Good Riddance, 2012

Every year is a mixture of good and bad, but I’ll be particularly glad to see 2012 pass into history.

The year wasn’t all bad; we did manage to move into a house that we love, even if the circumstances forcing the move were stressful.  I started working on material for a new band with my pal Hal, and I feel like I’m growing as a musician because of it.  Most importantly, Lannette’s ovarian cancer scare at the beginning of the year turned out to be just a scare, not the real thing.

However, the year has been overshadowed by the death of my mom in March.  When family members die, I tend to grieve very slowly and it usually doesn’t hit me hard until long after they have passed.  When my brother died on January 1, 1996, I didn’t really deal with it until well into 1997, when I was able to write this poem to say goodbye to him and deal with my own guilt about pulling the plug.

When my last grandparent died (I was 12), it wasn’t until months later that I was flooded with grief and loss while sitting on the couch, watching TV.  I just suddenly started crying, scaring my parents.

I have no idea when that cathartic moment will happen in regard to my mom’s death.  I certainly miss her, and I wish she wasn’t gone, but I haven’t broken down yet.  I wish it would happen, though, because waiting for the shoe to drop is stressful, and I suspect that my state of semi-grief has affected my relationships with family, friends, and coworkers over the last few months.  My anxiety has been elevated all year, and I’m convinced that’s partially due to not having dealt with her passing yet.

Here’s hoping 2013 is a happy year for everyone, myself included.

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New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day

My name is Edward Andrew, and I’m six years old.

You lie in the wheeled bed, puffy and pale
Riding the waves of morphine
(or is it Bartlett Lake?)
I help the illusion along.

Howdy howdy there, friends and neighbors!
This is El Monte Slim f’m El Monte Slim Chev’rlet …

A cough chokes you back awake,
Fear and confusion cloud your eyes
No, don’t speak; I point to the tube
You say goodbye with your eyes.

… I wait for delivery each day until three,
Oh Lord, woncha buy me a color TV?

A simple flick of the switch and my decision is final.
A few shuddering, spasmodic breaths and it is done.
You expire at my side, hand in my hand, my
Tears exposed in the glare of my own inadequacy.

See ya at the beach, Bro.

— Stace Johnson, 1997

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