I began this blog a few weeks ago and then life interrupted. I originally wrote it in the first week of 2022. Then my life surprisingly drifted into a struggle with endings and beginnings. After PQ passed, and I was alone in this house, I hoped to get time to sort out my new situation. But instead, a tsunami of unexpected legal and financial problems crashed through the front door. There would be no gentle treatment by sympathetic angels. Looking back to my first weeks as a widow, I can appreciate how I survived it and learned to do things I hadn’t done for years or ever.
|Two Year's Ago|
A New Year is a mystery written in indelible ink that only becomes readable in hindsight. I feel that this New Year is just another chance to take on the big dragon lurking in the shadows cast by the previous year, and possibly the one before that.
I would like to say phew! Glad 2021 is over, but I don’t think anything about it is over, we just replaced the number twenty-one with twenty-two and hoped someone, maybe God, would interfere and create a brilliant new script that would lead us a to a happy ending.
I’m starting this New Year with a new circumstance. The personal review of history commonly kicked off by the year’s transition to a higher number, this time initiated a grand review of my entire past including times, places and interests that were in storage so long that I forgot they ever existed. I’m stunned by a tsunami wave of these old identities and how intensely I grieve over them like lost jewels
Just a year ago, I was living as if my pleasant daily routine with PQ would last indefinitely? We gradually let go of once treasured hopes and plans that would require too much money, energy, and future and yet our daily routines were rich with love and simple pleasures. We continued to hope, without saying it in so many words lest we break our fragile dream, that maybe we could step one more time on the red earth that carried the essence of our cherished memories. It wasn’t to be, yet we got pretty good at perfecting our recipe for lemonade.
I concede in hindsight that doors to unfulfilled plans had been closing one by one. The reality is that beautiful experiences move quickly through our mortal lives. They can be cherished but not restored, and we are not meant to stop the bus of time, no matter how fulfilling or defining the memories. We are the passengers, not the driver. But we can discover our soul’s truth by acknowledging what moved us deeply, what we will keep in our box of cherished valuables, and what we should repurpose.
Since PQ died, my world has been spinning sideways, and it seems that there are layers I never noticed before and gaps between the layers. Everything is different. I can’t watch TV anymore without seeing more behind the scenes than in view. The News is not news but propaganda, the music shows are loud as if volume can substitute for quality, and I’ve always hated game shows. Even the nature shows seem like the same contrived pattern over and over and I wish they would let the creatures tell their own story. Maybe it’s because I just don’t want to waste precious time being entertained with feel good distractions. So much pretension. The political scene is a continuous loop that bores deeper and deeper into the dark, and we have become the slaves of money rather than its benefactors.
I’ve learned getting old has some advantages, if you don’t spend your precious time trying to be the way you used to be and don’t take yourself too seriously. Everything around me has a new perspective. The colors are brighter, I see much of my environment in a different light, a sharper more revealing light. Even my nostalgia is not for the way things used to be but a desire to revisit old haunts with new eyes and catch up with what I’ve missed since last we met. What’s happening now?
The biggest and smallest concern has been a stray cat. He is a trickster happy to expose my weaknesses and pretentious belief that I have the power to create a happy ending. He’s been through some rough times and around the neighborhood for a while. He is set in his ways. I would like to take him in, but he wants to take ownership and leaves his signature on the furniture. I kept him indoors when his upper respiratory problem got worse, doctored him, and kept him in the garage with the heater on for two nights and then on the third night, he asked to go out when the snow was still deep, and it was freezing cold. I didn’t believe he meant it, so I opened the door. He trotted down the sidewalk (I had shoveled snow during the day) and disappeared. I was concerned he might freeze but also knew he was a survivor, and he’d made his choice. He didn’t show up for the next day and a half. Instead of failure, I felt enormous relief. However, he came back and now stays most of the day in a shelter I made for him on the front porch. I’m learning to accept my limited ability to make things okay.
Animals are among my canniest teachers. Shortly after Christmas, a robin appeared atop the Latia fence outside the living room window. It was the same bird on the same branch on which it appeared in March shortly before PQ became so sick. PQ loved birds and called it to my attention because we hadn’t seen a robin in our neighborhood before. It hung out at that spot for over a week and then left. This time it stayed just long enough to be seen and then flew away. Was it a message from PQ? He used to tell me that I had other things to do, and he wouldn’t be able to accompany me. I kept denying it, but he was right, as he often was. Stray cats and out-of-season birds come from a different world, that sideways world that reveals secrets not seen from the normal perspective.
One of my closest and longest friends is battling cancer and I’m among her team of caregivers. That along with the ongoing COVID19 pandemic tells me there is a still a long way to go before the night is over. Although the sun seems to be out of sight much of the time, we will get through another winter. Time eventually takes us all the way around a year, and the sun is rising on this New Year. However, there are many ways of experiencing changes, and the older I get, and as lines up behind me, the more unfamiliar and amazing they become and the less I know about reality.