Today would have been my 25th wedding anniversary had my husband not died.
We used to have a joke. We laughed that we got married so late in life (really? we were children!) that our 10th anniversary would be like our 25th and our 25th like our 50th. (We had just shy of 17)
As I am writing this I just have to gasp at how ridiculous that is. I mean, I am young, I could easily live another 25 years. We could have easily hit 50 years.
I walk a tightrope every day, navigating the world. I don’t tell people a lot about it because I do not believe for one minute most people will understand it, I don’t trust people (except the ones I do) and I don’t want helpful hints…about this. No one knows about this.
I know I don’t want to live another 25 years though. I am chilled to the bone remembering this joke; it’s not funny now, with him gone. The last 8 years have been a balancing act that I have been semi-successful at, the semi starting in the last 3 years when I finally stopped drinking. Now I find myself alone in an apartment that I basically don’t have to leave if I don’t want to, amidst stuff that brings me no joy. When I do leave I have sweet friends and can be distracted by yoga and meetings and my volunteering….all things that give me joy and add meaning to my life. But enough?
I come home alone and that has been ruined for me. I found someone to come home to, with, and it was good. Before Tom I treasured my alone time, but I’m tired of it now, exhausted by it. It gets harder to fight off the maybe’s and the what if’s and the fuck-its when I am alone now. It’s exhausting staying on the tightrope when I am here alone, and looking down the line; seeing the years of balancing ahead makes me want to slip off, pay less attention to my footing. Why am I fighting? What is the purpose, what is the pay-off?
I get it, this is a particularly depressing post. I am particularly depressed. Since Saturday afternoon, when I decided I would finally attack the boxes of picture that I dragged over here from the house, that are taking up way too much room in my closet, I have been in the pits, the “slough of despair” (I remember that from Little Women or something). I went through them for an hour and then spent an hour on the tightrope, balancing my need to walk across to the street to the very conveniently located liquor store ,with my knowledge that doing that would not help. Just like living alone, the drinking has been ruined for me. I know it won’t work, just like I know how lovely it is to live with someone. See how that works? Two disparate ideas come together in my head and turn to shit.
The slough lasted longer than usual and the usual tricks didn’t work. Finally 7 or 8 binged episodes of The Good Wife got me enough out of my head to go to sleep. I can hear the shouted advice…”call someone”, ” go to a meeting”, “pray”….I did it all, well, not the meeting because, frankly, I didn’t trust myself to leave the house. I’ve been hungover ever since. I’ve talked to people, and gone to yoga and lead my grief group and binged on more TV and the internet and all of those things distract me.
But I still have to step on that wire, that thin line I walk and which gets thinner still on a day like today. And I still am sitting here alone, with no prospect of that changing any time soon.
And I really don’t like it and today I am railing against it, out loud because I can.
My last post was titled “What Do I Want?”
I am still asking the question, less specific and yet more important. What do I want? What don’t I want? How much am I willing to stand? Where do I go from here?
(How fucking dramatic is it possible for me to be…don’t answer that!)
I’m through here, breathe a sigh of relief.
I will leave you with a beautiful poem by Mary Oliver. It’s National Poetry Month. That’s distracting….
and I will Rave On for now.
A Pretty Song
From the complications of loving you
I think there is no end or return.
No answer, no coming out of it.
Which is the only way to love, isn’t it?
This isn’t a playground, this is
earth, our heaven, for a while.
Therefore I have given precedence
to all my sudden, sullen, dark moods
that hold you in the center of my world.
And I say to my body: grow thinner still.
And I say to my fingers, type me a pretty song,
And I say to my heart: rave on.
by Mary Oliver