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Location: Midwest, United States

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Stumbling in the Dark

I spent a morning with my (ex) Mother-In-Law last week. It was, as always, an emotional experience.

Her stroke has robbed her of voice and mobility. My divorce from her daughter envelops us in a dark cloud. The hearts at the heart of things struggle for expression.

I sat with her and talked. It wasn’t (couldn’t be) a conversation. It was a soliloquy on my part, met with smiles and nods and little more on hers. She does as best she can.

All the while, there was that dark cloud.

And, all the while, I wished I could bare my heart...answer all the un-voiced questions.

That’s kinda how things end, it seems, all too often. I wasn’t at my Father’s side when he breathed his last. My Mother and I had been estranged throughout my lifetime. When our hearts finally melted into each other (and they did), they did so silently. Alzheimer’s robbed us both.

So, there I sat, holding the hand of a woman whom I loved fervently, not knowing what she truly thought or felt about this miscreant who had brought so much pain to her family.

I wish I could explain the loss and the pain. How I loved her daughter and her family. How much I grieve that we are fated to be the sum total of our personal experience. In my case, I grew to be a man dedicated to serving authority, serving others, sacrificing too much of my soul for my own good, thereby serving my wife poorly. Those impulses carried me far in my career...but carried me ever farther from her love.

And I would have her know that her daughter truly once was the love of my life. For she is a fine person, but she grew to be a woman dedicated to hearth and home, family and friends, in ways that carried her ever farther from my love.

I grieve for all that. I grieve that we come to be who we are as a consequence of influences both noble and crass. That we each are the embodiment of laughter and tears, untold sorrows and sweet dreams. I wish I could explain how, despite our best intentions, we, too often, find ourselves stumbling in the dark. Trying to do right, trying as best we can, yet failing and falling even so. We light candles, yes, as we upend tables and chairs, stub our toes and lose ourselves in darkness. Those candles have their place, they surely do, but it takes a whole lot more to become enlightened.

There’s so much to be said that will never be said.

I told her I loved her and left her with a kiss.

But I can’t shake the melancholy.

* * *


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Jonas. We all try our best, we all fail and hurt others, we are all human.

Sending a hug.

Wed Aug 10, 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger June Calender said...

A beautiful post, how I wish many others thought as reasonably and felt as deeply as you do -- both bring pain as you are saying, but both are the best we humans can do ... an so few others get that far.

Wed Aug 10, 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Just read her this post, Jonas... it says it all. Time and circumstances have a way of changing people, not always as they wish, but you know in your heart what went wrong and have found the words here to express it. I'll bet she would be moved to know this. If indeed you can bring yourself to tell her. I know it pains you and most likely would pain her a bit as well, but sometimes just knowing the "why" of something brings a sense of closure and peace. Hugs to you, Jonas.

Wed Aug 10, 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger erin said...

yes, beautifully said. i'm so glad that you sit with her still, that you honour your past by being present in your life today, really present.


Thu Aug 11, 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger PattiKen said...

Some things are just not meant to be. We are each the person we are, and most of us do our best. But sometimes that best is just not a good fit with someone's else's best. I actually think it's better to be true to yourself than to wrench yourself into an unnatural shape to "fit" with someone else. We've all seen relationships like that, and they inevitably fail just as miserably.

Hope all is well with you.

Thu Aug 11, 10:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonas, this is so beautiful. You have made me weep. I understand, I really do. Things don't always work out the way we intended. That you have thought about this so deeply just makes me want to hug you and say: 'It's alright.' We're all human. We have our frailties. Sometimes it just is what it is. You are such a good person. So good.

Fri Aug 12, 05:18:00 AM  
Blogger secret agent woman said...

Could you not say it just as you said it here? Might bring some sense of resolution.

Fri Aug 12, 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger GYPSYWOMAN said...

what a beautifully moving piece - that takes us each into the dark place/those dark places of our own - where we, too, suffer to find our way to the light - for all those things that cannot be said, you said them all - and powerfully so - best wishes -

Fri Aug 12, 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thank you all for your sensitive and kind comments. I've taken them to heart.

Fri Aug 12, 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Sela Toki said...

Deeply moved by your sincerity and and honesty. Sometimes we write what our mouths can not voice. Some are gifted with speech others through writing and your writing touches this stranger's soul. Thank you and God bless.

Tue Aug 23, 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thank you for your kind comment, Sela. Thank you for stopping by.

Wed Aug 24, 10:51:00 PM  

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