Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thankful

Sorry for the long delay between postings. I have no compelling excuse other than to say I have been getting wrapped up in the mundane little pleasures of life and have decided to enjoy them rather than sit down and “put pen to paper” if you know what I mean.

Perhaps it is the time leading up to Thanksgiving that makes me think about what I am grateful for, because I have been pondering those things lately. Perhaps it is also the events of the past six months that sharpens the contrast of what I see around me on a daily basis. And perhaps it is this new person with which I share my life via the internet and the telephone lines.

It’s not that all is peaches and cream. I struggle daily in this new role as a single parent to two teenagers. I constantly hold myself up to the standards set by my late wife and consistently fall short. This is not healthy, but I am not sure how to change it from shear will power. I trust that over time, as my confidence grows and I find new skills, or awaken long dormant ones, I will not feel the need to “be” C, but rather to be myself, warts and all.

Part of this conundrum is that I am not the only one judging my performance as a parent. There are C’s sisters, her friends, my children, all of whom miss her terribly. I think that grief and sadness builds up in people like static electricity and when there is a sufficient charge and a path to ground, that energy leaps out, burning both the giver and the recipient. I have felt that burn from both ends over the past few months.

But, be that as it may, things are getting better I think. I “feel” better, stronger. Laughing comes a little easier and is a welcome thing. My children continue to do well in school and seem relatively well adjusted. I do worry though. I can’t believe they can go through the loss they have without some significant emotional scarring. When that will make itself known is a cipher to me now, but I watch and try to be sensitive to their moods and seasons.

My emotions are pretty close to the surface now. The death of my wife, the rift with her sisters, the appearance of a woman to whom I am drawn – all pull on my emotions like tidal forces on a planet with multiple, orbiting moons. And, adding to all of that, my parents are nearing the end of their time on this earth in a city two hours away from me.

My father, who throughout my lifetime has been a huge, strong, silent figure - loved and admired by those who lived and worked with him – is now reduced to a hunched over old man with teeth that sleep in a glass next to the bed, incontinent, and slipping into dementia.

My mother, who 12 months ago was the one we all feared was succumbing to Alzheimer’s rallied gallantly to pick up the pieces that were dropping one-by-one from my father’s helpless fingers. Trying to care for him in his increasing need has taken a physical toll on her however. Now, they exist in their home by grace, refusing to leave for the greater comfort and care offered by a senior’s facility. They prefer each others company in the familiar surroundings of their home.

My brothers, sisters, and in-laws who live in the same city have shouldered almost all of the extra duties that this situation presents. They have arranged for financial oversight, for cleaning help, and now, daily health aides to come in to assist with the day to day tasks that need doing. We all worry and wonder what the next day will bring.

So, with all of this swirling around me, I think about Thanksgiving and family gatherings, where at least one chair, perhaps more, will be empty. There will be tears shed and toasts raised. It will be an even greater emotional time for me than I experience every day now.

But I am thankful. I am thankful that I can feel them at all. I am thankful that I have family that I can gather with and share some of this. I am thankful that even though I am glad I don’t have to live with all of them, that we still gather periodically to share that indefinable thing called “family.” There are so many others out there who cannot do that.

I am thankful that my last chemo treatment appears to have worked. The disease is not gone. It is not exorcised by these medical onslaughts, but it is beaten back. It will return at some unforeseeable point, and when it does, we will try to beat it back again. For now though, I am grateful that I can go about my life looking, and feeling like a healthy person.

I am thankful that someone appeared in my life when I least expected it and most needed it. I am thankful that we have what we have even while we desire more. I am thankful that I am still able to feel this kind of emotion after the death of a woman I loved for more that twenty years carved a large hole in the center of my chest. That absence will never be gone completely, but as a wound, it will heal to some degree, until it is a scar that only I can see or feel. I am thankful for the healing that is going on.

I am also thankful for the opportunity to express these feelings and to put them up on this imaginary bulletin board with an imaginary thumb tack. And, I am thankful for you, dear reader, who takes the time to share this little bit of my life with me. I am thankful for all of you who have left me a comment or a word in some other form, who have become special friends who meet around a virtual water cooler to share these bits and pieces of our lives. You are important to me.

I will try to post more often, but I find myself getting sidetracked by some of these little pleasures.

Take care.

4 Comments:

Blogger Sister Spikey Mace of Desirable Mindfulness said...

You know, I worried, for a moment or two...wonder how he's doing? But in my bones, I though--nah, he's just enjoying and too busy to blog. Glad to hear that was the case.

You are inspiring to me, you know. I watch you going on, and believe that I can, too. And for your example I am grateful. Thank you.

11:51 AM, November 11, 2006  
Blogger lime said...

i am thankful that i somehow stumbled across the note you tacked up on the bulentin board.

i am thankful for how open you've been as you've eloquently detailed the scenes in your life.

i am thankful for the welcome and for the visits at my own bulletin board.

i am sooo thankful for the good medical news and pray with utter fervency that the disease is beaten back long enough for science to make the advance that allows the monster to be destroyed entirely.

I'm thankful for any truly good thing that comes your way.

i'm deeply thankful for the words of support you've offered when i have needed them.

i'm thankful that through whatever extraordinary combination of events our virtual worlds could intersect.

9:39 PM, November 11, 2006  
Blogger Cheesy said...

'I think that grief and sadness builds up in people like static electricity'
&
'carved a large hole in the center of my chest'

Your words are words of my heart.. I adore the way you express your thoughts...

And as for that gaping hole?? It takes time to fill it... but it is possible... at least partially... there will always be room for your memories and they should be cherished!

ty for posting P~~ I too was concerned... please ... even if its just a shout of HEY IM HERE! please check in from time to time?

12:19 AM, November 12, 2006  
Blogger Tiffanie said...

Thankful that you posted and let us know what is going on.

Imaginary or not, it's like we have imaginary heart strings going out to those who we have read their stories and we become curious, wondering how they are doing.

8:53 AM, November 13, 2006  

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