This morning at 8:21 am I felt happy, and for the first time since he died, my ice cube of grief didn’t dilute any bit of the goodness. I had put my mourning down for a moment. It was so rare and such a first that I even (inappropriately?) tweeted about it.
It didn’t happen by accident. I’m taking deliberate steps. I enrolled in a guided journaling course. and have made time to do the exercises. I’ve actually turned down paying work to participate fully. And I’m aware of Andy’s gift of support that allows me to make such choices. And I’m grateful. And I’m shamelessly starting too many sentences with the word, “and”.
After today’s classwork, I dove into my Sketchbook Project 2013 again and came up with the above collage. It’s fun. It’s teaching me a lot about letting go of perfection, about accepting my utter inability to create certain gorgeous images, to enjoy using my own voice. And by the way, why do I compare myself to professional illustrators? Is it an American thing? A western world thing? A human thing?
Anyway, the Sketchbook Project is giving me an opportunity to practice enjoying doing what I can do, making what I can make, being who I am, telling my story.
I read an on-line excerpt of a book recently in which the author deals with her grief over losing a lover. She’s famous for her blog and I adore her work, but I suspected I wasn’t ready to read her book. At one point she wrote about coming to a place where — (totally don’t want to misquote her, and this is already hugely out of context) — where perhaps we have to “divorce the dead”.
I closed the window on my browser. I don’t want to think about any such measures. I may be able to let go of my perfectionism. But let go of my friend? Divorce him? No.
What would he say? Ruth, we were never married. Or maybe: Ruth, you’re already married. I would reply: I am not — stop saying that.
So there will be no divorce. Instead, I will keep moving at my own pace step by step, shape by shape, page by page, happy moment by happy moment.
It’s messy, it is. But I’m going on faith that I can express myself the way I choose, that I’m heading in the right direction, and that it’s going to be okay.