Since the equinox.
We got Zorro’s cancer diagnosis around the first day of spring. He died at almost exactly the mid-point between the equinox and the solstice. I didn’t mention it before because it felt too much like fishing for condolences, or worse, using his death as a source of content. But in looking back over the last season, Zorro’s death was by far the most meaningful day of the past quarter year. He was one of my best friends.
During spring my niece and her girlfriend visited, both sweet and smart and generous, and I desperately want the future to be kind to them, but I suspect it will be like anyone’s life, a complicated tapestry woven with threads of pain and joy, sadness and hope.
Some other things that happened the last few months —
- We got a new washer and dryer. It’s moments like this I really feel my privilege. In my twenties and thirties I was a laundromat regular. Not only did not imagine owning a washer & dryer, I definitely never imagined having enough money to be able to just go out and buy those sorts of appliances when the need arose.
- Did a lot of yard prep and made the garden beds ready for the okra planting. The yard and garden are looking great!
- I bought a new car! Something else that really highlights my middle-class life. Instead of getting something old and affordable, I bought something relatively new that brings me a spark of joy.
- There was a full-moon eclipse. I stayed up to watch it. Turns out the gap in the oaks in my backyard were positioned perfectly for me to watch the earth’s shadow cover the full moon.
- I went to the beach and,
- I caught a cold.
Looking back over this past spring, the span that stands out the most outside of Zorro’s death was my long break from work between May 26 and June 12. During that time something shifted in my psyche. For the first time in a long time I was able to look at my life and recognize the awesomeness of it. It’s easier now to see what I have instead of what I don’t have.
I don’t think that moment happened magically or without work. I think the work I’ve been doing for the past few years led to that moment. All the therapy and meditation, the exercise and education, helped build and strengthen the emotional and psychic muscles I needed.
Similarly, my grief about Zorro is distilling into memories. Memories of the time I had with him, instead of the constant, persistent, heart-wrenching grief of his absence.
I think my deep job-related unhappiness triggered in me a grief for a life I didn’t have. A life I imagined I might have some day; a life I once yearned for so deeply, but a life that didn’t exist. It took some time to process that grief, partially because I didn’t recognize it as grief. I recognized the loss, the absence but I didn’t recognize it as a loss that could be grieved, and transmuted into something else.
In time the grief I hold for Zorro, and the grief I hold for the life I’ll never have, are both woven into the complex tapestry of my own life, those threads intertwining with the threads of love and joy that are also my life. Lately I’ve been much better at seeing the whole tapestry instead of focusing on the coarse threads of despair.
Adios, Zorro. You made my life better.