Monday, June 25, 2012

Who says TV keeps people from thinking?

We've been watching the catch-up marathon of the last 4 seasons of Breaking Bad in anticipation of the Season 5 premiere, which just happens to fall on the 6th anniversary of A's death. (I should say here if you haven't watched it, and are going to, there are spoilers ahead. Though I will say if you're newly widowed, you might consider avoiding this show, because it's not really going to do you any favors.)

I was going to say that the show has brought up a lot of stuff for me in light of the impending sadiversary, but I suppose it'd be more accurate to say that the impending sadiversary, and my being a widow in the first place, makes me see the show in a certain way that others may not.

On an episode the other night, the recently relapsed junkie girlfriend (Jane) of the young junkie main character (Jesse) dies (I'll spare you the ugly details). A few episodes later, we see the recently rehabbed Jesse dialing his phone, listening a moment and then hanging up. We see this twice, but don't hear anything until later, but I turned to E and said, "He's dialing her voicemail to hear her voice." E said, "Really? You think so?"

Of course I know so, and as the show progresses, I'm proven correct. A few moments later, after weighing the wisdom of sharing how I knew, I say, "The only thing that kept me from dialing A's phone a hundred million times after he died was that I figured his family had the phone, and I didn't want to bother them." Which is totally the truth. I'd probably still be calling it today, if I could. The last time I heard anything close to his voice was in a dream I had several years ago now, where a hummingbird hovered near my ear and called my name in an approximation of his voice.

I'm 3 weeks out from being 6 years without A. Funny thing about time: for most of the year, I can refer to whatever the last anniversary is that passes without much problem. From July through May, I can say, "He's been gone 5 years" and don't feel the need to add on the months for accuracy's sake. Sometimes I count it up in my head anyway...or rather, the math comes easily to me now, any time of year, but not always. This is a good thing, because I can reckon with the reality of the time that has passed without much of an emotional charge.

But once June hits, I feel it coming, and the time I haven't tolled since the last year starts rolling down upon me, like the beginning of an avalanche. Not a deadly avalanche--I no longer fear it's going to kill me. But the pebbles and rocks that precede it hurt nonetheless. I am so aware of this milestone; this millstone, its weight around my neck forcing my head down at various moments when for some reason there's a hole in my defenses and the truth pierces to my core, and my eyes water.

I figure I'll just wait it out; there's nothing else to do, and I've had 5 years' practice at it.

This morning I woke up thinking again about the show, but this time about the meth addicts portrayed on it, their bodies crumbling as they do anything to return to whatever sweet oblivion meth offers. When I was young, I didn't do drugs, because I had neither motive nor opportunity, and they were bad and illegal to boot. As I've gotten older, I still have no opportunity, and not really the interest, though I will admit to there being plenty of times in the last almost-6 years where I could understand the motivation, the desire for complete and total escape. And at this point in my life, having that understanding, it is not the danger of drug use per se that would scare me off; it's that, once having tasted the high, I'd keep wanting it. Who wouldn't? That is always the danger of experiencing something beyond the mundane: how can they keep you down on the Earth after you've seen the Mystery?

I read, I think in Eat, Pray, Love, about seekers who have achieved states of perfect bliss and understanding via meditation once, and spend the rest of their lives chasing it, suffering in their frustration if it doesn't come again. When you've got it all figured out, and nothing hurts, I could easily see someone going mad trying to regain that somehow; sometimes I wonder if it's better not to know what you're missing. You can't miss what you never had. I tend to think the universe grants us these moments to give us hope, to keep us going, but it's a double-edged sword, because even though it may tantalize us up out of our rut, our deep dark hole our blinders of pain, it doesn't stop tantalizing us when it's done that job. Once you recognize that there's so much more than meets the eye, for all of us, natural human curiosity makes us want to know all of it. And we just can't, it seems. Dog knows, I've tried.

And that led me back to thinking about my experiences with A, and how he communicated with me after he died, for awhile. Not now; not really. And I think about how desperate I was for that communication; how hurt and deflated I was when it tapered off eventually; how I wanted to keep having it forever, having him forever, or at least until we were on the same side of the veil.

It's all the same, isn't it? Sometimes, we get a glimpse of the bigger picture, we see through the veil, we feel real freedom from this earthly illusion, and it is so good, and so comforting, you can never get enough. You just can't ever get enough. You can keep chasing it and run yourself into the ground trying to hold on to something that I can only believe we were never intended to have all the time, not in this material world, anyway. If we were, wouldn't it be easier to achieve, and maintain? The extremes required to attain it, through drugs, or meditation, or near-death experiences, or bereavement--these are, for the most part, not things that are good for a person in large quantities.

I know my experiences are real. I don't doubt them at all. I know people who would do anything to have just one of the experiences I have had and be satisfied that this isn't all there is, that there is some kind of reunion ahead for all of us. And yet I find myself yearning for more. More of him, in whatever way I can get it. More hope, or rather, a regularly recharged hope that can carry me through a few more years at a time without losing faith before the next booster.

I'm clean. I'm healed. And yet my body and my mind will never forget what it was like to feel him running through my veins when he was alive, and to feel his energy flowing through my body and soul after he left. Dog help the meth addicts, but I can't blame them for wanting that high again and again. I get it. If I could buy a few hours of heaven and the man who lives there now, a few hours' release from this quiet, stoic knowing and missing, for a few hundred bucks, I'd do it, too.

I can't, of course. So I come here, and spill my guts.

I'm Phoenix, and I'm a widow.