It's been seven months to the day since my last post, how funny. Time is so funny. Heh. I didn't plan this.
I woke up to the second exquisite rainy morning this week, feeling as I did yesterday, that I was waking up in a cabin somewhere on the North Shore. Languishing in bed for about five seconds I turned to the book I was nearly done reading at page 816. I knew what was coming. I've read this book so many times that the thing is nearly in tatters which is strange because until the last few years it was a rule of mine never to read a book more than once; there are so many why waste time re-reading? Then I got out of bed, made coffee and french toast and finished watching the travesty of translation from book into film, The Time Traveler's Wife.
Apparently I have a bone to pick. Or something.
Both of these stories culminate in the death of a husband, each at 40ish years of age. Death has been a strong theme this year, giving me much to consider. Being a semi-social person and not in fact a recluse who never sees other living souls, I have heard a handful of stories over the years about a person awash in a tide of deaths. I think you have known these folks too, perhaps you are one of them, who have spoken of numerous deaths in the span of a year or less.
I have always feared this time and in the back of my mind wondered when it would be my turn.
In my childhood there was only one, my stepfather Bill. In my twenties it was Edyth Ann, Heather and my big orange kitty, Shelley... each death was devastating in its own unique way. Ten years later, this February, it was JayBee, though his death would show me something, maybe even a million things that just mean one thing. I'm weary of the statements in my head that want to be said and written; if I have learned anything at all it's that I know so little.
side note: Strangers in Paradise is coming to mind, another story whose final arch involves the death of a male partner... a scene just before a plane crash when David says to Katchoo, "You must confess!" to which Katchoo replies, "I confess I love you. I confess I love the clouds in summer. I confess I love this ocean... and so many things beneath it. But all I'll miss is you... Francine."
I know, in the next couple of months that I will be taking the next fork in the road and leaving this state to go home to Illinois, back to my family. However much I know that Minnesota remains I also know there isn't any coming back, even though I'm sure to visit. It's not so much the place as the time I must say good bye to now. It's the proverbial river I can't stick my foot into twice.
I came here in 1995 having aimed for Seattle, fell in love and fell in love and fell in love and became entangled and lost and lost... thank you all for that. When I found my apartment on Grand I found a deeply needed refuge and another great love that would help me get even more lost, lost enough and sick enough to really find myself. What seems so impossible to commit to text is a bold enough statement that perhaps it looks like I'm asking for a challenge (I'm not).
Having searched and dug in and wept and struggled and rejoiced and... there are so many threads I wish I could describe right here but I'll settle for telling you this: I was repaired, made whole again and thankful for the revelations brought by the terrible tearing. I feel equipped with the gifts of perspective and a clear open heart. I believe the truth about myself and I know this requires constant reflection and unerring honesty. I have worked hard for the stripes that enable me to say this and I feel that I can say it in large part because of my teacher and friend, JayBee:
I do not fear death. All that we are, all that we will ever be, is who we are in this moment and what we carry within us and engender between us.
I understand, for the moment, that I do not miss you because you are not gone. I still here your giggle, still feel your breath, still see you with your pants down wiggling and laughing in the sunshine.