Tag Archives: sadness

Holiday weekend ennui

I drove my dad to the cemetery where our Beiser’s are buried. As you can see from the photograph of the headstone, there is an opening in that plot, in the ground below us. My father, “Norman,” has a space waiting for him next to his deceased wife (this is the woman he married after my mother and his divorce).

Here’s our conversation in front of the headstone:

Me: “Doesn’t it feel weird to see your name on a headstone?”
pause
“Do you believe–or hope–you’ll meet [his wife] at the end of the light?

Dad: “What I HOPE is that someone will have my date filled in!”

That’s our dry family wit.

But that’s not the end of my holiday weekend ennui. Ennui is a French word describing a feeling that combines tiredness and boredom. It’s more complex than this. Here’s my intuitive fastwrite of a post trying to get to the bottom of these holiday weekend sadnesses:

I am single. No children. Being a lesbian still makes me an outsider to much of the world in spite of all the gay news lately about same-sex marriage. I have no family, automatically in place, to spend a holiday weekend with. No grilling out with the grandkids, no movies to watch together, no hopping in the car for ice cream.

Now, in many ways I have chosen all this. I mean, some lesbians do have children and grandchildren. I’m not one. And I’m well aware that there’s a certain Norman Rockwell sort of insipid fuzzy gladness in these images.

So I need to create my own family, circle of intimates, friends. As a matter of fact, I did have an invitation to a lesbian party Sunday evening. But I spent the entire afternoon picking dad up fifteen miles away, driving to the Bevis Cemetery near my neighborhood, taking him back home, then driving myself back home. Sixty miles. I was happy to do this (especially happy I had the energy post-cardiac surgery). It meant, however, that I’d be too tired to drive to Lebanon later for the women’s gathering. So I missed out.

So there is usually this sense of something missing most holiday weekends.

Later I realized there were two events that happened past Memorial Day weekends: Only a few years ago, I had to have my handsome elkhound Bodhi put down. He could no longer walk plus he stopped eating. Spent the night on the living room floor, never getting up.

Last year, I spent two nights in Maine meeting a woman I’d met only online. We’d shared months’ worth of emails and took an online class together. We were both in our 60’s and (now I realize) wistful for a love partnership. If I tell you I changed my plane ticket to fly home a day early this will give you the ending. One year ago. Hope and illusion.

It may take a few more Memorial Day weekends to soften the memory of Bodhi and Ms. Maine. These memories are attached only to Memorial Day weekend. I know I am strong as well as sensitive. I’ll get through this, especially now that I am aware of it. The one thing I CAN do is invite people over. I don’t have a grill but I have a spectacular deck and backyard!

Vulnerable about death today

I check my cell phone early in the day. It’s a habit, to be sure. What could be so earth shattering on Facebook, after all, that couldn’t wait until after breakfast?

This morning as I scanned the new items, I noticed a photo of an elephant that seemed to have tears in its eyes. The caption said they remember horrible things that have happened. I started to cry. I didn’t click to find out more. I wasn’t ready for any details.

Then I decided I was tired and needed a relaxing break so I watched a dvd from the public library: Delhi-6: The Journey Within. With music by A. R. Rahman, it had to be good. But I chose it because “the story is told against the backdrop of the ancient walled city of Delhi who is a character in herself.” It was a moving story of a grandson accompanying his grandmother back to India where she wants to die. He has grown up in the U.S. so must learn the ways of his extended family in Old Delhi. Turns out his father was Muslim and his mother Hindu. So this forbidden marriage of his parents out of love is set up in the macrocosm of the Muslim-Hindu tensions in the neighborhood. It gets a little silly with a black monkey monster loose in the city and the media’s animated obsession with this unknown evil. By the resolution, Roshan (main character) realizes the town fool is correct: look in the mirror and you see the divine but there is also potential for the black monkey terrorist when anger and fear lurk.

I was crying by the end of the film. Roshan nearly died, and in fact, he did for a few minutes but regained consciousness. His love, who almost elopes with a boyfriend, realizes Roshan is the one and they will somehow surmount her father’s objections.

Realizing I’d been inside all day, I took the dogs a walk to the creek behind our house. We walked down the west field a bit, passed through high grass where the deer cut through, then reached the creek. I sensed something before I could focus. There was something large lying there on the side of the creek: a dead deer. Eyes still open, blood from the rear–my dogs seemed to take it in stride but me? Now a rush of tears.

What was it about today? I had to take a look at what was going on.

In last night’s writing group, we were reading from Brenda Ueland’s IF YOU WANT TO WRITE. Here is what stood out for me:

“He [William Blake] did not mind death in the least. He said that to him it was just like going into another room.” When it was my turn to check in, I shared this memory about my mother’s death in 2007:

You know when Steve Jobs died and his sister shared with the world that his last words were “Wow!” Well, I can’t believe I could have forgotten but I did. Fortunately, I had documented her last hour at hospice in a poem. Toward the end, my mother had said “Amazing!” I had been so afraid of death, the final mystery. In recent years with meditating and chanting with my local Siddha Yoga group, I had become less so. While I want to believe that death is like going into another room, intellectually is one thing and getting closer is quite another. I will be 64 next February and aging is a concern of mine. So is death evidently!

So when I cry for that dead deer, am I sad she died? For we all must. Am I projecting my own? After all, alone in a creek is better than dead in the road. It is not rational, this much I know. And the moon is not full and maybe I just have had too much time alone these past few days, time to reflect more deeply. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with crying. Doesn’t it mean I’m open? Being vulnerable is part of being human. I just didn’t know I’d wake up and feel so human today.

being with the sadness

This morning out in my backyard, alone, I started crying. “Bodhi, I’m so sorry. I couldn’t help it. There was nothing else to do,”

I was walking with a chant on my tablet, my anxious-lazy version of a walking meditation. On those stones, those many stones from Home Depot–was it two summers ago now? My mad idea of a zen rock garden.

I should call Sally. She’d understand. Do therapy again? But my answer was simple: just feel it, feel the sadness, I have to go through it.