On vacation with the kids in Ixtapa, Mexico. My financial struggle having just ended. Not sure what to write about it. After all the months, (years really) After ALL these months of anger, sadness, resentment, hopelessness, joy, surprise, discovery, light, regret and hope, I find myself at odds with ……dare I call it, contentment.
I’m not sure. I don’t feel overjoyed to be here. I don’t feel sadness either. I’m not worried (other than Langston is not feeling too hot and we’d need a translator if we were to see a doctor). I don’t need anything. I don’t need alcohol or drugs or a distraction. I don’t feel like I need a man. (Club Med does a most excellent job, though, at hiring these 21-30 year old pieces of scrumptious eye candy!)
I feel nothing. I don’t feel dead inside. I just feel at peace and it’s startling. And I wonder is this what normal feels like?
Before his illness and before his death I spent much of my time in my head, scared, worried, putting a negative spin on the future. I spent much of the time trying to prove myself, trying to live up to the person I thought all these people expected me to be. My expectation being way beyond what anyone wanted. My expectation for perfection was impossible. It was murderous and it almost killed me several times.
Here in this place, sitting in an outdoor patio in Ixtapa, listening to the waves, the wind whipping my hair around and bringing in the nightly rain storm, I find myself calm. It’s unfamiliar and it’s uncomfortable. Like a new haircut and every time I walk by a mirror I am surprised because I expect to see the old me.
I have spent the week doing nothing, a 100% complete impossibility before Art died. I tried to work. I tried to get the kids to eat vegetables. And then I didn’t know why I was making myself or them do it. I had no words of judgment wagging in my head so I let them eat ice cream, a lot of it and put my computer away.
Instead, I entered an archery competition and end up DFL (dead fucking last) and still talked trash to the others in the competition. I told the kids I lost and saw their puzzlement at my not caring. I butchered the Spanish language multiple times a day! I kayaked, I rock climbed, I did yogalates and swam in the ocean. I napped, I read and I napped again. I ruined a brand new bathing suit with the fine gritty sand of Ixtapa and some sunscreen. I discovered the joy in having a glass of wine, late at night in the reception area where I can listen to the soothing music and the ocean waves and just think about … nothing.
And it’s the thinking of nothing that has me so puzzled. After these years, the pain, the willing, the missing, the pushing, the discomfort, the disliking of myself, the ‘nothing’ is just weird and wonderful. I feel settled. Not complete, not whole, not done, just settled, like a huge ass oak tree.
I will not always feel this kind of contentment. It may be that I am seeing my circle of concern and circle of influence are closer together. I no longer seek to control all that I cannot.
I am a widow, I am a mom, I am a business person, I am an athlete (re-inspired by the trapeze and the archery to begin working on that again). And I am dying. We all are. And all this makes sense to me and brings me hope and courage and the knowledge that no matter what I feel, it will pass. It will pass. There is contentment in that.
Art’s life passed. And damn it all, just damn, damn, damn, damn it all. This powerful gift of my growing into myself, of the discovery and comfort of who I am and who I am not, of understanding the power of loss, is because of his death. It’s all because his last great gift to me was his death.
The gift that truly keeps on affecting me, like a pebble in a pond.