October 12, 2011
Refuge (n): 1: shelter or protection from danger or distress 2: a place that provides shelter or protection 3: something to which one has recourse to in difficulty
Refuge (v): 1: to give refuge to 2: to seek or take refuge
I seek and take shelter, in this 15 x 15 one room cabin, to give refuge to myself. I seek that thing that I have recourse to in difficulty.
Memories of you flicker across a wide screen only I can see. Each scene chooses its own moment. There is no director. There is no soundtrack. These films are silent. Relentless. Haunting.
The second anniversary of your death has come and gone. I am a refugee in flight, seeking the power to escape the magnitude of your death.
As if I could.
Whatever thing I had recourse to in difficulty before you died, fails miserably now.
I am undone.
Retreat (n): to withdraw; an act or process of withdrawing from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable.
A full retreat is not possible. There are too many responsibilities that propel me through each day. A full retreat takes an energy I do not possess. A break from reality that is too cavernous. Having no sense of balance, at the precipice, I would slip and fall. I keep my distance from the edge. I am respectful of the danger there.
Partial retreat is all I can afford. Trying to accept all your death means, is difficult, dangerous and disagreeable. Withdrawal is often the only option. Walls are built and guarded ferociously. I should include windows, but when I am building, I did not want to look out. The winter landscape bears no promises.
Waking every morning with only time to shower, dress, and brew a pot of coffee, I make no time for anything. The ten minutes from my house to the office, and the ten minutes home are the two most dangerous times of day. I want to call you. See what you have planned for your day. See how your day went. I think of walking to Barsamian’s in
, with you skipping alongside me, all energy, your words trying to express your thoughts. I wish I could remember one thing we talked about then. I see you meeting me for lunch at Anthony’s and laughing. I wish I could remember what was so funny then. Cambridge
All my energy is spent trying to forget why I cannot call you. Why you cannot meet me at the Oyster House for lunch.
When I get home, I eat until I feel the pain of eating too much. I focus on that, withdrawing from what is difficult, dangerous and disagreeable. Physical pain, I understand. That I can bear.
Respite (n) 1: a period of temporary delay 2: an interval of rest or relief.
I came to this refuge early Sunday evening. Seeking respite. It is Wednesday now. I have wrapped myself in the down comforter here, waking only enough to relieve myself, eat, drink a cup of tea, and take Sadie out to potty. She has been content to lay her back against mine, though she much prefers sleeping in the crescent formed by my chest and thighs. This morning was my first shower. I am still enjoying the scent of shampoo and soap. The clock ticks, ticks, ticks. Leaves dance foolishly, but gracefully in the last rays of sunlight. Even as the tips of some leaves are turning yellow, orange, red, they seem oblivious to the silent stealing of their green. In a month these trees will be bare.
I wonder if the trees will grieve openly. Or if they will bear their sorrow stoically, waiting for spring.
Wrapped in that down comforter, surfing from one dream state to the next, I find some respite. Memories do not come unbidden. They wait politely, for their turn. I have trouble choosing and fall back asleep. I tell myself, “You will wake up when you are ready.”
“And only when you are ready.”
This morning, I took a package of meat from the freezer. I will make myself a meal tonight. Pork chops, mashed carrots, sautéed kale with garlic, shallots and pine nuts. I will set the table, as if I am expecting an honored guest. I will eat slowly, savoring each bite as I watch for the moon to claim residence in the night sky.
It is 1:00. I answered emails from six weeks ago. Checked Facebook. Watched an episode of The Amazing Race on hulu. I accepted that you were not here to call and talk about the show and what we thought of each contestant.—which ones we were rooting for and which ones we wanted off the show. I accepted that I can miss you and it will not destroy me.
Regenerate (v) 1: to become formed again 2: to undergo regeneration; to change radically and for the better.
Regeneration (n) renewal of a body, bodily part, or biological system after injury or as a normal process.
From this refuge, this retreat, this respite—I seek the beginnings of regeneration.
You have changed me. Your death has changed me.
I am trying to form again.
I hope it will be for the better.
You are always in my thoughts—Love
P.S. Got carried away with the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary—Eleventh Edition .