Because of the late rains, the oak leaves still shine and look new as they did in May. The grasses have not survived the several weeks of sunshine so well, though, and bend in burnt gold around the dusty green of star thistle. The grass, which I am watering, looks to have grown to mower-length over night, and if I were not caught in a writing mood, I'd mow it before this afternoon's 90 degree temperatures have me closing all my windows, turning on my fans, and huddling in the living room easy chair to read the book Sandra S. recommended, Manuscript Makeover.
The simple fact that I am primed for this work is evidence to me that at almost three months since John's passing, I have entered a new stage of grieving. "The two of you shall be one body," we were told in the wedding ceremony. So what do you do when half your body dies? At first I didn't realize half my own body had died because I was completely focused on John's physical absence, whole and entire. Recently, though, every part of me feels that something is missing -- missing in my skin, my mind, my emotions, my thoughts. I had no idea how completely we'd weaved ourselves together. Barely realizing what I was doing, I began to behave like John; attempting to resurrect him, maybe? It went well for a while: mowing the yard, fixing stuff in my less than competent way. Nothing of me would do what was characteristic of me but only those things I counted upon John to do. But for a few weeks now there've been changes going on.
Something is stirring in me--something kept green by the late rains. Something hidden deep in my earth is pulling apart, getting ready to break though the dark soil. This beginning emergence is not without stress, as when one cell divides, pulling against itself the way it does, the nucleus stretching, popping apart. How does it survive its division of essence? How do you unweave all that has been woven? I didn't think it would come to this. I resist the fraying of the threads. I want the pattern to hold. But the pattern will change, says my mind. The pattern must change if you ever plan to join your beloved John. He's changing. Let the transformation occur. Let go of the past. Let go of your past self. "Behold," says the Christ, "I make all things new."
Last night until three in the morning I mourned this letting go. I am too weak for this, I told both John and God. "My strength is made perfect in your weakness," clarioned the Word within my mind. "ok" I responded in a tiny three-o'clock voice. "OK, then."
Know what you are, said Father Liam at Mass yesterday. The truth is, we are of this earth, of the humus, humble. That's the truth. Let not your reach exceed your grasp, says the old wisdom. When John died my whole being divided, became unwoven, pliant, liquid, fallow ground...all the metaphors for being that awaits new form. I will have moments of reaching towards the past, of trying to recreate it, of longing for this moment or that moment to return and confirm that who I was with John is what I will always be. But then I must bow down, because the past is gone, and John is out ahead of me. In each moment now, I am made new. Little hints are everywhere if I am willing to examine them. The new ideas for revising old manuscripts is a particularly powerful one. Then there's my tendency to walk around the house singing one of John's favorite old songs: We'll sing in the sunshine/We'll laugh every day./We'll sing in the sunshine,/Then I'll be on my way.