Mixed Salad of Thoughts

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

temet nosce "know thyself"

It's interesting to me that as humans we are often tested on certain things over and over again, and other things (often times the things we would consider the most important) are rarely tested. And the odd twist of this is that the skills needed for passing these important tests are often neglected or never learned. We neglect the bits we don't use as often.

So while my abilities to demonstrate patience, kindness, generosity, and understanding might present themselves to me throughout the day over and over again, there are other qualities that I am not called upon to exercise for weeks, months or years at a time.

My grandfather's passing 3 and a half years ago was hard on me. He was the first person I really felt close to that passed. I cried in loss of the amazing man who would be with us no longer.

My father's passing July 1st was devastating, as I believe it is for almost anyone when they lose a parent. I'm torn sometimes now between deciding whether a sudden death like his is better, or the long struggle I've seen several friend's parents go through as they fight disease. Obviously this isn't really something to decide as none of us have a choice, but, having left things in a VERY good place with my Dad I have no...regrets (I almost said complaints, but that sounds absurd.)

My grandmother passed about 3 weeks after my dad and although I knew it was time and again was in a good place I found myself having a much harder time keeping it together at her funeral.

When I returned home from my grandmother's funeral I immediately had a need for family and activity. I called the Poseys. They were my adoptive grandparents here in Chicago. I arranged to meet them for dinner on a Friday, but when Friday came and I called there was no answer. I finally got a call that Mr. Posey had entered the hospital the night before. I went down to the hospital and had dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Posey and talked with them for several hours.

I tried calling Mrs. Posey a week later to hear how Mr. Posey's surgery had gone...she was near tears and said she couldn't talk. I called a mutual friend and asked if they found out anything to let me know. They called a few days later to let me know it was Mesothelioma and the prognosis wasn't good. I didn't hear from the Poseys for over a month. Finally I got a message on my answering machine saying Mr. Posey was home from the hospital if I wanted to visit. I put it off. I couldn't think about it without crying and didn't have the courage to go to visit.

I wept and wept through Mr. Posey's funeral. I couldn't stop myself. It was three funerals in one for me. I had to laugh that the thought that kept going through my head was "at least I'm at a funeral, so it's okay to cry."

Since I came home (to Chicago) in August--having spent most of July in Ohio with family-- I have kept busy. Really busy. I bought a hula hoop. I took African Dance classes. I went out five nights a week or more. I wrote a novel. I made new friends. I went on dates. I'm and extrovert, so I guess this is a reasonable way for me to cope, trying to be around people and new activities as much as possible. And I've read about death and grief and coping, and all of it says, essentially, "whatever you do, however you react is fine and normal".

But as much as I love people I also know myself and know that I'm pretty fiercely independent. I recognize feelings of loneliness in my grief. I recognize my desire to be around people has increased and thus the questioning of my motives.

There is no resolution to this post. I have no final answer. It's just thoughts...poured out on the page.