To my LJ friends:
I've recently moved the journal which I've kept here, off and on for 14 years, to Dreamwidth.
My Dreamwidth ID is ThisNewDay and I've set up my account so that all of you have access, should you choose to find me there.
I'll be maintaining my LJ account and will check back with all of you, from time to time, but will be making my new entries at DW.
My thanks to all of you. It's been great, but it's that time...
Those in mourning soon become aware that there are ambushes all around us. Things which unexpectedly trigger emotional responses. And because they're "ambushes," they can occur at times and in places where they're socially awkward or otherwise difficult to deal with.
For whatever reason, this day has been full of them. And it's a day that's only half over, at that, a day during which I'm expected by others to be out and about, doing "normal" family things and conducting necessary personal business.
A few minutes ago, I finished my P/T routine and went downstairs to change back into my street clothes. As I was changing, I thought that maybe I'd pull out the old recipe cards and make something for dinner, that I knew my grandson and his little tag-along half sister would eat, and invite them to come over before his soccer training at Pine Grove tonight.
So I got out the recipe cards, which had been rescued from the house on Mooney Ave, and began looking through them to find something quick, simple and, for the kids, palatable.
As I was going through them, I found the recipe for an Italian pasta salad that she especially liked and that I used to make occasionally for her to take to work. And always with fresh Italian bread from the Tops market over in Eastwood where they used to bake it on-premises.
And I found myself having to close my eyes, very tightly, at the memory and the thought of it. With the wondering if she knew that this was one of the ways that I tried to let her know that I still cared about her, even though we were living virtually separate lives in the same house. Had, in fact, been doing so for many years.
After a few minutes, I opened my eyes and focused again on the recipe cards, thinking that I'd be all right. And then, near the bottom of the stack where it had lingered undisturbed for those same immeasurable years, I found the recipe she'd always made, that everyone had loved, from back in the day when she was still genuinely engaged in our life as a family.
And that was where I had to stop. Sitting alone as I was in this house where it had been the fervent hope, of all of us who'd tried to save her, that this would be the place where our lives would reconnect, just as our hearts and minds and bodies had joined in the epic battle to keep her alive for that hoped-for second chance.
And so I got up and walked out of the room and tried once more to turn my back, not on her or on those hopes we'd all once had, but on the sorrow which lies so near the surface of this struggle to start a new life...
These journal entries are beginning to feel like so many nameless, numberless markers of the days since she passed from this life into the next.
There are only so many that can fit on the page before, one by one, they begin to disappear. Receding into whatever space it is, whatever infinite realm our souls occupy, when we're no longer here.
It is the count which begins when those who've departed are no longer visible to us but are remembered, at those odd times and unexpected places, in our tears...
Yesterday, for the most part, I felt no ill effects from my re-entry into the world of personal fitness, though one might wonder if such a lack of noticeable effect might mean that there WAS no effect.
Not to worry. When I revisited my routine, late yesterday afternoon, and began replicating the routine that I'd performed the day before, I felt the pain. Especially in the core, where many of the exercises are focused, but also in the left knee, the other focus of my personally-tailored workout.
Not that the pain was all that intense, or felt over a wide range of motion. Just, you know, the momentarily sharp presence of those lactic acid crystals caught between the muscle fibers as they attempted to slide smoothly past one another, the lactic acid, which the body sends to lubricate, now hardened and formed in place because it was not carried off during in a sufficient cool-down routine the day before. I think the technical term for this condition is "the owies."
Anyway, it got a little better as the routine progressed and I did reduce the number of reps in every set as planned and commited the revised workout to the digital format on my thumb drive, mem stick, whatever.
This morning, I'm actually a little more sore with normal movement but it's a feeling which, over the years, I've been used to having as I've periodically stopped and later re-started my life-long and ever-evolving fitness program. So I actually take it as a sign that I'm on the right track in what I'm doing. Nothing severe, but it's there.
Now, I just have to get the rest of my life similarly focused and on-track. You know the intellectual, spiritual, emotional part that lives within this apparatus of nerves and muscle and bone. The processes, aside from the physical ones, which drive us through our days and perhaps help us to evolve towards our more perfect selves...
After several months of saying how I needed to get back into my daily fitness routine, I finally did it. As in, I just finished a few minutes ago.
Now, to be sure, this IS your father's Buick, for anyone familiar with that 'seventies-vintage car ad. Or, in this case, your grandfather's fitness routine. With adaptations scripted by licensed physical therapists to accomodate several back injuries, a lower back surgery, and lastly, an arthroscopic knee repair.
On top of which, I no longer have ready access to the aging but pro-quality treadmill that's still in the basement of the old house in Eastwood. Which means I don't really have an aerobic component to my workout yet.
And finally, I discovered during this "first workout of the rest of my life," that a few things were gonna have to be scaled back a bit from when I last did this routine several months ago. Although, if that were not the case, it would mean that what I'd been doing had not been challenging or effective and would likely do me no good in the future.
So, I'm gonna sit down now, get out the thumb drive where the digital copy of my routine lives, and make the necessary changes. And, on my next trip over to Eastwood, I'll probably retrieve my curling bar and some of the plates because I like that better than the individual dumbells that I'd bought before life went all helter-skelter on me for the third or fourth time this year.
Anyway, I'm off to do that and looking forward to more of the same tomorrow...
It had been, he thought, as he arose from the ashes of the days and weeks and months which had been shared and suffered between them, a purgation by fire.
One which, if one lived through it, could leave one changed forever.
And that, he decided, is what he would believe for both of them.
That is what he would carry with him, to heal and sustain him, in whatever days and weeks and years might follow...
In the dream, she was like a picture that he might've seen in a family album from many years ago. A picture from the days when that amazing light still lived in her eyes so that, when she came into a room, it seemed like no one else was even there.
Except that now her presence came as a surprise, as if in a picture mailed to him by someone in the family whom he hadn't seen in years. Found by them in an envelope of old photographs that he hadn't remembered being taken. So that when he'd opened it, there was the picture and she was in it and there was the light.
And now she was looking at him with those eyes and smiling that young smile and talking to him and asking him to do something which she knew full well that he wouldn't want to do. But which he'd do anyway because it was for her and she was asking.
They were standing in the small house that had been put together just for them. And she could see, as she spoke, the sudden breath that he'd taken in and how the joy had vanished from his eyes.
But she still smiled and looked at him and said, "You knew that this was how I was when we first met. You knew that this was what I'd choose to do."
And he was thinking, "Yes, that's true. I knew it and loved you anyway, tried to be with you as you drifted farther and farther away until you were hardly there at all and the lovely light was mostly gone."
And she was watching him and knew what he was thinking and shook her head affirmatively when he was finally able to say, "But we talked about this and said it would be different, once we came here, and you agreed."
And as he said this, she was shaking her head that, yes, she knew. And yes, it could still be that way but she was still asking him to do this, now, and did so knowing that he couldn't refuse.
And even as she acknowledged their understanding, he knew that this was the end of it. That this was how they'd feared that it might be. Even if they'd managed, against the fading hope, to save her life.
Because all of them had said, had hoped she understood, that what they were doing was for her and not for themselves. That afterwards the choices would once more be her own.
And then the dream ended. And he awoke to face the sadness of all the plans that would never come to be. The ones which he and she and all of them had known might not have worked out, anyway...
Just finished installing the washer and dryer which I had brought over from the old place in Eastwood. Actually had the washer in yesterday and even did a load of clothes in anticipation of the dryer being finished the same day. But had a problem with the gas hookup due to the sub-par setup left behind by the previous occupants.
As usual, noticed other things I didn't like as I was figuring out how to upgrade the gas hookup and added some time and expense by changing the vent setup as well. I also did a self-install of Verizon FiOS cable and internet over the weekend so I now have TV and internet.
My daughter always seems surprised when I say I'm gonna do these things myself and then looks shocked when they turn out right. I mean, I know she wasn't around whe I was working as a Class II Engineer in a 250 room hotel. But c'mon, lol, I'm just old and beaten up, not useless.
Thing is, it's still really difficult, at that moment when a project comes to its end, and I feel compelled to say, out loud to these empty rooms, "I always thought that I'd be doing this for you..."
As a postscript to "The Valentine," I'd like to extend my dedication of this story to all of us who've lost someone we've cared about, someone whose place in this life will never be filled, regardless of what may someday come to us, in poetry of words or melody of song or even in new love which may, in that future moment, capture our hearts...