Spring Blooms

While not much of a gardener, I will always stop to talk to the flowers.

Grief on grief

Last year my long-term relationship evaporated overnight. While I can’t say there were no warning signs, they were certainly faint.

Silver linings from that have been similarly faint. But one upside has emerged in the wake of another painful loss — my mother, the other most important person in my life, died this fall. The warnings signs were louder this time, though the end was still very sudden.

Sadly, because of that earlier grief, I am more prepared for this one.

It doesn’t lessen this new pain, of course. How I wish it did! What it did do was show me how deep grief works so that I was not so surprised this time around. Surprised by how the early shock makes you think it might not be so bad. How the waves overtake you in small moments when the conscious mind lets go. How continuously exhausted you can be simply from feeling so much. How every time you think you’ve hit bottom you find out you were wrong and there’s farther to fall.

Having foreknowledge has helped me be steady on my feet so I can support my father, who is thoroughly surprised by all this. Less than two months in, it is only getting worse for him just as he thought it would be getting better. Yet for all my understanding I can’t fix any of this, for him or for me.

Expanding my mental map

Yesterday a friend was telling me how computer games only render the rooms we are in to save memory, and that our brains aren’t so different. When we encounter something different or enter a new space, we force our minds to redraw the world around us even if all we do is go for a walk.

These days my world is smaller than usual. On my way home from a hospital visit a few hours later — for circumstances that are a big factor in my shrinking sphere — I discovered an unexpected new route through the big green blank on the map.

This tight, winding road took me through charming neighborhoods dotted with quaint buildings from generations past. Past rows of old growth trees bending over the road, and moneyed estates mixed with ranches that serve as a reminder of what the land once was. And finally into the open lands near my home that I have never explored. I’ve been meaning to find out what was over that hill, but my curiosity has been overwhelmed by overwhelm.

This ride was absolutely joyous. I couldn’t stop smiling! It expanded my map, literally and figuratively, just when I needed it most. I could attribute this to sheer coincidence, getting a message I needed at the right time. But I know this was not happenstance, it was my mind at work finding connections and meaning out of new information. Still, serendipity was evident in the weather — a mix of fluff and darkness, a little blue and sun persisting, the rain and dusk coming on fast. That perfect mirror of my life could not have been conjured by me.