We have not failed if all we’ve done is fail to live up to an unrealistic expectation of our own, or someone else’s.
We have not failed if we were useful.
To someone, somehow, we were useful.
Fetch, and carry.
And then it is over.
It just is.
He is no more. Anger offers no solution or resolve.
Loss comes in so many forms. And in that I don’t mean throwing out a shirt that got stained or wasted long before its useful life ended. I know that’s a stupid metaphor because – as my friends know, there is nothing I treasure more than ratty old comfortable shirts with stained fronts and puppy-tooth nipped sleeves, but I digress …
I mean something tossed out because it was no longer relevant – and people who die and are gone so swiftly – that it is hard to understand their relevance when the world goes on about its business so easily, as if nothing happened, as if nothing is different.
It is stunning, it is reality we all know – but wrapping our head around reality has little to do with logic or intelligence. I know because I am logical and I am intelligent, but I can’t easily make sense of this.
Of course I am writing about the loss of Gary, but I could as easily be writing about any other name in the newspaper who perished yesterday, or someone who has just gone away from my life or from yours – that kind of loss feels no less empty, but there – in that then there is hope. When someone is gone, died, dead, forever in the state of ‘no longer there’, there is no hope of recovery or return, no hope of resolution of a problem, no chance of making a peace, no understanding to be found.
My readers indulge me, for which I am so grateful.
If they didn’t, what would I do with this?
Where would I put this energy, where could I park my outrage, how could I store my disappointment?
If there is a point to loss – it eludes. It may not elude everyone, but it eludes me. What is the point of pain and sadness when no happy resolution exists?
I ask this – not expecting there is anyone who can answer but me – and since I don’t have an answer, I ask it out loud as if that might produce an answer. It does not.
Recent days – as scheduling luck would have it – my dad has had a number of appointments for one ailment or another. Yesterday was an ultrasound on his legs, today is at the cardiac clinic, tomorrow the eye doctor, next week the vascular surgeon. I remember so vividly – each time I see him, drive him, sit in a doctor’s office with him, that these precious times are not for wasting. They are times for appreciating that I get to do them – that I have no siblings to share that load with me or to share those tasks with me.
I am useful to him. And he is useful to me – because without him having those needs, I would not be doing what I am doing. Without his needs, how could I be useful to him?
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: -1C / 30F, overcast, snow predicted, rising temperature predicted too – should be an interesting weather day; Gusta is feeling frisky/spring-like, so I’ll trust her forecast!
Don't know about your neck of the woods but here in Texas we have fire ant hills. Fire ants are nasty little creatures that bite you and the place where they bite feels like it is on fire. While landscaping professionally I was often confronted with the task of clearing an ant hill or two from a garden I maintained. Since I was an organic landscaper chemicals were out of the question. I found a very ingenious way to rid the property of them by scattering quick grits around the hill in the evening. The ants would come out, gather up the grits, and then go back down the hill to share with the queen. They would eat the grits and literally explode. It worked and I got a morbid pleasure out of visualizing their demise. Don't know why I shared this story except that it reminded me of the many fire ants I was responsible for taking out. Toodles, GW, soon to be Bon Wier, Tx.
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