Champions Of Love
Happy Birthday to me.
Today is the most sad birthday I’ve ever had but I refuse to “be” sad. It’s different since Sally died. I’m differently motivated. It’s a completely new experience for me, of course, but I mean in myself, in how I’m experiencing myself experiencing Sally no longer being here, with me and Jake, ever. So much of myself wants to be sad, I don’t know how else to put it. It’s familiar, comforting in a way that I never understood before she died, but I think she always understood, probably everyone understands when you’re looking outside yourself. I think it’s so much easier that way, to look outside yourself, see yourself in the world in front of you and then mistake it for the person your looking at. I think that’s what we do, I think it’s really the only thing that we do.
When I say I want to “be” sad, it means I want to suffer, I want the world to suffer with me. I want everyone to “be” sad, I want everyone to feel the pain I feel for her, for me. There’s a real and definite thought that if I am sad enough, if everyone is just sad enough, maybe, somehow, there would be enough sadness to cancel out the reality that she’s gone forever. I know this isn’t true and can’t happen, but I feel it’s true and maybe, just maybe…
I also want to “be” sad because I feel so sad, I feel such a depth of absence, a ripping away of something that was whole and all of a sudden is not just blown apart, it’s just not there anymore, it’s gone, forever. It’s like my logic and my rationality has not caught up with my reality. She’s still with me, talking to me, in the air I breath like the thoughts I think, everything is wrapped up like yarn and stuffed into the basket of my mind…except the basket isn’t real, the yarn isn’t real, it’s not even there. But it is. And so it’s like a constant, low vibration of loss that I tell myself I can’t shake, but of course that is a lie as well…that I tell myself…I can’t shake this. There is nothing to “can’t shake”. There is nothing there and yet my mind and my spirit and my soul all looking around for her, looking around, looking around…we know she’s there, we know we will find her because we always have. But we will not find her. And this is my sadness and I want it to shelter me and hold me in my irrationality because at least there, I hold her, I hold what’s left of her in me. This is why I want to become my sadness.
This, this is also when the miracle comes.
When I don’t hear her voice but I sense her spirit. That’s what it is, a sense, there’s no order or signal, I become lightened. I feel my sadness and I become lightened and the miracle is that these two things can exist together. I have achieved this miracle with Sally because we earned this level of intimacy with each other through extreme pain and perseverance. I didn’t know any of this before and I’m heartbroken that I don’t get to share it in the way I want to, holding hands with her, looking into her eyes and touching her softest skin. I am heartbroken about that, as I should be, as she is. But I am lightened. I sense her joy and my own joy at knowing that sadness is not the answer but just a passage, a sea that we will always travel and that learning is knowing that you are not the sea but that you travel, full of life, full of everything you’ve ever wanted, upon it.
But this is not the only miracle I have with Sally. I have another miracle of our doing named James-Arthur, who is the result of us and of all the us before and before and before and before, back to the beginning. Every child, you see, is the tip of humanity, the very spear that humanity puts forth to venture out onto that sea of sadness. Every child is the result of all of us who have ever existed and they are all we have. This is a story for another time soon. For now, James-Arthur is our miracle and when I think of “being” sad, I think of him, I think “would I want him to ‘be’ sad? Would I want him so sink into the sea of sadness unable, unwilling, unknowing to climb above and build his ship to ride it? Would I want that for him”?
The answer is easy. And so I must find another way, as Sally most always tried to find another way when her life’s journey came into direct contact with his (which was almost always). So then I have to find another way and I must find another way because the sea threatens and beckons, beckons and threatens to me, it calls me down into it’s dark, blank depths. It wants me and I want to go there, I want to be consumed perhaps consumed out of existence, out of pain…perhaps I can get back to her that way. The sea…it beckons.
That is what it means to me to “be” sad. It means I become the sea, I become lost and eventually devolve into black water and, myself, become the beckoner. Sally doesn’t want this. I do not want this for my son, Sally would not want this for her son or for anyone and my loyalty to her motherhood of my son will not allow me to falter in this. In fact my loyalty to her motherhood of my son is the strongest loyalty and the foundation for everything that we had and have together. I will not falter. And I know she knows this. And I am stronger than I have ever been in this. And I am destroyed in my heart with the circumstance around this.
So instead of “being” sad, I carry my sadness, like a sailor carries the sea. When I am far from the sea, the sea is with me in my heart and my legs and all of my soul. When I ride upon the sea I am thrown and struck down and soaked and nearly drowned at times and tossed and eaten and spit out…and perhaps even…as every sailor knows, I am set adrift, in the doldrums, sails luffing and I, loafing, sunburned and chapped and weather worn, directionless except to know that I am alone, desolate and completely stopped on the sea of my pain.
But then there are times when the wind is steady, the sun setting, or rising, perhaps a moon and stars night (my love) where all life is perfection, all slots line up and the I am in the sublimity of life. These times, when the waters are come and with me and everything is perfect is when my pain is the greatest and it is when I love her the most, it is when I feel love so fiercely, joy so explosively, gratitude so clearly. These are the times when I know Sally’s grace, the times when I know my love and when, beyond all order or reason or explanation, I am her and she is me, I am with her, dead and she is with me alive and life is about pain and there is nothing wrong with that. And so today, on my 53 birthday I honor Sally and the family we created by not becoming my pain, but carrying it with me when I am not riding on it’s waters. I am heartbroken today, baby. I know you know it and I am so sorry you are not here with your boys and we love you and ache for you so much. But you are inside of us and we will not falter with our joy and we will not falter with our love and we will not falter with the pain we feel. We are you and you are us and we will live our lives with the heartbreak of your loss as champions of love.