“If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.”Ivan Turgenev
From their white, pink-and purple-lined blossoms, to its sweet perfume, I never met a Magnolia tree I didn’t like.
Because she was a child once too.
Milestones are ours to make, define, and delineate which are meaningful and meaningless. Mystery riddles most milestones, many of which we never unearth.
The truth is, the finish line snuck up on me. November 1 seems like yesterday. I woke up like any other morning, but it wasn’t. I made commitments. And I’ve made good on them, some I even doubled down.
I’m grateful to Kim Foxx for her brunch story and the louses who helped me realize that when you accept things that you neither want or order, your desserts are justly deserved.
No, it wasn’t the ending that was caused my grief, it was the beginning that I mourned.
Once we got situated, it took about 20 minutes. I worked it out and brushed her hair until all of its caramel-color shined through, her long locks were as smooth as my satin bedspread.
Melancholy. Numb. Ambivalent. Nothing good in those words. On most days I can flip those words inside out and find a bright side or silver lining, but today it’s just not there. Last Tuesday my friend had a bad day. She woke up angry. She could not put her finger on it. She thought maybe she was letting too many people manager her time. She went to read her usual pick me ups. She tried to journal. Nothing worked. I told her she was having an “I’m so bitchy I can’t stand myself” kind of day.
I don’t remember the last kiss, hug, embrace, or touch. I wish I could remember just one. Because at his best he was the most sincere, and caring man. He loved me. I loved him. We had plans. Until we didn’t. One day we stopped planning. Life took its course. Throwing curveballs. Job losses. Foreclosure. Ends upon ends. Until our marriage halted.
I smiled. We all smiled. The other three agreed. In unison, oh yeh, he was my favorite, too. They went on and on, and I told the story of my regret, and how I just found pictures and a letter of and from him, and yes, I admitted I had thought of him, both recently, and often.
Just like in Improv, it’s not always easy to roll with the line, though. But it’s better than killing the scene. In life, when we accept what’s put in front of us, the outcome, at least in my experience is healthier. Acceptance sure works better than Pepcid, TUMS, and Zantac. It’s cheaper, too. Denial had me drinking alongside the alcoholic, ignoring the problems, and in a constant state of resentment. It sucks to be perpetually disappointed. Saying goodbye to denial is a great relief to the mind and liver, too.
WHEN A MARRIAGE FAILS
Out of the mud the bluest flowers
open in the sun
without anger or regret; neither more or less than what it is,
alive again and free.
Yesterday morning I spoke with my sister and shared my blues about being alone Christmas Day. Bridget will be with her father today, and I am not making Christmas dinner, which we’ve always shared with my parents. I was dreading being alone. In spite of my little pep talk, about subtracting “no” and “can’t” from my vocabulary, I was falling right into the trap I desperately wanted to avoid: Self-pity.
My favorite story which makes me believe in fate is from January 1942 at St. Bernard’s Hospital. Patricia Craven and Dorothy Burns shared a room in the maternity ward. Patricia gave birth to Pasty, and Dorothy gave birth to Marie. The mothers would meet again 27 years later when Patricia’s son, Jerry, married Marie.
I visited my surgeon’s office the next day, where I gladly assumed rabbit pose to make the hernia appear. My surgeon felt it. We scheduled surgery. I’m hopeful that tomorrow’s surgery will prevent last Tuesday’s pain from happening ever again.
Loss is manifested in an array of endings. I compared the end of my marriage in my 20s to death. In fact, I believed my reality was worse than death. Instead of asking God in the event of death, “Why did you take him from me,” I asked, “Why couldn’t he love me, and why wasn’t I enough?”
Much like Maya Angelou, I never met a day like today. The day had not begun when I walked to the garage. I entered a yard of darkness. The sky above was so clear and black with its stars so sharp and plentiful that it appeared to be randomly pierced by a dart that invited narrow streams of light to emerge, all of which were superseded by the size and splendor of the sensational half-moon, whose white light just bathed me as I walked out to the garage. I stood in awe of its beauty. I stood grateful for the moment and the presence of mind to welcome yesterday’s ending and today’s beginning.
There are these moments in our lives when a person comes into it, presented like a perfectly wrapped present, with a tag reading, “Enjoy this gift. Love, God.” And that is what Maggie was, and remains. A constant source of laughter, love, and friendship.