Yet again, it’s been silent here.
There have been technical glitches and La Vie Quotidienne with which we contend, often in the Desperate Dogpaddle Fashion
I eagerly await the springtime, the only pretty ringtime [thank you, Thomas Morley!] every year- only to realize that it has traditionally been a time of many losses and yahrzeits. I struggle with it, it makes me feel unerringly out of tune with the vernal splendor I anticipate with fervor. One feels like a fraud, a whistler-in-the-dark, an impostor. To this year, I add extra factors : the recent death [due to metastatic cancer] of my first husband, an exceptionally complex and sorrowful many months’ duration at my work of the terminally ill young, the rather imminent need for foot surgery [since way before Thanksgiving, really- but it is making its presence known more loudly these days], and the constant desire to learn What Lies Beneath. One of my family has been dealing with significant heartache. Another valiantly chips away at his thesis, his post-graduate interviews, his impending graduation.
There are compensations; aren’t there usually, somewhere ?
Our eldest has landed a position he wanted, on terra firma, old stomping ground.
For some inexplicable reason, a clinical narrative I wrote is being published in the next glossy periodical issue. [I write a narrative every year. I feel that there are so many others I've written that were more interesting, controversial, and pertinent, thought-provoking.] I find the irony mind-boggling; I’m not bitter, mind, just baffled. Why now ? After 40 years of being exactly the same person , possessed of the same character and values, suddenly what I have to say makes any difference ? The simple answer is No. It doesn’t. But it’s making my boss extremely happy, I suspect it makes the institution look good in some way. I , for one- am happy to see my boss excited and happy; that’s a good thing. The lady who came to take my photo [and anyone who knows me knows how much I hate being photographed] was a dear, a truly kind person- that was very nice. Not bureaucratic in the least, bless her. That was a gift in itself.
About the desire to understand What Lies Beneath : I’ve been trying to be the good forensic scientist, and have drastically reduced my medications [with the blessing of my sainted PCP] in order to see what is needed and what is not. This is never a pretty process, and requires a staunch resolve. It was my idea, and I’m sticking to it. So far, it has yielded profound fatigue, increased discomfort and joint pain, and a mild pneumonia [ resolving now, happily]. It could be worse.
And the remembrances ?
My beloved Aunt Sylvia, who now appears on my greying head every day, that mentor and sister-in-arms. How my children would have adored her ! And she, them.
Next, Popsie- he died 46 years ago, when I was 12. I loved him more than anyone else in my household, he [despite multiple heart attacks and atherosclerotic brain disease] was the adult to be most trusted, loved, adored. My mother’s father-Isaac Cohen- entrusted to my care. Every time someone fibs or is full of it, I hear his truthful voice in my ear.
Now comes my late first husband. We met in the MGH cafeteria in 1972, when we attended the last Florence Nightingale-founded school of nursing. I will leave out the details; they are not for print, but for the ear alone. We loved each other very much, but it was not a wise pairing- I left after the Blizzard of ’78, and he went on to settle in Seattle, marry a marvelous woman, the best ! He had daughters and grandchildren- but also bladder, kidney cancer. He had a long and happy marriage- and kept in contact with me all those years, up until a few weeks before his death. Let me be clear: Facebook is one lousy way to find out about death.
This Friday, Good Friday, it will be my father’s yahrzeit; he died a week before my 18th birthday of a sudden cardiac spasm, with no underlying pathology. Pure stress. He was a very strange man, severely Asperger-y, with one of the more pronounced cases of OCD I’ve ever seen [and I've seen lots of it]. His passing was very odd indeed, and I actually miss him the least of all. That’s not meant to be cruel : he was emotionally inaccessible and never realized how accomplished and good either my older brother or I was. We never felt that we mattered to him, I think.
Am I anhedonic ?
That’s a very pertinent question. Every conscious act is a struggle. I can do the bills, I can do the laundry, I can go to work, I can put on a good face. I’m a professional, after all. If I weren’t fed, I might not bother to eat; I’m not interested in being particularly social [that's not my usual, is it ?]. I cry a lot. I want to sleep. I’m unusually quiet.
When presented with food which someone else has prepared, it tastes good to me. Perfume smells good. Music feels like an auditory sacrament.
Right now, life is good- but it really, really hurts- and I am woefully sad and weary. I feel weak, spent, and heartsore.
I will find some way to make a seder. Passover has always been a great joy to me, but I’m having difficulty feeling it right now.
I’m not looking for pity. If I give voice to my innards, perhaps it will give strength to the many others who find themselves dogpaddling valiantly against the tides of emotion which distance them from those and that which they love…
All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
Ken yehi ratzon.