Friday, November 6, 2009

To Live Is to Fly (Townes Van Zandt)

I am now apologizing to myself for not blogging in two weeks - I miss it when I allow myself to skip more than a few days, not to mention it's easy to forget what happened in the meantime. I confess to having been in Roly Poly Mode... and I'm trying hard to snap out of it - in coming up for air a bit, I realize what a blessed life I lead...

Yeah, the fact my mother died mid-July is one big, fat, f*cking sadness still weighing heavy on me - I expect it will be with me forever, even as the hits to the heart come further apart. I still can't predict my reaction when I think or talk about it - sometimes I am fine... others I am inconsolable... and I imagine that's "normal" (having done some research on the grief process)...

I am finally reconciling to the fact that life does indeed go on - I have memories of good times, lots of photos and a no-regrets feeling that most only dream of. I also have amazing family and friends to hold me up during this difficult time, as I try to find my way out of the stuck place - much to be thankful for:

~ a 3+ hour cathartic lunch with my dear friend M, who I hadn't seen since before I went up to Atlanta - she lost her mom this past February, and has helped trailblaze this unknown path for me...

~ our October book club meeting, for which we read Middlesex, a wonderful book that's been on my bedside table for over a year - combine the literary stimulation with the comfort of other BookSluts (our new official name for ourselves), and I'm in "died and gone to heaven" territory...

~ saw the movie Where the Wild Things Are with my husband and two sons (my daughter was out of town that weekend), at the urging of my "baby" (21-year-old E), who remembered me reading him the book when he was but a small child - the movie was extremely enjoyable, but viewing it flanked by "my boys" was tear- and goosebump-inducing...

~ experienced a quiet Halloween, staying home and passing out candy to almost 100 trick-or-treaters, the cutest of which was a young (one-year-old, maybe?) Asian boy on his father's shoulders, dressed in a Sumo wrestler costume - my dog stood in the doorway in equal parts joy and amazement at the parade of visitors...

~ my friend Judi asked if I wanted to hear John Irving speak at a bookstore function which, with the purchase of the ticket, provided an autographed copy of his newest book (below) - it was not only great to hang out with her one-on-one (we're usually in group gatherings), but a dream-come-true to see one of my favorite authors up-close-and-personal (he's warm, he's witty... and his reading of a key passage in the book took my breath away)...

~ I presented a service at church last Sunday, revolving around the book Life Is a Verb, tying it into my mom's illness and promoting the "what would you do if you only had 37 days to live?"
philosophy - I wove in some wonderful poems, played some appropriate songs and received warm, and sometimes tearful, appreciation...

~ finally got together with my dear friend Kate, to walk the Labyrinth and catch up on each other's lives these last few months - she is a cherished friend, with whom I always pick up where I left off, which can never be taken for granted...

~ participated in a Religion and Poetry workshop at the church, where I had the opportunity to share favorite Ellen Bass and Jeffrey McDaniel selections - the ensuing discussion was thought-provoking as well...

~ I have been kicking *ss in the physical fitness department for the last month, attending a BodyWorks + Abs class at the gym twice a week, and walking the 3-mile route in my neighborhood four days - on the seventh day I rest... :-) My friend Mel has kept me good company a majority of the time, but she's been out of pocket the last few weeks for one reason or another, so I'm having to self-motivate, which is always a challenge - I miss her muchly... but I'm proud to say I've risen to it, and am thoroughly entrenched in addicted mode (my legs twitch to get on the road as soon as I get out of bed each morning!)...

~ my husband and I signed up for a wellness program with a local franchise of a national chain, and have been enjoying monthly massages (part-therapeutic, part-pampering), which we've turned into Date Night, segueing to dinner afterwards - it's nice to spend time with each other in a relaxed mood, away from the house...

Days, up and down they come

Like rain on a conga drum
Forget most, remember some
But don't turn none away.
Everything is not enough
And nothin' is to much to bear.
Where you been is good and gone
All you keep is the getting there.

Beautifully said, Townes... :-)

SONG: To Live Is to Fly by Townes Van Zandt

BOOK: Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving

POEM: Sweet Darkness by David Whyte

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing:
the world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

QUOTE: "I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no "brief candle" for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." ~ George Bernard Shaw


  1. Have you read Year of Magical Thinking? I just reread that before sending it to my mom. With regard to grief, sometimes I'm surprised by the overwhelming feelings of just awful sadness. And then sometimes I realize that I remember something funny that happened years ago and laugh out loud in really awkward places like the grocery store. So if I get to have those moments, I supposed to sad ones have to come too. All this to say, I hear you and love you and wish I was in Florida where it is warm and there is you. [hugs]

  2. Hey, Amy ~

    Interestingly, I gave that book to my mom the year her (second) husband Ralph was killed in a car accident - I don't think she ever read it, though. However, I re-read it while I was there this summer... and it really resonated - I don't know what's worse... the oppressive sadness... or the final realization that they're not going to be there to answer your call or share a story with. "Laughing and crying... you know it's the same release", said Joni - so true...

    Wish you were here too, kiddo - our door is always open (metaphorically speaking, of course... or we'd have a house full of lizards!)... so plan a visit any time... <3

  3. Susan, as horrible as it is that we should have to experience this grief, I am so grateful to have you there to share it with me. Good times & bad, my friend, we have surely experienced both!

  4. Hey, M ~

    I agree - the path seems less lonely, knowing that a friend is walking it with us. If we can make it through this holiday season, we can do anything - I am here for you... and I know the reverse is true as well... <3