When our youngest child Ben died, I think I forgot how to live. I fell into a constant cycle of work, go home, eat, watch TV, read a book, fall into a restless sleep, repeat. My solace or refuge or hidey hole became books. I read voraciously. I read all the Harry Potter books. I read The Dark Tower series. When I wasn’t reading I was watching a movie or a series on Netflix. I felt like Tom Hank’s character in Sleepless in Seattle. I reminded myself to breathe. I forced myself to get up. Eventually I just breathed on my own. I still force myself to get up, but that is because I don’t like to get up.
After almost 6 years, I am starting to remember how to live again. Ben’s death has opened me to a new possibility of living. I am learning to live each day on purpose. If a man of his tender years can be ripped away from us in a moment like that, does any of us have a promise of more? I read somewhere that the past is gone, the future will never get here, the present is all we will ever have. It is easy to fall into longing for that which we can never have. You cannot change the past, it has passed. The future is constantly just beyond our reach. We squander now wishing to change that which we cannot or waiting for some magic time when everything will be “better”.
I am learning to be less fearful, or more fearless to put a positive spin on it. I’m trying to learn to be less attached to things and more attached to people. I am an introvert by nature. I was called shy or awkward when I was in high school. I was. I was afraid to talk to girls. I only had a few friends. I was geeky and too smart and never fit in. I used to daydream about me being a changeling, a fairy child left in place of a human baby. I didn’t have a bad life, I just felt like I didn’t fit in. A child caught between two realities. It is only now that I’m older that I see that that feeling of not fitting in was my true self trying to make it’s own place and having a hard time. My own introvertedness was conspiring against me to keep me where I was safe.
So to live more fully, I have learned to drive a boat (not all that well), ride a motorcycle (with full safety gear), make a puzzle jewelry box and pound old Marta tokens into charms for jewelry. Oh, and start a blog. These mostly aren’t fearless things. They are some things that I have wanted to do for a long time and some things I just saw and wanted to try. When I was a freshman in college, I wanted to get a motorcycle and go off across the country. I have always wanted to be a writer, but life intervened and I took some safe choices and so I never did. But I have learned to know how to be around people. I have learned to not be afraid to fail. I have learned how to not be afraid to succeed.
I am trying to live the rest of the time I’m here purposefully. To cherish each moment. I want to cease being afraid and to live.
Vivere una vita bella. (Live a beautiful life)