There are depths of despair that I would not wish anyone to ever plumb. I've been to depths I never thought it possible to descend and had I considered it, I'd have thought it impossible to return alive. And yet, I'm still here.
You think, during the grief process, that it will never end. In a sense, it never does. You do resurface but you don't ever really reach land. At least, I haven't. You learn to tread water. You must or you drown. You know what lies beneath and you never want to try that descent again. So, you just keep paddling. You get tired but you never stop.
I've gotten better in many ways at treading water. In fact, sometimes I can actually swim. There's no land in sight but I dare not stop.
This summer has been lighter, as if someone opened a window. The weather was beautiful for moths. Since June, I've felt better for much of that time. I was sick from a virus for the six month prior to that. I began walking in July, something I thought would be impossible with my joint problems and pain. I started with 10 minutes and managed to work up to half an hour in which I knock out a just over a mile and a half.
Last week, I messed up. On Wednesday I lost a ring that Jerry bought me when I graduated from college in 1995. It was a blue topaz in a filigree band. It was so pretty, not very expensive but just so lovely. It was $99 when he bought it. It was the most special gift he'd ever bought me. And I lost it. It fell off my hand. I can't figure out how it happened.
I'm pretty sure it was in CVS on First Ave. They won't let me put up a flyer offering a reward. I remember something falling near my foot but I was so distracted and tired I looked around and when I didn't see anything, I just moved on. It took four days to figure out what I'd done. Now, I've sunk to such dark depths and I can't figure out what to do.
It's just a ring. It means nothing to anyone but me. It has no intrinsic value other than the price of gold. You might be able to pawn it for $50. I'd pay twice that to get it back. But it has reopened a crevasse that has taken me years to escape. And as before, I can't do a thing about it. I can only struggle for the surface. I want my ring back. I want to be able to sit and look at it and remember the day we bought it. I want to pass it to Sarah and watch her try it on, knowing it will be her's someday. I want to tell her the story of looking down in the jewelry case and picking it out and how it felt when he brought it home sized for me. I want to tell her why it is so special and hand it to her they way Jerry handed it to me.
I lost it. And the revelation I had was that life is just one series of losses after another. We're all losers most of the time. Winning at anything pales in comparison to what you have to lose. Ultimately, I think, what you lose is a reflection of who you really are, deep down. Had I lost the ring my mother bought me when I was 15 I'd have been sad. I wouldn't have been devastated. Had I lost even the necklace Jerry bought me for Christmas when we were dating, I would not have been so desolate. What I've lost is more than a simple ring. I've lost dreams. You can't replace that.
The depths to which they fall can't be plumbed.
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