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Saturday, October 2, 2010

You've come a long way, baby.... (Me)

I'm cleaning out my office and I found a journal from the year 2000. Just 10 years ago. It made me realize how far I've come since then. This is sad, about losing someone you love.

Dec. 22, 2000

It is Friday and Boojum (my cat) and I are curled on the fainting couch (that's what Sonny always called my chaise lounge), listening to Mozart symphonies. it's a gray day in Blue Lake, but the gas fire is cozy. The Christmas tree cheers me. My chest is heavy with the melancholy of Christmas--my annual malady--but Harry died on November 25 and the world is never to be the same.

It seems there should be a course offered in grieving. I clearly don't know how. I think I fear I will come apart--like a dropped jigsaw puzzle--if I allow myself to feel. I'll scatter and never come together again. I refer to Sonny as "Harry" now (his real name)because it keeps him
distant from me. It hurts just a little less with the formal "Harry", even when I think more intimately "my Harry," than to say SONNY. Oh, see it undoes me. I lose all composure.

There -- the movement of the symphony ends. A new one begins. The cat licks her paw. Life goes on.

I have been in Blue Lake five months now. I am hardly here at all yet. I've moved like a tourist through the public streets of Blue Lake and Arcata. It is only in the privacy of my house that I am at home, shuttered in with Boojum from the world.

The process of flying apart or at least the fear of it began before Harry died. It started when I got sick and laid in a bed for five months with no one to care for me. The child in me gave up all pretense of responsible and courageous behavior and went into severe withdrawal from the world. Then Harry got put in the hospital. My friends scattered. Erna went to Florida with her ailing father; Gloria couldn't make the stairs; Valerie was, as always, too busy. None of them were wrong. It's exactly what I would have done in their shoes--but it made me understand in a new way, once and for all, that I am truly alone. Not just some neurotic version of alienation, but ALONE.

This is not a complaint nor self pity. It really isn't. It was a final 'knowing' without doubts that nobody was going to "save" me, help me, keep my life from eking out of me--but me.
And that was also very freeing. Everything else chained me to people. Gratitude, indebtedness, codependence, illusions of intimacy that didn't really exist. A string was pulled and the puzzle began to fall apart.

A voice inside said "Find a safe place, and do what you want to do." Not what I should, could or ought to do but what I WANT.

And so I have. I retired from a thriving business, sold my condo in three days time, packed up and left them all behind. Harry had already asked me not to visit the hospital. His personality change was terrifying. He turned to the wall when I came in the door. I never knew why. So I left. For five more months my body has healed but I've lived in fear and guilt instead of enjoying myself. And grief.

It is time to get off it, but I've never been 'here' before. It's like grieving. I never learned how. How to live my dream. Writing sees me through.


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