Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dreams and grace

Sometimes I wake up feeling like A has been near me somehow.  I've come to learn that that feeling means that I have probably dreamed about him.  It's not always  easy for me to recall those dreams (or any dreams), though, so when I have that feeling, I try to stay in that quiet half-awake place to see if it'll come to me.  I have so few dreams of A that I don't want to miss a one; I kept a dream journal over a year to see if it would help me remember my dreams better.  I don't know if it helped or not.  I am well into middle-age and all the joys it brings these days; I forget a lot of things, dreams included.

I woke up this morning feeling like he'd been close, and it took me awhile to tease the circumstances out of my foggy brain.  It was most definitely a dream; I've had a few that I believe were visitations, but those mostly happened in the first year after he died.  He has made himself pretty scarce; so scarce that even my own mind, full of wishes and frustrated desires for him to be there, doesn't seem to conjure him up.

In my dream, a man who looked just like A, although a little fuller in the face, was hanging out with a coworker of mine in the corner office near my cubicle at work.  For some reason, he was sitting on the floor instead of in a chair.  Every time I had to go talk to her, I saw this man, and I surreptitiously stared.  He was polite, but we were strangers, and we didn't really speak beyond greetings.  I would go back to my desk and muse on how uncanny the resemblance was, and how weird it was that he wasn't my A.

As the dream came back to me in pieces, lyrics for a possible song drifted through my mind, something about "I can't touch you, I can't reach you," because even though the man in the dream looked just like A, it wasn't him.  I couldn't just reach out and touch him; it wouldn't be right.

It was this I pondered as I chewed my raisin bran before work this morning, and it all kind of came together:  this is my reality.  I have images of him, and I have memories, and they are so close—always right there—but I cannot touch him; I cannot reach him.  He is so real in my head and my heart, but he is completely beyond contact. 

This is what I find maddening. 

And I guess my subconscious self is struggling with it, too.  It has defined the problem for me, but, as usual, hasn't offered any solutions.  Solutions are thin on the ground on Planet Survivor. 

I can point precisely to the place in my chest, just above the solar plexus, that feels weird when I think about him, when I think about losing him, or rather, having lost him, when I think about how much I miss him.  It just never goes away.  The missing him never goes away, and lately, I've been feeling it palpably.  I've been awash in random, startlingly clear memories and fantasies of him doing everyday things.  I've been thinking strange A-related things apropos of nothing, like the other day when I was looking at his picture and I thought, "Oh my god…you were cremated!"  Like I had forgotten, and then suddenly remembered what all this being dead meant, all the little creepy details.

I fell asleep the other night asking him, asking myself, asking the universe, "What else can I do?  What else can I do to heal that I haven't yet done?  What am I missing?"  I'm better…but I can't help but feel like I'm not better ENOUGH.  Not by anyone else's standards, but by my own.  It just seems to me that if there is nothing I can do about his being dead, then I should at least be allowed a greater peace in his absence than I am managing. 

Where's the grace?

Friday, August 20, 2010

The wound that never heals

I guess it's been building for a couple of days, but circumstances conspired this morning to bring the ache for him to a head.  I saw a headline that a man had leaped to his death from the roof of the Saratoga Mountain Winery, in the middle of a show by the Swell Season.  It was no doubt shocking and painful for everyone there, not to mention the man's friend who was in the audience, and his family that has to live with the aftermath of not only the death of their loved one, but a very public suicide and the attendant news coverage that goes with it.  But my sadness for them was trumped by sadness that was a little more selfish.
A saw many shows there with his pals, and the combination of death and the venue brought A front and center, and I did something I haven't done in awhile.  Every now and again, I google him, partly to see if his family has put anything new out there about in memoriam ad or something, and (as that hasn't happened since his obituary), just to see if he's still there.  Mostly, I find listings for his business, and the amazing, sometimes frustrating, preservative powers of the internet comfort me.  The world hasn't forgotten him, or at least, the internet hasn't, and as long as his name continues to show up on a search, there is proof beyond the broken-hearted souls who remember and miss him that he really was here.  Not that anyone goes looking for him but me.  It's not exactly a sane thing to do, but still I do it once in awhile, still attempting to gather what threads there are of him that I do not have and hold them close to me because, what else do I have?
I did find a different listing than had come up before--one for some voter info website that had him listed at an address he hadn't lived at for a year and a half when he died.  It had him listed as a Democrat, and while of course that would be the case, I don't know that we ever discussed what we were registered as, politically, though we discussed politics and the state of the nation all the time.
At the same time, it hurts to know that the information the web has him is so tragically out-of-date, a glimmer, a shade, of what was, so far from what is. 
Other thing that has conspired against me is the random e-mail from one of my father's cousin's who found me on the web; this cousin, by my math, was born a year after A, but the cousin is still here.  It makes me wonder yet again about the mortal lottery that takes some and leaves others.
I miss him.  I miss him.  I miss him.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Perspective: I haz it

Last week, and continuing somewhat into this week was, as my husband put it, "the worst week we've had in a long time." And while that's true to some extent, I always raise an eyebrow (mentally...I can't actually pull a Spock physically--they both go up) when someone announces something as "the worst."
The last week or so has been unquestionably shitty, between emergency vet visits for my dog, to two failed attempts to have surgery, to the realization that surgery probably isn't in the cards for him and we're facing an end that will arrive sooner than later, but how soon we cannot guess. And now E is ill; he'll be okay in time, but in the meantime, he's miserable, and we didn't need more misery on top of all that's going on.
But it the worst? Oh hell no. Not by a long-shot. This is life on planet earth: a fair amount of "shitty" is to be expected. I made some quiet noises to E about how my view of "the worst" might vary from his own, and he knew what I was talking about, and said that's why he qualified his comments by saying "in a long time." I thought about debating "long time" with him, as 4 years doesn't seem that long ago to me, frankly, but decided in the name of marital harmony to let that one pass.
I wondered, as I moved through my grief, if my new perspective as to what qualified as a big deal would eventually erode and I'd start bitching about little, stupid things like I used to. And I probably do, but a lot less than I did before I was widowed. I get annoyed, like anyone, but I can let it go pretty easily. "Yeah, it sucks. Next!" This is one of those "blessings of grief" the books like to talk about. When you have experienced horrible circumstances, and the pain of surviving through them, everything else looks like small potatoes by comparison. Also, I think in discovering that you have the ability to keep going when you hurt inside, when you hurt inside more than you ever could've imagined hurting, you learn your true mettle, and it's harder to get overwhelmed when bad things just keep piling on.
That is not to say I enjoy it, or greet these challenges with a smile and open arms, for they surely do not please me in the least. But I sigh and get through it because I have learned how to sigh and get through things by sighing and getting through THE thing. I survived my love's death, and through it, I learned that the people and critters I love are going to die, too. That it is almost entirely out of my hands. That I will get through it, and, in time, probably without much screaming and gnashing of teeth, because that just doesn't do any good. It doesn't make me feel better, it doesn't help me cope, it doesn't get done what has to get done.
Sometimes it's trying to me that other folks are gnashing their teeth, though. They lack the perspective I paid so dearly for, bless their hearts. In E's case, I realize that I'd have to be dead for him to get it, which really doesn't sound like too good a deal for me, then. Still, I wouldn't mind too much if everyone in general could chill and see that this, too, shall pass. In this, I see my yearning for peace. Ever since A died, peace is all I want. Joy is nice, happiness is groovy, but peace...peace is what my soul aches for.