This is a long post. But, just like there is sometimes a monster at the end of a book, there is a poem at the end of this post. (Feel free to just jump ahead. Go on. You will find it in the third part of this post.)
Last night, I decided that teaching my evening yoga classes and chanting with the two students who came to my yoga, chanting, and meditation class was going to be my meditation for the day. So, I did not spend time in front of the mirror. I shared one of my favorite chants with them and the words and sound swirled around the studio. My teacher says the chant is said to turn the petals of the heart, and as we chanted together, I felt my heart fill with some of the joy I had been focusing on prior to yesterday. Then when I returned home last night and when I woke up this morning, I read the comments left and emails sent by some of you in response to yesterday’s post. Thank you for filling my heart with your support. I do recognize that there are things I need to look at based on my internal response to this doctor’s words…and like you…I do the best I can.
This is what I know. We never really know the frame of mind of the person to whom we are communicating. Where they are in their day, in their life, in their journey. And we will try to be gentle. And sometimes we will fail, not because we weren’t doing the best we could, but because they were in a place where they couldn’t hear it. And sometimes we will not be gentle, because our communication is more about ourselves than about them. And sometimes we will forget or be melodramatic or insensitive. What we can know is our own motivation, and we are in charge of the way that we react to others. But none of this means that communication is easy. Or that we don’t bruise one another every now and then. Because we just can’t know. You can’t know where I am in any given moment, even though it would seem I post about so many aspects of my journey here, and I cannot know where you are. We know pieces of one another. What we choose to share. This is true with all people we know. We know pieces.
Because I edit from home, I am able to listen to music throughout my day. And with the nano Jon gave me for my birthday, this music becomes portable as I move around when needed. When I stop to think for a moment or take a break, I notice how the sound is so clear it is as though it is inside me.
My breaks today were filled with music that pulled me out of the leftover bits of melancholy.
First, I got in touch with my inner country girl. And, of course, this meant time with Kenny. If you ever want to virtually take a break and join me, just start singing “Ruby” along with Kenny Rogers (make sure you really get the “Ruuuuuuubbeeeeeeee” and then start shaking your hips when the music changes toward the end). Then follow that with “80 Proof Bottle of Tearstopper” by George Strait. “Get a little loose and lose her memory” is one of my favorite phrases to sing. Wrap your tongue around those l’s.
Then, this afternoon, when Marc Broussard started singing “Home,” I jumped up and went to find Jon, who was listening to his ipod in the other room, and insisted we synchronize and dance (which we did after several attempts to start the song at the same time). Anyone watching us would have wondered what the heck we were doing. This was too much fun. Seriously. Silly, hilarious, and romantic in its own way.
This evening, I pulled a stool up to our mirror in the hallway annd I settled in with the Indigo Girls singing Virginia Woolf. I just looked at myself, taking in the reactions as I listened to the music.
“When the river eclipsed your life. And sent your soul like a message in a bottle to me and it was my rebirth.”
This is the line. The reason why I keep listening to this song over and over. Tears fill my eyes each time I hear it.
Then I turned to Deb Talan to listen to “Ashes on Your Eyes” (click here to read the lyrics). About two lines in, I started singing out loud. I suddenly realized I was singing to myself. It was one of the sweetest moments I have ever had. And I was alone. Looking in the mirror. I was reminded of the realization I had last week. That my eyes, the eyes that were staring back at me, were the only eyes that would ever see what I have seen and what I will see. (I want to expand on this is another post later this week.)
And as the song finished, I went to get up, not really thinking about what the next song on the playlist would be. As Stephanie Dosen started singing “Brave” (you can hear it here), I just stopped. And started singing right to the mirror again. I scooted closer and just looked at my reflection. Singing the words. Soaking them into my skin and mind and into the space around my heart. (Thank you for sharing this song with me Meg.)
And as I listened to her words, an idea for a series poem came to me; I think the poem below might be the first part of that series.
The Sunday before the Wednesday I was to see you
the conversation played
on a stage in my mind.
Knowing you would pretend to be irritated that
I had flown across the country unannounced
because you did not
want me to see you like this,
I would pull the chair next to your bed,
see your emaciated body,
and my hand would brush
away the hair around your face
like I did twenty-five years ago
right before I would smear Pond’s cold cream
across your nose, cheeks, and forehead.
I would tell you that I finally understood.
But then you died on Tuesday.
In their need for reason,
people said you chose to die
the Tuesday before the Wednesday I was to see you
because you knew I was coming and
you wouldn’t have
wanted me to see you like that.
Infuriated, I turned my back
on the words that meant nothing
to the open wound you left behind
that people saw as me, and
I sat in the darkness,
my throat choked with silence,
my fingertips filled with regret that I
did not brush your hair away
from your face when I saw you on
the morning of the Thursday after the Wednesday I was to see you,
when I heard your voice say,
“It isn’t me.”
(read other poems, some also with the theme of unfinished conversations, at poetry thursday)