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Too Soon

posted at 5:49 pm
on Nov. 1, 2012

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It hasn’t yet been very long since Susie left. Already, I’m making jokes that shock the people I tell. But laughing is how you take the pain out of pain. It’s not that I’m ready to joke, it’s that I’m not ready to hurt.

I’m busy working, and I’m working at keeping busy.

And I’m functioning. I’m sad and broken in weird ways, but I’m functioning. I’ve been told that it’s surprising how up I look. I try not to look down.

I’ve had friends come to town, and my sister is here now. She’s in Vancouver for a week of late night conversations and days at my office.

Virginia told me on this trip that for most of her post-childhood, Susie’s and my relationship was the healthy, good, stable thing in her life. I feel like it was the healthy, good, stable thing in my life, too. I keep thinking of Necrotizing Fasciitis and how it just looks small and angry and red, and it’s hotter to the touch than you’d expect from a small injury, and within hours you’re missing a limb or worse. I don’t like this diagnosis, and I wish I could have a second opinion. I wish I could be the second opinion. But that’s not how these things work.

As I ponder and talk, I’ve written in my journal and on random scraps of paper, and I’ve written some things in public, here on this blog. Only one person has advised me not to blog about this all—and yet I think that’s some damn good advice. Besides, how could I blog about it ALL? I’d be blogging all day, every day. How can I blog about everything, when I can’t even find time to live in the moment? It reminds me of that Stephen Wright deadpan joke about how he made a map of the U.S., at a scale of 1 foot = 1 foot. Life = life.

There are things that have happened since Oct. 12 that I really ought to not share, and I won’t. And I am trying to see with new eyes what appears here on Unvarnished.com, and what it means, and what it does, and what it’s for. But I will share a few thoughts and experiences, though, in order to capture them, and because… that’s what I do.

1) I have been trying really hard not to make cryptic tweets or Facebook status updates. I know people hate that crap (as do I!) , and yet I know I’ve done it a few times. I will explain here the most recent one, to atone for my sin: I said on Facebook simply, “What a difference a week makes” and several people thought that might mean something big.

But this wasn’t because anything external has changed. I have no news that really changes my state, status or situation. But I have had some nights and early mornings that have changed my own thought patterns. I am not stuck in a loop. I am making progress. I am different, in a week. We all can be.

2) People like to share advice, especially when asked, especially by someone who clearly could use it. Women and men alike do this with me, though the content differs. This advice-giving is good, because the advice is welcome, but I have learned it is not always applicable.

Advice seems best when it comes from someone who has experienced the same situation, and is often, but not always, good quality when it comes from someone who has had success at a similar problem, from that same starting point. And everyone has had success in some way, so I’ve been focussing on getting that sort of advice. And also in listening to myself.

3) Susie and I have shared the same hairdresser for years. This made getting my hair cut recently a remarkably difficult thing to face, and yet a very interesting thing to do. People say a lot to their hairdresser, and he knew Susie and I very well, at 6 week intervals.  My hair looks better now, too.

4) My instincts continue to be crap. It’s best, I have found, for me to come up with a plan, then make sure that others think also that it’s a good plan, and then stick to it even if I get the desire to modify it. Improvisation usually flubs me up.

5) I am incredibly fortunate to have such good friends spending time with me, talking things over with me, being there for me. Being able to talk to someone in person is incomparably better than any other contact.

6) Stage-wise and emotion-wise, I don’t think I’m in denial yet… ha! get it? ... and yet already there is sadness, anger, bargaining and acceptance piling up on the doorstep. It happens in a swirl, not a line.

7) I’ve finally lost those last 10 pounds and I fit into some pants I’ve been wanting to wear for a while. I say without sarcasm, that this is a good thing to have resulted from this.

8) While some have warned me that these separations can turn ugly, at this point, I have more compassion and love and concern inside me than anything else, and I think it’ll stay that way for quite some time, on both sides. I’m in no rush to do anything, and I’m not afraid.

9) Last observation: the impact this has had on the people around us is striking and scary and awful. This feels like a crevasse opening in a glacier, and all those who were roped to us now have some quick decisions to make regarding how to dig in and what to do with those ties—try to pull us out, or let one or both of us fall and get away from it themselves. I understand all reactions.

Anyway, I’m all about metaphors these days. I’m keeping a list. I’ll share it with you someday. On the blog.

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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