Thursday, July 30, 2009

When the Darkness Comes

"Out of the depths of despair I cry out to you oh G_d." Psalms 130th

Today I woke up. The sun shining outside, it would seem to be the perfect day to sing that song of unrestrained joy. After all only the animals are home right now and they can't tell me to shut up. There's much to be done and what a great day to do it.

That is how it should be. But it's not that way for me today. Amidst the light shining outside, there's a darkness that has descended upon my soul. This is how it is for me. I wonder if others experience this inexorable swing. I'll go for days, happy, joyous, free. Then the darkness comes. A pervasive sadness reminds me of what cannot be or will not be. Acceptance yields one more time to despair. I know that this is selfish, but it doesn't change anything. It just is.

I'm fortunate. Life's been sufficiently long to know that this mood will pass. I make a half hearted effort to change the way it is now, but to no avail. Memories wash over me. Memories of beloved souls who passed even as I held them in my arms. Memories of a daughter who I love more than anything or anyone save perhaps Robin. She does not speak to me anymore. That was the price for me being true to me. It doesn't change anything. The other day, I found a recording I made of her way back in 1981. She was 6 years old and she sang several of our favorite songs. Her voice booming out "Chantilly Lace, had a pretty face, Ponytail hangin' down. Wiggle in her walk, giggle in her talk, made the world go round..."

I turned on the news. More about Michael Jackson's daughter. Health care reform is losing support. Obama is having beer with a cop and the man he arrested. Whatever happened to real news? I turned off the television. Corporations are dominating our lives. That's no reason to celebrate.

I've got friends. Especially on line. But not the close knit sorts who visit on weekends and barbeque in the back yard. I have some friends like that back in Houston, but that is a bit too much a drive. It's not like I'm a hermit. I have tons of acquaintances and some who would no doubt come to help if I asked for something. Just not that more intimate level. I guess lots of folks have their own lifelong friends. That is the price we paid for moving. Again it was what we needed to do, but today I'm allowing myself some sadness for what is not. I guess I miss it a lot. Still there is church to attend, classes to take, that sort of thing. When darkness descends, I need to remember the blessings. Why is that so hard to do during the sad times?

Perhaps this is part of what it is to get old. The extra years means additional memories of lives lived, loves gained and lost, of tragedies that sometimes weigh on the soul. I dreamed of Skip last night. It was a pleasant dream. We were at the mall, arguing over carpet. I was smiling as the argument proceeded. Since we never bought a carpet, though we did argue about a curtains once, I thought this strange. "This is too plush. Too hard to clean!"

"I don't think so. Besides I'm the one who will be cleaning it anyway!" I responded.

This was real love, as real as that between me and Robin. IT was Skip who taught me how to really love. Imagine that and I was already 40 something!

I thought of all that this morning. Then suddenly a flood of memories. Skip lying in coma and our time had been so short. That last day his eyes would not leave me though unable to talk. "I love you my beloved. If you could come back, I'd be so happy. But if not, I give my permission to go. I'll be alright," I lied. Skip died a couple hours later. I had repeated I love you at least 20 times, just in case it was not heard the first time.
Or my friend Dee who collapsed only weeks later and in my arms she passed over. The last words either heard were "I love you." Then they were gone. Perhaps this flashback was the trigger, for ever since it happened this morning, I've been shrouded in a sort of lonely sadness. Welcome back darkness.

Fortunately for me, tomorrow is another day. One of the costs of a life well led has to be the occasions of sadness to occasionally well to the surface from a subconscious that carries both joy and despair within the depths of memory. I'll spend some of today remembering what was good with each of those no longer there, remembering the happiness for what I have rather than the despair for what I cannot have, and in the process, walk the lonely road back to happiness once again.

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