Tuesday, March 27, 2012

sleep and tenderness

ahhh sleep. In bed by 7 last night, awake at my usual 5, but lounged there instead of getting up. It's not just the sleep that eased me a little. It was - oddly or not - sitting there in bed reliving that day. How beautiful the sky was. How much we loved, and needed, that place. I looked at dog-wash island. I saw us there on other trips, soaping boris up, and I saw us there on our last trip, you trying to hold on to the top of a tree, yelling out, letting go. You died just off of dog-wash island, trying to hold on to a tree, yelling out, disappearing. Oh my god.

And in that oh my god  I felt such fierce tenderness and love for myself. How hard this is, how lonely, how scary and how sad. How hard this is. Hard.

And I think this morning how I get to the same place: refusal to do things I do not want to do, unwillingness to suffer through annoying situations, a desire to do whatever brings me any goodness at all and fighting for it if need be ~ I get to the same place I get to when the rage has control of me. I still kick over stupid things, wasteful things, but - in this moment, anyway, I want to kick them over because I love me. Because you died just off of dog-wash island on a beautiful sunny day in July. Because I couldn't stop it, even when I ran into the water and fought those currents myself. Because of all the things I had to do, all the phone calls, all the "arrangements," all of everything.

 It is so much nicer on me to feel tenderness rather than rage. I think this is the goal for me, the direction to lean - not that life can be good, or that life can be anything, but finding ways to access, maybe even eventually sustain, this tenderness. A fierceness for myself that isn't so much the raging Kali stomping out the world.


Friday, March 23, 2012


Is it horrible that this annoyed me:

Okay, annoyed maybe isn't the right word. Wait. Yes it is. Their story isn't my story, and while I am glad that their son lived, I can't deny my reaction. I don't want to know how prayers and meditations miraculously healed someone. I want to know how someone who has lived their life with prayers and meditations, with practices and trust, lives with the fact that the one they love DID NOT SURVIVE. Nine million prayers for his survival that day would have not done a thing if he was not meant to live. I don't think that focused meditation can change an outcome. Nine trillion people praying and focusing while the wardens searched for matt would not have made that outcome different than it was.

It is so easy to say that god was by your side when things work out. It is so easy to say that your prayers and meditation made the shift. It is so easy to trust in divine goodness, in the reassurances of the Mother when difficult things turn out right. Turn out - right. When things turn out wrong, does that mean your prayers weren't enough? That only if your practice had been stronger, this would be alright? Such hubris. That equation isn't even wrong.

I need the stories of how you live, with smashed and broken faith, knowing that your prayers for certain outcomes are misplaced. The stories that I need to hear are the ones where you find a way to live in a world that isn't right, and no amount of prayers or meditations can make it right. Where you find a way to live without turning bitter and angry or just lost; without manufacturing a meaning that isn't there, without becoming a falseness to yourself. Everything does not always Turn Out Alright. I need to hear some people with deep faith show me how you live with that.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

out of character

I have been reading "the four hour work week," by - oh, I don't remember now and I don't feel like getting up to check. Anyway. It's largely creepy, if I think too much about it: the general gist is your business should both dupe and use people so that you can go about your merry way cheating, drinking, and carousing while making loads of money. However, there are concepts in this book that have been really striking me. Odd ways of looking at old practices. New ways of thinking. The concept, for me, of divorcing what I do for income and what I do as daily work - that's a big one.

One of the phrases I've taken from this book is "analysis paralysis." In my work life, I am and have been such a Thinker: Consider.Every.Single.Possible.Angle.and.its.ramifications before making any movement at all. I've done a few things since reading that that are completely out of character, saying no to some things and pushing for some others. It's a little bit cavalier, this current attitude of mine. Ultimately, I think it's useful. As I used to tell clients who were too accomodating and polite: if you feel like you are being rude, you are probably right on target: "too rude" in your mind is actually well-boundaried and appropriate.

Hearing other peoples' ideas and plans for me, I almost constantly tell myself I am not doing that, and later need to extricate myself from something I knew from the outset I didn't want. Matt was fantastic at telling people Out Loud, right from the very start, sweetly and with such true gentleness, "I am not going to do that with you." It's out of character for me to start using my inside voice as an outside voice.

I think it is widowhood-related irritation: a definite "who the (*&! cares what they think," a brusqueness I do not typically have. If I have to live here, if this is the life I have, then I am not doing things I do not want to do, and I am not tiptoeing around. If I want something, I am going to ask for it without thinking too hard about it. A real sense of - seriously? With what you have lived and are living, you are worried about, well, anything? Just do it, don't think. It feels pretty brazen to me, which means I am probably right on target.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

comes around

I really did not expect this one.

Yesterday, a friend of mine had daughter #2. Her first child was born 3 weeks after matt died. I pretty much missed it. Daughter #1 turned 2 years, 7 months, and one week two days ago. I know this because I gauge her age by the age of this After of mine.

So yesterday, I went to see said friend in the hospital, met the newest member of her clan. Getting home, I suddenly felt exhausted. Depleted. Just Wrong. I laid down on the couch, smelled the coming-rain air, the windows open to warm wind. Laid down contemplating a meeting I want to schedule with my former boss. As I fell asleep I realized - it could be July. It could be July 2009 right now, with all these things. And I will wake up and he will be here. All of this has been a dream. All of this has been a coma I have been in, some incorrect and parallel world I fell into and now I am coming out. The elements are here - the new baby, the warm wind, the coming rain, the same work-place. E's first baby shower was July 12th, so clearly it has come around again, like Groundhog Day. I even woke up wondering, testing it out. With  my eyes closed, I listened for his voice, waited to hear the truck in the driveway, or hear him singing under his breath somewhere close-by. I waited for the silence to be disturbed by a teenage boy bursting in to tackle his father. None of these things happened. None of these things happened.

The grief train roared into this house and I had no idea it was coming. I am dropped.
I am down. It is early again, like the last time a baby was born.


Monday, March 5, 2012



I rang the doorbell
as requested
for your assistance with my donation

I am going back to the car to get more bags
you do not need to yell at me to stop
you do not need to yell
that this better be something you can sell

Do you treat everyone this way?
Even as I bring you more
you keep yelling.
Even after I am crying
and ask you to please stop giving me
a hard time right now

I understand that people often leave you trash.

Do you know what is in these bags?

My husband's shoes.

The shawl I wore to his funeral
Four days after he drowned.

I do not think you need to yell at me