Twice today when asked how I was, I responded “good.” I didn’t mean it. It just slipped out. When someone asks how you are, it’s natural to say. We don’t often tell people how we really feel.

“How are you?”

“Actually, quite horrible. I feel like I’m losing my mind. I’m surprised I’m making it through the day.”

No, instead, we say: good, fine, not bad. I was caught off guard. It wasn’t how I felt. I should have said, “lost.” I worry that people think I’m doing better than I am. I’m trying to be as honest as possible, but more often than not, I can’t find the words to express what I’m feeling. And the words I do find feel inadequate & fail to convey what is swirling in my head & heart.

Today we went to a mass held in my mother’s honor at the church where my brother & I were baptized. It was said by a priest who was assigned to our school when we were much younger. I hadn’t seen him in 20 years. My mother has always liked him, even after she left the church. He is one of the few priests she likes & considers truly spiritual. It was sheer coincidence that he was now at the church my mother attended as child & my brother & I were baptized in. I was raised Catholic, complete with parochial school. But since my teen years I have been more or less a lapsed Catholic. I have my issues with the church & tend to keep it, & organized religion in general, at arms length. But still I remain de facto Catholic. I’ve found myself sitting in mass from time to time over the years–usually when overseas & feeling homesick. There is something comforting in a routine that was ingrained in my childhood & that can transcend distance & language.

Sitting there this morning, there was some of that comfort. But it’s not homesickness I need to assuage. It was harder than I expected it to be. I guess because I was alone with my thoughts. That is an excrutiating thing these days.

Spent the afternoon at family friend’s house. Nice to just sit & talk–sometimes about my mother, a lot about the past. I can talk about her, but I notice that I still use the present tense when doing so, while everyone else has switched to the past tense. It kills.

Six days until my brother goes back to the East Coast. I’m numb to the reality of it & being alone. Luckily a good friend is coming for a visit on Thursday & staying till Monday night. A nice overlap. But still it won’t be the same. And come Monday night, I’m on my own trying to find my new normal.

I don’t want any of the last 2 weeks to be real. It doesn’t feel real.

I hate this.

Image: patbreana via flickr