Thursday, November 30, 2006

And one more thing...

I got an email yesterday. The subject line was the enthralling and enigmatic Decrepit Unbearable. A rock band? A tee shirt slogan? A manifesto?

Decrepit Unbearable. Two little words that say so much. The cosmos conspires.

Reports of my demise...

I'm still standing, in the words of that immortal wordsmith Elton John (or does Bernie Taupin write the words?), but find I have very little inspiration to write much. Writing used to make me feel better; now it just feels like more work, since I know that it's not actually going to fix any of the things that I don't like about my life. Before it was an outpouring, just like tears. I keep hoping to rekindle the habit, but it hasn't happened yet. Obviously.

There have been bright spots; I survived the first anniversary of my husband's death, although I am still fighting with the bank about getting our home transferred into my name. Of course his family failed to observe the date, but his closest friends--and mine--called and wrote to tell me they were thinking of him, and remembering him, and thinking of us. And many, many people let me cry--something I have found it hard to do of late. I've got more of the head-down-and-push-on-through quality of my midwestern forbearers than I might like. And I've surrounded myself almost entirely, if not by choice, with people for whom he is a narrative, not a memory. It's as if the tears can only be unleashed for and by those who knew him.

I survived my third-year/pre-tenure evaluation. I managed to snare a research grant (time off! to work!) for next academic year, and I have a reduced teaching load in the spring. Small, good things.

This weekend will be my daughter's 4th birthday, which we will celebrate by attending a local production of "The Nutcracker," followed by cake with 30 (! What am I, insane?!) of our nearest and dearest. Fortunately, it is a largely adult event, featuring a friend's excellent sangria.

I'd enjoy the day even more if I hadn't realized this evening that her father only got to share a single birthday with her--her second. She'd been with us for 10 months or so, and he died just before she turned three. Not long enough to cram in nearly enough memories, although we tried. She's been asking me lately if Papa is sick anymore. It's a bit of a philosophical conundrum; if I say no, he's not, she wants to know why he doesn't come back. If I try to be more "accurate"--that is, that death releases someone from sickness, then we're dangerously close to discussions about the afterlife that I am not prepared to have.

We went to visit "the grave" this weekend, with one of my husband's dearest childhood friends. She was the perfect companion--she shared a fondness for his irreverence, and, I confess, we got a bit rowdy in the mausoleum. She also understands the morbid irony of the situation; my husband once confessed that he'd "rather be in a box in the basement," an allusion to the "cremains" of various pets whom I couldn't bear to bury and so have kept in unceremonious semi-permanent catacombs among the Christmas ornaments, Goodwill donations, and patio furniture. So bankrupting myself to purchase a "site" he would have hated, all to comfort his father, who has told me he will "never" go there, was par for the course. And this friend has those knee-jerk answers to spiritual questions that all lapsed Catholics have; her answers to my daughter's questions were pat and convincing. Now if only she were around to answer the questions about "how the baby gets out of the woman's body." Time to brush up on my anatomy.

Do I get bonus points for warning the friend ahead of time that my name, too, is on the "crypt" or whatever-in-hell it's called, so she wouldn't be freaked out? I suppose it is a little weird, but the worst thing about death, it often seemed to me, is that one had to do it alone. I hated to send him on a journey I couldn't accompany him on (not that I had any desire to take it myself), and so putting our names together was my somewhat morbid gesture of companionship.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Hard to miss

I know I've been a bad, bad blogger; even my browser no longer automatically recognizes my blog URL.