November 1, 2017 – ‘Greener’ continued
Currently, it’s still early morning, overcast, damp, and in the near-freezing mid-30s. The morning light that fills this room now enhances the colors of darkened-oak Arts-and-Crafts-style furniture that is arranged to create conversations which rarely happen here. This is my favorite room to have a nap. I’m all tucked in on the medium-brown, tufted-fabric couch first delivered in Chicago 15 years ago with all of those throw pillows trimmed in fringed-welting: three line the back and two for each side. My pea-green, favorite wool blanket is like a Monarch’s cocoon around my legs now as I settle in to attempt some overdue writing, and I can hear the house furnace blowing heat, warming this room. It’s a background hum that fills my ears, only slightly drowning out my tinnitus that I’ve had my whole life. What’s having tinnitus like? It sounds like it’s always raining, at other times like bees, or the worst case is when the drone shifts in its tone to an out-of-tune whine and I just can’t ignore it. At times like that, it’s best to go outside, where sounds come from every direction to distract, sunlight can refocus my eyes, and the hearing of open space itself snaps me out of listening to sounds inside my head.
I drove my kids hurriedly to school first thing this morning. Last night was Halloween. 2017 was the first year neither of them went trick-or-treating and the second year that I did not hand out candy. Somehow we were all exhausted anyway getting up this morning, which seems to be our new usual. Now back home, I’m not yet ready to eat breakfast or even make coffee, and I will definitely not turn on the news. All I want to do is think right now. October had been a long, sad 31 days. The one-year anniversary of Jon’s death came at the beginning of the month. Then, I traveled to Costa Rica for over a week to take surfing lessons in search of a fresh start for my life. And now, I’m adjusting to being back as full-time mom and doing their school-week routine. Nothing changed in this house, everything is as I left it before my trip.
A lot happened while being basically in the jungle for seven days, some things expected and other things flat-out surprised me that occurred. Looking out into my backyard now at the wood’s edge, I surprisingly see it’s still mostly shades of emerald-green, but patches of golden-yellow leaves are popping through interrupted by greyish-brown, evenly-spaced tree trunks and their branches woven with dull-morning light. So as I my eyes find the patterns and attempt to make order of the outside view I see today, I’m thinking about the color green. ‘Green’ has blended with my inner thoughts about people, places, and things.
“The grass is always greener on the other side.”~Proverb
Is it? I’ve heard this so many times, or have used this saying myself in reply to someone wondering about an opposite circumstance being a better option, or fantasizing that a change in a current situation would be an improvement of the status quo. The “other side” is a tempting fix. It’s the brass ring to reach for with that damn word H-A-P-P-Y engraved on it. There are no absolute guarantees though of what’s exactly “on the other side,” just theories, and it’s the unknown and uncertainty that prevents most people from actually taking action to make changes to discover the “real” in an alternate reality. The creatures-of-habit-and-control out there ponder-and-weigh outcomes seemingly in analytical form before said-steps are taken: impressive. Good luck with all of that, especially to those who have this luxury in the first place to even “choose sides.” I think some may even conclude, if they go to the trouble of making the change and don’t like it, they’ll just go back to the former “original side.”
“Beggars can’t be choosers.”~Proverb
I’m shaking my head at this whole idea of having a “choice,” and I roll my eyes with the mere thought now. This reminds me of something I told my kids when they where little about candy received from trick-or-treating: “you get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.” Translation: Be polite, say thank you, and don’t ask for Snickers if given Dum-Dums. I raised a couple of “beggars.” If I were to follow and apply this to myself now, I would not miss Jon, I would just accept my existence as-is, I wouldn’t think I have any opinions to speak of, and I would not feel the need to write. Well, here I am writing because I miss Jon, I’m trying to figure out life, and in doing so I have many opinions. So, I guess I’m a “chooser” who is throwing a fit about my choices and all of my circumstances. I’m asking for Snickers, a whole bag-full actually. More eyeball rolling.
I’ve skipped back in my mind, returning to this notion of “the grass is always greener on the other side.” My hands have found their way clasped behind my head now, and as I squint my eyes, making the backyard scene blurry, I’m wondering: where is my “green” now on this other supposed side? Is My Reality of loss even a SIDE? You might be thinking, why can’t I just find my “green” now and shut-up about all this grief, Grief, GRIEF! The reality of Jon having died, my view of loss, is that it is NOT a side, IT JUST IS: it is the AFTER and damnit, there is no “green.” His out-of-order death and our resulting griefs are kinds of change that happened here, the only “certainty” of them being, that there’s no going back to the “before” because death is final and grief does not, in fact, end. Death, even though anticipated from his cancer, was still a shock to be put in this “after” of now hating to live without him, and repeatedly asking myself “why” he died when there are no acceptable answers that can be given. At this moment now, I’m questioning my own existence. I’m carrying grief that I’m constantly trying to describe and understand. Why am I stuck in a Spongebob musical-doodle play-loop of suffering and in a painful rewind of Groundhog Days? What I know, is that the death of my partner was a door that slammed in my face, and no matter how hard I pound my fists against that door now or try to jiggle the handle, it will never open and of course there is no key. It’s a never-ending nightmare of “it’s over, done, and gone” not “the other side.”
In my mind, my back is now leaning up against a sealed door of “before.” I’ve broken out in a prolific sweat that consumes the whole of my body. The hardest part now is standing upright, away from the door. This I now do, bending at the waist, my body reluctantly obeys to the weight I carry, falling forward. Space is now in between me and the door which bears dents and scratches from where I once was stuck. My back is dripping with the wet, and the air that touches it has sent chills into my spine that somehow signal and push me to step forward. I have forced myself to open my eyes, to look at what is, and is not, around me. Steps, very small ones, are being made, but my feet cramp up from my hesitancy and the cold. Pressing the balls of my feet deeper into the ground with each step, stretches out what is so tight. I am outside, surrounded by light that is so bright, yet dim, and sound lifts the fine hairs on my arms. The wind is whistling softly in my ears and has blown my matted hair to one side, but a few strands are caught across my face and have become tangled in my eyelashes. [Greener – Pt 03 continues this story.] ~Paula