Thursday, March 4, 2010

All By Myself

Yesterday I went to town for the first time all by myself.

The drive down the mountain was painful.

The day before I read a quote by CS Lewis. "No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in."

It was surprising how well he described me.

I got a cell phone. Ours had been broken for a few months and I hadn't wanted to replace it. We wanted to live without cell phones. I decided it might be a helpful tool for dealing with kid arrangements these days and in the future when we are doing separate farmer's markets.

I went to the auto shop and told them about my car. Apparently the spinning of wheels on ice and snow has thrown it out of balance and the steering wheel shakes when I drive. One of the members of our church has volunteered to have my vehicles repaired.

I went to the church and talked to the administrator who is coordinating help for me and will come help me sort out paperwork next week.

I met with a friend who has complete confidence in our ability to make a decent living here on the farm and wants to help with tweaking things to increase income flow. That conversation made me feel almost alive for an hour. Encouraged and excited to hear someone lay out ideas that I had been dreaming for the last several years. Encouraged that if someone else thinks we can make our life work, then maybe I am not merely being overconfident or foolish to think that we are perfectly situated to earn enough money through the bounty on this farm. Maybe we don't have to think that our only option is to sell out, move into an apartment and work in some closed in space.

I have no intention of selling and moving. That conversation fanned the flames of my tiny spark of hope.

I felt guilty for feeling positive and hopeful.

That evening I went to bed completely paralyzed by exhaustion. Read a few of my favorite Donald Hall poems. Scanned through one that is not my favorite. It is called "Afterlife."

"It was true, what he thought,
although pitiless. If he could say
now, "Jane has leukemia,"
he would feel such contentment."

Written not long after his wife Jane died of leukemia. I thought of all the troubles that troubled me before Philip's death. His health issues.

I cried.


Chris said...

I'm glad you are planning to stay where you are; I believe a usual caution is to try not to make any more major changes in your life for at least a year. Life has thrown you a big enough challenge without taking on any more than required.

You are a strong, intelligent, resourceful woman, by yourself and with your loving community at your side.

Thanks for posting honestly. Thanks for the poem. Know that we are with you in spirit.

Polly said...

I am reminded of Hall's poem "Summer Kitchen"--describing a simple dinner. "We ate, and talked, and went to bed/And slept. It was a miracle." The days are little miracles. And I too am glad for your honesty.

Jeff said...

I second Chris' comment. Don't make any big changes for one year. I don't know why, but you will feel lots better about your situation after one year passes. Also, pay attention to the 40th day after Philip's passing - that is a significant milestone, too, for some reason.