And a note, when I am sick, I become a great pessimist. I feel like the world is ending and my days are all wasted. And I never, ever make decisions when I am sick. Ever.
And yet, I would consider making life altering decisions a mere 6 months after my beloved partner of 30 years died. I had a number of conversations and emails last weekend about grief, decision making, and timing. My email to Lisa and my Findhorn friends, I proclaimed my independence to be wild and crazy as I had stated my aims last July. I may seem to rail again proverbial wisdom to wait, wait for a year, wait, before making any life altering decisions after such a loss. Someone suggested that I seemed to have worked through grief awfully quickly, and others that decisions like moving or changing my life's work would be more appropriate than adding someone to the family.
(Also some discussion that I used the pronoun "we" as if it means that there is some other responsible responsible second party who is sharing decisions with me. It is true that I slip at time and use "we," as in: "We moved here three years ago." Well, we did, but it is of little matter most of the time now that David was part of the "we." But there are other times, when the "we" could include a couple or instead, a mother with children. And sometimes, it is hard to come up with the pronoun that I need. I think of Julia and her struggle with pronouns from last year. Pronouns are hard of language learners -- Julia has only recently really understood "you and me" in use. She loves using both words, especially both words together now. She will use it properly and then ask me for praise. I also realize how often I used "we" before David died. Becoming single is complicated -- it involves pronouns.)
A friend of mine who had been through family challenges last year, said that she carried a lot of fear around with her. Still. But to look at her, to find out what she is doing and how busy she keeps herself, one would imagine that last year's challenges has little to no effect on her day-to-day. I have insides that feel like that -- oh, not being articulate. I have parts of me that seem to mourn all of the time, but other parts that dance and live. They are in the same me, and I don't mean that I compartmentalize since one bleeds into the others, but I can't seem to be satisfied or content waiting for complete recovery from grief before I fully engage life again.
There is a sacred year hanging out there. A year of magical thinking?? Yes, good book. But the author, who managed to write the book in the second half of the year after her beloved partner's death, was still grieving at the end of that year. It is not clear to me when she or I, mainly I, should start living full out. Again, or for the first time.
Actually, as much as I hate this being sick, it is making me slow down, really slow down. My thinking is not more clear, but I cannot in any way advance life today. I cannot change anything. And this is a familiar feeling. This powerlessness reminds me strongly of the powerlessness that I did feel for months after David's death. It was a powerlessness wrapped in fear -- I did not, could not lose anymore. When Cheshire called from Europe a weeks after the memorial to tell me she has lost her passport and money and described it as an incredible awful thing that had happened to her, I wanted to laugh. I wanted to rejoice in the pettiness of this loss. Yes, I understood her feeling of powerlessness at that moment, but I could only compare it to what we had just been through and compared to losing David, passport and money were so nothing!!
I am no longer feeling such a lack of power. In fact, I have the fledgling chick feeling of new wings. I have no idea of the reach of my powers. And maybe, everyone (and there are many) who suggest that I wait to make major life decisions, are absolutely correct. But there is another side and that side is my new wings.
It is funny in a way. I feel I have new wings but I need to see an accountant and to buy some life insurance before I test those wings. My money and insurance are the kinds of practical thinks that have kept me living slowly and conservatively. The physical weight of grief has lifted -- it will be back. It revisited for Julia's birthday as I remembered last year. But with the lifting of ever constant physical grief, and as the mundane practicalities of economics is clarified, I do not see the absolute reason for waiting any longer to test my wings.
I must have more advice to think about.
My friend, Steve, posted an except from a NYT book review on his face page. I need to quote more of the review here. It is answering some question. It is informing my path.
From the very beginning, Safina asks us to reconsider the importance of that perennial question: “What is the meaning of life?” Which, he believes, is the wrong question to be asking because “it makes you look in the wrong places.” The right question is, “Where is the meaning in life.” And the place to look is “between.” In other words, we should look for the ways that all living creatures and all habitats are connected, look for what happens “between” them. “Relationships,” he insists, “are the music life makes. Context creates meaning.”
Safina returns again and again to this consideration of interconnectedness, and to the need for each person to cultivate a more considerate life: “To advance compassion and yet survive in a world of appetites — that is our challenge.” He calls for reverence and caution, and a humbling awareness that future generations must live with the consequences of the decisions we make today. “Ecology, family, community, religion— these words all grope toward the same need: connection, belonging, purpose.”--
Excerpted from a review by Dominique Browning, of THE VIEW FROM LAZY POINT: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World, by Carl Safina.