Recently, I've had two old friends die. My mentor and writing teacher, Ron, and the other was Kathy, the wife of our pastor in Germany. There are some good memories of our times with the Brooks in Frankfurt, Germany. His post brought some of them back to life. The loss of his wife is taking its toll and I was struck again by the commonality of death.
Jerry died in 2009 and I spent a good portion of the evening reviewing my blogs for that year. I've done this a couple of times over the last 5 years and they're not easy to read. Over time, I gain distance. Reading them, I can remember the events as clearly as if it were yeasterday and I can still feel the searing emotions but through a filter now. My mind has erected the necessary sheilds to prevent me from reliving them too sharply. I am not over it. The pain is still there. The darkness lurks around the corners and threatens. Sometimes, even now, it steps out to engulf me. The way out is shorter but no less painful.
When I sit here in the house sometimes, the silence is a reminder of how empty life really is and how most of our existance is built on filling the spaces we inhabit. We think it is cars, houses, electronic toys, vacations to exotic places, and parties. But when you watch those you share life with disappear and the things still remain, your vision become so clear about what matters. When we are living our lives we tend to just ... live. We don't think about them ending or changing. We've plotted a course and we expect it to go the way we planned. And then... it doesn't. And we end up lost and looking for a map. We struggle to make sense of it but we really are totally lost. Nothing prepares us for it.
In the last couple of weeks I've made life altering decisions that I can't undo. I don't acutally have a desire to undo them. I'm worried because I don't know what I'm going to do, where I'm going to end up. I have no plan of action. I acted on instinct, driven by desperation and pain. And I don't care. I think that is the most stunning revelation for me. I just don't care.
Am I afraid? Yes. I'm terrified. I don't ever remember being in this place before. I have not been this broke in nearly 30 years but then, there were two of us to share the worries. I only know that there are no other avenues open to me. The road I'm on is the only one I have and I travel it alone.
More than once in the last week I've turned and said, "Jerry, I need to ask you about this." Of course, he's not answering me. Yes, I asked God first, weeks and weeks of praying for answers that did not come. I couldn't find a better solution. So, I made the best decision I could under the circumstances. Pain had reached a level I could no longer endure and I had to make a decision. Right or wrong, it was the only door open. And like those shut up on Noah's ark, there's no turning back.
As I read over my posts of that horrible time I wondered how I have managed to survive that nightmare. Even now, remembering those long, dark nights I don't know how I kept my sanity. I never want to live those again. One thing that is certain...I couldn't undo what was done then either.
I don't even know how I survived the last five years. My health has gone from ok to horrible. I live in pain 24 hours a day. The truth is, once you've walked where I've walked, a lot of things cease to be more important than just staying alive. At this point, tomorrow is a blank. I don't now if that is better or not. It just isn't any worse.
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