And to anyone who would imagine that I am throwing away memories, or pushing David from my life as I purge and sweep, clean and simplify, I am not. It is true that so many material things seem to hold small memories of David, but he does not need things now. Neither do I need those things to have him live in my heart. And that is the only place that I need to keep pieces of his time with me.
I disappointed myself badly yesterday. It was the class I was to give the report on hippotherapy and I was just not sufficiently prepared to do it well. I have been listening to lectures, reports, and demonstrations all school year, and although I am quite confident adding to any discussion, I am not ready to present in a cogent, entertaining and enlightening manner myself. I needed more time, I needed more of a script, I needed practice. Right now, I am not sure that even with the time, script, and practice that I would have done a so much better. And so I wonder how much energy I should be putting into this kind of communication -- Better communication was one of my goals from the beginning of the year. I thought of it mostly having to do with writing but in truth, there has been very little writing to do. Instead, there has been an emphasis on presentation and I have fallen into line and taken it on. But I don't know. My confidence flags and I wonder if I can ever be effective at it.
After therapy, Julia and I went to an international festival downtown. We drove past and parked near the capital and went to pick up prescriptions. I explained, once again, the reason for people being on the outside, marching, listening to good music, carrying signs. When I was finished, Julia asked if the governor was going to "wreck Randall School" and if he was going to take away the dinosaur books from the library.
Maybe I was a bit heavy handed. But it is nice that she is listening.
Thursday evening, I went to my church's grief group for the first time. It was a hard day to begin. I was pretty fragile, once again in the mode that an unexpected bump could set off tears. Yes, it was good to do a bit of explaining and then listening. A very young woman spoke of losing a dear friend to murder, and all I could think of was how unfair it was that she has to feel such pain. I could talk about what happened physically to David and then later about his last monologue, but not about our lives together. It will take time. Time. Time.
There was a grief group formed last autumn and, at the time, I had not lived through the suggested 6 months after the death of the grieved one before I could join. The group was also full and the facilitator put me off until this spring group started. When he got back in touch for the spring group, I was prickly and not enthusiastic. I was blaming the facilitator for not allowing me to be part of the group when I thought I was ready. This was via email and really, even if there had been a tone when I typed my email, it was pretty tame. But inside, I was snide and snarky.
I am sure I could have used the Fall group -- I was at a different place and could have used the support and feed back then -- but I am at this place -- something fragile and doubting and terribly steely and strong -- right now that needs boosting and gentling. As I prepare to subtract some of the busies from my daily round and think about adding other chores, I do need some guides on the next steps of the journey. And when the facilitator asked for our purposes for coming to the group, that is what I stated: I want help with the next steps. I am not looking for cure or an end to grieving, but just a bit of support and counsel as I take another step or two. The path of mine is a great labyrinth of spirals, twists, and turns. I go over the same ground time and again but each time it is new because I have changed. I see the same differently. I grow.
Mere weeks after David died, I felt that this journey after him was such the adventure. Hard and somewhat bitter without him, but an adventure nonetheless. I hold to that idea. Tears streaming down my face. I still hold to that ideal.
Julia surprised me at the International Festival. She sat through a Russian musical group, Taiwanese puppets, Chinese dancers, Greek dancers and Ballet Folklorica. It wasn't until the last that she an anxious to leave, and even then, once the dancers caught her attention, she enjoyed the show. I noted, with my old parental pride, that she was much more responsive to the Russian musical group that the two girls behind us of similar age who complained to their grandparents, kicked the backs of our chairs, and needed to leave in the middle of the performance.
Julia can fixate on unusual things -- or rather on inappropriate things. She gets stuck -- on the dropped handkerchief of a Chinese dancer, or the story line in the Taiwanese puppet show that left a child dead after being eaten by a magical tiger -- and that feels related to her challenges, but she is growing. Some times I see too much of where she is not -- not playing with age peers in an appropriate way, not engaging in "team" activities, not on grade level or anywhere near, not ready to join a dance group or play an instrument, not ready to further her cultural knowledge. These are all things that would please me and, in a sense, would make me look good as a parent, would add to ego. And are, I do see, so unimportant, so not what Julia needs to grow into the best person she can be. And it amazes me how she works on that every day. And I can take my cue from her and do the same.
These days, I feel like I live with a six year old. Understanding, abilities, memory, maturity. And that is not so bad.