It is December 1, 2018, and I have barely written a word on this or any other blog is multiple months. My reasons are good, valid, and authentic to me. For that I harbor no regrets or guilt; I feel no need to apologize for my ongoing absence. In the starkest form of practical reality, I have no one to apologize to for my MIA status. Those nearest and dearest to me, those who needed me most: I was 125% there for them in this period.
Writing in its various forms is deeply meaningful for me. I frequently have little to nothing to say that is of much interest or importance to anyone, and it is from this perspective that I feel at my best. If I am trying to reach or worse impress a particular audience, my writing voice becomes halting and insincere. I’d much rather cringe at my zillions of typos and grammatical errors that edit myself into some sort of canned internet voice speaking to anonymous masses. Far better for me to write from the heart and say what I mean, mean what I say.
I am stricken with a paralyzing grief. My dear friend died 2 weeks ago and I still feel emotionally frozen in place. Life is continuing – marriage, family, relationshipping with grown-up and independent children, work, exercise, better health quest. The way it feels though as if I am immersed in jello and trying to swim my way to the surface in a long, slow slog.
Past me would be self-flagellating and shredding myself with a long list of “shoulds” to get through this period. Present day me is older and wiser, and I actually believe what I say to other people sharing my grief gondola. I had pretty good energy in the gym this morning and did better than I have been with focus on the work. Still more work to do there, but I was there, I did my List, and tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to succeed. M and I are eating our way through pantry and freezer, so for lunch I am having tater tots, salad topped with chicken I made last week. It’s imperfect – my informal carb counting is flashing red alert! lights at me – but it’s one meal in a week of routine, boring and mostly better choice eating. If it kills me then today was my day to die.
Older and wiser me in the present day recognizes the big giant crater void in my life and knows that writing helps. Not so much as an accountability thing as much as taking the discussion inside my head and releasing it to the wild outside my head. The thing I never knew about grief and loss: the feelings of grief do not dissipate with the passage of time; they go dormant and the fragile scarring bursts open again with any and all new losses. Understand I am not sitting here crying in my water bottle, but my heart and soul are feeling the weight of the significant losses in my life. Curiously, this does not include my family of origin, meaning parents and sibling. It does mean my daughter and other family-of-choice friends lost through the years.
As awful as I feel much of the time right now, I am well supported and cared for by many, something for which I am enormously grateful if mildly annoyed by at times as well. I hide my irritation, because it’s inappropriate for well-meaning yet helpless-to-do much friends.
Life does go on, and I marvel that the world continues to turn, people still spend enormous amounts of time and energy on shit that does not matter in my world. That in itself is somehow comforting, that all around me people are crying out about shit I perceive as extraordinarily low priority if not completely imaginary. Or they have lost whatever common sense they possessed and should be somehow segregated from the rest of us so as to contain the crazy contagion.
Today, I realize I am old now, that at 57 I am straddling the line between middle age and senior citizen. I never really knew elderly folks when I was young, or in my youth I did not perceive them as elders. Funny the passage of time. I do not feel older or more experienced or wiser than my more youthful friends and acquaintances, but I do feel the concern for the future they face in this changing world. It’s an intriguing emotional impulse, one that I cannot articulate clearly, even to myself inside my head. Writing more – I feel hopeful that it will become clearer to me. The new normal still feels strange, awkward, and full of painful triggers and reminders of loss.
I am still here, still have purpose and am have the never ending search for meaning. That purpose – meaning – will fuel me in the long days that feel so empty and lonely with my grief.
There is quiet confidence that the blog will help pull me through. I know I will be fine and overcome this enormous sadness, but the journey from there to here is just hard right now.