Friday, September 13, 2013

New York: The Farewell Tour - The Graves Revisited

Hmmm. By accident I deleted the first portion of the Farewell Tour. Maybe some things are cathartic when writing but not meant to be read. I'm gonna go w/that.

So. Yeah. I never introduced my traveling partner and "driver," Vito. Vito has seen me at some of my finest moments ... the good, the bad, and the Lyme induced. This trip to NY leaned heavily toward the latter two although we did eat some great pizza (I know this is not "allowed.") Just this past weekend as we drove from his brother's home we were listening to NPR. One of the stories was about all the people a reporter met while hanging out at a NY Thruway stop for 24 hours ... several of them couples. Some "in love," and many just plain road weary. As the reporter said, "the way to test a relationship is to spend long hours in the car together" Vito snorted. Or chuckled. Not laughed. I pretended not to hear him. (Note to Vito: I heard that!)

That evening in the hotel room as I sobbed and wished I was alone, Vito announced he was was going out (probably also wishing to be left alone!) I suggested he go for round two at the great pizza place in town yet I swear, I swear, I SWEAR he said he was going to Walmart (which stunned me as we both HATE Walmart with a mad passion.) So off he went to Walmart and I lay on the couch and sobbed. Then I watched TV and sobbed. Then I took a bath and sobbed. Finally I climbed into my bed and sobbed. I really, really, REALLY had wanted to see my aunt and uncle's graves. REALLY. I felt ripped off. I felt hurt. And mostly I just FELT. Like ocean waves of feelings .. not lapping at my toes or lulling me to sleep. Kind of tossing me up on the shore over and over and over reminding me that it was bigger than I was and no amount of staring it down was going to allow me to "win." All that "feeling" bruised my heart, and the sobbing gave me a headache. Finally I got angry. I mean where the HECK was Vito??? Yes, he's an explorer by nature but how much exploring can one DO in a Walmart? REALLY!? So I texted him, "How long are you going to be at WALMART?" I got one right back that said, "I'm trying to get the key in the lock. What are you talking about?" I did not get out of my bed and open the door for him.

During the Walmart discussion it became clear to me that I was dealing with some Lyme issues. Vito didn't go to Walmart, said he never mentioned Walmart. I believe him ... he hates the place. It would be much more like him to go take photos (which is exactly what he did.) Clearly my brain was not working correctly nor were my out of control emotions. I'll admit to being an INFJ and really good at "feeling" but this was crazy over the top. This was more than tired. This was Lyme brain/emotions at its finest. (Worst.)

In the middle of the night I sobbed on the couch because I hadn't found my aunt and uncle's graves and the likelihood of being in the neighborhood again was pretty slim. So close but yet so far. I sobbed for my memories, I sobbed for my losses, I sobbed because I was tired, I sobbed because I hurt, and I sobbed because I couldn't stop sobbing. Not wanting to wake the sleeping Vito I dragged myself into the bathroom for another bath where I could, you guessed it, sob some more. No, the bath did not help. Still sobbing I sent Vito a long somewhat vitriolic email outlining my hurts. I was certain he would check his email when we got home a few days later.

Shortly there was a knock on the bathroom door and I asked, "WHAT!?" in my very best "isn't it OBVIOUS I'm in the bathroom" voice. Vito mentioned he read the email. Oh. That. Through the closed door I told him I thought he'd read it when we were back home and he made it clear that he checks his email every morning just like I do. Oh. That. Ok. Ugh. Apparently I really HAD hit "send."

He offered to take the day and go back up into the mountains to find the graveyard. I protested that it wasn't necessary and I was FINE! (Vito knows me well. Really well.) After some explaining that he knew I wasn't fine and that he really didn't want to be blamed for my not getting to see my family's graves I relented ... and mentally congratulated myself for doing so because I HATE LOSING FACE. After a couple of false starts we found the graveyard. And then things got good.

First of all, I LIKED the graveyard. It was on a hill (duh) overlooking mountains ... just what I'd want to look at with my spiritual eyes. As we found my Aunt Millie's and Uncle Putt's grave we drove past a grave that said, "Willard" and I realized that another one of my aunts was buried there. I was stunned ... and thrilled that they were all together. My Aunt Millie was glamorous: she went to Julliard, played the organ for voiceless moving pictures, smoked, drank, wore incredible clothes, and drove a new Cadillac every two years in some frivolous COLOR like frosted mint or lilac (we always drove neutral colored cars ... much more sensible.) My Aunt Alma was hysterical. Went to Julliard (where she met my Aunt Millie and they introduced my parents to each other.) Aunt Alma could talk like Donald Duck (a trait shared by my father) and would laugh so hard she'd snort. Who doesn't love a woman who snorts with laughter???

While Vito was busy taking photos of interesting gravestones I was saying goodbye to my Aunt Millie and Uncle Putt. Wrapping things up. Making them all "J" ... nice and tidy. I thanked them for all the awesome presents they sent me over the years (seriously awesome.) I thanked Uncle Putt for teaching me how to water ski and drive a motor boat. I thanked Aunt Millie for being my Aunt Millie ... for letting me sit and watch her parties. For letting me observe her life. For letting me "in" on the high life. Even if was just for 15 minutes before my bedtime.

Then I wandered over to Aunt Alma half wondering if my Uncle Ray was buried there also. My Aunt Alma died when The Lawyer was just a baby and I know my Uncle Ray later remarried in another state. I can't find him and wondered, where do widowed people get buried? With their first spouse? Or second? It was obvious from the grave that he had intended to be buried with her ... yet he isn't there. And, quite frankly, he's too old to still be living.

Perhaps I've mentioned my spiritual vibes before ... I can't remember (Lyme brain.) So in short, about 30 years ago I realized I'm "vibey." I know things I shouldn't. I "hear" things I don't want to know. And (worst of all) I FEEL them in my body. Right. Call an exorcist.
Although they're not BAD things ... they're knowings (for lack of a better term.) I fought them long and hard for several years as it's not rational, and then I gave up. Now when I'm feeling vibey I ask G-d, "just tell me ... what do you want?" Then I do it.

I get in front of my Aunt Alma's grave and feel overwhelmingly weepy. (Moreso than my usual Lyme weepiness.) So I cry. No big deal. Totally reasonable. I loved and love my Aunt Alma. And then "it" happens. I get vibey. So I asked G-d, "What do you want?" Yeah. Ok. To put my hand on her grave stone. Ooooook. Not a totally unreasonable request and nothing "wrong" with that. So I put my hand on her gravestone and say, "Hi, Aunt Alma. Sorry. I've just gotta do this." My entire body floods w/warmth (nice warmth ... not a hot flash, and certainly not Babesia sweats.) I look around. Nada. So I ask, "G-d? Do you want me to just stand here like this?" Apparently so. And I do ...while sobbing wracks my entire being. What is up with THAT? If it was my dad's grave I'd get that but my Aunt Alma? Sure I loved her ... but really? Really. I waited until it subsided and then went to find Vito who was happily snapping away. As we left I thought it was likely to be normal that I had cried. Vito asked if I was ok. I lied and said, "yes." But I don't do well lying ... especially to Vito, so I had to say, "Ok. No. Not really." And then I explained what had happened, waiting for him to either say nothing or give me the Michael Corleone look. I got neither. Instead he said, "You thought you were coming here to release New York. It sounds to me like New York just released you." Quite frankly, I was stunned. Not because maybe he was right (Vito is right 99.99% of the time.) But because maybe I was letting go.

Although I'm undecided about what to do with my shell when my spirit no longer fills my body, this is where my aunts and uncle hang out. Nice, huh? I could look at that for years.

The next day it was off to say the final goodbye to my birth mother ... it wasn't over yet.

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