All those lessons


WRITING HERE A year ago I cited T.S. Eliot's famous line, "April is the cruelest month" while complaining about the constant rain. This year is no different. Each morning I check my weather app hoping to see sunny skies in the future, and each morning I see rain predicted ten days hence. I think I should stop doing this.

My new life continues to evolve and the days have taken on a kind of habitualness that has the benefit of filling the hours, if nothing else. My concentration has improved enough that I can now sit for a half hour with a book without reading the same sentence endlessly, or battling the omnipresent urge to do something else. Even the news doesn't hold much interest, and for a news junky that is weird. But the president and I have this in common; we are both living through a depressing year. The difference is, he doesn't know it.

So what have I learned so far from this year of bereavement? I have learned that by flitting from one task to another a lot can be accomplished. The satisfaction of actually finishing something, however, is lost. I have learned that yogurt can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; that errands can be put off indefinitely; and that the body can produce an endless amount of tears. Thanks to my grief counselor I have learned that talking to yourself out loud is neither unusual nor a sign of imminent dementia. This was a relief.

I have learned that I can still laugh out loud, still enjoy friends and outings, still look forward to events, while holding a sadness in my heart. I am impressed with the flexibility of my heart, how it makes room for boundless love and seemingly endless grief. If the rest of our bodies were as flexible as our hearts we would all be made of rubber.

Despite the evil and suffering that fills the world, I still believe we have within us the power to  change. In ways big and small that is happening every day. And maybe my grief is its own wake up call. Today, life without Ray feels empty and meaningless. But I know in my flexible heart that more awaits, and that the years ahead will confirm what I've always known, that all life is a gift.