Oh, I am not getting anything done today.
Dribs and drabs, things thrown out, pictures put in boxes , basically moving piles.
So I’m writing.
I deal with death a LOT. Personally; in my groups. I know what to say and do, I think. But when it happens close to you there is still no real template. It depends on the person, the closeness, the history. It’s often-times easier with a stranger because then you can offer support not tinged with knowing. But knowing is great support. When Tom died the support was amazing, but my one friend who was a widow was able to help me in ways no one else could, or maybe that’s because I could look at her and know she had been through it and thus made it easier to believe her. She didn’t lie to me or sugar-coat. She helped me get down to business, and told me I would never not be in pain again and that it was ok. That doesn’t sound comforting, but it was.
A friend of mine died yesterday and now I can be that widow friend to his widow. But it’s complicated by years of bad blood, though a tentative relationship has been re-forming between me and his widow over the last year. But I don’t feel like I can swoop in, like I would with others, like they swooped in on me. There is a distance that has to be crossed, and I think at her level of comfort. Its a little frustrating to me because when I heard this morning I wanted to get in my car and go there. Something holds me back. I hope I am not mis-reading; I hope that she is not expecting me to swoop when I am cautiously offering. My schedule is open though through the weekend and she knows it. I told her ANYTIME and meant it. That’s all I can do, even though it doesn’t feel like enough. But she is not me, and I am not the me that I was, and our relationship is not what it was.
So. I wait. For whatever she needs in her time.
The realities of life for me are now that people will start dying. I have quite a few old friend, meaning.good friends who happen to be older than me. In their 70s and 80’s. I treasure them. And they will die. The reality is, of course, that we will all die. My 30 year old friends are , sadly, just as likely to die as my 80 year friends. I cringe when people go in for surgery. I am beginning to notice clearly my own frailties and curse the little changes I see among my friends…hearing aids, hip replacements, back problems, health scares. There is no getting around it. We come here, we live and we die, and we have this very short span in between. And it is no worse if a young person dies than an old person; to those that love them it makes not one shred of difference. Death is death…one more dead person, as a fellow widow is prone to say, with a shrug.
Is that a bad attitude? Cold, callous? Or just realistic, and a way of making sense of it. One day someone is in the world, the next not. How does that happen and what does it mean? Does it mean anything? Another dead person (shrug).
I know why I am thinking about all of this now. I do grief groups. I listen to people trying to make sense of it every week. I have been dealing with my own grief once again because of the move, the shedding. And then, as they are wont to do, people die. Yesterday it was Mike. Today it’s someone else. Tomorrow…who knows. Maybe me. No guarantees, no stopping the inexorable march toward death, no changing the bargain that some people believe we sign up for upon entering our bodies.
Sometimes it scares me, often I find it comforting, the idea of death. Today I am sad. Sad for myself, for my newly widowed friend and her children, sad for all the people in my groups, the parents and the spouses. I get it. I know.
There will never not be pain, but it will be ok.
Back to work. I have things to do to move ahead in my life. I decided a while ago to stop slowly killing myself and to wrest as much life as I have left out of my morsel here, so that’s what I must do. Marching forward, looking back.
One day I’ll be another dead person , we all will be. Not today (shrug)