Four Months

Oct 20 12:47am – It has been four months today. I’m mostly numb now and move about with the sole purpose of wanting to keep moving. I don’t feel intensity in much of anything except the once or twice a day spasms of loss – the strikes come at random times and are set off by who knows what? No, I’m not morose or depressed, but I’m also not happy and hopeful. It is pretty much maintaining the maintenance – doing what I do with intention. I believe it will get better over time. But I don’t know when.

Me and a few others sat with an elderly man a few nights ago who had lost his wife of 50 years two weeks ago after several years of him caring for her at home. She suffered and died from Alzheimer’s. His purpose, he said, was taking care of his wife in her last years. He said he had lost his purpose. We all understood his emotion and loss as it came through his stuttering, stammering, and bursts of words and tears as he told of his very recent loss. I hope he can find some healing and I hope we can meet with him again. Some of us feel so much further along than him. Funny how this club has its junior members and its senior members and those in the middle. Each wears a ‘longevity’ badge of some kind accompanied by stories that change, get longer, get shorter. And new stories. Like a bus picking up and dropping off people on a long trip – each travel segment has a different composition and purpose.

Rick, Donna, and I had a comfortable meal of steamed lobster, potatoes, and sausage on Mon. We talked of living and experiences and regrets and careers. We drank our club sodas and iced tea and looked around the restaurant at all of the flashing lights and then back at each other throughout the evening. A table next to us was a family who had come to the restaurant to celebrate their daughter’s twentieth birthday. We clapped along when the staff sang a ‘short’ Happy Birthday song to her – staff squatted down by the table and sang to her. We left a few hours later in a heavy rainstorm.

Brad and I met and shared several cups of coffee and scones Thurs evening. We connect perhaps too well. I enjoy listening to Brad’s hopes and dreams and I appreciate him listening to my new old-age discoveries. I suppose we get along because we are both still searching albeit in our own generational and theological contexts. He put me on to the movie ‘Life in a Day’ by, among others, Ridley Scott of (in my book) most notably ‘Blade Runner’ fame. I watched ‘Life in a Day’ several days ago and found it quite moving – but not in an atmospheric or thematic sense. It is a film about people living their normal everyday workaday lives on another day – Jul 24, 2010. It is about people experiencing the rhythm of life. Yes, the film resonated with me.

Tiffany, who sends me a card at least once a month, sent me a card several days ago. She writes:

Recently, I heard a sermon on Job that made me think of you and all your family has gone through. The preacher pointed out that for all their failings, Job’s friends were there, at least, and sat with him in silence for seven days before they opened their mouths – and it was only then that they got into trouble. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am sitting in silence with you.

Thanks, Tiff. And I have come to understand that a silent but close presence has been and is the best medicine for me. Perhaps people are wired differently – that is good – but for me words and being busy hasn’t been the key. Rather, being quiet and pensive and empathetic has been the biggest help. Cups of coffee around a small table in a cafe is perfect medicine for me. I hope maybe I can help others when the time comes by being their silent but understanding partner.

I prepared a comfortable meal Fri evening consisting of a pork chop with feta, a baked potato, some mixed veggies, and – for dessert – some icy mixed berries. I washed it down with several glasses of unsweetened iced tea. SOMAFM’s ‘Groove Salad’ streamed lightly in the background. Sitting at the dinner table with one place setting. It’s fine. There is no other way right now. It is, in my opinion, the most honest thing that I can be doing.

We all attended another going-away cake party at my office this past week. Yet another friend, working companion, professional, and kind person was able to find work and move on. She takes care of her daughter, husband, and elderly parents so she especially was hoping to find a good replacement job in place of the one she had at our office – we, as you may recall, have been de-funded by Congress and are slowly fading away. Donna worked in our office for six years – that’s a lot of contracts, invoices, negotiations, and staff meetings under the bridge. Good luck, Donna. You will be missed by me and all of us at the office. Good for you, though.

I like the smell of Fall – the damp leaves, the rain, the wet pavement. And I like the coolness – I pulled out my long-sleeve shirts and jackets. It is a good time of year to have the doors open, the windows open. And a walk is special, too.

It is where I am now.

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