In both disenfranchised grief and resurrection, it is hard to know where you are. And often times, it feels irrelevant. Post life altering traumatic loss Road is perpetually foggy, no doubt. But is having some sort of proposed road map really going to alter the slog of now?
Those of us steeped in the wisdom of infertility and parenthood denied have garnered a healthy suspicion of life “road maps” anyway, granting them, smartly I suppose, our hard-earned one eyebrow raised.
Leary of the possibility a perceived road map is a mere illusion, the question “yes, but is it a USEFUL illusion?” came to my mind.
In speaking with a wise and experienced friend recently, who gloriously hasn’t lost the capacity to meet people in the places where she herself has been, I was given a road map of sorts, albeit a loose one. Those are the only kind I could probably deal with anyway.
I was able to mark, in conversation (a rarity as we all know), that I am through the hard-core grieving phase and have officially launched my rebuilding phase. Not that there is no overlap, that these places of being are so black and white. They are not. For those who do well with numbers, I’d suffice it to say last year I was about 70% grief and 30% rebuilding, now I’m about 20% grief and 80% rebuilding. And if I were to reassess next month, well, I can’t promise any kind of a consistent ratio.
Being almost 3.5 years out of fertility treatments, I let the possibility into my mind that I’ve got about another three years of rebuilding left to go (likely necessary when EVERYTHING must be overhauled – career, place of living, relationships, social life, allotting time to that which now has meaning and letting go of that which no longer does). And the beginnings of my rebuilding phase have been layered with a debilitating nervous system disorder, I importantly remind myself. THAT just might have been a bit of a wrench.
It then dawned on me that, having just passed the six month mark of my nervous system disorder, I’m in the center of that too (a moderate case of dysautonomia typically takes about 1 year to recover from).
My mind then did something it has rarely been able to do for the past seven years, it skipped around the meadow of possible endings and transitions; perhaps by next spring any residual effects of my nervous system disorder will have evaporated, and maybe just maybe in three years or so things in my life will be a bit more stable, directed, aligned with my current reality, perhaps not so cumbersome. My losses and experiences will always be a part of me, in need of being tended to and integrated into my life, but perhaps there does come a time when the foundation is built, the legwork not so extensive.
At age 45, looking forward to my 50’s might even be a reasonable prospect. At age 42, coming out of fertility treatments, I couldn’t even see 43. 50 was downright black. But looking ahead to it might even be logical, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
“Barring any unforeseen circumstances” has become a staple phrase in my language, much like the CFNBC universal “and they are very nice people” overture to describing how some group of otherwise sensitive, aware and intelligent humans managed to dismiss your infertility and childlessness.
So what is this middle place? Now that I seem to think I know where I am (coordinates always subject to change)……….
It is a place of being so done yet so ready. An energized exhaustion is what propels you forward.
It is quiet AND chaotic.
Your world is rocked by the fact you can see where you’ve been and where you might be going, all at once, for the very first time. Straddle that!
In spite of its vantage point, the middle is still murky. Your past and your potential future are both now interfacing with your somewhat wobbly, ambiguous present, in this respect you feel like a virgin.
It is a place of yearning laced with the pulsation of subtle satisfaction for having made it this far.
The middle can take on a stranded kind of sense as others are seemingly water skiing by your still sputtering doggy paddle.
I always knew the only way out was through, but this concept has officially graduated from theory for me. From the middle, through is truly your only option. It is my every day, every moment reality.
The hard-won jubilance of “I’ve come so far” intermingles, constantly, with the weight of “I’ve got so far left to go”.
And you know what? It’s LONELY in the middle. Lonely, damn it!
So what’s left to say? Greetings from the middle, my dear readers, or from the illusion of it. Whichever angle you prefer.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake
To only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake
These woods are lovely dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep