february 2019

“I have died many times,” Lanie said to me, listing offhand just a few of the experienced that changed her.  These were “before and after” moments, moments after which she grieved for the person she thought she would be, for the life she thought she would have, for the person she once was.  She had to “die” and then emerge as someone else. “That’s part of growing older,” she said to me. 

Looking at Lanie, at this person whom I admire and respect so much, but whom I met only after the events that currently shaped her and brought her to my life, it was comforting somehow in my grief. So many different layers of grief.  It was difficult to see where one ended and the next began.  How to peel it apart to determine the provenance of this darkness versus that one.   

We’ve had a rough time of it lately, I would say, thinking first of my friend whose simplicity of life choices I had found myself relying upon as a kind of barometer, until that simplicity blew up in her face and the tragedies came barreling down in a twisted macabre comedy. Motherhood ripped from her so violently, first slowly, and then all at once. And everyone talking about how strong she is.  But I don’t feel strong, and even being close feels like getting crushed and buried in darkness.  

They don’t tell you about this part of growing up.  The part where doors close and options get narrower and there is an overwhelming sense of loss with every passing year. And you have to decide whether to let go, and grieve and die a little bit so that you can change into someone new, or to hang on and hope and wait.  Like that time in February where you think spring will never come.  But invariable, it always does.  Eventually.


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