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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Secrets to a happy marriage? Vision...

A couple of ladies were discussing happy marriages in the elevator (we women can talk anywhere) and I overheard one say it's about communication.  The other objected and said its "totally about commitment".  My old rabbi used to say it's about attraction.  Can't communicate or commit to someone you aren't attracted to.  Well I can't speak for others and with one divorce under my belt can hardly take to the lecture circuit but I can say what has worked for me and Joseph and it's vision.  It's the curious way I look the other way when he's ten minutes late...everytime.  I have become an expert on the diverted glance away from the clock.  Okay so a few times I might tap my foot or sigh heavily but really, I am just releasing.  Kinda like an over inflated tire. 

When I wear his socks (okay I do but I can't help it...I just like them) and he brings it up, every freakin' time, almost as if he's irritated but not entirely...vision.  I remember when I was really sick, he put those very socks on my feet while I was sleeping.  I never told him I knew he did that but I recall it often.  He calls me a blanket hog and shares stories of him riding the edge of the mattress at night  as I take to the center of our king size bed as though I'm commandeering the SS Smith and yet, I know when the nights are cold, I can feel him covering me up.  I see that through the jokes...Vision.

The night I had my mastectomy surgery I woke to find him curled up in a chair, in the PAC U post surgical unit, asleep, after telling the nurse he wasn't leaving me regardless of hospital rules about post op.  I see that moment in my mind when he's scooting me over at night complaining about having no room.

So for me...it's vision.  It's being able to see those moments admist all the chaos that is our life.  It's never being crazy at the same time.  It's learning that hindsight isn't always 20/20 and wearing corrective marital lenses are as important as wedding bands...commitment is lovely, communcation is necessary and attraction is critical but in the end, if I can walk around in his socks and he can be ten minutes late and we may find that irritating beyond belief (and I do), I can close my eyes and see the guy who never lets me get cold and realize I am more at home than I have ever been and then I look the other way.


 

Monday, August 1, 2011

The art of death and dying...

At a shiva this week it was very hard to not let a friend's grief become a springboard for me to look at my own.  I mean, c'mon...how self absorbed could I be?  My friend Sue, while mourning the loss of her mom and offering such beautiful memories to share, had me wondering the very thing we likely all wonder...can they hear us?  I'd like to think they can.  I'd like to think the times I stop to recall those who are no longer here, "know" I am pausing in their honor...or do they just really prefer I move on down the road, letting them be?  It's nice to be thought of but how much is too much? 

I lost three babies...one at six weeks and two at 22 and 23 weeks.  Being a card carrying member of the miscarriage club isn't something I share often but it is a badge of courage for having survived it.  Once you have delivered a baby you aren't bringing home, the fabric of who you are permanently changes.  That baby takes a part of you with her and maybe at that moment, both of you agree to never speak of this again.  It took me a very long time to embrace those losses...to wonder...to demand an explanation...to go toe to toe with Gd and frankly, I never could.  I think he knows I'm still not speaking to him but on some level, I'm sure I will make my peace with it.  I may never.  I deserve to know why I was forced to give birth to two babies who were taken from me.  I just deserve to know.  But at the shiva, I couldn't help but wonder...

I lost a boy and a girl - the first baby was too early to tell.  I later delivered a boy and a girl.  Buddhist ideology would say they came back to me...I like that, it brings me some relief.  It doesn't replace the pain - hardly - it just makes a nice, neat bow with which to wrap up the two most traumatizing events in our lives.  If they aren't here with us and are somehow up, somewhere...maybe they will hear me when I say, I don't think of you because the pain is so immense I can't do it without losing my footing.  Maybe that's selfish.  Isn't that kind of what a shiva is?  For the one left behind?  Using my friend's grief as a way to reach out to my own losses felt wrong but as I go back over it in my mind, perhaps it gives me a way to reach my friend on a level playing field while also offering a backdoor window with which to peer in longingly at the souls who passed through my body and my life but left entirely too soon.

We aren't supposed to bury our children.  It's wrong.  Widows/ers are people who have lost their spouses, orphans are children who lost their parents...there are no words for parents who have lost their babies.  It's so unnatural, words have yet to define it. 

Perhaps I am touching upon the healing...perhaps I am still really angry...perhaps both.  In grief, if you do it right, comes awareness.  And through that awareness you embrace a newer model of you.