Thursday, May 26, 2011

Soul Searching ++

“As for me, all I know is that I know nothing”, Socrates.

There are so many things in life that you assume you understand the meaning of; so many things that are in the shadows of our knowledge. They are blurry and peripheral but we think know about them for the same reason we don’t know. That is, because we haven’t had the chance to shine a bright light on them; experience them. They are just letters sitting next to each other – with other letters to define them.

I believe that not so long ago, I would have told you that I knew what ‘soul searching’ was. Of course I would have. It will come as no surprise that after losing Judy, that is what I spend a lot of time doing. The thing is, for months I thought I was soul searching when really what I was doing was learning how to soul search.  I’m probably not alone among those who’ve embarked on this search but fell into a cavern right out of the gate. Looking inward to my soul, my being, my mind for answers. It’s 'soul' searching right? Look into your soul for the answers! The only thing is, if the answers were in your soul wouldn’t you already know them? Maybe, maybe not. 

Life is about perspective. I have written about this before and here it comes around again. I am looking for answers to some pretty big questions. All of which probably fall under the “What the hell do I do now?” umbrella. As you can imagine, it’s impossible to do any real thinking with three small children underfoot. So, I run; primarily in the desert where there are few people around. It’s just me and my thoughts. I let them flow through me like they are part of the wind. I breathe them in and breathe them out. This was my chosen method of searching my soul. My perspective was narrow. I was looking at myself from close by – like looking at my shirt or shoes. As you might be guessing: not too many answers to be found.

On most of my runs, at some point, I am up high. I always stop and admire the view of the city below; the mountains in the distance. The life going on…out there.  One recent day it struck me that I needed that same perspective when searching my soul for answers. I couldn’t just look inside myself from right here. I have to step outside myself and rocket up a few thousand feet in order to get a good look. Since that day, my picture has seemed much clearer. I don’t have all the answers I need but I feel them. They are on my radar now. They are under stones that I can now see.


Monday, December 20, 2010

The River

I’ve been avoiding the pain lately. I said I wasn’t going to, but…
Last week would have been our 10 year anniversary. I went out with friends that night. It was fun. The night out was meant to keep me from staying home in sadness. It worked. Although, I’d already been keeping myself from the sadness so maybe I would have been okay at home.
I told a friend several weeks ago that I’d decided to let the pain and sadness come whenever it wanted to; to come through me and around me. I felt like what I had described as an ocean of sadness before was more like a raging river. If I turned my back on it, it would collect like a lake behind a dam. The weight would increase until it was too much to hold back. By that point, it might be too powerful to let by without being carried away or crushed. I told my friend that if my sorrow was flowing like a river, then I would stand out in the middle and face it. It would soak my legs and splash my face. But I would stand and let it go around me.
What happened to that? How did I end up turning my back without intending to do so? Now I feel like the lake has started to form. But it’s not too late turn around and let the river flow again. Christmas is coming and that was her time. She is here and so I ask her to help me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Back To The Future

I dropped my son off at school this morning and had a little time to kill before the bank opened. He’s been sick all week as have the twins and I to some degree. It sucks to lose a whole week when you have so much shit to do. I had to drop off a copy of the death certificate – fun. I had planned on grabbing some breakfast and maybe hitting a small bucket of balls at the driving range across from the bank. The universe had other plans.

As I walked to my car after leaving my ‘still a little sick’ son crying with his teacher, the tears came. That’s how it happens. Like an unexpected rouge wave. Helping our son get used to going to school was going to be her job. She wanted it; craved it in every way.  Now I get to do it; just not as well.

So, fine. I let the tears come down and I start up the car. Around the corner from the school is the cemetery where many of my relatives rest. Not her though. I decided since I was feeling sad already, I would pay a long overdue visit to my grandparents and my great aunt. My grandparents rest as my wife does and as I will: above ground. I didn’t know about her desire to not be buried until near the end. So, I’ll be in the wall too. I never really thought about it before she mentioned it, but that’s fine with me. Although, it’s much more expensive than being buried – which is SO like her! “We’d like the Louis Vuitton crypt, please”…

Then I went over to my great aunt’s grave site. It took me a few minutes to find it because I hadn’t been there since she entered it in 2001. Shame on me. But I have her owl cookie jar in my office. It’s up on the top of the bookcase looking down on me (right now) so I always feel close to her. I noticed the headstone next to hers. The wife died before the husband. According to the stone, he was still alive at 87. Usually the husband goes first. Then I saw their names. They are our names; different middle names, but our first names. She was only 42 when she died.

Oh, here come the ‘real’ tears; haven’t had those in a while. I almost like them better.

So… he made it. At least he lived. I wondered how. Not mechanically; how well. I wondered if they’d had children. Surely they must have. So many questions…
I was instantly desperate to meet him; talk to him and ask him to tell me how to do it. To be near someone who actually knows the feelings I have - that lived the life I'm going to live. I must get home to my Google machine!

According to my online snooping, my comrade may not still be alive; unless there is another person with the same name and the same age in this town. If I did find him, he remarried and is buried elsewhere. There was no mention of his first wife in his obituary though so there is still hope that he’s out there. He had a son. Maybe he will tell me.

Ok, deep breath. On second thought, I think I’ll just move along and do this on my own. Plus, I never did have breakfast...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sneak Attack

My 4 year old son dropped a grenade in my pocket tonight and I didn’t even realize it. We were in my closet. (I think I may call it the ‘epicenter of my pain’ from now on...) We had just taken a shower and were getting ready for bed. He casually asked, “What are we going to do with all of mommy’s clothes?” “That is a very good question”, I answered. “I honestly don’t know. What do you think we should do with them”? “Box them up and give them away”, he said, matter of factly. I told him that was probably a fine idea and that they would go to people who needed them. At the time this little exchange didn’t stand out. It was organic – as they say – and in the flow of what we were doing. Meaning, we weren’t just sitting there on the floor, in silence staring at her stuff. We were getting dressed and chatting and moving around. It seemed normal. It was normal. After he fell asleep I got up and went to the kitchen. I ate of piece of cake that a neighbor brought over with a card expressing their condolences. I stepped into my office and sat at my desk. His words crept back into my mind. “Box them up and give them away”. Clink, clink, clink went the sound of the grenade pin hitting the floor. 4…3…2…1…BLAM!

So far, whenever I remember that she’s gone forever I either sob uncontrollably or I quickly think of something else. I don’t avoid the thought to avert the tears but the bone throbbing anguish that accompanies them. Or worse, what if I think about her being gone forever and it doesn’t make me cry anymore. That is obviously inevitable, but I don’t want to be ready for that. However, I didn’t think twice about discussing the disposal of her belongings with our son, sans tears…or immediate pain. To be honest, I have started to occasionally think about aspects of this situation that I will be okay with. Those thoughts are in such stark contrast to the pain and loss that they cause me to feel confused and sick. I don’t want to be okay with this. I don’t want to box her stuff up and give it away.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I feel therefore I am

I have had the sense that this is worse than I expected it to be. But every time that thought approaches I realize that it’s not correct. I just didn’t understand why until giving it some critical thought.
There is a transitory relationship between our actions and our feelings (about our actions). How we feel is everything. It is who we are. We are not because we think, we are because of the feelings we have about what we think.
The actions we performed in the past create memories based on the feelings we had at the time. When we look back on the past, our associations are mainly with the feelings and less with the actions that caused them.
In the present, our actions and feelings are married and occurring, for the most part, simultaneously.
I think that most of us are more or less aware of these two aspects of our behavior/emotion relationship.
The future is different. When you think about the future, you think about the things you will do. The actions you will take.  You will probably think of the chain of consequences that may follow your decision to do one thing or another.  How you will feel while doing those things is only an idea, if that. Rarely do you conjure the exact (or any) feelings you will have in the future just by thinking of the future.
It was unavoidable that I would think about my future after she was gone. I only thought of the things I would do. What I would need to do. What I would want to do. What I would not want to do. I was unattached to how I would really feel while doing these things…and during all the time in between.
The sadness and disillusionment that accompanies everything I do makes my day to day reality seem unreal. Surreal, besides being overused, doesn’t even describe it. It’s a fake, Twilight Zone, paper world; held together only by the unending love I have for my children.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Closet

I walked into our closet last night and without premeditation, started going through her things. A hat box, a shoe box, the jewelry.

It started slow but gained momentum. I was unconscious; driven.
The clothes, the clothes, the clothes. It was creeping up, I didn’t know it.
Into every pocket of every purse, clutch, bag.
A sucker punch: her driver’s license.

I had found what I didn’t know I was looking for. Her. The crushing load of reality pinned me to the carpet. Sobbing pleads for her return fall away into space. I was weightless but paralyzed. Every molecule of my being screaming away from each other towards their own little corner of the universe. My gravity is weak. Their return is slow.

How are you?

We all do it. I do it too. Use 'how are you?' as a greeting. Which is fine usually; we're all used to it. But in some cases, like this, it's not necessarily the right thing to say. I don't mind; I'm not annoyed or put out by it. But mostly I either don't want to answer completely or you don't really want to know.

Or, maybe you do want to know. Which is why I'm starting this blog. When I feel like it, I will write about how I'm doing and maybe, if I can figure it out, how I'm putting the pieces back together.

I will not use my Facebook status for this process. I think a lot of people use Facebook for insignificant, annoying reasons other than what it is good for. I don't care if you had tacos for dinner and I really don't need to see pictures of said tacos.

How am I?
I am in the eye of a storm. A devistaing and damaging storm. I stay in the eye as much as possilbe where it's nice and calm. The real world is out there, on the other side of the storm. I stick my toe in here and there. The flying debris stings and pain shoots up my foot and through to the top of my head. That is all I know about how I am doing. I don't know what will happen to the storm; if I will get sucked in. If it will calm down. If I will make it through to the real world...but I will let you know.