18 January 2011

I hit a high today when a friend came over and gave me some soup for supper. And then, after a nap, I hit another high to make a few phone calls and take care of the remains of fallen snow. I am very grateful today that our therapists are here. If they weren't, Julia would have spent after school time playing by herself, watching tv, or playing with Mario Brothers. Alone. I am now hoping for a nap before supper and a swift bedtime thanks to that visiting friend who left soup and nan for our evening meal.

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.

1 comment:

Carl Safina said...

I am really delighted to see my book mentioned on your blog.

it's just been published, and if i may be excused, I'd like to share that "The View From Lazy Point; A Natural Year in an Unnatural World" is getting heart-stopping reviews:

“I was flat-out blown away. This thing is a great glittering gem of a book, certainly the first immortal work of popular natural history of the 21st century. It was a thrill and an honor to read. And when I finished I felt young again and full of lightning.”
—Steve Donoghue, Managing Editor, Open Letters Monthly

Reminiscent of Thoreau’s Walden but thoroughly Safina’s. — Miami Herald

“A true masterpiece. The writing is both powerful and poetic, the observations so keen and telling. Lazy Point just might become the 21st century’s Walden.” —Gary Soucie, former editor of Audubon Magazine

You could call Safina a Thoreau for the 21st century. —New York Post

Before Carl Safina, environmentalists could often be heard wondering where the next Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold or Henry Beston might be hiding... The pure sensuous detail, seeing the natural world from a variety of angles, was missing in the generations after Carson and Leopold... — Newsday

“With his grand sense of adventure, eye for beauty, heart for mercy and high hopes to shake us from our complacency, Safina seems a godsend among modern-day prophets. His is a voice worth listening to.” —Alice Evans, The Oregonian

“A book of beautifully modulated patterns and gracefully stated imperatives… Carl Safina’s books evince two traits not commonly associated with science writing: exquisite language and freely expressed empathy for animals.” —Booklist, starred and featured review

“Safina’s book soars… What a pleasure it is to be asked to stop rushing about and take time to think, to grapple with fundamental questions, and to find such an enlightening, provocative companion for walking and talking—and reading. We can ask no more from those who warn about dark days ahead than that they also awaken us to the miracle of everyday life as they try to illuminate a better path forward.”
—Dominique Browning, The New York Times Book Review

“An optimism suffuses this sensible and sensitive book.” —Publishers’ Weekly

“A superb work.” —Kirkus, starred review