Milestones

I can now say with conviction that this day last year was worlds worse than today this year will be. Of course, there’s always the possibility that something worse than my husband dying could happen to me today, but it’s very very unlikely.

I’m back at work this Monday morning, and feeling kind of normal and blah. The weekend was very good, which was a surprise to me (given which weekend it was). I took Friday off, and spent all day with Katie and Ryan. We hiked Hidden Lakes in the morning, then got breakfast/lunch at Wendell Smith’s, then migrated to the Brewhouse and McKay’s after. It was a good day. On Sunday, I got up and hiked by myself at Beaman Park. It was wonderful. I’ve decided that solo hiking is one of the best things in the world.

The weekend was as full of distractions as I wanted it to be, but I also had plenty of time to think and reflect. I have no profound insights to offer from those times though – ha. Instead of my own insights, I thought I’d just share these two quotes.

I put this one on FB on Friday, but it’s just EXACTLY how this last year has felt. Actually, I’ll tack on a few extra lines, too.

Every day
I play in repertory the same
script without you, without love,
without audience except for Gus,
who waits attentive
for cues: a walk, a biscuit,
bedtime. The year of days
without you and your body swept by
as quick as an afternoon;
but each afternoon took a year.
(from “Letter After A Year” by Donald Hall)

While I’m at it, here’s another thing I keep meaning to share (but couldn’t remember where I’d read it until recently).

“The book also says that coping with difficult times is like being in a conical shell-shaped spiral and there is a point at each turn that is very painful and difficult. That is your particular problem or sore spot. When you are at the narrow, pointy end of the spiral you come back to that situation very often as the rotations are quite small. As you go around, you will go through the troubled time less and less frequently but still you must come back to it, so you shouldn’t feel when it happens that you are back to square one.” (From Bridget Jones’s Diary heh.)

trying to keep my head up

It’s a bad month. However, I’m feeling more in control of myself than I was on Tuesday, so that’s good. This passage from the Tao is giving me peace today.

The Master does his job
and then stops.
He understands that the universe
is forever out of control,
and that trying to dominate events
goes against the current of the Tao.
Because he believes in himself,
he doesn’t try to convince others.
Because he is content with himself,
he doesn’t need others’ approval.
Because he accepts himself,
the whole world accepts him.

Andy Griffith and Miscellaneous Musings

I really hate coming up with titles. I don’t try very hard at all….

Went to Knoxville this weekend for Andy Griffith Day, which was Saturday. It was a different AGD than usual – we were missing the 3 middle siblings and didn’t really do all that much that was Andy-related other than dinner and watching a few episodes. The t-shirts are pretty awesome though, and I had a good time. I spent the night at M&D’s (and the only other person who lives there now is Havah, which is pretty strange), then went to church the next morning, Panera for lunch, then back to Nashville. I got back into town mid-afternoon and finished sewing the strips of my duvet cover together, plus got some reading done. I still have to finish the edges of the duvet cover, and then sew buttons and button holes at the end.

Was reading the Tao yesterday and thought #30 is very interesting.

Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men
doesn’t try to force issues
or defeat enemies by force of arms.
For every force there is a counterforce.
Violence, even well intentioned,
always rebounds upon oneself.

The Master does his job
and then stops.
He understands that the universe
is forever out of control,
and that trying to dominate events
goes against the current of the Tao.
Because he believes in himself,
he doesn’t try to convince others.
Because he is content with himself,
he doesn’t need others’ approval.
Because he accepts himself,
the whole world accepts him.

I find the Tao so interesting….and a lot of it just makes so much sense to me. I don’t pretend to understand it all, of course, but nevertheless.

On a different topic, I splurged on a chair that I’ve wanted to have for approximately 2 years now. Katie was in town last week and helped me transport it. It looks SO GOOD in the library with all those books…….but guys, it kind of makes me lonely. I mean, dammit, so much does…but it makes me want to hang out in the library with Matt, reading books while he plays chess or the bass, or talking about the books we’ve read, or whatever. I miss him so much. I hate that I am learning to let go of him, because he’s still all that I want. It’s not easy for me to get that close to people, and Matt was my other half – talking to him was practically second nature. I miss it so much. This is why the Tao has been so great – because it knows that life is full of good and bad, and it tries to teach you how to handle both.

Anyway, here’s a picture of the chair. Isn’t it pretty?!

blog - chair

Monday again

I just wanted to say that I had a dream about Matt last night. The storyline, if you can call it that, is extremely fuzzy right now, but somehow Matt had been away for about as long as he’s been dead, but he’d been with some guy friends who I’d met but didn’t know (actually, Tim Barringer was one of them). I remember being SO overjoyed to see him finally, but that he was hesitant to let me get close to him.

It didn’t really end because my alarm went off, and it was such a striking dream that I couldn’t go back to sleep. So I checked Facebook instead and read this poem that Dawn had posted on Matt’s wall; that, coupled with the dream (and everything else really) had me on the bathroom floor crying at 7:15 this morning. This morning feels like Monday #4 – that’s how distant I feel from Matt’s death right now. I wanted to stay huddled in bed all morning, crying and sleeping.

But instead I’m at work, like always.

Days like today everything seems unimportant. What does it matter? Who cares — or anyway, why should I care?

I opened up to this today —

Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.

Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don’t realize the source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
disinterested, amused,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.
Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready.

Serenity. The only good thing is that Matt isn’t hurting.

a poem

Hope this isn’t obnoxious, but I really liked this poem.

Try to Praise the Mutilated World
(Adam Zagajewski)

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June’s long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You’ve seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

Another poem, sorry

I don’t have anything particular to write at the moment, but read this poem last night and really liked it.  It’s also from Without by Donald Hall.

Air Shatters in the Car’s Small Room

 

Distracting myself

on the recliner between

Jane’s hospital bed

and window, in this blue

room where we endure,

I set syllables

into prosy lines.

William Butler Yeats

denounced with passion

“the poetry of

passive suffering.”

Friends and strangers

write letters speaking

of courage or strength.

What else could we do

except what we do?

Should we weep lying

flat?  We do.  Sometimes,

driving the Honda

with its windows closed

in beginning autumn

from the low motel

to Jane’s bed, I scream

and keep on screaming.

Poem

On second thought, this is a stanza from the poem “Her Long Illness” by Donald Hall.  This one has resonated with me the most so far. 

 

     He hovered beside Jane’s bed,

solicitous: “What can I do?”

     It must have been unbearable

while she suffered her private hurts

     to see his worried face

looming above her, always anxious to do

     something when there was

exactly nothing to do.  Inside him,

     some four-year-old

understood that if he was good — thoughtful,

     considerate, beyond

reproach, perfect — she would not leave him.