It made me cry.
Today’s a crying day. In a crying week. In a crying month. So many signposts.
Twenty-one years ago I sat holding Catherine’s hand in the operating room at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, as Oliver emerged from inside her, a gelatinous silent blob of struggling life.
Twenty-one months ago, and a thousand feet east, I sat holding Catherine’s hand as she breathed her last breath.
The original tears, the tears forged in those dying moments, were stinging tears, the tears of loss, sadness, change, disbelief. I had no distance from those tears: they were inside me and on top of me; I breathed them in and I breathed them out. There was nothing else.
Grief, I have learned, cannot be understood, predicted, anticipated, only lived. But there does seem to be a faint Darwinian logic to it, inasmuch as it metes itself out in evolving waves: waves I wouldn’t have been able to comprehend then, are the waves that wash over me now.
So my tears today are less tears of loss, and more tears of emergence.
And that’s why Laurie Brown made me cry today:
There is an upside to music dropping out of your life, and that’s having it return.
Little by little the music is returning; that inspires a mixture of wonder and challenge.
I’m so so so fucking angry at Catherine for dying.
I’m so so so fucking thankful for the years we had together, for the daughter we raised.
I’m so so so fucking overwhelmed by the chrysalis I find myself in.
I’m so so so fucking happy to be alive.
The waves of those things overlap and resonate and coexist.
And make me cry.
A few weeks ago, driving back home from Freetown, after a wonderful hour riding Tye the horse, I felt a kind of elation that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I luxuriated in it, and feared it would quickly disappear, and then luxuriated in it some more. The weeks since, I’ve been able to evoke that memory as a Polaris, a reminder that happiness is possible, that all stories don’t end with the hero dying, and that if I follow my instincts I can find my way through this.
Tonight we will celebrate Oliver, who begat Olivia. Oliver who emerged from that gelatinous silent blob of struggling life into remarkable, confident Olivia. There is Catherine in her–so much Catherine. And there is so much of me in her. And, more and more, there is her in her, a new thing entirely. I love her so profoundly. And that too makes me cry.
As the music returns, finding my way to being excited about what comes next is one of the gifts it brings.
That is terrifying, exciting, daunting, hopeful. If I focus too much, I can get lost, washed over.
But if I soften my gaze, I can see it.
I can hold it in my hand long enough to have faith in it. To find my way forward.