Dana and I have a huge back yard. It is so lovely that I rarely want to come inside. Living in Portland, Oregon for so long has made me realize that the thing Houston has going for it is that I can be outside, most of the time in short sleeves, in October… so that’s what I do. I sit on the back porch, drink beer, and reflect on how lucky I am that when I said I wanted to rent a house, it turned out to be this one.
In this back yard, I sit and try to understand my grief. I watch birds, squirrels, bats, and toads… wondering if I sit here long enough, will the pain ever go away? My instinct is no. It will ebb and flow, but never disappear. She will never disappear. It is losing a parent, a sibling, a limb. It will be a lifetime of phantom pain. My saving grace is that every time it aches, it aches a little less than it did the day before.
But it still hurts every day.
Yesterday, a dragonfly landed on the arm of my patio chair, and I sat and talked with it, as if it could take my messages of love and care with it and land on your patio chair, too…
They’re messages of love and care that no one else wants me to send, because they know, looking from the outside, that I am only hurting myself because even if they showed up, they would go unanswered. To me, your reaction is not the point. I am saving myself one day at a time because if I can send you messages of love and care, I am not bothering to be angry anymore. I am not wasting this one “wild and precious life” by dealing in rage to which I am certainly entitled but do not care to entertain.
This space I have to write and reflect and hear others’ opinions is enough. People that comment rarely have any idea who I am, who you are, who we were to each other… as if even we know. I wonder what it feels like to look at us from the outside, wonder about the pain I’ve put Dana through and hope that I am not hurting her by letting her share in our stories. The cruel truth is that our stories hurt. Of course I’ve hurt Dana. Of course I have. You cannot listen to me tell them without seeing my vibrations of pain. I am enormously lucky that Dana agreed to take it on when she married me, and to this day listens even when I know that the story is getting repetitive.
Now I’m getting to the place where I wish I could tell myself to snap out of it. I want to be over it. I want to be out of it. I work hard every day to focus my attention away from my grief and it works but only so much. I have to force myself into distraction, because when I don’t, I end up like this. Sitting in the back yard on a beautiful day engrossed in how much I hurt instead of how much awe there is in the glistening piece of spider web next to me.
I have a stack of pickle salt envelopes in my car. I’ve meant to send them since July.