I could write a book about suffering. Oh, that’s right. I did. Apparently I have learned very little about it. I can be having a perfectly good day when pow! right in the kisser. An emotional riptide pulls me under. I try to fight my way out. Bad idea. Best to go with it. Welcome it. Sit down and invite it to have a cuppa with you.
But grief is smarter than we are. It knows all about us. Last night I had the evening to myself and grief would have none of that. It soon had me crying about being alone. Once it found a chink in my armor, the rest was easy. I ran right down memory lane, exaggerating the good times and mourning that they would not come again.
Tissues piled up in the pocket of my robe. Time does not alter love nor make the losses much easier to bear. The holidays are poking their nasty little heads around the door. Soon my birthday, then Thanksgiving, Christmas, my wedding anniversary and the New Year. Fast forward to January 2, any year. I am a waist-size bigger, I have bought stock in Kleenex and vowed to “get a life.”
But hold on a sec. After Bob died, I DID get a life. I became a published author. Not that anyone seems to have noticed—ahem. Life With A Hole In It, A Guru in the Guest Room…hello! Not only that, I have written well over a thousand Facebook Notes. Time for another exclamation point.
But the point is that the grief will always be there, just as the love. Actually the love grows… “More today than yesterday, less than tomorrow” is the right phrase to quote. Bob gave me a charm with those words on it. He also gave me two children and 38 years of fidelity to our marriage.
So grief is an old friend. Not a welcome one, but a necessary ingredient in my life. I will never be Polly Plastic, healed over and sashaying forth into the world. But I do go to Tai Chi once a week and Part the Wild Horse’s Mane for all it’s worth. I know what my soul needs, which happens to be my own good company. I use the “n” word (NO) quite liberally. This extends to putting up with evil-intentioned parsers and those who would have me smile at my grief as if it were stamped with an expiration date.
Each loss is etched into my soul’s journey. Love is somehow dignified by them. I am not sentimental by nature. If you come inside my home, you will see a minimal amount of clutter. I prefer practicality and I subscribe to the less is more philosophy. A Scorpio with a Virgo ascendant, I don’t take kindly to emotional mess.
What I do is recycle everything. My sorrow has become a way of working through the artificiality that clogs my pores. It cleanses my skin and deepens my insights into what makes people tick. And I know what floats my boat and it ain’t faux cheerfulness. It is, these days, the sight and sound of Leonard Cohen on his knees, and the fact that he can get back up again! As the guru told his disciple, “Everytime you fall down, just get back up.” And each essay I write is another successful attempt at just that. Leonard Cohen and I rock!