We will grieve not, rather find/Strength in what remains behind/if but once we have been strong — Wordsworth
How do I miss you? let me count the ways
the lady poet once counted so well,
I miss you when I turn round and you’re not
there. I miss your talk, your sense of humor,
how you turned the world off.
Quiet need found rest and peace
I love you for all you were,
all you did for me and can no longer
loved you utterly unconditionally too.
So you loved me.
But this is how I feel when my fragile sense
of security is not jeopardized
Put another way than complacency:
without you without your confidence
(whence people acquire this I know not)
I am at a loss to act.
When we were first told that the cancer had spread to his liver and then that his condition was hopeless, I remember thinking I lost my bet. Selfish of me to think that but it went through my mind. Strength now is to see my bet was realistically based on who I am and was upon meeting him, where I came from, and where he did and what he was, and what were our possibilities and choices. The odds were against us and we did better with our dice than the polluted world’s bookie would have allowed. Now I have to live on within these possibilities, on what he has left me, much diminished because without him. So I didn’t lose it. Its effects just did not last as long as I — he too — hoped. It was all I had, all that came my way and while he lived, we covered for one another. I was his honorary duchess and he was my admiral — our little joke at ourselves. But they had real efficacy to protect our self-esteem while we both lived.
A friend is sending me a copy of the 1970s film adaptation of Love for Lydia; she got a region 2 version and can’t play it. I look forward to when it comes and watching it.
I’ve begun my first week of Literature of the Country House, and as far as it went (it’s not taxing at all, an hour and 3/4s of videos and texts to read), it was good. I then read the whole of Jonson’s “To Penhurst” for the first time in years and remember how in 1976 (his father was dying of cancer) the admiral (though I didn’t call him that then) and I visited England and spent a day at Penshurst and a guide showed us around the house and we saw the great hall — in January it was and we walked around the grounds. I can hope to read Mark Girouard’s Life in the English Country House this summer.
Jim liked to listen to Elgar, especially The Enigma Variations