Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rites and Passages

I had a call today from one of my landlords. Linda is such a nice person and I really like her. She's 64. I asked how she was and she said, "Today is the first anniversary of my husband's death." He was a very nice person, too. The call went long and that's o.k. I remember those days when I needed to talk and the only place to do that was here. 

In some ways it is very odd to hear my story repeated from someone else living it. There is a sense of a time warp, of someone stepping into your life without you knowing it. Imagine hearing your own voice over the phone: "Sometimes I stood in the house and screamed." "I found myself in the floor." "I find myself wishing I had not said some of the things I said." "I go to church but I find myself questioning..." Her voice, my words? My voice, her words? It is strange to hear how the blows you felt are being felt by the other person and you KNOW what they are like. 

So, I listened and re-lived my own hell in the sound of her words. And with each terrible moment, it felt very good to be able to say, "That's normal. You're not crazy." And she cried and said, "I'm so glad you said that."  I told her that it doesn't get better you just learn to adjust. 

And we don't get better. I've decided that we just become a better dancers. We dance around all the things that trip us up. And we keep dancing because people think we're better and that's less work than telling them the truth. That we're crippled for life because half of us is gone. 

Once in awhile, when I've had enough sleep and the pain is less, I look outside and wonder if there is life after death. Part of me wants there to be. But the impact of my experience is so great that I find it impossible to believe. You can't begin to imagine the emptiness that life can be. No wonder that God elected to fill the earth with life. It was void of everything that meant anything.

I know I'm at the next phase, the one where you are resigned and start looking outward. This is where sanity returns and you realize that you can actually get through most days without looking back. Linda has a long way to go. I don't tell her that. She said a friend of hers lost her husband when she was 48. Her friend said it took five years to recover. I guess I'm impatient. Jerry always said I was. But I'd like to be able to walk without the limp. I'd like to step out onto the floor and dance because I want to dance and not because I have to pretend. 









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