i’m dancing. my world is falling down around my feet and i’m dancing. it’s all so absurd. everything. pain anguish worry. everything hangs in the ether simultaneously there/not there Schrodinger’s cat. more Shadow than flesh. lean in, i hear. lean in. embrace every joy. discard everything else. but most of all, discover the joy in everything.
Two days later, at the show, I took the name The Salty Widow. I was having a discussion with a fellow artist about the previous week, its toll. I was musing about the words of it, the word widow and how strange that was? That I am now, and will always be a Widow. That it is indeed a strange word, and I will not be afraid of it.
That I will own it.
Today, I took a huge step towards my next evolution. Education. I am doing it.
The girl on the right has no idea that a few hours later, she’s going to watch her husband get his life saved by his defibrillator/pacemaker right in their living room. She has no idea that the trip to the emergency room that night will be the last time she takes her husband there.
That it is the last week on this planet for her husband.
The girl in the middle, a year out from that night, operating on sheer mania and lack of sleep. Fucking up everything, it seems, though people are quick to tell her, “no, no.”
The girl on the left, today. I honestly have no idea how I’m even breathing but for the unending care and tenderness of some truly spectacular humans. Still fucking everything up that isn’t life-or-death and refusing to give a single shit about it any more. Loving deeply and intensely with no regard for those who fly too close to my flame and get burned. Indulging in ink and sex and cannabis and embracing everything good. Dismissing anything less-than.
I no longer settle. I no longer feel less-than.
I miss you more, Gary. I miss you so goddamn much.
(here’s me, with some Seattle’s Best in a mug my friend Dave made, with some good coffee and relaxation)
I’m supposed to head to Caramoor today with B; her husband, C, is playing with the band. Knitting, food, music, naps, staying pretty much baseline stoned all day, packing extra sunscreen and bug spray and water. Knowing I’ll need a way to go inside my own head when being surrounded by couples and families gets too overwhelming. I am grateful to my friends for including me in things, and the balance between this gratitude and feeling so very alone, so much “which one of these things is not like the other?” is shaky and blurred. Desperately wanting to go, to not be weak.
She and I went to a Yoga Nidra class last night, guided meditation, and while I’m the least woo-woo person I know, something about it was truly magical. It’s the second one I’ve been to in as many weeks with the same teacher, and after a lifetime of not being able to meditate EVER with this noisy head of mine, it appears that I’ve found the way for me. I don’t believe in chakras and stuff but she’s telling us to imagine the color orange when we inhale and exhale, to imagine that color coming from a place right above the navel. Orange. Feels like a fire to me, breathing in and out.
I was able to focus on the sound of the teacher’s voice, to allow the noisiness to enter my head and then just sort of flick it away, dismissing thing after thing after thing. It was harder, this second time; I’d been at the pottery all day, prepping for tomorrow’s firing, and thinking a lot about my upcoming move and everything I need to get done (and just how much I’m not getting done), feeling the pain in my shoulder and trying to disassociate from it, feeling that I want to share this with you, this destressing thing, feeling like you might find some value in it. Feeling energized afterwards and wanting to share that, too. Remembering after the last class that I was able to recall the feeling of peace I’d had even when at work, and that I was able to carry it with me. Wanting to share the small things that are helping me find a measure of peace and comfort in the hope that perhaps they might help you, too.
Having no idea if you even read these anymore and knowing I need to write anyway, that writing always soothes me, that it’s one thing I can do alone and anywhere that is at once cathartic and productive and that some version of this will make it into my work.
(after writing this and editing for an hour I’ve decided to not go to Caramoor. Heading across the street to K and B’s at 4 for a small bbq instead, then back here for an air conditioned bedroom and Netflix with Mojo.)
Twenty-one months. That’s how long it took to not cry in remembrance. Twenty-one months.
It has taken twenty-one months to feel actual control over this ship; more control than simply steering her off the reefs and away from the deeps. It has taken every second of every day to get here.
You have been gone for twenty-one months. I would not be the person I am right now without you dying the way you did when you did. Oh I might have gotten here eventually. Perhaps.
How do I reconcile this feeling, this absolute truth? I don’t feel guilt, or remorse for knowing this. I rarely feel those things anymore, if ever. Not for lack of empathy but simply because I no longer do things that would engender that response.
So, soon enough, my overhead view is going to change, and the specific sounds of my neighborhood are also going to change. I got an apartment a few blocks over. I’m really excited, and I’m also mournful, (as) I described to a friend. It’s just new, and everything is new. Except for the house is old, but everything is new inside and um, it’s all for me. I’ve never chosen a place where the only things that mattered were what I wanted. And that’s… that’s heady.
i look over at the ghost of you visible audible i can see you clear as day never from this perspective before the hammock came after you died.
i can see you in your blue hawaiian shirt the lighter bits matching your eyes i can see the shape of you at the grill hear the click click of the tongs as you turn the meat the ice in your glass as you sip your drink the smell of cooking food the sounds of the mechanics of the grill.
i want to invite you to share my hammock to feel it bow beneath our combined weight to feel your body next to mine again.
Knowing you would be appalled at the thought of my feet near your head but physics outweigh preference.
i sigh, and smile imagining our continued negotiations that have outlived you.