what really is normal?

Apparently, after a successful NaBloPoMo, one doesn’t post for two weeks. Or maybe that is just me…

I realized this morning that I spend so much of my time wondering what “normal” is. Unfortunately, this is something I have done my entire life. I guess when I get down to it, it’s because I’m a very emotional, sensitive person and I feel things very deeply. So a lot of the time, I think to myself, Is feeling like this normal? Do other people feel this way, or is it just me?

My life is good: My life is filled with extreme love and joy. But like I said, I feel things very strongly. This is great when I feel Mr. O’s love or if I’m playing with Wolverine or spending time with my friends. This isn’t so great when I feel tension between myself and someone else or work/school gets stressful or when I’m sorting through my grandmother’s belongings, since she now lives in a nursing home. Times like this I really feel the tension or the sadness.

And I guess the question I’m asking is, when it comes to emotions, what is normal? Do I just sit an experience all these emotions, or do I do something? And what is there to do?

I watched The Green Mile last night and loved the movie. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone if you’ve never watched it, so let’s just say that at some point someone in the movie was 108 years old and mentioned how they’ve outlived all the people in their life. It got me thinking about my memere (grandmother).

In three weeks my memere will be 101 years old. Up until about 4 months ago, she lived in her own apartment with minor assistance. But at that point, my memere needed a great amount of assistance, and the only option was a nursing home. I like the place she is in. It is small, clean, and her roommate is quite funny. But the whole situation can get a little overwhelming at times. Like now, when I’m cleaning out her apartment with my father. Sorting through her stuff- deciding what is worthy of being kept, who will get what, what do toss and what to donate (does anyone need an alarm clock?) isn’t that easy. Much of her stuff can go. I don’t need a hundred pamphlets from the 80’s when my dad started a business. I don’t need twenty rosaries. I don’t need her very pretty dishes or silverware because I already own too much. But I hate throwing it away (we’re donating quite a bit, but you get my point). I feel like it is just erasing a part of her from my life.

The funny thing was, it didn’t catch up to me until last night. I cleaned away, tossed the trash, wrapped up the dishes, etc to be donated. And then last night, when the movie was over and Mr. O and I were starting to fall asleep, I just felt so utterly sad about it all. My chin was quivering before I even could say “I miss my memere.” I spent so much of my life in her apartment, watching soap operas, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, cartoons, etc. Every Saturday morning when I woke up, I would go there for Pop Tarts and KoolAid rather than head down to my own kitchen. I was lucky to never really have babysitters; my memere watched us. I understand I should be lucky that my she is still alive. But it feels like I’m mourning her.

Is that normal? Part of me feels like “normal” humans wouldn’t feel this way. I mean, I’m assuming “normal” humans would get sad if they had to sort through a love one’s belongings, but I think they would maybe take it “better” than I am and just go about their day, appreciate that she is still alive. Don’t get me wrong I am happy she is alive, but I just feel bad that almost all her friends and family have passed away. I feel bad that she is in a nursing home. I feel bad that there is so little she remembers. Is she happy? I don’t know. I just want her to be happy.

In the past few years, I’ve come to understand that “normal” doesn’t really exist. We all have to figure out what our own baseline is. No one can figure that out for us; we have to do that on our own. We can’t compare ourselves to anyone else either, because things affect us all differently. I understand this, but when I’m feeling low, it still makes me wonder… is this normal?