19 weeks, if I can believe my previous posts. Edit: And I can, if I actually count them right. This was week 20.
Tonight was entirely a flashback night, in a quiet way.
I got off work at 7:30. Was planning to have dinner with the Taits but tonight is choir practice night and Roger wouldn't have been there, and I'd rather both are.
It was a coolish (though not cold), generally damp day. I needed to hit the store, haven't shopped in too long. I hit an Albertsons, even though I didn't really want to go there, and realized I wanted their chicken special. Which is what I bought on the day Penny died. I was out of a lot of stuff, and got done, got out to the car, and the lighting and the wind and the rain and the smell of the chicken resulted in an 'environment' recall. I felt it happening early enough that I was able to catch and pay attention through the memory, so it didn't actually force itself on me.
Yesterday, I had a pretty extensive conversation in letters with Susan about some of this, and about how the Kubler-Ross thing is a crock inside a crock. Not only do they impose a nice orderly Process on people's experience of their own impending death, but they impose a similar tidy clean Process on mourning and grief and survival, even going so far as to declare that there is Healing at the end. No, there's not healing. Healing would be the restoration of what was lost or destroyed. What there is, instead, is survival, and numbness, and not so much acceptance as submission to that which cannot be undone in this world. It's incredibly arrogant and selfish to insist as they do, that it all gets better.
Folks, Nietsche was full of shit. What doesn't kill us maims us, cripples us, mutilates us, leaves us broken in its wake.
What makes us stronger is to survive unbroken, what makes us stronger is to live in peace with only the challenges whose costs in enduring them are not so great that we are maimed in the experience. The lifter who tears his bicep in half, who crushes his spine with too much weight, does not get stronger from that. And, over time, even the strength gained through the constant little challenges and minor traumas will erode away, as things don't quite finish healing in time for the next.
It's only through the transformation of death into life, of rebirth into new life in the source of all life, that we will really heal, that anything will be restored. It hurts as much in its way to get there as being born in the first place.
This morning I was thinking about what my day was a year ago.
I woke up at around 7:30 with the news on the tv. I'd stumble around the bed and get to the bathroom, or help Penny get up first, then bathe or wash my face. We'd fix breakfast, having decided the night before what it would be. She didn't really like breakfast that much, not usually being hungry in the morning, but after doing her blood sugar test and taking her insulin it was time to eat SOMETHING, so. Sometimes it was a poached egg, sometimes a grilled cheese sandwich, omelet, or leftovers from the night before. We'd talk about the day as we ate. She'd be out in the living room on the couch, possibly working on cross-stitch, or playing her new favorite game, or answering her email on the laptop.
I'd get to work by 9:30 at the latest. We'd trade small emails or talk on the phone at lunchtime. I'd finish, stop at the store if necessary, or head home and start dinner, or we'd get out of the house and do something, on rare occasions.
She'd go to bed, and if I didn't follow soon, she'd yell at me that it was time. (The cats now do this.)
Sometimes she'd give me the laptop and I'd play online in bed, snuggling.
Sometimes I'd give her a backrub, or she'd do that for me. I'd be out like a light while she watched the end of an old movie or game show, or read.
Now, I manage to get to sleep by 3:30 most nights - because I'll nap at some point after getting home, and if I'm not in bed when it's time to sleep, I will wake up again, like now. I wake by 9:30, or after six hours, and never really manage to get to work before 11, which means I'm there too late.
I told Susan that my Stephen Minister (I didn't meet with him tonight; I want to change our meeting day from Thursday) was surprised at how emotionally strong I am. Well, yeah, I spent almost my entire life in public schools experiencing effective hell, and as a result, my ability to cope with emotional stuff is hypertrophic - I learned to shut down feelings that would cripple me, most of the time, but the cost is that I lose my ability to motivate myself, to feel that anything is really important. I spend a lot of time distracting myself, reading or gaming or watching television. I'm building momentum inside, towards doing things I vaguely want to do, but frankly, I relied on Penny to set our long term goals. I was happy working towards whatever she wanted, and haven't ever really had (or believed that I could achieve) anything special just because of me or who I am or what I wanted. I have decided that this sucks, but I'm not at all sure what, if anything, I should do about it.
Anyway. Late. Trying sleep. Maybe can get to work before 10AM.