing stuff 
I suppose it matters because this soapbox has been Riley's digital shrine. My outpouring of soul and love and loss and heartbreak to him, for him, and about him. And promoting that other thing would be the first time in two years that I have put something here that didn't include him. I don't want another millimeter of time or space or thought or love between us. And anything that doesn't include him feels like stepping on to a path of letting him go. Of hopping on that new normal bus and rolling away. No matter how many times I tell myself that it's not. It's not. It's not. It's not... 

With all that said, without further delay, only two months behind schedule, check out the 5th Issue of Six Hens. It’s rad. Just like Riley's love of Tabasco. And garlic. And maps. And how he would hum when doing his homework. And how when he picked up a cello for the first time, he said, "It's like I've been playing it my whole life." And how, the day after we got baby chicks, he was the first one dressed and ready for school so that he could hold them for a bit before it was time to leave. "I love them," he cooed. So there.