Fortunately, I had a couple of good days following a couple of bad ones. I guess this is the ride I’m on. I never asked to be on this particular ride. Didn’t purchase a ticket. But here I am. I am hopeful that more good days will come my way.
Last night taking down the Christmas tree, it was the ornaments we bought together that gripped me. Choked me. I had been in a great mood only moments before. Suddenly I’m slipping down that slope and I can’t seem to hold onto anything to curtail my decent. So I slip into the dark and wait to break through the surface. The break came later in the evening but left me exhausted. Just thinking about it in this moment, I feel the heaviness welling up in my chest. It’s physical. So I breathe.
I head into each day with hope for the future. I really do. Some days I keep myself busy and productive with matters of the house, writing, exercise, snuggling Daisy and seeking ways to feed my soul. At sixty, I know myself well enough to understand that being idle will only lead to a path of overwhelming sadness. I don’t want that for myself. Paul wouldn’t want that for me. He was worried about me before he died. I told him I’d be alright and I must be. So I am looking for ways to be “alright”. Writing helps.
Last week I signed up for a writing class at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod. It’s a memoir writing class. I had never planned on writing a memoir, but the class sounded like something I needed right now. So I headed out yesterday morning and met a nice group of people who shared of themselves. I am quite social, so being in a group of writers was perfect for me. It was just the motivation I needed to channel my energy.
The very first assignment was to pick a decade in my life and write two pages about it. The stipulation was that every sentence had to be made up of only three words. Not two, not four, but three. It was very specific. I left the class wondering how that would work out. Particularly for me, since I tend to write very quickly and a lot comes out of me at once. .
I headed out to a nearby coffee shop with my laptop and joined the technological trend of “laptopping while coffeeing ” with the hipsters and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I was able to do the assignment quite easily and realized right away that the exercise was perfect for my writing style. I tend to want to say too much and this was a great way of harnessing my tangents and sticking to what is really important. I wrote for two hours.
I chose the decade which was the biggest decade of change for me in my adult life. 1985 – 1995. This is the decade I met Paul, Jesse and Eryn, married them, began a career in theatre, became a certified aerobics teacher, began directing plays and musicals, gave birth to Josh and Zack, performed every chance I got and worked with Paul side by side making theatre with youth. A lot happened in that decade. My life changed immensely and formed who I am as a person.
The assignment has left me thinking about the early days of our relationship and it has left me both wistful and melancholy. A lot of beautiful moments have been brought to the surface and although I love going down that road, when I get to the end of the thought, I miss him so much more. We had a great life together. We never took it for granted. I can’t believe that it is over. Done. He won’t be walking in the room any minute. Never again. That truly is what I can’t seem to wrap my head around. I don’t think I ever will.
Here is a sample from my assignment. I thought it would be interesting to see how writing three word sentences works. It reminded me of a Shakespeare exercise I used to teach where you would take a Shakespearean monologue and remove all the words that were not necessary to understand what was happening in the text. It helps you get to the meat of the meaning.
Here is an excerpt from my assignment. This is based on 1995.
We teamed well. We never argued. We led people. I was fit. I felt great. Education was important. I taught classes. I taught theatre. I volunteered nearby. In the schools. I brought theatre. The Pied Piper. Life was full. We respected us. I loved Paul. Paul loved me. I loved children. Paul loved children. We loved completely. We built foundations. We built programs. Summer Drama Workshop. Summers spent teaching. Summers spent learning. Summers spent loving. We were happy. We taught youth. We worked hard. Our moms aged. We helped them. We loved them. We were helpful. We served community. We performed theatre. We sang music. We vacationed together. We loved beaches. Cape Cod dreaming. Kids loved school. Jesse finished college. He is intelligent. He is serious. Eryn in college. She is creative. She is driven. Josh loved school. He is persistent. He is clever. Zack loved playing. He is animated. He is funny. He is two. We strengthened foundations. We loved endlessly. We liked us. We loved us. We were giving. We were unified. We were beautiful. Paul and Lynne. Eryn and Jesse. Josh and Zack. We are family. Hopes were high. We never settled. We worked hard. We gave out. We accepted all. We loved endlessly. We built more. We lived life. We loved us. We built foundations.
I loved the exercise and will continue working on it. In the next part of the exercise I have to find one sentence from that whole piece that jumps out at me and write two pages about that. I am looking forward to the challenge.
I am proud of myself for taking this step out of my “grief space” to do something constructive. My hope is to keep writing and keep building new foundations for myself. I cannot sit by idly and deteriorate after all that we built together. I must keep moving and use our life together as a jumping off point. Oh, it won’t be easy, but I need to keep going. I have so much yet to do.