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I am suffering from the opposite of resolution remorse. I made no resolutions this year; enough things have changed in my life over the last year to last for years to come. So I was feeling absolutely no guilt about starting 2014 with a blank page, of not even spending time at the turn of the year thinking of all the things I should be trying to do to improve myself. "Fuck it!" I said, and spent New Year's eve blissfully solo, eating lobster and watching 'Jeeves and Wooster'. This morning I awoke thinking of you, 100 words. Damn you!!
Only two days of ecstatic relaxation of the mind before tormenting myself again. With all the leaps and bounds my psyche and soma took in 2013, I thought I would have a free ride, not have to think of how I didn't measure up last year, and how I should do better this year. Now here I am writing 100 words because I awoke this morning remembering my old friend and realizing that I had been blabbering in my head for months about how I had abandoned you. I apologize that the death of my husband rendered me temporarily speechless.
So, now that I have gotten all the apologies and explanations out of the way, I guess I can move on to what is happening next. Except that I have no idea. So that is why I repeat the same words over and over like a scribulous stutter. Yes, I just made that word up. What now?
I started out 2013 with a very close visit from a bald eagle. Be strong, he said. And then I lost two of the most important people in my life. This year, Jan 1st,a visit from two bald eagles. God help me.
So, today was an animal visitation day of phenomenal proportions. First I packed all my dogs into the car with the plan of taking them down to Southlands for a long walk along the river, and then leave them in the car, while I take one of the horses for a leisurely stroll. Lovely. Not only that though, when I was walking the dogs, I felt the urge to look up towards the blazing blue sky, and there were three eagles circling way up above my head. Another few steps, and something small buzzed by my face...to be continued
...a blur of wings and fluorescent green, a hummingbird hovering about 10 inches from my nose. We looked at each other for what must have been 5 seconds….eons for a hummingbird, before it disappeared.Looking up to the sky again, I saw 5 more eagles circling above my head, slowly moving to join the 3 others. In awe I watched them get smaller and smaller as they flew higher and farther, always circling. After a few more steps, I heard a strange rhythmic noise, a bird slightly smaller than an eagle flew past, a few feet from my head...
It never fails. think I am coming along so well, keeping up, then suddenly I forget for what seems like a day or two. But when I come back, I find I am 6 days behind. And I feel like I have nothing to say. Impossible, of course, but I just don't really know where to start. There is so much going on that it is almost too difficult to know where to start. But maybe that is my problem, I believe that I have to start at the beginning. But what is the beginning and what is the ending?
It's raining ridiculously hard right now. It's coming straight at the window. God, I have resorted to talking about the weather. I have become my mother-in-law. I have nothing to say so I resort to the weather. Not only that, but whatever the weather, she was never happy. It used to drive my husband crazy, that all she could do was talk about how cold it was or it was too hot. Everything was a bloody complaint. People used to say, oh she's old, give her a break. But it isn't that, it's just that she's really boring.
I have been away from work for seven months now. I can't believe it. Since my husband died. Well, since he got really sick. It seems like it happened yesterday, but at the same time it seems that it has been so long since I saw him. It's strange that I can imagine a picture of him in my head, but it's sort of staticy, like bad TV reception. It feels hard to visualize him, yet I can feel his presence much more clearly. Or maybe I should say I can feel his absence. His presence filled the whole room.
About a month before my husband died, I met an amazing woman who re-introduced me to horses. She was my physio, but out of the blue one day she asked me if I liked horses. It turned out that she had two horses in Southlands, and she invited me to come and see them anytime I wanted. My husband was in the hospital at this time, gravely ill. I felt so guilty about going, but I think I knew that I had to. I had very little else to distract me from the tragedy that was unfolding around me.
It has been the hardest lesson for me to learn in my life. You can't save another person. It's obvious really. Sounds trite when you say it like that, but there are many of us that walk this earth thinking or hoping that we can. Believing that we can. My husband and I were two of those people. Convinced that we could help the other person. Fix them, save them. With love and sheer will, you could ease their pain, kill the demons they were running from. We tried. We believed that we were doing the best that we could.
I felt so compelled to write when I was sitting by the ocean in the van with my dogs. For some reason that environment always makes me feel “how can I possibly not be a writer amongst all this beauty”, but then I invariably go home and find excuses, distractions, because I am afraid to disappoint myself. I am afraid to be disillusioned about anybody, particularly myself. I had a realization on the way to the stables this morning that I am not a person to jump in with both feet, not worrying whether the water is scalding or freezing.
I am working on writing in my journal, my daily writing, and then stealing bits of it, 100 word chunks, to fill up my January batch. The irony of it is that I think somehow I’m getting away with something, but it is the old ‘you’re only cheating yourself scenario’. So am I really just a lazy ass? Yes.
I want to do so many things, and right now I am, I am doing all sorts of things that I have always wanted to do. But sometimes I wake up in the morning wishing I could just be.
Sometime I would like to win a writing contest. That’s not too much to ask is it?? Just one. Well, no, that wouldn’t work, because if I didn’t win the next one, then I would wonder what happened. I would be depressed because I would think why did I win the last one and not this one. I should just give up any focus on winning, approval. I’m going to have to live off my own meagre self-praise, cause I’m not getting it anywhere else.
O.K., come on, just give me one. Please?
I am doing a writing workshop over the phone with a woman I have never met. It is a strange way to have a relationship which requires deep trust. And yet we enter into these things now without even really thinking about it. One of my best friends is a woman I met in an online writing class I was taking at Writer’s studio NY. I am trying to avoid saying that it is like we have known each other all of our lives…but it is. I love her, but I have never seen her face to face.
The truth is I’m supposed to be writing something deep and meaningful about my life. Ha. No wonder I can’t manage to cough out a few decent words in that direction. So much to live up to. Why can’t I just look at it in a manageable way? Why do I always try to bite off a huge chunk instead of just nibbling away gently, slowly. I think the people around me are conspiring to help me with this affliction. They keep using the expression “baby steps”. I ain't no baby, but I think I get it.
To be grieving is to be always wary of the unexpected. You never know how exactly how it is going to play out. I hate it when they say that the first close person that you lose is the hardest…implication being if you lost enough of them, it would become easy?? My husband and I used to have a saying that fit so many situations, this one particularly. It is “it doesn’t get easier, it just gets more familiar". Once you have lost one person, you have the experience of the general shape of the landscape of grief.
Just because you think you know the general landscape doesn’t mean that as you walk the path, you don’t have to be wary of the uneven ground, or the occasional fallen tree. Sometimes you get too comfortable, too familiar, and suddenly find you have stepped into a hole and turned your ankle. You panic, you’re alone, it’s quiet, this place that you thought you had come to know suddenly looks dangerous and unfamiliar, and your calls echo through the tress but there is nobody to hear them. You begin to shiver as the darkness settles in.
Jesus, I've done it again. I was doing so well for the beginning of the month, the year, turning over a new leaf and upholding my resolutions and all that. But then life got in the way again, as it does. I got tired and busy and grumpy and thinking there was really no point in writing all this stuff that I write in 100 words because it's all shite and nobody reads it anyway. But then I remembered that I didn't start this thing to impress people or even with the idea in mind that somebody might read it.
There are times when I actually feel quite eloquent. Unfortunately it is rarely when I am actually speaking or writing something. It is usually when I am conjuring some unlikely scenario in my head, and the words that come are really quite brilliant. So much so, in fact, that I cannot actually believe that they come from me. I firmly believe that when this happens we are tapping into something that is beyond our everyday thought and experience. My husband had this experience of feeling positively erudite when he was in that strange reality that hovers between life and death.
I almost forgot about the hummingbird. I had spent nearly all the day re-arranging the furniture, and cleaning and trying to make decisions about getting rid of things, and it was weighing heavily on me. I knew that I was going to have to deal with moving my husband’s hand trike out of the strata storage room, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready. Then I talked to our friend at Pacific Assistance Dog Society and he said he could take the trike and his wheelchair. It made it feel so much easier to let go.
After doing all this I was feeling a little unsure. It sounds totally irrational but the attachment to things that belonged to somebody who has died really do take on some of the spirit of the person. We cling onto every physical thing that is related to them because somehow it feels like you are forgetting them, or getting rid of them. Also, I realized that I was holding onto certain things because there is a part of my mind that thinks “he may need this when he comes back”. And then the beautiful hummingbird flew up close. Joy. Love.
I am amazed at how my life has changed in the last few years in relation to animals. I was always the one in my family who loved animals. I was always sneaking them into the house: gerbils, hamsters, kittens, frogs. But my parents were not that fond. But now I have cats and dogs and horses and eagles and hawks and geese and blue herons and mallard ducks, and on and on. I enjoy them so much. I can spend a day without humans. But I feel an ache in my heart if I have a day without animals.
I don’t know why, but I feel like a blank page right now. Actually I think I always feel like that when I get down to sit in front of the actual blank page. My brain teems with activity all day and night long. Until I sit down in front of this page, and then suddenly it feels insecure, like suddenly it is on stage and has to perform, then all that brilliance and attitude and bravado that it yaks away with disappears. Just a frightened, mute child again. Unsure, stupid, afraid. Boring. Same old story. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Really, with my life the way it is right now, the last thing I should be feeling is boring and blank. There is so much going on, so much coming up in the next few months, so much that has happened in the last few years. Yet somehow when I am presented with the opportunity to actually work through it, to divulge the goings on, I clam up. Apparently I prefer to rabbit on and on with the same old stories, looping around and around with no conclusion, no resolution. Just revolutions. I just like to hear the continuous whirring.
My favourite way of avoiding the issue is to talk about how I avoid the issue. This is how I have managed to avoid actually writing anything that could be considered worthwhile. I just talk about it, and talk about it, and read about writer’s block, and do exercises on releasing writer’s block. And then I go back to being blocked. I am beginning to think that I am just lazy. And even this I am pretty sure I have said before. One of these days I will come up with something original. Probably on my death bed.
What will I realize on my death bed. Who really gives a fuck what you have to say or how you say it? What was all that fear about that is apparently the culprit to blame behind all my problems with writer’s block? What does fear matter now? Here I am sitting on my death bed, a few moments left to live and what am I going to say? What the hell was I so afraid of? How many times do I have to hear this deathbed story until it finally sinks in? What is the worst case scenario?
It has not escaped my observation that whatever I write these days is filled with questions. I don’t seem to pontificate as much as I used to. I don’t sound so sure of things. Maybe I am afraid to. It seems that once you become sure of something, all the powers of the universe get together to bash you over the head with situations that prove that in fact there is not a lot in life that you can be sure of. If this makes me sound jaded, this is not my intention. It is actually a relief.
Today was absolutely magical. I went to Epona Rise to talk to Hillary who is running the FEEL program at her farm. I was unsure of going, kind of nervous. I am finding that I kind of have that feeling about everything these days. Everything I am doing is new and I kind of have a low level of anxiety about all of it. I almost thought of cancelling, I don’t even know why. I was thinking stupid things like “what are we going to talk about?” I was there for 2 hours and the time literally flew by.
On the drive out, I had a minor panic along Deltaport way. Everything just starts looking unfamiliar, almost like a post-apocalyptic landscape, and that is when the panic starts. But then I noticed I was being followed by eagles and a hawk and a crane, and they were showing me the way. It was like they were guiding me saying, it is OK, this is the right thing for you, don’t back out, don’t be scared. When I got there, it was such a cool place. So old and a bit run down, and not all perfect.
And the horses, 6 of them, are living as a herd. So perfect. We went inside, the inside of the house was as I imagined, and we talked for hours. She gets all the bullshit of the business, doesn’t care about any of it. She even swears which is so great! She is very down to earth and doesn’t think she is the greatest thing since sliced bread and that she knows everything. And knows that this program is not going to be the be all and the end all. It’s a step, it’s a foundation.
When I was leaving, she said she was going to email Wendy because I should be in the program. She said that Wendy would take it to the pipe! She does shamanic stuff. So cool. So I left there with the most amazing sense of calm. I felt like my whole chest and belly were relaxed and spacious. Eagles flew with me all the way home.
The next day I got an email from Wendy. She went to the pipe, and "they were favourable". How fitting this should happen the first day of the year of the horse!
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