A few months after he died, in what I can, in hindsight, only describe as a fit of grief-soaked pique, I ordered a somewhat spendy DVD guitar course, rationalizing (as if I were rational at the time) that I would need SOMETHING to replace the guitar instruction and encouragement A had given me, since he'd upped and left me. When I get mad, I get coldly practical.
I vowed I would start working on them on January 1st, 2007, and I did. I did the first lesson, and then put the box on the bookshelf to be ignored with nary a thought until the end of last year. I resolved that I would become a better guitar player in 2010, and would do those damned lessons that I bought 3 years before. I did lessons 2 and 3 in January, and none since. Clearly, it wasn't happening.
The opportunity for lessons showed up in my e-mail inbox last week, and I took it as a sign. I e-mailed the guy, and within a handful of e-mails back and forth, I was signed up and feeling good about the whole enterprise.
My friend P was out of the office all last week, so I sent her an e-mail this afternoon explaining the appearance of my guitar in my cubicle. In it, I included this bit:
"So my first lesson is tonight, and I'm excited. And I kind of think it's a victory, too, of a different sort, that I'm ready to do this…you know, find a new guitar mentor."
I didn't realize that was true until I typed it. I had thought about A in regards to these lessons, but more in that I knew he'd be glad I was continuing with the guitar, and still learning, and that he'd be proud of his "guitar babe" for taking this step to keep improving. He would totally applaud this move. But until I e-mailed my friend, I hadn't given a moment's thought to the idea that it was another healing milestone I was passing, in allowing someone else to fill the role of guitar teacher for me. Maybe it wasn't laziness or disinterest in lessons all this time; maybe it was that I just wasn't ready to let anything, or anyone, fill that spot that belonged to him.
Lately, I've been feeling pretty good. Normal. Me. Like I've reached a good plateau, and the view from here isn't too bad, actually. So many times in this journey, I've thought to myself, "This must be it. This is all the healing I'm going to do." And every time, I've been wrong, because as soon as I think that, some new thing like this comes along and shows me that I've come further yet.
Wish me luck.