Friday, May 25, 2012

Joy and Sorrow are one thread

When I was learning my trade as a psychotherapist my first teacher, the very lovely and complicated Rod MacLean, told me that everybody who searched out a therapist was grieving. They were grieving a death, the loss of a partner, the collapse of a marriage, the loss of their sense of self as a parent, as an artist, as a provider...and so on.
Every day I think about this - what am I grieving today? What am I rejoicing in today? How are they different? What is important for me to remember?
Yesterday I came home to find a distraught partner. His mother is ill and it seems fairly clear that she won't make it through this one. She's a strong woman who grew up in a very tough environment but she's worn out. It is time for her to go. My 91 year old pal said to me yesterday that he wished Canada was more 'civilized' so he could go in front of a firing squad. I wondered at his choice for euthanasia but hey - what do I know? And my novel was rejected by an agent I had high hopes for. Meanwhile, today, I am at home - no clients or pressing deadlines. I'm cleaning this house - getting it ready to be shown. Preparing cheerfully for that loss. A friend who my partner is doing some work for phones me up to tell me that he'll be able to get into the house after ten tomorrow morning. I tell this friend that Ron may be flying to Labrador. We sigh and chat about it all for a bit. Both he and his wife have been through this - most of our friends have. I think that I wanted my fella to do some repairs here this weekend and the rooster needs to be done - yes, killed.  I don't want him to go without at least doing that because then I won't be able to get the eggs because that rooster has become incredibly mean - attacking anyone who comes near. It seems selfish and petty of me to want this at this time but there it is. I do. And we have a hen setting on four eggs that we foolishly - so foolishly both agree we want her to hatch. My partner's ex-wife phones me to ask how Ruby is - she's heard about her failing health. We talk for a while. She is getting married in June and wants a small antique ceramic bride and groom cake topper that I told her about. I tell her that the day after her wedding (the civil ceremony - she and her fiance are having a big hootenanny later in the summer) Ron and I will be celebrating our ten years together with a party - the last one we'll have in this house. We want her and her husband to come. We laugh about having a few minutes of the party to have an 'unwedding'. I like her and we've learned how to be together in our arrangement with ex's and kids and step-kids and so on. My eldest son phones - he was getting together with his younger brother in a week - a bunch of old friends going to Montreal to celebrate life - one of the friends has thrombosis and they have to change their plans. Maybe my youngest will come to the Maritimes for the weekend instead. Will I see him? Probably not. My eldest wants to take me to see his favourite musician this week - Tom Petty - am I interested? He has tickets in the eighth row. I am thrilled to go with him.
I hear the rooster crowing. I'm going upstairs now to start on the bathrooms. I have a box of borax and I think of going with my parents and siblings on a trip to California. We stop in Borax and see the 22 mule-train statue. I'll clean for a bit, work for a bit on my revision of The Rock Walker, send out another query for True, walk the dog and think about sorrow and joy.

16 comments:

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, Jan, I'm sending you a big bear hug. So much change, work, difficulty, complexity to cope with. I wish your sweetie patootie a very peaceful good-bye with his mother, if it comes to that. It really is much nicer to get to say good-bye when someone has lived a long, satisfying life that to face an illness too young or an unexpected accident.

So funny you get along with your sweetie's ex, but it makes sense--she was compatible with him at one point and you are now, so there has to be common ground. And it is FAR better for his kids that that's how it is. Have a GREAT anniversary! And chin up on the writing. It will all get there eventually.

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - I am so sorry to hear about your novel. That is a real sense of loss and you're wise to recognise that. I also hurt for your partner; losing one's parent is losing a part of one's life and that's awful, too. I've always thought that life really has to be a balance - yin and yang. For every sorrow something good, and for every bitter loss something new to experience. It's almost as though each is at the cost of the other. Make any sense? Lots of positivity being sent your way!!

Miriam Forster said...

*hugs*

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