(Or Movie Mash-up: “Get busy living, or get busy dying, Dude.”)
Shawshank Redemption. Good movie. No, GREAT movie. It was on last week and I watched it for the hundredth time. I was reminded of the quote, “get busy living, or get busy dying.” I also watched the Big Lebowski…the Dude. I had forgotten most of it, and it had me busting out laughing. Every morning now, I hear the soundtrack in my head, asking to “see what condition my condition is in”….
I was in a very dark place recently. And while in this “condition”, many things happened. Mostly, I was mourning the loss of my husband, remembering the months we spent in the hospital, worrying that I will forget his wonderful qualities, wondering if I will ever come out of my grief. Have I made a single step forward? I often feel stagnant, boxed in by a very narrow vision of my self.
When I started this blog, I didn’t know what I was doing, or why. Stuff was just pouring out of me. It had to come out. But not without some trepidation, about sharing publicly. Worried that no one would read it, worried that anyone would read it. When I got my first follower, I had a panic attack. Then, as others started following, I got even more confused. Why are they even reading this dark shit? I haven’t posted anything funny for weeks! And why do I even feel the need to be funny? This is a blog about loss. Again…what am I doing? Why?
I’m really not a glass-half-empty kind of girl. At least I don’t think I am. I’m mildly cynical, but not a complete cynic. I would call my attitude and approach toward life somewhat “wry”. It always has been. I know there is “good” and “bad”. There are times when life is funny, and times when life sucks. Last year, was a year of suck. Starting right at the beginning of January when my dad died, leading into the next months, when we found out my husband had terminal cancer. Then in May, he died, too.
Whoah. Wait. Wait just a minute. Did that really fucking happen? ? ? ?
That is one of the many things that grief does to you. It blankets you in a bubble of disbelief. But this bubble is very important. A crucial, though incredibly thin membrane, that allows you to continue living. Yes, I do mean that. I could not have survived if I wasn’t numbed by my body’s grief mechanisms. But this bubble can be confusing too. You kind of lose sight of who you are. Who you were, before your loss. Who you will become, as you stick your little pinky finger out, through the membrane, poking at the new world. It can start to feel like a prison.
But as I struggled through my grief last week, as the reality of his death became more clear, I also caught some glimpses of myself again, my wry self, in humor, and in darkness. I am pushing against the walls of my grief, and I think I have made some small strides. I need to start counting those steps.
One. I am writing this blog. And I care about it. I even signed up for “Daily Writing Tips”. That is a sign of life, right? That I actually care about grammar, and am trying to improve something? My favorite tip so far, “How to Style Profanity”. Fucking awesome! I’ve attached an image that communicates my thoughts on the topic. It’s called, use a fancy font.
Another sign of life, of my “self”? I laughed at the Jackie Treehorn scene in the Big Lebowski. It’s delightfully unexpected. Clip attached. My humor still seems to be in tact – just not always at the forefront of my grief. Especially because I loved laughing with my husband. No longer having him to laugh with is a huge loss. Laughing often ends with crying, now. But that’s life, right? The good and the bad. The beautiful and the ugly.
Speaking of which, I also found a card that I have had for years, that really sums up my attitude. “Reaching through the gross to grasp the secret of beauty”.
I am trying to turn this ship around, steering through the dark innards of an ugly year, toward that little “pinhole” of light the end of the tunnel. I am not sure if I am “busy” living, but I am trying, one word, one movie, one breathe at a time, chipping away, like Andy Dufresne in Shawshank. Remember what he crawled through? I’m determined not to become a prisoner of grief or sadness…but also to honor my true self, my beliefs about life, wry as they may be. I am suffering deeply because I loved deeply. It is a path I choose to continue on. Even knowing what I know now, that the most beautiful flower I find, might only live for a season.
P.S. Did you know that dung beetles navigate by the stars?