Thursday, May 21, 2009
As my blog friends may have noticed from my recent and uncharacteristic silence, I've been in a bit of a funk lately. Not a bad one. Just a seemingly inexplicable month-long case of the blahs. Seemingly inexplicable, until I thought about it for three seconds (which I've naturally avoided doing). But once I did sit myself down, give myself a good talking to, and tell myself to snap out of it because it was annoying even me, I realized that just about a year and a month ago, my husband had his surgery. April fools day, to be exact. And for about a year and a month, I've been waiting for it to be over. Well, April Fools!, it's not. He's still pretty disabled (thank you broken foot!) and still has an incurable disease. The depths of human self-delusion are unplumbable. Somehow I was letting myself believe that, in a year, it would all be back to normal....
Anyway, I was cleaning house today and, appropriately, I found the purse I took to the hospital on the day of his surgery. I remember now, that the strap broke while I was waiting and waiting for his surgery to be over. I thought, 'Oh Christ! As if I don't have enough to deal with today!" When I got home I tossed it in a corner of my bedroom and there it has sat, broken and undealt with, like a good little symbol of the whole situation. But something led me to that pile today, and it all came pouring back: the florescent glare of the waiting room; the ten-hour wait during which I was utterly and increasingly terrified he would die on the table; the man with the leering skull tattoo on the back of his bald head, which didn't help calm me down. To say it was a bad day would not even touch on the misery of it. Which is why that purse full of memories sat in the corner for a year.
So, feeling like I was walking into a therapist's office, I sat down and opened the purse. In it were: multiple packages of kleenex, (for obvious reasons), eye drops (so that, at the end of the day, when I saw Kirk and the kids, I could look like I hadn't been crying); a pencil and pencil sharpener for the crossword puzzle I was never able to concentrate on; and a little notebook for writing deep thoughts or instructions, or something. There's only one thing written in it. A quote from I don't know where.
"...but the arts outlive governments and creeds and societies, even the very civilizations that produce them. They are what we find again when the ruins are cleared away."
Kind of gloomy, but also kind of perfect for me. My life has never been lived in the tidy spaces of the beaten path, never thrived in the tall gleaming buildings of "civilization." I'm more about picking my own way through weeds and the ruins and trying to find and make beauty of it all. Art. Which is and passes on consolation when buildings decay, when disease runs its course, when lives end, which they all do someday.
Coincidentally, again, (do you believe in coincidences? Me neither.) the husband and I are going out to dinner tonight to celebrate, not that IT is all over, but that a year has passed and he is still here, we are both still here, hobbling along on our messy happy path through the ruins.