Most days I go along with a full schedule and see a calendar with lots of future events and appointments, but every once in awhile in the midst of what appears to me–and others–to be an incredibly busy and satisfying life (sans the presence of L everyone is quick to add) I find myself wondering if this isn’t just some role I’m playing. I have a masters in Theater and am not a bad actress–life has given me plenty of opportunities to rehearse. Is this all just another performance staged for the comfort and benefit of friends and family? I often brush aside compliments about how amazingly well I have handled life without L by saying that I honor his memory by living the full life he wanted for me…and that is in fact true. It is what gets me up in the morning and it’s what keeps me from saying “no” as often as I would usually want to. But there is a part of me that doesn’t truly buy into that.
Recently I was on an airplane on my way to a writer’s conference. I had a good deal to be excited about–a new book deal with a publisher I have been trying to connect with for years, a chance to meet in person with my agent who has also become a dear friend, a chance to visit a city I’ve heard good things about but never visited before. LOTS of good stuff. And yet on that plane ride out of the blue I found myself wondering, “So what?” It is those times that are the worst–those times that creep up on me in silence and then explode across my mind. It is those times that I have no answer for what meaning life has without L in it. It is those times that I know that friends and family and success in my chosen career and meeting new people and having new adventures are my way of putting one foot in front of the other day in and night out.
I am a little over two years into this now and I will proudly and readily admit that I have made incredible positive strides forward in all facets of my life but the bottom line is that I still can’t believe he’s not coming through the door or waiting for my call to hear all about my adventures when I travel or whipping up a batch of his infamous salmon patties to serve me a proper dinner when I get home. When I started this blog I was determined to be completely honest–the good, the bad, the ugly–because it’s all part of the process and my guess is that allowing myself to feel the bad and the ugly is every bit as important in making my way through this as celebrating the good is. So (as my former agent used to say) “Onward!” And as L always said, “It is what it is” and so I go with that.
My decision to move into the city (rather than continue living in the ‘burbs where L and I spent most of our married life) has turned out to be one of the better decisions I have made. From my 6th floor apartment that overlooks a main downtown street plus Lake Michigan I am audience for a passing parade of quirky events that make me smile or raise my curiosity or inspire my creativity. This weekend along I have witnessed the annual ritual that comes with people saving their spots for watching the major fireworks display. Overnight the grassy area across from my building was checker boarded with strips of yellow “caution” tape marking out squares of prime real estate for the viewing that would not happen for another 48 hrs. No one seemed to feel the need to stand guard over their claims and as far as I know no one violated a neighbor’s space by moving the borderlines.
Two nights later I watched in awe as the fireworks display played out. As it turned out I have a front row center viewing spot right from my window. I suspect L had something to do with this since he knows how I love fireworks!!! And then the following morning I took a walk through what just 12 hrs earlier had been “tent” city and saw that although there were some who had left their trash strewn about for the city workers to clean up, a lot of folks had made a real effort in spite of overflowing trash barrels to clean up their space. AND to my total amazement by mid-afternoon thanks to city workers who started at five in the morning everything was back to the beautiful green space that is my daily view from my window.
In the arena of “quirky” there was the morning I was awakened at five or so by somebody playing a beautiful saxophone solo just below my bedroom window and the end of that same day when I fell asleep to the strains of a truly wonderful dance band playing for a wedding reception in the restaurant on the first floor of this building. A few nights later I heard a curious sound around 10:30 at night and looked out my window to see a ‘cherrypicker’ and window washers washing the windows on the building across the street. All of these things might have been annoying to others but for me they were cause for a smile…and smiles were what L wanted for me. I wonder though if he’s also responsible for the spiders who weave their webs on the screens of my windows–there are five of them now–each occupying a different window–each weaving its own intricate pattern. It reminds me of the life I am slowly but surely weaving together now that L is with me only in spirit. It makes me smile because I know that somewhere he is really pleased with how I am coping.