Work. Sip. Think. Ask. Feel in. Hope. Smile. Thank. Answer phone. Check Facebook. Sit. Write. Cry. Drink water. Wash. Laundry. Call mom. Breathe and sigh and listen and talk. Sit. Cry. Chart notes. Clean bathroom. Breathe. Take a bite. Cry. Vacuum. Email. Reschedule. Make plans. Write. Cry. Wait. Listen. Refill. Answer. Schedule. Worry. Read. Smile. Feel loved. Feel nausea. Continue.
This is a tough world you left. I think to myself how hard it is to be an adult and balance and manage everything. Seemingly all at once. Then I quickly think about your sister and I think it’s hard to be a kid, too. She struggling, too. I’m trying to get ahead of it. Mitigate and ease it. Change things to decrease it and show her how to shore up some resources to get through it. I feel alone in parenting her. I feel like I’ve made a big old mess. There are so many things I would do differently if I could. So many.
I can’t, though, so I work with what I’ve got. Which is being okay for a minute, finding some pleasure and relief in opening a new tissue box, restocking candles, wiping down the mirror. Then I feel overcome, so I sit and cry or stand and breathe or walk around and worry. Then I get back to my business until I stop again and tend to my insides. I thought just now, “I’m trying to put order onto chaos” with all of this back and forth today. Trying to put all these pieces in the right holes. But what I’m really doing is learning that it’s both, nearly constantly. That there are things that are true and things that are illusions and sometimes they are one and the same and sometimes they trade places. What I’m really doing is learning to roll with it, changing my expectations, figuring out how to take care of the new me. Learning that the reality is that there are times and there are seasons. And opening up to that. And allowing that. Crawling into my bed when I need to and am able. Finding comfort in the puttering aspects of my business while I also make time for the waves of loss, anger, confusion, and despair that wash up on my shore and retreat again. Ignoring everything for awhile and pretending to be someone else with someone else who knows nothing of my story. Leaning on my friends longer and harder than I ever thought I would, still am, but that will change, too. I’m learning that even when this moment sucks, it’s still okay, it just sucks. Same as when the moment is awesome, or mundane, or unnoticed. It’s also fleeting and will soon turn into something else. Something better or something suckier, both fleeting, both okay, both real and happening and getting ready to be made meaning of.
Since you died, so many of the cliches that are thrown around by religious people, spiritual advisors and just your common everyday humans have lost all comfort and are often more infuriating than anything. Except now they are changing again. I hear them in my own head and I see that I am being called to not momentarily rest in their truth but to start embodying them. That the Buddah and Jesus and Langston Hughes and Mary Oliver and Pink (for God’s sake) are all right in the things that they say that ring true or piss me off or bring me comfort. We can throw them around and feel them and beleive them when it works for us and then quickly forget them. Or we can sink them into our cells. I can sink them into mine. I can “live in the moment” while I “follow my dreams” (should they ever return) or vascilate between the two. I can “live like there is no tomorrow” and fill out the paperwork, return the call, feed the cat. I have to. What else is there?
Sometimes I don’t notice that my life is happening right now. That “living in the moment” doesn’t mean that every moment will be blissful or that entering the moment will make it any better. It’s an invitation to experience. I keep looking for and forward to the other side of all of this. As if there’s another side. As if all of this won’t sink into my cells, too. “There is no there, there”. That I can get behind. That’s what I’m trying to know. I want to get to the other side of this but in the meantime, I’ll miss out on where I am right now, otherwise know as: the only life I have, the only moment I am garaunteed. I’ll miss the integration. I’ll miss the sinking in that will create the other side. And what’s on the other side? People have stopped saying to me, for good reason, “You can have another baby” and they still say, “Don’t worry. You’re young. You’ll meet someone new.” As if another baby and another husband will be some kind of eraser that wipe away all this loss. As if two other humans would be some kind of salve or even some kind of healing. As if the other side of this is the same life I imagined and planned but with different characters. I might have another baby and another husband at some point, but they won’t remove Harvey or Danny. They won’t fill up those empty spaces like some missing puzzle piece I found under the couch. They will bring me more joy and love and connection and ease. They’ll bring me more anguish and worry and heartbreak and fear. Because that’s what it is. It’s the acceptance of the reality of being alive, of being human. That there are times and seasons. That there is order and chaos. That sometimes we can choose and sometimes we can’t. That there are wounds that don’t heal, that there are mortal wounds, that there are wounds that I thought would never heal that did so in an instant, that there are wounds that take a long and painful time to heal but that eventually do.
I want to live my life, Harvey. I cry as I say that because it’s taken me 21 months to be able to. And before all of this, as a younger person, it took me years to be able to say that. I want to take all of this in. I don’t want to miss a moment. I don’t want to stop struggling to make some sense and I want to get more comfortable with the inability to do so. I not only want to live my life but I want to live it without any contingencies or conditions. I have been convinced that if Vesta dies before me, I’m going with her. There is not one bone in my body that has any desire to do this a second time. So, I live for her. She has kept me alive since you died and everything that has ensued since. But that is too big for her and it’s not enough for me. I want to live my life, Harvey. For only one reason: because it’s mine. How do I do that? How do I get to that “there, there”?
I don’t know but I’m going to go vacuum.