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Sleep

I have attempted to chronicle each step in this journey of grief and healing. Each time I do, the openness of sharing it has been, I am told, of service to others. Each time, others have found it helpful. I have done my best to live openly, and lose openly, to the fullness of my ability and knowledge.

I wrote this about a week ago.

I posted it that night.

At least I thought I had posted it. I have never had trouble posting to my blog before, but this ended up, each time, in the Drafts folder. I asked my editor, who has access to my blog, for help.

He read it.  He said he was glad it seemed stuck as a draft. He was afraid that giving this voice might make it become so.

I erased it.

I have learned, through years of teaching and using narrative therapy, that the best way to move an emotional state out is to bring it out as fully as possible. Putting it into words, as fully, as accurately, with as much detail, emotion, and directness as possible, is one of the best ways to do that. It also means it is then outside, not being repeated in one’s head, all day, all night, on and on.

My editor showed it to my psychologist. Dr. Sarah Arnett. She explained to him that writing about it or talking about it, was far from dangerous: not talking about it was the danger. And, as scary as it is, people who feel this way must be allowed to talk about it. Not told it is wrong. Not given trite reasons to go on or have clichés foisted upon them, not told they have so much to live for, not told there are people who would miss them. They know this. But none of that helps. They need to give voice to the sorrow, or the anger, so it can come out.

My friend Joyce, she got it. She and I laughed one evening over the ways we’d end it. How we could do it without it looking like we had any real part in it. It was good to know someone understood.

So here it is. After checking with the kids, letting them know it was OK, here it is.

Maybe reading this, more people will know it is OK to listen, without fear, to a friend or loved one who feels this way. It is not a plan. It is a feeling. It is loss and longing and anger and sorrow looking for cessation, surcease, palliation. It is not life that wants the end, but the pain.

Maybe reading this, more people who feel this way will know it is OK to say it, to write it, instead of letting it grow inside, instead of letting it eat one up, take over. Instead of doing it.


The moon doesn’t change as I walk. It doesn’t move. Not perceptibly. The wind pushes steadily in the direction of the incoming waves so that I must push back to keep myself at the shoreline.  A little struggle, a bit of resistance, friction, is good, if it is tangible. If it is clear.

I know, over time, the moon will rise. I can watch it as much as I like, but I’ll never perceive the movement. Yet, over time, move it will, higher and higher, then set again, and be gone.

Over the last two years, if I look back, I can see where I’ve been, what has changed. The pace is, perhaps, glacial. But I think, at last, it, too, is setting. I don’t want to watch it anymore.

I have a good life. A wonderful life. I have been the luckiest of men. I have, in the real sense of what one needs, wanted for nothing. I want for nothing now. I am surrounded by goodness and love. A splendid family, children anyone would be proud off, friends anyone would be blessed with. I was married for nearly thirty years to the most wonderful of women. There is nothing wrong. But I don’t want it.

I don’t want to linger anymore. I don’t want to just wait for the day I can see her again, or discover there is nothing to see, but rest, and darkness and nothingness. I can wait around, and just be. But there seems little reason. No motivation.

I know my friends, my family will differ with this, but the last year and a half has proven life goes on, that things happen, and we continue. I’m just choosing that I don’t wish too. My kids are off and fine and my wife is gone. So, no need.

I promised her I’d go and be happy. It may be the only promise to her I didn’t keep. I’m trying to. Leaving feels more like keeping it than the intangible struggle of the day to day. The struggle to be, to  find reasons to wake up.

I don’t want to hear about the little pleasures. I know about them. Flowers. Hugs, sunrises.  But the last few nights, I have had dreams: sitting and talking with my Lee. All night, just talking, like the best friends we are. And that is all I can want.

I promised her, as well, I’d not join a monastery. That I’d not become a Buddhist monk. I’ll keep that promise. I promised I’d not allow myself to spend my life alone. But I am a shy creature, and do not venture out by myself, do not mingle, meet, join, talk to people I don’t know. I don’t party or partake or parlay or participate in things social. So I am left with a second promise it appears I cannot keep.

Being alone is not a problem. Lack of contact, feeling isolated—that is. I can feel it. And to not feel it, I have to deny it.

I don’t want to deaden anything with alcohol, or take pills. I don’t want to not feel. But it seems most feelings are disappearing on their own. And I am left with…what?  A sad nostalgia of belonging to a place and person not here. A feeling for which English has no word.

I’m going day by day. Making plans for the very near future only.  Living today for what I need to do today. Tomorrow will be for today. The next day will be for today. Only today. Give me a task, I’ll do it. Why not? For now.

Real plans I have none. No goals. Nothing to aspire to.  And I have no real plans to end anything, but each night, I wonder, how do I not wake when the sun rises? How can my sleep be one from which I do not wake? How can my dream go on and on?

Suicide is not illegal. Only doing something to oneself that is obviously designed to lead to termination in the very short term. One may not poison oneself with a vial but one may with chemicals, knowing that time is all it takes. One may not do without food or water, but one may choose things which will hasten one’s end. One may not leap but one may walk too close. And one may slip.

I am taking excellent care of myself. I may be in the best shape of my life. And getting better. My life is simple. I do nothing that may immediately lead to my leaving. I do nothing that anyone can look at, can point to, can identify as a cause, of it being my fault. So I exercise, eat well, rest. But neither do I do anything to prolong my stay.  I no longer put on my seat belt. I am careless. I pay little attention. Most of the time, I am just thinking, how much more sweet to sleep.

I have no plan. Just opportunity.

I grew tired of people saying things were God’s will, that it was time, that there is a plan. Fine, I say, then. If something happens, it happens. It was a plan. Whatever happens, if I was supposed to take some strange comfort in there having been a plan for my wife’s hideous, painful death, then those who believe such can feel the same way about whatever happens next as well.

I don’t want anyone to suffer. And I was told, over and over, not to case so much about others that I let myself suffer as a result.  OK. Now I’m listening.

I was told I wasn’t needed by others as much as I thought. That I could live my life for myself, for my own desires. I said don’t try to convince me of that. I said it would be a bad day if ever I believed that.   Now, I believe it.

I’m tired of it. I just want it to end. The day-to-day drudge of just waiting until I see her again. I used to feel that tomorrow would be fine, or next week, next year, or forty years. It didn’t matter. But now it does. I wasn’t meant to do this by myself and I want out.

I have cancelled my appointments. I don’t need them. No doctors. No psychologist. Let the appointments be for someone for whom they will be of some use. Someone who wants to stay.

I asked my daughter once, after she tried to take her own life, to promise she would not hurt herself. She said she could not make that kind of promise. I understood. I never asked again.  My psychologist asked me to promise I would not hurt myself.  I could not make that promise.

Sometime, soon, I can hope, emotion and opportunity will come together, for a moment.

Tomorrow I will go for a walk. Next week, I have a call to make, and a book I might put together. That is the extent of my life’s plans.

The moon tonight is full. I can look at it all night, and it will never seem to change. It will be like that, forever. Or so it seems. And that is enough.

2/27/2013

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 3, 2013 in Culture, Family, philosophy, psychology, Social, Suicide, Writing

 

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Just some thoughts I had today. For what they are worth.

Don’t be something you are not. Don’t do things just because you think it is what someone else will want, or so that person won’t be angry, or sad, or lonely.  Not for anyone. Don’t change anything for anyone just because you think it’ll make someone happy. It is ingenuine.  It is a form of dishonesty.  The other person will never know if it is really your desire or just you doing what you think someone else wants. It will end in distrust, even if your intentions were good.

How you are is not your fault. Your past, your habits, your reactions. None of it. Until that very moment when you find something you dislike or want to change.  Then it is your fault if it continues, your responsibility if it remains. The moment you find something you want to change, it is no longer blamable on the past.

Don’t go to sleep angry. You’ve heard that before.  But it is good advice. Don’t. Not at a spouse, or your kid, or your boss, or the government, or the world.  Breathe and let it go. You might not wake up. Don’t go to sleep angry.  And when you make up, wake up to see a smile, or the bright sun, or to falling rain, or to something that is sweet, because it may be the last time you wake, may be the last day you see. Fill your day with harmony and sweetness, because you may not see the next day. Why have anything on your last day that isn’t sweet? If anything gets in the way of harmony and sweetness, change how you feel about it or remove it.

Even pain can be sweet. But drama never is isn’t.

People love you and have helped you. Love and help them. Be there for them. Even if you have the short end of the bargain from time to time.  But don’t let gratitude, or love, or fear, yours or theirs, hold you hostage.  If you do, the relationship is built on something ingenuine.

Be you. The best you you can be. If you like something about you, or if it works for you, don’t change it. Not for anyone or anything. If there is something you don’t like, or if it doesn’t work for you, change it, no matter what others feel about it. You get this shot at this life only.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Family, philosophy, psychology, Social

 

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Pits

I was there when the first pits were dug,
after the trees were cleared; torn, dragged and burned.
My family and I searched for concretions in limey sand
that had not seen the sun
in a span of time that can be measured, but not understood.
Set as coral in the ocean,
became limestone,
became oolite,
Miami Beach,
became my home.

I use to roam and dig under what is now
Aventura Mall
in what was an elegant, high-rise my girl comes three days a week part of Miami,
then Aventura,
now The City of Aventura
which lies engorged between the end of
a double-decked Atlantic Ocean causeway,
named after a State Representative
who owned a Chevrolet dealership,
and a bypass so long, so high
I can no longer see the vast expanse of shrinking ocean.
Only solid walls of perpendicular road
and the mall.

After the palms were greased
and the foundation razed,
one of the first stores to open
was a New Age Giant,
moved from across town,
far from its humble beginnings
as a place to launder cocaine
money through the sale
of health enhancements only slightly less dubious
like vitamin k, brain hemispheric synchronizers,
Angle Cards, singing bowls composed
of cave grown,
high-pressure hose harvested
crystal,
designed to draw the harmony of nature and increase inner-peace and compassionate abide, and
classes teaching the myriad ways to simply life.

It opened after the protests
and the building and the pickets
and the building and the threats
and suits and the building
to sell books about the preciousness of the environment
and bumper stickers exhorting patrons to “Thank Goddess”
customers took home in pastel pink paper bags
printed on each side with delicate seashells.

And they were swamped
along with the Sears and Burdines
and Macy’s where the Cellar had to be on the top floor
because two feet underground,
just below where I use to dig,
was water.

The mall became a focus
for the area
as it drained and dried the commerce and custom from the west
as events were held to
draw crowds like the
“Parade of Whores”
The Cardiologists’ Wives Look-a-like Contest,
The Peach Polo Shirt and Beige Shorts Fashion Show and,
just down the road,
a bit past the beach you don’t dare tread barefoot,
the weekly
“Race to the Floating Bale.”

And so the mall grew,
so much so, soon
it was suggested the East Coast,
should be extended
to allow for its expansion
and, last time I was there,
I swear I saw it breathing.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 12, 2011 in Culture, History, Nature, Poetry, Social

 

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