April 1 (tightrope)





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





Add yours →

  1. I wouldn’t presume to have useful advice.
    But if it helps at all, I’m happy to raise a hand to steady you on the tightrope, if it helps at all.
    Nothing to say, but my ears work.

  2. My situation is so different, but I relate so intensely. I wrote a post about being on a tightrope about a year ago. I love you madly, but I also have a tightrope & have a hard time imagining more of this… existence.

  3. Your words make me ache and I wish there was something I could do. “Sending vibes” is my thing…so, I’ll send positive energy of love and hope for answers to your questions–and I’ll lace it with chocolate so you know it’s from me.

    • thanks.
      Gotta say I am better tonite, just got home from a yoga class and a meeting and things look better. Eating a salad, drinking tea and there’s chocolate in the house.
      Life is so messy, damn it!

  4. Ah Michele this resonated with me. It reminds me the words of Samuel Beckett – so brave, so courageous. “I can’t go on. I’ll go on”. At times what more is there? xxxx

  5. And here’s something that I don’t share either: sometimes I wonder how I will stay sober when there’s no one to stay sober for. (Yeah yeah, myself, but so what.) I’m in an age gap marriage, odds are I’ll be living in a house with stuff and photographs and a King size bed and ghosts in my head.
    I try not to borrow worries. Today is sufficient to itself, or something like that.

    Maybe I’ll be strong as a tree. Maybe I’ll go on a cruise. Maybe Mary Oliver has it right:

    letter to ________ {mary oliver}

    You have broken my heart.

    Just as well. Now

    I am learning to rise

    above all that, learning

    the thin life, waking up

    simply to praise

    everything in this world that is

    strong and beautiful

    always—the trees, the rocks,

    the fields, the news

    from heaven, the laughter

    that comes back

    all the same. Just as well. Time

    to read books, rake the lawn

    in peace, sweep the floor, scour

    the faces of pans,

    anything. And I have been so

    diligent it is almost

    over, I am growing myself

    as strong as rock, as a tree

    which, if I put my arms around it, it does not

    lean away. It is a

    wonderful life. Comfortable.

    I read the papers. Maybe

    I will go on a cruise, maybe I will

    cross the entire ocean, more than once.

    Whatever you think, I have scarcely

    thought of you. Whatever you imagine.

    it never really happened. Only a few

    evenings of nonsense. Whatever you believe–

    dear one, dear one–

    do not believe this letter.

    • Mary Oliver always has it right, doesn’t she?
      Somewhere in the BB, or 12×12 they talk about “the deliberate manufacture of misery”…I get that, I do that. And I also liked Cleo’s quote about “I can’t go on, I’ll go on”..Beckett is brave and courageous and a little bit dramatic, no? 😉

      Yep, today and today and today…..today is, in fact much better, crisis averted, tho it lasted longer than usual.

      AS to the who to stay sober for, of course, ourselves. That is the obvious response. I only got sober for myself, others were not in play. Maybe that helps, but maybe it doesn’t When I sit in a Fuck it mood I don’t have a lot of people that I would disappoint, you know. But then, Like Oliver…I can justify it and be full of bravado and so what until it comes to the end where i hope I will, and so far have, treated myself as dear one and don’t believe it.


  6. This is a few days late but I’m thinking about you and wishing you peace. I don’t think you’re being dramatic. I think your experiencing rough waters that only you can truly navigate.

  7. Michele, thank you for laying your heart bare here. You know I get it. I’m walking a tightrope of my own. My son is like my balancing bar….I’m so focused on him, I don’t have to look down. Just straight ahead, get him to school, go to work, come home, cook dinner, lather, rinse, repeat, don’t look down. It’s been three and a half years for me, and it has gone so fast. I know I’m going to blink, and another few years will fly by, and my son will be grown, and the prospect of rattling around in this empty house by myself is terrifying. But for now, I’m not looking down.

    This is hard shit. You’re not being dramatic. Love you. ❤

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