Monday, June 27, 2011

Diving In

When you go in the ocean in Maine, you have a certain expectation: you expect to have a heart attack. I only made it in up to my knees yesterday. Today I'll try to do the brave, firm walk in and dive.

It's how I've been feeling about my whole life lately. My heart is full of loss and I'm not sure how much more I can take. I can't avoid it, though. I need to dive in, sit with it, invite it to dinner.

I've been trying to think of what my loss would look like if it were sitting across the table from me. An old woman or an angry toddler?

An old woman who shames me into accepting her into my life? Who sees my embedded need to respect my elders, and uses that to pry me away from the every day chaos I use to escape the painful feelings?

Or an angry toddler who demands my attention? Who knows I would never let a child cry or be unseen for any period of time. The helplessness of the small frame drawing me in, leaving me no choice but to hold it.

And in that room, would there be the cold air of loneliness swirling about, making it hard to focus on anything?

I don't know. I only know my heart can't take much more. The one thing I've learned about the ocean in Maine is, once you dive in? It's fine. The anticipation is far worse than the cold water.

It's time for me to dive in; my heart won't stop.

It can't.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Loss and More Loss

I know I've been absent for a while. End of the school year, 1000 different events to go to- a final goodbye to the elementary school we've been a part of for 11 years.

Loss. Big loss.

And something I haven't written about but am ready to now- my wife and I separated in February. She and I simply couldn't get to a place where we were happy. There was no hanky panky, or anything horrible. I don't know where we will end up- we've been together 20 years, and for now, being apart is the right thing.

Huge loss.

Yes, we share the kids. It's been incredibly hard on them. Slowly, we've all become accustomed to the routine. When I don't have them, I am incredibly lonely. I spent 15 years as a full time parent. Suddenly, I'm part time. I've lost my sense of stability. I can't seem to get grounded.

Without being grounded, it's hard for me to write. Without writing, I won't be grounded. Ah, catch-22.

I've been living in my sister's rented house. She left me a car, a fully furnished house and in the second to last conversation we had, she said to me, you need something to change. You never know what could happen.

Two weeks later, she was dead.

Her words have had a profound effect on me. It is up to me to make my life what I want it to be. To complain, to wait, is an insult to everyone who has died young, suddenly, without time to change what they needed to change.

It is time to unpack all of my life. To sit with all I've done. To hold each piece, closely. I've been doing it for months now, with my sister's things. Knick knacks, silly cards, my mother's ashtray from when we were growing up. Why she had that, I'll never understand, but I took the time to sit with it. To remember. Some things, I'll keep. Most, I won't.

I am, at heart, someone who likes to throw things away. Trash day is always a happy day for me. I realize now, in my life, I need to slow down. Consider. Hold. Remember. There has been so much loss in my life, and I have been completely overwhelmed. It would be easier to simply throw things away.

But I can't. I can't do that to my children. It won't make me happy.

Please forgive my long absence. I need to write.

Consider. Hold.

And mostly? Remember.