I wanted to get away and carved out the time after Thanksgiving to do it. At first I was headed to Arcata but there was also an opportunity to go with a friend who was driving down to help another friend who had broken four of her fingers in a fall. Both places had the advantage of beaches and friends but the disadvantage of a rainy forecast. Santa Cruz won out by a slim margin and there were strong rays of light and good times that made it well worth going.
Jane “lost” Jim three years ago, Mathilde “lost” Doug eight years ago, you know about me and Marge “lost” Steve two years ago. We are different stages with our individual losses and a lot of it seems to pivot around the conditions of our dear-ones’ dying. We shared those stories and listened and felt into each others emotional states which seemed to vary with our individual temperaments.
A friend of Jane’s came by one afternoon and that woman’s husband is dying a very difficult death with ALS– he is having a lot of trouble breathing and it is very hard on her too. She said with the frustration and resignation and pain of what they are going through, “well, guess I’ll be joining your club soon.” What a difficult initiation one passes through to join this club– like hazing…it shouldn’t be allowed but here we are smiling and managing on.
Marge and Jane go way back, just like Mathilde and I do, but Jane’s broken fingers amplified her loss because she is also having such a rough time caring for even her most simple needs. A lot of what came up for us was about aging and the vulnerabilities we face with being alone. It was good to talk about but really there are no answers or assurances for any of us.
And after four days of looking at pictures of Michael in the “Gallery” of my cell phone at every quiet moment we left beautiful Santa Cruz this morning in sometimes blinding rain to arrive home to sodden conditions here at home too. Despite the good company, in the silence of catching up on email, facebook and laundry I feel comfort flood back into myself for my own process and the quiet accompaniment of the rain.