State of the Mind, September 2018
"Where'd you go, Bernadette?" is one of my favorite books. It takes place in a residential area of Seattle where a famous architect, Bernadette, is trying to assimilate into the domesticated lifestyle of her neighbors after her daughter survived a major medical scare. She has abandoned her passion, redesigning unconventional spaces into incredible, artistic homes. And she has taken up full time motherhood, except that she's no good at it, really. Everything frightens her and she seems to be getting worse the harder she tries. Finally she disappears to Antarctica and then later emerges after rediscovering her true self.
"Where'd you go?" is a question all the characters ask her, both literally and metaphorically. At a turning point she receives a sharply worded letter from an old friend. "You've stopped working?! Bernadettle, if you don't create, you will die."
Or something like that. It's a great book.
It came back to me while I was running 200's during a CrossFit workout yesterday. (Is that a lame sentence? It's the truth, but perhaps a bit gratuitous?)
'Where did you go?' I was thinking. When you stop creating, stop following your passion, and throw yourself into something else entirely...where does the "you" go? How do you get it back? What if you can't?
A few days ago I opened my closet and felt a cold kind of darkness come up. "The lights are going out," I said, out loud, to my clothes. It was very ominous. If I were in a movie, the soundtrack would have changed just then. A slight key change, I think. (I'm not a musician.)
I'm not going to disappear to Antarctica. I haven't disappeared. I'm still running 200's for goodness sake. But I don't write as much. And I feel ... different. Sadder.
One year ago I was in a different place than I am now. Life was not perfect but my husband was alive. And after September 25, 2018, I will have lived one year without him. I will have one year of memories without him. It will be our second Christmas, our second set of birthdays, our second seasons without our Jake.
I remember four days after he died, I was hesitant to take any pictures on my phone because it would put more pictures between the ones I had with him, and the ones without him. I hated each day that passed, putting more time between our existences. When I hit the two-week mark, it was the longest I'd ever been away from him. In fact, it doubled our previous record. Sometimes I would look around the house, or over at his side of the bed and ask, where did you go?
Had I been a military wife, would I have been more prepared for all this time without him? Had I ever let myself sleep in another bed for more than a day or two, would all this have been so hard?
Or was I wise to get every day and night, and every moment that I could get with him?
Nothing prepares you for this. And this month, this time right now is particularly dark for me. I know it is for others too. I feel myself slipping a little. I'm not going to disappear. I wrote this, after all. (And so far it's going extremely well, I'm sobbing over my keyboard. Progress, folks.)
And I'm doing all the other things I'm supposed to do. Therapy. Self care. Asking for help.
But he's still gone. On Tuesday at 5:57pm, that's when he died. That's a bit much to accept. So... it's a little dark here.