Jeans in the Closet--Socks in the Drawer

Seven months have passed and John’s still gone. This morning the half moon gleamed overhead and in the east a fiery dawn lit the clouds behind the mountains. I reflect now on how accurately Joan Didion described at least this part of grieving in her book, The Year of Magical Thinking. “John’s still gone” implies he will come back. “That the dead stay dead is a daily surprise,” says Jan Johnson in her book A Music No Longer Heard. Is this why his glasses are still on the dresser, his Lee Jeans hang washed and ready to wear in his closet, his socks are still in his sock drawer?

Is it really seven months I asked myself when I came back inside? I clicked them off on my fingers: April, May, …. Yes. Seven months. Then the thought: That I lost track of the months is actually a sign of progress. Widow-making is a slow process. The gestation period is slower than that for birth, and yet it is also a kind of birth into a new life. Some people tell me they hate the word, widow. I don’t mind it at all. It’s a very ancient word, going all the way back to the Sanskrit, vidhuh, meaning “lonely,” or “solitary.” It went on in close form to all the Sanskrit based languages right into the Latin viduus "bereft, void"), from base *weidh- "to separate" (cf. second element in L. di-videre "to divide." There’s a reality to the word that is hard to come by in day to day life. I mean, living it out is hard. But it’s a clean thing, pure. It’s a practice. It’s a kind of pregnancy during which I devote myself to giving birth to a new life.

But those 36/34 Lee Jeans still hang in the closet.

Nevertheless, I am re-creating myself and I can feel it. I changed my hair style this week. At first I did this because I dread styling salons which is why my hair grew so long for twenty years. John would trim the ends, and that was all. And now I’ve tired even of that trendy fashion I chose this summer. First, it requires a hair stylist. And besides, there’s too much blowing dry. Too much curling iron. I’m putting it back in a clip instead. At lunch yesterday my friend, Lynn, approved. “You look like a writer,” she said, “and those dangly earrings complete the image.” OK. That’s real.

And I’m writing a new novel. It’s a story I thought I might write if ever I found myself alone. Well…. AND during Advent I’m giving a talk at a church in Ashland, “Advent Contemplation: Prayer in Times of Darkness and Uncertainty.” Maybe in the future I will give workshops again--maybe even resume the practice of spiritual guidance I formerly did in Minnesota. Lynn and I have some ideas for projects we might do together.

I woke up this morning with thoughts of making a sign to hang at the entrance to the drive. Those artists/potters on the way up to Applegate Lake have a sign-- “Hummingbird House.” I could have one too. Maybe it will say “Sunshine Hill.”


Unknown said…
Hi Sweetie,
I've been so lax about "comments"!!
But, I have read every one, some more than once...and as always, enjoyed "reading" your mind. I look forward to reading more.

Two days after your published this one, I fell on our basement stairs and did some damage to my knee.

I think I'll save the rest for an e-mail; but I just wanted you to know that I read your blogs, and love I do everything you write.

Love you, too.
What a joy to find you blogging Christin. I am going to add you to my blog roll.
Helen said…
Hello lovely woman,
One day, months ago, I thought of you and wondered if any of the books I had that you had written might be helpful in dealing with the death of our dear son-in-law, Tim. He died a year ago at the age of 43 by suicide. He left our lovely daughter, Annette and beautiful granddaughter, Ruby, age 7.
I looked up your name and found your blog. It was a gift and I have read it often to find in your experiences of the death of your dearest John, that our thoughts and feelings and our Annette's are similar to others. It always helps for someone else to name these and know we are one in spirit with our sisters.
I was so sad to hear of your loss and think of you often, hoping you are finding your way, once again, to renewed life energy.
Thank you for sharing. I have shared this site with Annette. It will be a year ago Nov. 2nd that we lost Tim. We hurt so much-you know.

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