Yet another week. So what’s it like. My muscles pull on and off all the time. They harden and strain. The pain travels up and down parts of my body.
I had a letter the other day from the Admiral’s oncologist. It seems he heard Jim had died. How I wonder did he hear? did he come across it on his computer? He had paid no attention to this patient of his. He didn’t dare phone. I wish fervently that this man get cancer and then have a doctor just like himself. I will write to MedStar about the moral imbecile Antabili.
I’ve heard that some women who are widowed from a beloved husband-friend say they cannot believe he is not going to be there when they come home. They do believe he is there, and cannot somehow get themselves to understand he’s not there any more and not coming back. Not going to re-appear.
Jane Kenyon: Fear of death Awakens Me
… or it’s a cloud-shadow passing over Tuckerman Ravine, darkening the warm ledges and alpine vegetation, then mving on. Sunlight reasserts itself, and that dark, moving lane is like something that never happened, something misremembered, dreamed in anxious deep.
Or it’s like swimming unexpectedly into cold water in a spring-fed pond. Fear locates in my chest, instant and profound, and I speed up my stroke, or turn back the way I came, hoping to avoid more cold.
Once we were told it was terminal the Admiral never spoke of how he felt about death. If say, in later August he gave up, knew it was no use, what was going through his mind. I know he turned white when Pereira said chemo would give him two more months — as if he had no realized he was dying. Yet there was the rage for the first week of August. He asserted he wasn’t thinking of anything in particular when I asked, and I thought it cruel to press. Anyway I never pressed him for replies. But how did he endure it? knowing as he did he would become nothingness. I am remembering: he did once quote from Becket’s En Attendant Godot at me: rien à faire.
Today I’ve decided what I’m doing to endure it is telling myself this is a kind of pretense. I did not today send away an application for a voluntary teaching position at a place that has courses for retired people. I enacted it. I did not find bad links in my website in the worst possible place: the index to Colonna’s poems, which translations the Admiral was proud of (he used a version of the title of the whole translation for his passwords, would use numbers associated with Colonna for passwords). So I am fixing it in the meantime — I tell myself because he valued them and it and don’t want to bother him you see.
I am pretending. I am pretending to live on, acting as if I will. It’s a sort of version of smile and the whole world smiles at you. Like the Mary Poppins Disney songs. Only I do it on wine.
None of this happened. It’s all a very sad play I’ve gotten stuck in — like those unlucky six characters in Pirandello’s play. The Admiral did not die. My problem is the play seems to be overlong. I am waiting for the curtain to go down.
If I get lost what does it matter? I am not wrong to be scared. I have no one to advise with. Money but how can I prevent myself losing it, being cheated? My (male) cousin (a CEO of some financial company he started and is successful at) called and gave me the first good advice I’ve had. The Admiral did protect me. And it’s not his fault. He did all he could have for me. It’s this play I’ve ended up in.
Do tell me how people endure this? I remember watching a brilliantly acted version of Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, here in DC (with the Admiral that first summer I retired). Great local actors: Brian Hemmingsen and Nanna Invargsen among them. I had not realized this meaning then.
I have just returned from an evening with a friend: we went to Politics and Prose and heard Azar Nafisi absurdly overpraise what must be her friend, Goli Taraghi, who lives in Paris and writes supposed apolitical stories. Nafisi was asked because Taraghi is a naive woman incapable of rising to a higher level of generality: one of poignant stories is about a widow (yes) who sells her house to provide an apartment for a daughter who lives in Paris, but neither there nor her other two childrens’ houses provide a home for her. Her home is now a seat in an airplane flying between these adult children. Taraghi’s one generality: how varied is the lifestyle of Iran even today. I learned Nafisi will say anything.
But Vivian, my friend and I had fun. I was able to finger through this year’s expensive photograph book from Fellowes: Behind the Scenes in Downton Abbey ($30). It’s a third book, not one which prints the first two together. The text is yet thinner than the other two, but the photos sumptuous and telling so if I can find it on sale I’ll buy it. I did buy the paperback by Wendy Wax, While we were watching Downton Abbey. About reader response. A sort of Jane Austen Book Club?. I feel I should support Politics and Prose.
We shared a pizza, I had a glass of wine, we shared stories and will go to a movie together on Sunday.
Maintenant comme une veuve