My left trapezius appears to be made of driftwood today. The pain is remarkable, and it’s up into my neck and down into my back.
My self care has been interrupted by grief again, that process by which obscene, crushing sadness is simmered and nurtured into something useful. I think.
We’re a family in vigil again, and we’ve barely gotten used to the absence of Dad. This time it’s my Auntie. My Great Aunt, precisely. She’s on that road of uncertain truth that comes one day–toward what? Waiting.
Right now my numb, blank staring into the void, waiting for a speck of meaning or comfort to fall into my lap from somewhere, anywhere, is drawing that one look from my partner. It feels like the mortally constrained portion of my being, the one in the brain, muscle, and bone suit is simply asking, God, are you there? What do you have to say about this? What do you have for me today?
And it looks like staying up too late, in a state of general physical discomfort, weariness, and heaviness. Today, the second day, I’m feeling bruised and wooden and somehow still happy, too. Beneath it all I can feel my little candle. My spark. Intact.
I walked in the sun. I completed the various adulting tasks life demanded of me. I snuggled my children. I ate. I pet the dog for a good long while. I napped. I ate raspberries off the bushes in the yard. I’ll drink some water here in a minute. (Pauses to grab glass of water, so as not to be a hypocrite and/or liar. I grabbed my salad too, which was sitting idly in the kitchen until just now.)
Griefing, adulting, caring for myself and my family, in turns. Tonight I’ll sleep. I have to unplug. I read the world news, curled forward in that way of the stressed and weary, filtering through the crap in search of the truth. We’re a weary nation and we’re just fine. It’s horrible and we’re privileged to have our American abundance. Both are true at the same time, and it leaves a sticky coating of malaise over my heart.
I consumed the story of the Thai diver who died saving the football team, a whale trapped in fishing line, saved by a family who was out fishing, our President’s incessant, egregious behavior (sorry, too many to link), Elon Musk’s commitment to improving water for Flint residents, all before my dinner. The part of me that’s still bright is trying to drive the part of me that’s numb right into the tears, where I belong–not because of the dramas and turmoil of our time, but because of the losses my tribe is sustaining. Meanwhile, part of me is out gazing at the moon somewhere. Disarray. My partner is watching.
He said, “Eat. Turn that off.” 100% of the time, I respond with a re-assertion of my independence and freedom to do as I please in this life. This time, I said, “OK,” and turned it off. I took a deep breath. I sank into the comfort of this exchange of trust.
I rarely trust. I love wholly with all of my cells, but I rarely trust. I struggle to receive love. But I said, OK.
There’s a point when we must stop childish games and receive. We are strong, and we are vulnerable, and we must allow ourselves to feel loved. There are times when it’s too much.
Seventeen years into this relationship, with our anniversary coming up in a couple weeks, I can simply say, OK. That feels like a colossal victory, and yet so ordinary–simple, safe, and sweet.