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  • Writer's pictureMaggie Eliot

The Serious Post

Boy oh boy, it's been an incredibly long time since I wrote a post and there's a totally legit reason for that. The reason turned into two reasons over time and both of them are why this is the serious post. My last post was in April of 2022, which was the month my mom died. And then, in November of 2023, my dad died. These losses are what gives this post its title, but also what has given me so very much perspective and a need to live all of my life, do things now and not later, and embrace the feels, even when they are serious and painful.

One of the main themes in my upcoming debut novel "Humor Me" is that comedians (at least most of the ones I know) typically deal with difficult things with levity. My whole life, I'd thought this was a super healthy way of turning a frown upside down. Don't wallow in the sadness of your loss! Avoid the pain with gallows humor. Unfortunately for me, a short stint in therapy proved that apparently this isn't the way to process feels. In fact, it's the way to not process feels, storing them away until piece by piece they become Pee-Wee's foil ball--huge and unwieldy. "Feel your feels" the therapist told me. And while I have begun to embrace this concept, inevitably I stopped going to him because he didn't laugh at my jokes. (uh, that's the point, Maggie.)

But when something as huge as losing a parent happens, even the most skilled comedian can't eschew the unexpected crying jags and the stab in the gut you feel when you torture yourself by listening to saved voicemails or a picture of them pops up on the digital picture frame in your dining room. These feelings are too powerful for weak magic like bits and jokes to conquer. At any time of the day, the blues could sneak up and punch me. Suddenly I'm crying in the shower, or during my commute, or in my cubicle. I'd met my match.

And it didn't help that my parents were pretty phenomenal people. I know a lot of people say that, but mine were legendary. My mom never met a stranger and was a goddamn delight. People adored her. When I worked on a cruise ship and my parents were on board, instead of the usual "oh hey! you're in the show!" people came up to me that week constantly saying "oh I met your mom. She's wonderful". And my dad was a brilliant man with a booming voice and deep abiding love for my mom. I still can't believe they are gone. And the loss of them has changed me forever.

So when I lost my mom, I couldn't bring myself to write any blog posts. Go figure. And then a year and half of grief, mixed with a lot of caregiving for Dad (shared responsibility with my many sisters) I just couldn't bring myself to write about my writing. And, of course, after Dad passed, there was a whole new wave of grief to deal with.

But now, even though I'm nowhere near out of the grief woods, I'm focused on the goal of getting my debut out on March 26. And the thing that allowed me to get back to writing this post was the moment I typed the dedication into the book. SPOILER ALERT: I dedicated the book to Mom and Dad. And now their memory and the support they gave me as an artist my whole life propels me. I've never been so driven toward a goal or so productive in achieving it. But I guess I've always been better at doing things on behalf of other people than for me.

So my absence was for serious reasons. And those reasons still haunt me. But I'm able now to try to feel my feels and to do my best to replace grief with good memories and motivation a little more every day.

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1 Comment

Jan 29

So wisely and thoughtfully put. Inadvertently it connects with mine from this morning and is made even more meaningful to me.

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