Saturday, December 29, 2007

goodbye is the only useful word

Today, I spent the day in silence. I've got to do this more often. It's no wonder I'm so scatterbrained and overwhelmed by the constant barrage of stimuli. The only sounds I heard all day were the vacuum cleaner, the sounds of the city outside my building (including a somewhat fascinating conversation between three men standing around and digging through the dumpster out back; I assume they were homeless, though they didn't look the part...whatever that means...and the dog with them looked happy and healthy), and the music that's almost always going in my head. It was - despite or maybe because of (or both) my chores for the day - nice.

Today, I spent much of my mental energy on a very close friendship that suddenly and, I suppose, inevitably - given the direction the relationship had taken over the past year - burst in an ugly and disturbing fashion, then imploded like a dying star. Quite literally. All that remains are echoes of the destruction, some scattered traces of what once was, and an unexpected hole in the universe where there was none before. I've been understandably sad and shaken since Tim's passing. I have no doubt I've led a charmed life to this point because I've never had to experience real grief until now. Unfortunately, the grieving process was pretty rudely interrupted by the aforementioned friendship-go-boom. I'm sure that had a lot to do with how badly I handled it; I hadn't even begun to decide how to sort through my emotions and begin the process of a life without the presence of my best buddy...the one constant during most of my adult life. Before I even knew what hit me, I'd already smacked into a new wall of trauma. Which, frankly, pisses me off. Tim should have been able to receive the full attention of my grieving. As the end of his life was approaching, I let him down. I know I did now, in hindsight...though, I know he'd never hold it against me. The least I could have done for him after his death was fully experience the pain I was rightfully due. But if nothing else, the one-two punch of dueling dramas was a reminder that we really have no control over anything in our least, not in the broader sense.

Today, I cleaned up the areas where the last physical residue of Tim's life remained in my home. I vacuumed and scrubbed and vacuumed and scrubbed the areas that needed the most attention. I cleaned out and wiped down the spot in my closet that was his refuge...truly the only place in his entire life that was his and his alone. He took to this spot the day we moved in. I rearranged stuff so that the whole shelf was his and put pillows there so he could have a cushy place to himself. He never had a space like this in the old apartment. As much as I tried to find or create a place for him where he could be comfortable and we would both know was his, I guess nothing just ever felt quite right to him. And it made me so happy that he'd finally found this spot for was honestly one of the things I've loved most about this place since moving in. It was already more our place than the old apartment ever was even after ten years. I'm sad that circumstances were such that he only got to enjoy that experience for such a brief time. But it will forever be his and I don't think I'll ever look at that space and not see him there. (I still direct a sad "goodbye" to his spot every day before I leave for work; I feel incomplete if I don't.)

Today, as I was cleaning and thinking and immersing myself in the silence, I came to the conclusion that the exploding-star demise of my friendship really wasn't anybody's fault. We're both to blame in that we failed (if we ever tried) to see how our respective past damages couldn't possibly ever be able to reconcile with one another. While we were so compatible in so many ways, our magnetics were such that a natural barrier was in place that would never allow us to lock together in a mutually beneficial way. Each person did what was necessary for the sake of survival and sanity. Once I came to this realization, it was obvious I have nothing for which to direct blame. Anger, perhaps...disappointment, certainly. It was ugly and acrimonious, but that's to be expected, everything taken into consideration. I feel forgiveness, which is the biggest shocker; I've never forgiven easily. But I do forgive. Hopefully, if I'm in need of being forgiven, myself, that can happen also. Maybe we can be friends again someday, though if that happens, it will not be a close friendship, I don't imagine. I know myself too well to see that as a possibility. But at least we won't be enemies. That, for me, is progress I don't think I'd have been capable of even months ago.

Today, among my last chores was to clean up the areas of my home in which Tim spent his final moments...the places near and in the kitchen where he moved in a continuous effort to escape the pain I didn't realize he was in: just inside to a spot around the corner from the outside door where he stumbled and basically collapsed (I thought I was witnessing more behavior as a result of the sudden blindness that had taken hold of him so quickly), and finally to the outside door of the kitchen, where he'd lapsed into seizures from which he'd never return. I have a good idea now of what he was experiencing in medical terms during those last moments, and also some theories as to what was going on with him that was misdiagnosed both by myself and by the people to whom I reached out for assistance. I felt like I was betraying him yet again by sanitizing my final moments with him in our home...those places where he lay dying without my having the slightest idea what was to come.

Today, I began the process of getting my home ready for what I hope will become my new companions. These new friends, if everything goes through properly, will arrive with their own damaged experiences. I hadn't planned to do so this quickly but, just like I didn't have any control over the circumstances leading to the recent departures in my life, I was presented with an opportunity to do something good for myself and these beautiful critters. I'm not ready to move on. But these animals I hope to adopt are ready now...and need comfort and sanctuary and love more than I ever have. One of the adoption representatives expressed to me the notion that this will be a beautiful tribute to Tim and his place in my life. I hope that's true. The last thing I would ever want to do is abandon his memory or be disrespectful to everything he contributed to my life. He gave me more than he'll ever know. I hope I can return the favor by helping some innocent, unfairly damaged new lives become comfortable and feel safe, loved and valued by becoming part of my life.

I always observed Tim's birthday on Christmas. I was pretty sure he was born some time in December, so why not give him the best day, right? Anyway, we never really did much together in celebration of the holiday...what with neither of us being the religious sort.

But my contribution to my family's Christmas tree decorations this year was a picture of my friend from his first Christmas when he and I were living with my folks. Everybody loved that he was there with us the only way he could be. And I loved feeling their affection for him.

Today was a good day. Thank you, Tim.

And a belated Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday. You'll never know how much you changed my life. I'll do everything I can to honor that and you...for as long as I'm capable.

"Like a break in the battle, was your part...
in the wretched life of a lonely heart"



Anonymous wendy said...

"...bring me to my knees
when i see what they've done to you"

I'm sorry.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I check in to see how you are ever so often...

I am so very sorry to hear about Tim. So sorry.

9:43 AM  
Blogger rama666 said...

Thank you for your thoughts, anonymous...

10:11 AM  

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