September 6, 2012 § 46 Comments
This week, for the first time since he died almost 20 months ago, I’ve experienced sadness, disappointment and loneliness independent from the mourning.
Usually, all of my moods have been a cocktail of emotions with the primary ingredient being sadness over his death. To put it more specifically (and to continue the awful metaphor — oh god, I’m laughing it’s such a bad metaphor) his absence sits like ice cubes, always, in every single drink: taking up space, dominating, clunking up against my lips, making noise against the sides of the glass, excruciating to swallow, melting into and diluting all the other elements.
But this week was different. I realized I was feeling shitty all on my own. 100% Ruth’s Life Crap. That’s progress, right?
A part of the ice cubes is that I haven’t noticed myself feeling as much empathy as I did in years past. I see painful things happening, just like we all do, but it’s like my emotional quota is full — like I’ve been maxed out.
Today, this began changing, as well.
A family I’m acquainted with is experiencing events which I’ve read about through Facebook and the dad’s blog. I haven’t asked for permission to link to his site; so, I apologize for being vague. Also, since language is powerful, I’m hesitant to assign labels to what is going on.
What I can say is, reading his words this morning struck me deeply.
For the first time in a long time, my tears are for someone besides myself.
Sometimes I think: stop. Just stop. Breathe. Something sacred is happening right now. Be quiet. Pay attention. But the autopilot (sheep) in me continues scrolling down the Facebook feed viewing image after image until, before I know it, I’m clicking the “like” button under some photo of a puppy. And so & so’s swim team are season champions—–wait, what happened to stopping? Sacred moments pass (acknowledged or not). The treadmill keeps going.
Sometimes I think in whispers: I don’t know what to do. I don’t know why we die. I don’t know how some people are taken in a flash while others endure long, slow-motion battles for every moment of comfort, for any fraction of hope.
Sometimes I think in aches rather than words.
The father I mentioned above closed his post today with this, “For now, our mantra is as always: enjoy each other while we can.”
I’m in awe.
Suddenly reminded of how grateful I am for the fun I had with my friend. We did enjoy each other, while we still could.
And here are my ice cubes again. I’m tiny in a giant glass, clinging to a frozen chunk, it’s the only thing keeping my head above the surface. I ignore the freezing burns on my arms and chin, and hold more tightly.
I see the treadmill. I see the people crying. I see the puppies and the swim teams. I hear the speeches. I hear the ice cubes. I hear the prayers and the tweets.
That staircase in the photo, see it? The music before you go up is awfully good. But no one comes down from there. People will tell you they have the inside scoop, they have signs, they have Jesus(!), they have conviction that what’s at the top of those stairs is —–
Sometimes my thoughts come as shouts: STOP. YOU KNOW DON’T KNOW.
So, let’s just breathe for a minute.
Let’s enjoy each other while we can.
This blog – Mary and Bob’s Journal – has been retired. All of this content and new work can be found at my new site: Writing Ruth.