It has been over a week since I sent out my last Sick Note. I have sent out apology posts before, when my migraines have been so bad that I can’t work, and many people have been very nice about them. I think other people found them sort of baffling, and wonder why they’re getting an email apologizing for not sending an email. I get it, believe me; the whole exercise is humiliating. This is not really an apology post, although I am actually very sorry about it, particularly if you are a paid subscriber and are wondering what you were paying for. What this is, I’m afraid, is an example of Posting Through It, because I don’t really know what else to do.
Libby, honestly I subscribe to Sick Note just to read your writing. You could write about grass growing & I would read it. These posts about your mum & how you are navigating life now are some of the most achingly beautiful examples of writing I've ever come across. I am certain that this is as important for some to read about as it is for you to be able to write about it.
I don't remember very much from the period immediately after my dad died, which probably speaks for itself. You need time and space to let your brain resolve all of this stuff and not taking the time will just mean you need the same time later. Maybe more importantly, you need to follow the good and bad moments and not try to control them, and know it's okay to feel good sometimes and then bad again; it's all part of it, either shutting it all down or pressing on isn't the answer. I'm a control freak and dummy so this is still very hard for me, but probably the best advice, I have that you didn't ask for, but you won't read the dang books lol!
As a subscriber, I was very satisfied by this post :) I for one am here for your ups AND your downs.
Want to say a lot but know better.
If it’s useful: I can’t imagine you have subscribers that find your work, even—or maybe (probably) especially right now—anything but Good. I can’t imagine the reader/subscriber who is standing in judgment and contempt of you—especially now, especially in the generosity of sharing the depths and horror of your deepest grief.
I also feel humiliated and shameful for things I know, in some way, people probably don’t actually believe about me, and that, almost always, hearing from someone I trust that it’s not real doesn’t help one bit.
But, I think it’s worth trying, as one of your (real and imagined) readers, to let you know: we are with you. Your value—and the value of your work, even—are not the sum of your specific published works, here and now.
You are the thing we are here for.
We are with you. I know I am.
It fees ancillary to the Whole Thing to speak to this point, but it’s the only one I can speak to, with real confidence in the truth of what I’m asserting, that might resonate with this one small part of your suffering.
You seem mightily and superlatively strong, to me. We will be here when and however you’re back. Good luck, Libby. Take good care.
I stand in solidarity with comrade Libby! I truly believe you’ll be able to write the way you used to. That belief is not an expectation though. You’re previous pieces have more than covered the yearly subscription price. True solidarity is understanding that all people feel grief and suffering and that we should support each other through those hard times.
Just wanted to say I hope you take as much time as you need to rest and heal. A big part of what makes your writing so valuable is challenging our assumptions of how healthcare works and is perceived in our lives. I think that same kind of compassion as it relates to mental health is so important.
Work often makes us feel like we are getting behind for prioritizing the well being of ourselves, our kids, our families. Challenging the assumption that productivity is the most important metric in our lives is so important to creating a compassionate, humane way of life.
Sending lots of love to you and your family
oh libby thank you so much for posting this. please be kind to yourself. if you need to stare for a few hours into space, then do that. I keep thinking of the rilke quote: "just keep going, no feeling is final". so much love to you
I relate to this, so hard.
When my mother passed i did the same journaling, and was completely overwhelmed with grief, and had a very unsupportive network (family/friends). no one had gone thru it yet. I was adopted by grandparents. They died when i was in my 30s, and i feel like what I learned from that enabled me to have the strength to make some changes in my 40s 😉
When she died I found myself ruminating on the stupidest stuff, like “how could something as horrible as death happen to such a nice old lady.” And the thing is my mother was the farthest thing from a “nice old lady,” and it’s nothing personal that we die. God, it just…sucks.
But I’m pretty sure living forever [in broken bodies] would suck more. Every new pain/symptom is a memento mori.
All that to say —> these are the hardest words to write b/c this is the deepest well where human experience comes from ♥️ thank you for sharing.