My mother died september 24, 2011. the following year was the worst year of my life. they told me my mom was sick when i was eleven. since then, there was always a new prognosis because, really, no one has ever known what to do with my mom. She was something else. She always promised us (my siblings and me) that she was going to haunt us after she died... i knew when i went away to school that she would die before i made it home. but this happened quick. she wasn't feeling well, so my dad took her to the hospital to see her team of experts, the immediately admitted her to the hospital and she crashed that night. they put a tube in her, and with her disease the chances of that ever coming out, of her ever breathing on her own again was, well slim to none. she never wanted that. a tube down your throat makes it hard to talk apparently. I had talked to my mom the saturday before, about a speeding ticket that a friend got in my car. You see, here in DC they take your picture when you're speeding, or run a red light. i was at a crab festival when she called, so i didn't talk long. i said that i would call later, but i didn't. my mom never talked to me again. because i was stupid i didn't get home in time to see her before she was dead. I would talk on the phone with her while she was in the hospital, or at least i would talk on a phone that i was told was put to her ear so that she could hear what i said. faith has always been a problem for me. the day they turned off the machines, i was told to say goodbye to my mom. i was at school, waiting for a guest lecturer to give a presentation. i don't remember what he talked about. the last thing that i said to my mom before she died was that i would be waiting to see her in my house, you know, the haunting. well, the only paranormal visitation that i have had since september 24, 2011, was a dream. i don't remember my dreams very often, and when i do, they are usually very bad and i remember them for a long time. there was the one about the devil, the one where i killed my little brother, and there's this one. my mom. she told me that she hated me, and that she had always hated me. she said it with her angry voice, the one that didn't come out very often. it was a rare character for her. but it was the voice that lowered an octave, and shook, because it would make her shake, she would shake her head and and her hands and say ohhh ohhh before she could get the words out. i went home for the funeral where my older brother pointed out that my mothers only regret was most likely the time she wasted reading the entire Twilight series. he's probably right. then i went home for christmas.
it was an interesting christmas. no one was happy that my mom was dead. she had loved christmas when we were kids. it was always such a big deal to her. and even after she had stopped caring, my dad was trying to make up for all the years he didn't care and made sure it was still a big deal for her. we would put the inflatable nylon snowman in the front yard. she loved/collected snowmen. i'm not sure what the appeal was, but she loved them. a few things happened over this break. one, my father got remarried. and two, my best friend from school took his Ph.D. comprehensive exams. this exam process is a little different for everyone, so ours goes something like this. three reading lists with three professors. Area of specialization, two minor areas. week one, monday morning you receive question one, you write 30-40 pages based on your reading list to answer said question. you turn in your "of publishable quality" essay on thursday by 5 o'clock. you then have the weekend to stress about the next question that you will get on the following monday, and week two begins. Weeks two and three follow the same format. later, you have an oral defense where you present your dissertation proposal and answer any questions that your committee would like to pose. it's a long and miserable process.
my friends exams started right after new years. He would call me a few times everyday and we would talk, well he would talk and I would listen and ask an occasional question or mention that he needed to make sure that he said this or that. but i would listen while he worked through his ideas and wrote his essays. he would send me what he had written and i would proof read it for him. point out incomplete sentences or when his ideas didn't make sense so that he could clean it up. these conversations happened a lot, and mostly at night. he was more of a late to bed late to get up kind of guy. exam one came and went. not without a few hiccups, but that's to be somewhat expected. then exam two happened. during exam two there was some kind of short. to make an already long post not as long, we'll skip details of exam one, the time before two, and focus on exam two. things were not going well. on day two i was asked to write part of the exam. one of the texts was a play by Elena Garro, who i happen to love, and happen to have read several times. friend knew this. i was asked on several occasions to write a portion of the exam.. I said not, but that i would send him my notes of a presentation on the play so that he wouldn't have to reread the entire play and my notes could help him remember what he wanted to say. i was told that we were all going to be professors, we would be working in collaboration in our careers in the future, and that we should be working on this exam the same way. i couldn't do it. i love my friend, i really do. it was one of the hardest things i've ever done to not write something explicitly for his exam. i left to go to my father's wedding. i was called several times by my friend who was struggling with the weight of the exam, the deadline, life... i was at a wedding, i didn't answer my phone. several times i didn't answer my phone. when i did, i was asked why i had abandoned my friend. how could i abandon my friend. that hurt. i felt sick to my stomach. nauseous. i'm not many things, at least good things, and there is plenty that i'm not proud of. But i've always tried to be loyal. i feel like i had sacrificed my own wants and needs many time for this person. he got help form other people. and turned in exam two. exam three had some problems, but he turned it in as well.
friend did not pass his exams. he didn't tell me this, i found out on my own. he told me it was his decision to leave. we didn't talk for a long time. when we did, all he wanted to talk about were my character flaws. how judgmental i am, how hard it is to talk to me. he was given a master's degree, and left the program. he reapplied to Ph.D. programs for this fall. he was accepted into a rather prestigious program in Latin American literature studies. A program with much more fame, clout, and honestly better that where i am, where he got kicked out of. i've been having a hard time not taking this somewhat personally. there is no way that i would have ever been accepted into this program. never. he's in. i want to be happy for him, but i'm just not. i feel like his attitude and his acceptance into a better school cheapens what i have done, the effort that i put into passing my comprehensive exams and into the profession of being a professor. it makes me feel insignificant, and unqualified. it has been making it difficult for me to take my work seriously, at a time when i really need to be working and i just can't seem to figure anything out..
4 days ago