One Month Plus In

I’m tired of mourning. This is work, and the more work I do, the more work I discover has to be done. I had to go back to work full time because I can’t afford to stay on bereavement even though I could really use the time to sort his affairs.

But that is loss and isolation in the plague. No one has time, no one has ability, no one has resources.

I’m tired of being reminded of the loss. I don’t want to be stopped in the hallway to tell strangers how I feel, or remind people that I’m okay, or explain what happened. I don’t want to keep being told how awful people feel for me. I don’t want to feel compelled to hide the inner workings of my relationship from people I wouldn’t otherwise confide in.

If you really want to help me one month into bereavement and you say you’re here for me, put on a mask and come over and help me sort out his shit and carry stuff to the dumpster or take these boxes to UPS for me. We both know full well you can’t though. I bet it would be a lot easier to help me clean out a closet than listen to my latest bout of cognitive dissonance over my relationship with Rick.

Because I know that I look sad and lost, but that’s just Pisces Rising, but Aries Moon is taking over. What I really need now is to tackle the practical things because there’s no time to do this all by myself and keep my sanity, and social distancing is forcing me to do this all by myself. So, sanity goes on a shelf, mental health goes on a shelf. I teleconference with my therapist once a week.

It is daunting how much work there is to do in two months. As it is, I have his former clients and attorneys he worked with asking me questions about his cases that I couldn’t possibly answer without spending at least a week going through everything, and none of this is my responsibility, and I don’t have time for it. I want to just throw my phone away, shred this shit and play dumb.

And at this point, all that is left to talk about now with people who I don’t confide in are the things that I want to keep private, the complex and dark and secret side of a relationship that should remain dark, complex, and secret.

I know people are trying to reach out the best they can, and if they could, they would roll up their sleeves and come here and help me out the way I need help.

A friend reminded me today that there are lessons to be learned through experience, whether or not you liked that experience.

And maybe this isn’t the forum to write about any of this stuff. I generally wanted to keep this blog about astrology, and specifically to discuss topics that maybe no one else is writing about (???). And maybe write about some other things. I really didn’t want to create a confessional blog.

But the sleep deprivation is catching up with me.

It’s been five weeks since Rick died. It’s strange that time can keep marching on like that, and not so much that the natural world doesn’t care about us, but that it doesn’t know us, that none of us have it’s attention enough to make it stop and take notice.

I really should just go get his ashes and death certificate. My goal is to get enough sleep this week for the long drive.

Today I sold some more things that were distinct to him at take-it-all-away prices. Like, I could have made more money but then I run the risk of having the stuff here and everything appearing so much the same that I’m not motivated to embrace the change, to break the arrow and push it through.

And I took down his Facebook page.

And I took down his website.

And I have been told to be kind to myself.

And I have been told that I will find someone else.

I put in contact lenses for the first time in two months. It feels weird.

I listen to a lot of music now. Most active entertainment, other than reading and writing, bores me.

But there isn’t all the time in the world to distract myself. As it is, I think I have had my fill of comedy and I can just stop watching stand-up for the next two or three years. It got to a point where instead of being entertained, I was listening for the formula for the jokes, the way I would watch Law & Order and just naturally start looking for the perp as soon as the opening started instead of allowing the story to unfold. At least with stand up, the personas are more nuanced than pretty much any character at all on any Law & Order episode.

But we don’t watch Law & Order for a character study.

We watch Law & Order to determine what neighborhood they’re actually filming in, if you’ve been there, and if you recognize any of the places that you couldn’t walk through because they were filming, and you tried to gauge just how serious that production assistant was on keeping you from walking in the shot.

When they were filming Fargo here in Chicago, I was filled with so much ambivalence it was nearly sexual.

And due to COVID, I have to wait for the fourth season indefinitely, and when it does come on, it’s going to be something I watch alone.

I did a normal thing today: I finished the last season of Better Call Saul alone.

Every day, one new thing in a step toward accepting the fact that I am single, a singleton, independent and no longer thinking and acting for “we” or reacting for “us,” anymore.

Yesterday, I had a long Facetime talk with one of my oldest friends. In fact, I think she is the person I have been friends with/have known the longest in my life that I am still in contact with. She and I went to Holy Family Church together, and we were I think 3 and 4 when we would have met. I don’t actually remember meeting her; she’s one of those people who have always been a fixture of my mind’s landscape like that. We were in the same crowd through high school and our early twenties as college and adventures allow. We’re in our 40s now. She is married with two children, and the oldest is almost 12. Somewhere in my home I still have the parts to a baby sweater I began knitting for that child. And it was great to hear from her and catch up. It’s also great to speak to someone who has known me through various incarnations and shares a common shorthand and psychological map of the landscapes and geopolitical boundaries we grew up with.

*

This is the oldest I have ever been. This seems like an incredibly obvious, and perhaps stupidly obvious, thing to say, but it’s true. I am only as old as I am right now, no older, no younger.

There’s no telling right now how old I could get, but I am much more aware of my body now, it’s limitations, and the way it is changing. I don’t want to get old because I don’t feel like I’m done with being young, but I am also aware that this is the only body I get, the only vehicle for a mind that is always changing and evolving.

And I need to take better care of this body, not even so much for vanity, but to not lose any opportunity to change and evolve, because I’m 40 and I’ve finally lost the baby fat from my face, because I have a lot of things I want to do that don’t require me to look like plastic but do require me to be alive and well to make them happen, and I want to do things like go scrambling up rocks in a state park, with my sweat in my eyes, dirt in my nails, and the sun bringing forth golden freckles on pretty much any part of my skin it sees,

What I would do, if I could do it, is some sort of initiation into a new world. If there were a gold rush, or a strange and mysterious new country to move to permanently, or if there were some way to be initiated into some other thrive-or-die experience, I would do it. I suppose I could find it. I suppose I could wrap up my life, voluntarily suspend my license, and hit the road with a renewed sense of adventure.

I was assigned to read “Angels in America” by Tony Kushner three times for three different classes in college. I don’t regret being an English major, but I do regret not taking more creative writing classes and focusing on that, because I think I would have enjoyed it more. Maybe I should have majored in American studies instead of minoring it; maybe I should have had a dual major. And then go back for my MFA in something. Or I should have become an architect instead.

I really liked college, the academic part. I really hated law school. I would never do that again. And I don’t think they’d have me back either.

But sometimes I look back on college I think that, even though I took a hiatus and graduated four years after my peers, I still wasted it because I was too young to actually appreciate what I was doing.

But I read Angels in America three times, and I have never seen it live nor have I seen the miniseries. But I remembered the opening eulogy:

What has stayed with me since the first time I read the play is that such great journeys, such as the migration from the Old World to the New, simply do not exist anymore. These kinds of initiations into completely new lives don’t exist on this scale anymore.

I was very into genealogy, particularly my American genealogy, for quite a few years. I had to stop during law school and then after because for me, this was more addicting than Harry Potter books, the Sims, Game of Thrones. I spent many late nights reading census rolls, narratives, newspapers, and family stories. I have searched for myself in old photos, in the faces of relatives and ancestors. I have uncovered skeletons, and I have spent many days straining my eyes at Old Fulton New York Post Cards.

To go through a permanent migration is the story for most Americans, and for many, that migration was voluntary. Even if it were voluntary, it wasn’t necessarily the happiest of decisions.

And yet, here we are, living, breathing, creating, breeding, loving, dying.

It’s a big world out there again.

And sometimes, I still lay in bed awake at night and wonder who I am and if I can do this, and if time is moving on, where is it taking me, and why is this all so much deja vu?

And I have a feeling my take on death isn’t quite like everyone else’s.

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