Into the Briar Patch

So much for synchronicity.  My Halloween trick came in the form for the latest buyers backing out on the house. After deep inspection, it seems the east wall needs signifigant work, which throws my moving plans completely up in  the air. I’m getting bids from contractors, the house goes back on the market, and the plans for the last call at the house go on hold. It’s likely I will have Thanksgiving here this year after all, although probably a bit subdued.

I think this may mark the end of the year of magical thinking. I’m actually grateful for that. I have been struggling to get myself back over the last few weeks,  slowly figuring out who I am again. One thing I have always been is a rational thinker,  and that has been all out of whack as I sought for some kind of sign, any kind of sign to make sense of the disaster. I need to stop looking for signs and start planning my way out.

Being rational doesn’t prevent you from believing in the power of things bigger than yourself, but it means I choose to place that faith in things that are more directly visible and active. I have always believed in the power of love and community,  first to help raise my family, and now to get me through this annus horribilis.

I’m in the final stretch of that year now.  A year ago we were in the hospital getting the horrible news, although by then I had already started to fear the worst. Halloween week was a real nightmare last year,  and I tried hard to keep busy this year to avoid remembering. Those last two weeks are the time I do not want to remember, and now we are into the final one.

Yesterday I managed to catch up with a Morris tour and spend some time with friends, then went to the Massachusetts/Maine hockey game with my Maine alumnus niece and her UMass alum husband, along with my goddaughter, the niece we always thought could have been one of our own. At dinner the talk turned to stories of good times they had with Barbara.  The stories keep getting told, and I’m not the only one telling them.

Tonight was practice for my singing group, and we were struggling a bit with  a new piece, particularly the sopranos. There was some concern that the line was too high, and I couldn’t help but think how she would have gone after that G, and not backed off. We always joked about how the sopranos and tenors had to stick together. Those are the times I want to remember, not that last week.

This next week, and this next year, I don’t need magic. I need the same things that get us all through crises: family, friends, and community. I have been fortunate to have all those, and I keep getting support from all corners.

It has taken a year to get through shock and disbelief to something like acceptance. Now I have to start letting go. As I looked back this week at my goals from earlier in the year, they all simply revolved about getting rid of negatives. I wanted to feel something, I wanted the pain to stop. Those are mere survival goals. But surviving has to be about more than existence with bearable pain.

At the end of Company in the final birthday party scene, Amy tells Bobby:

“Blow out your candles Robert, and make a wish. Want something Robert. Want something.”

I have a long list of things I don’t want. I have no idea what I want.

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