Friday, November 15, 2013

scrubbing the kitchen sink

While scrubbing the kitchen sink this afternoon, I suddenly got this very strong feeling...
just this awful, unmistakable feeling of pure dread.
Like something bad is going to happen.
Uncharacteristically, I didn't feel compelled to make sure the baby was breathing (she was napping) or that Bill hadn't been in a terrible accident or that Max didn't eat something contaminated with peanuts (see how that works? that's just a tiny glimpse of Things Kim Worries About)

Even though lately I feel like I have this little cloud of doom hovering around me,
this feeling I got while scrubbing the sink kind caught me off guard.

There's no question that I have a lot on my mind right now.
I'm walking this shaky line of tired, yet tireless...I'm pulled by the weight of wanting to disappear for a minute (or simply put my head down and catch a few dreamless zzzzz's), yet having boundless reserves to get sh*t done.
There's a lot to do right now (I mean, there always is, right? But, I feel like I can't even chip away at anything right I'm not getting anywhere).
While my brother is getting acclimated to life as an inmate, we are handling a dearth of new stuff as the family of an incarcerated loved one.
With communication and visitation pretty limited, there are some tricky logistics to navigate;
coordinating visits, arranging and managing accounts for phone calls, gathering letters of reference for the judge, procuring care packages, updating friends and family, compiling lists of book suggestions...
The book thing, my god...this is just one small example of the goofy things I'm trying to figure out:
So, an inmate is permitted to have ten books in their possession at any given time. Before a book can be shipped (directly from a major bookseller such as Barnes & Noble or Amazon) to the inmate, they must first be approved by the prison.  
Since the inmates don't have access to any sort of data base to search for book titles, requesting material to be approved is a lengthy and arduous process.
Basically,  I sift through Amazon for in-stock paperbacks that might pique my brother's interest, send him those suggestions in a letter and then wait to hear which titles he has had approved.
Thankfully, a friend of ours was kind enough to create a Google document enabling our friends and family to add recommendations and keep track of what has been approved and/or shipped.
It's a learning process, that's for sure.
So, yeah...every day there is something to do or something to learn or somebody to contact, but I find comfort in being productive and proactive about supporting my brother, no matter how small or seemingly innocuous the task.
I think about him a lot...

I was in my car (alone, which doesn't happen often), listening to music and it was pretty loud...inevitably a song came on that reminded me of my brother ("Superstition" by Stevie Wonder, a song I've heard him play countless times) and I was like, "...jesus...he can't even listen to music, let alone play it right now..."
{evidently, when he is transferred to state prison, he'll have the opportunity to acquire a guitar and perhaps even an amp; in county jail, however,  there are no radios, no means of listening to music}
I couldn't cope with any troubles without music.
He's already written something like eighteen songs in the short time he's been in there so his letter to me last week, he shared some lyrics that blew my mind.
I was saying I think about my brother a lot.
He calls nearly every day, which is great...hearing his voice is comforting, knowing there are little parts of his day when he can hear our voices and connect with family is comforting.
I joked with my parents tonight that I talk to him more now that he's in jail than when he was around.
Which brings me to what I was struggling to explain to my husband...that maybe it didn't seem like my brother and I are close because we didn't talk every day, or spend a whole lot of time together recently.
I was trying to explain how close we are, but I didn't have to explain it all...Bill gets it, he has two brothers of his own.
He totally gets it.

I think the terrible feeling I had this afternoon probably has something to do with my conversation with my brother this morning.
"My sentencing is December sixteenth, you can be there. Please let my friends know, too..."
That's when we'll finally find out just how long he'll be gone (and potentially, where he will end up within the state; it could be as close as Skippack or as far as Pittsburgh). 
Two to four years, that's what he's facing.
Max keeps asking, "How old will I be when Uncle Rob gets out?"
"I don't know yet, Max..."

I truly believe this is the best thing, best place for him right now (I know how that sounds and I can't even begin to convey why I feel okay admitting that).
I believe if they turned him loose in six months, it wouldn't be enough.
I believe he is going to get his sh*t together, for real, this time.
I believe it's going to take a while, but I think four years is too long.

So, until the sixteenth of December, I suppose I should expect to be caught in the grip of that awful feeling of just not knowing yet and anticipating something bad.
That's where my thoughts took me while scrubbing the kitchen sink.
All over the place and certainly not very eloquent or articulate.

The hardest part of all of this is trying not to let it become all-consuming.
While there is room for this and it's a part of us, a part of our reality right's not all there is.
There are two little kids of my own.
Our rock-solid marriage.
Our family.
So much to be thankful for, so much to enjoy because we can and we should. 




Anonymous said...

Kim I really enjoy reading your blog. You are a great writer and have a way with words.
I must ask since a lot of you posts focus on your brother lately, what is the reason for his incarceration?
Keep up your positive attitude and just enjoy your childer. They are very cute (by the way)!!!
Maybe we can ride sometime next spring.

Kim said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Frankie & thanks for the kind words. My brother has been incarcerated for multiple DUIs (he was never involved in an accident & luckily has never hurt anyone...that doesn't make it "okay" in my book and clearly he has a problem, but I can't judge him on what *could* have happened). It's a tough situation no matter how you look at it. I'd love to ride with you in the spring!