It's been an odd summer for me. Begun with such a visceral rampage of emotions, chasms so deep and dark, skies painted with the prism of fragile faith, paralyzing anguish and livid relief. I think, in a way, I overdosed on introspection. Facing some of my most unspoken fears forced an excavation of the soul; broken bits and lost bits and forgotten ones were found. In these moments, we discover much about ourselves. I curl in. Disengage. I'm not one to ask for help even on the best of days and this was so acutely displayed these last few months as to be painful to my friends and family. My sincerest apologies for this. Communication was impossible for me....hell, even the thoughts within my own skull were agony.
Recently I've watched in surprise as someone I know has gone through a similar season and yet, in complete juxtaposition of me, has publically announced every step of her journey; fears and hopes, updates and disappointments, all published via social media to hundreds, if not thousands, of people. I'm awed... amazed...terrified. That level of intimacy with so many is unthinkable for me. And yet a great deal of my life has been spent in a quest for intimacy; an attempt to fill a cavern so vast that held only shadows. Some might hazard this was a result of a rather isolated childhood and a family that I was never close to until ten years ago; but frankly the Why is so much less important than the Now. The Here is more relevant than the How. Forty years on this planet has taught me that one of our greatest mistakes is getting caught up, trapped within the Why and How, missing out on the gift of choice, forgiveness, and potential that is Now.
But it is true that my Now had a beginning. Everyone's does. In that quest for a soul mate I lunged toward the nearest hand offered--and thus the tragedy of my first marriage commenced. A man that would order me not to breathe on him, that didn't like touching. I was a fish thrashing about in a desiccated death valley of a relationship. Which brings me to the story of my second husband of six years now. His How is something that twists my soul every time I think of it. Oh, to be grateful for such heartache is a terrible thing...yet our Now is chiseled and sculpted by our Hows and Whys, is it not? This is his story, which has become my own.
Four and a half decades and our medicine has advanced in a miraculous way. But there was a day back then, when a young mother was told at eight and a half months pregnant, that her unborn baby had perished. There was no heartbeat to be found. She would have to carry the stillborn to term and endure labor while planning a funeral that included an eighteen inch coffin...she nearly shattered. Returning to the doctor, she insisted she could still feel movement and was assured this was merely a manifestation of her grief, and thus she wept and fragmented until the contractions began. Hours later a beautiful lifeless boy was born....and fifteen minutes after that, my husband Jason was also.
Can you imagine the sorrow and the joy of that moment? An excruciating combination that stained everyone in the room with the colors of despair and wonder. The world turned and life happened and Jason didn't discover he was a twin until he was fifteen years old. This suddenly explained his feelings of perpetual aloneness, an internal 'missing' that never ebbed, no matter the company. He dreamt, almost nightly, of sleeping wrapped around another. Entwined. His first marriage also, was full of echoes and emptiness.
And then we found each other.
I know few who sleep as we do; a knot of limbs, flesh against flesh, where one ends and the other begins unknowable. His face on my neck, my lips against his arm, our breathing syncs and we slumber. Intimacy beyond my understanding at times.
The grim tang of irony lingers in the back of my throat as I type this. My last post in March was laced with hope of a new season....and one arrived. Please forgive my silence these last months--some things require the curling in of the soul in order to survive.
At any rate, my missing months are here. You know the blog drill, scroll down to April's first post: "April Fools" and read backwards from there. Only ten posts. I feel as if I penned them in blood.
Another grey day. As if the sky has melted the clouds and become an ashen soup of slush and grit. The crystal flakes that drift about beyond the window have lost their glitter, the magic of the holidays buried beneath the leaden weight of frozen snow. It always seems that Winter becomes a petulant child this time of year, vacillating between tantrums and exhaustion, dragging his feet and clutching at the world with claws of fractured ice.
I dream of spring. I hear delicious whispers of warmth in the night and wake grumpily to the same arctic world I kissed goodnight the eve before. I want to nap. I want to sulk. I want to move south. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a climate without the radical seasonal changes of Pennsylvania. The pale green of spring that gives way to the lushness of summer that burns itself out in a rush of copper and ruby and gold before the ivory silence falls. The calendar flips, the clock ticks, and if you endure....hold your breath and pace and wait...another season is just weeks away. Trust me.
And such is life, really, isn't it? Some seasons gloriously grand....some barren. There are islands of paradise and deserts hellishly dry; monsoons and hurricanes and floods that threaten to drown. Fields of topaz that stretch as far as you can see. Days of darkness, days of bliss.
Sometimes you can anticipate the season ahead. Sometimes it slams you to the ground with enough force to crack your bones and knock the air from your lungs. Seasons of love, of despair, of passion or pain. Seasons of stagnation and ones of spectacular bloom. Some cause permanent scaring, some heal. Some strip you naked and bare.
Some teach you to fly.
2013 was one of the most difficult years of my life. There are more lines around my eyes now, more shadows in the periphery.
But it's nearly spring....can you feel it? As if the earth is stirring, the ground thirsty, poised on the brink of something new. I'm here, crossing my fingers, holding my breath, and hoping....
Here's to a new season, my friends. May yours be lovely indeed.