Sunday, May 4, 2014

Learning to juggle

I will chalk today up as a sad and angry day.  I didn't know it was going to be that way.

We got to church late and I was already frustrated, but I wouldn't say I was overly sad or angry.  But the whining wouldn't stop and it was building and building...deep breathing was keeping it just barely at bay.  Then, I sat with Aiden in the front row and the music started.  It was the two young men who'd grown up playing their violins in the church...they are amazing.  And a thought that had been roiling around in my brain and careening into my heart throughout the last few days finally crystallized:  I do not really believe I will ever again find anything even close to the love I had for and with John.  I know I profess the desire to remain open to love and willing to try and look, give and receive.  But the "game" of dating isn't one I have ever ever been good at- I'm too honest, to strange a mix of things, too unconcerned with the dance of how to create desire...John had a strange patience and determination that waded through all my muck, doggedly persistent...and I think of how sometimes love just falls apart...people grow apart.  I think of how two people meet, feel attraction, live and love together for years, and turn around and find that it is all gone, or that it never really was...after losing John the way that I did, I just don't know that I have it in me to go through all of that mess.

These thoughts hit me like a tsunami, crashing down the highway, crumbling roads and homes into chunks of deadly rubble, and I started to cry.  And I couldn't stop.  So I got up and left the church to go sit by his name plate.  I cried and told him how much I miss him, I cried and stared into the mulch, fondled a blade of green smooth grass.  I cried and covered the death year beside his name.  The rest of the day was a blur of trying to hold myself together...I napped with my youngest, we ate pizza and got some groceries.  There was a lot of barely tolerating loud and playful behavior.  They got baths, hugs, kisses, and I even brushed their teeth.

Laundry is not done.  Three dog walks and they still pooped in the house.  The living room is a mess.  I have no idea what I have to wear tomorrow.  I know that I need to find the strength to smile and be fine and stuff away my pain.  So while I am able, I let it show.  I think, sometimes, of how certain friends say that it seems that I am doing well, that I am healing and I seem stronger.  I wonder if they think that as I reach each milestone, I should continue moving forward.  I see how cyclical this thing is called grief.  Intellectually, I have known for years that it was not a matter of moving through one stage and on to the next.  But I get it now, deeply.  My ears get it.  My knees get it.  I make it through a day.  That's wonderful.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring?  I am grateful I have certain places where I can let it out instead of bottling it up.  I am grateful that I have the personal strength to do both those things.

I also think of how confusing my feelings about the kids are- they are so very hard to keep up with and the frustration of the fighting and whining and constant messes...and they keep having to eat!  And they keep growing and needing new clothes and I can't even keep up with figuring out what they have currently that fits or doesn't fit, let alone getting it out of the house when it is finally too small...but I look for things to do, because of them.  Because of them, I find moments of joy, I remember to go outside, I have people to hug and kiss and I hear daily expressions of love...I think life would be a little bit easier and a whole lot more painful without them.  Although easy and painful seem to cancel each other out, so, there's that...

Yeah.  Finding a balance.  It's just that it seems that I find a sweet spot and spin well for a small bit, and then the platform I call my life knocks into the empty place, the decimated hole, and everything careens and crashes, dumps and tilts and skids with screeching metal edges...the new normal, perhaps, is that there is no true balancing when there is this much pain.  Like a juggler just learning to toss the balls, they stay in the air for random, unpredictable amounts of time, and then crash down on your head and scatter to the edges of the room.  The only difference is that I am not learning to juggle for entertainment.  I am learning to juggle for the lives of my kids and for what is left of mine...so, no matter how many times they drop, I suppose I will continue to crawl around picking them up and trying again....but right now, I want to go to bed early.  And I don't care that I didn't do laundry and that the house is still a mess.  Perhaps I should, but I don't.