It is no mystery to those close to me that this is a difficult time. What follows is simply another free flow writing I did, similar to “Skin Tight” a few months ago.
It is trying to try, try and try again. It wearies and robs the soul of happiness that it is its natural state. We seek beauty where it can be found – words, flowers, the rain, fondling things from the past that keep us from feeling the present. And yet, being mindful and pragmatic underneath, we know what it is we are doing…and do it anyway.
Filling the gaps becomes almost a drive. A person here, a person there, like recreating a statue from pieces of string, some bird feathers, flower petals and words. A storm comes and we relate to it; wish for the release that the clouds have. They fill until bursting, and then flood the terrain all around them, caring not that they flood some streets, endanger lives, swallow up the work of loving hands. But as people, we try to be mindful of others and not flood them – sluicing our wants and needs through different gates so as not to overwhelm; making sure to not endanger others lives by taking too much of them; taking care to not swallow up the people and relationships that consume the rest of their days and nights. We are acutely aware most of the time, that we only have borrowed time – taken from this activity, or that person, and try oh so hard to tread lightly, spread our needs around using people like piers on a foundation footing.
Then once in a while, we unburden on one person just that one iota too much that breaks the balance, and we pay. Anger flows from fingers or voices. Boundaries are set which we must observe in order to preserve. And so we look around for others to bear parts of our burdens, knowing that they are heavy, at times smothering or overwhelming. Rarely do the others think of what it is like to be us – silent but bursting to the edges. Metering our conversational times out of respect. Turning inward and having conversations with ourselves, or scribbling furiously in journals or reworking at writing poetry, all so we can keep that conversation in house.
I started writing a long time ago to give voice to things that I needed to express, at a time when I was really leaning heavily on very few people to fill the gap that my spouse left. We try desperately to not wear those connections thin so that they, too, are lost to us and we are left reeling like a spider in a web that someone ungraciously and accidentally obliterates the ground line of webbing; dangling in mid-air, flailing to find our bearings and lacking the ability to shoot webbing out of our ass to hold us fast to the nearest stable thing.
Usually we will do it with our words or our fingers – shooting things out to find our bearings again. Sometimes in the self-focus of our loss, we do trample others and overstep those carefully erected boundaries of respect. For that, I apologize. Unless you have been where we are, you simply cannot know the difficulty in re-calibrating your life from a pair to one. It is different from divorce, where things often slowly peter away until there is nothing, where the participants are knowing but ignoring. It is abrupt and harsh – like the ground opening up under your feet and you lack a parachute, didn’t plan for this contingency, and have no idea what to do.
Today, while I was working on a poem, I realized that I send all of that into the ether. It is less grounding perhaps than to lean on a close friend, but it touches a multitude and spreads the burden out quite a bit more.
I experience joy alone. I experience bewilderment alone. I cry alone. It is simply a fact, the new balance in my life. But to those of you who allow me time, I thank you – be you readers or close friends. As a friend recently told me, “You run at 78 and I am a 33.” I have a busy mind, bursting with ideas and expression, seeking beauty every single place that I can find it. Even nearly five years in, I am still unsteady on my feet, like a new sailor on the sea of life.
I appreciate your patience 🙂