“When the student is ready . . .”
Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you.
Embrace me, you irreplaceable you.
Just one look at you -- my heart grew tipsy in me;
You and you alone bring out the gipsy in me.
I love all the many charms about you;
Above all I want my arms about you.
Don't be a naughty baby, come to papa -- come to papa -- do!
My sweet embraceable you.
This was the song in my head yesterday -- singing it over and over. And over some more. Tearing up on, “you and you alone bring out the gypsy in me.” Today, I can sing the whole way through. It is such a lovely song. My NYC singing teacher, Norman Fields, used to say, even though I know he heard this from someone else, that you had to sing a song 1000 times before it was your own. Well, I have a few songs that are my own -- performing them 1000 times is much better than singing in the car and the shower, but it all counts.
I sorted stuff -- first family pictures and then my old files -- on Tuesday. All day! I was coughing by the end of the day -- mildew and dust. Oy! Julia was coughing when she got home as well. I saw a few things and made a few decisions.
Seeing: I have reinvented myself a number of time. I have practice doing what I am doing right now. Looking at the files pertaining to the Court House Historical Society that I joined when it was formed in Indy and then stayed with through the centennial celebration for the courthouse, I feel so distant from that person. It was part of Thriving Where I was Planted -- an early motto for a year or two. But I was part of that historical society from the initial brainstorm meetings, to writing articles for the historical magazine and for a law journal, co-writing and then directing the re-creation of a famous case in the same courtroom that the film 12 Angry Men was shot in, doing a huge chunk of the planning for the dinner at the State Museum, and planning for a new mural in the building. I was finding ways to fit into a life that I took on.
The directing of the recreation was interesting. I had helped to write the script that was cobbled together from trial transcripts, old newspapers, and scholarly articles. It was not a good script but credible for a bunch of lawyers working on such a thing. I helped assemble the cast which included two of our judges and a bunch of important lawyers. I was at the first rehearsal just to make sure that the script worked. The cast read through the material and they were awful. I suggested they do it on their feet and they were worse. I started to tell them what to do, where to move to, where to stand, how to face the audience, when one of our judges said, “You are really good at this.” Such wisdom. I said, “This is what I did before law school.” And at that moment I understood that switching careers was viewed as a failure, a lack of talent, by many people who were in my legal life. It was chilling at the time, now I think it was wonderful. I have not always had the opportunity to see myself as others see me. Most of the time I have no idea what other people think. But for a moment it was all clear, be it wonderful or awful, I knew. And that bunch of people were very happy to assign me the task of putting the “show” together which involved far more than directing. And we could be collectively proud of our work.
What springs to mind right now, is that I have never looked like my job. When I was an actor, it surprised people that I was an actor. When I was a lawyer, it was the same. I was told that I didn’t have enough ego to be an actor, and I was too nice to be a lawyer. This always puzzled me. Always. Part of me still longs to fit in and look like what I am doing, but doesn’t matter as much anymore. What people think of me as a dottering mother of an 11 year old is of no interest to me -- and maybe that was what I was the point. What I was training for all the time.
I met a woman yesterday, a friend of my dog-walking friend, Theresa, and we had coffee together. She is a widow of 10 years and Theresa had been trying to get us together for a long time. She was sure that we would hit it off and that I might find real value in talking to someone who had walked the path that I am on now. It took me a long time to email her. I am finally ready to really start talking. I wonder if that means that I will not have to write about mourning and grief all the time?
She shared her journey and not surprisingly, it was so similar to mine. It was great to hear that 18 months is not a long time, that it took her three years before she was really ready to assume some sort of normal life. That time and more time is normal and that those who have not lost a very dear one have no idea. Time and again now, I talk or write to some people who seem to be tapping their toe strongly suggesting that it is about time. Well, it is not. And from talking to her, I see that it would benefit me to find a group of people who I can talk to on a regular basis. I can’t blame acquaintances for not wanting to hear of my continuing journey. It is rather depressing. But others who are on the same path are probably a better match for my ramblings. I will find a grief support group.
She learned to live alone. She changed where she lived and the way that she lived. She has a partner and he has no trouble with her lingering attachment to her husband. She works and is reasonably happy.
All this sounds very good to me.
As for my sorting of stuff. I spent too much time separating photos in some of my mother’s photo albums. I took the family pictures after my mother died, and intended to do a lot of scanning of pictures to send to my siblings. Well, that is a project that will never happen. Those ambitions were too high. I have my family’s pictures, my mother’s pictures, David’s childhood pictures, his parents’ early pictures, and my grandmother’s pictures. This is the work of many years, not many months. My revised plan is to send what I’ve separate and sorted to my siblings, David’s sister and cousins, and friends. But to stop sorting albums. There are albums that I have no idea how to sort because they have pictures of more than one of the Buchko children, or have no children but might be interesting for someone to keep although that someone is not me, or are not my family at all, or are people who I don’t know. And so, I will take from those albums the pictures that I want and then send the albums on to either my siblings or to David’s sister and let those people save or discard. I do have pictures from my grandmother that I will eventually scan some of them and send disks to my siblings, but that will not be soon.
I admit that this way, someone else is making the ultimate decision of which pictures to throw out. I’ve had too many of those kinds of decisions to make. I’ll let others do the ultimate deed this time. I will share the trashing.
I did not do any sorting yesterday, and I am in a much better place to do it today. Did I say that it feels endless? Yes, yes, yes. But the basement is only so big and sooner or later, pray for sooner, I will look at the last box and put the last item in the garage sale box or St. Vinnie’s box. That will be the end of one tunnel although today, I am still in the dark.