It's been a long time since I've been here. I especially regret having missed some wonderful comments and messages that I have failed to respond to. I've just had strange and mixed feelings about being here (as if this was a "real" place!) - my once semi-hidden, semi-anonymous outlet for my yearnings to write and make sense of things, the occasional rant, or simply a place to bookmark something I've read or want to read more about it. But then it suddenly became the place where my husband, Jim (the priest and hidden source of much, but not all, of my information, thoughts, and feelings about the Episcopal Church) resided, as well, or at least the fact of his death, the onslaught of memories, and the many people whose lives he touched. Then of course there were the sermons. Although I only selected a few (I still need to go through all the others, which mercifully have been saved for me - thank you Bruce!), to have his clarity of thought and expression in the same cyberspace as my often murky wordiness has been rather intimidating. So, I thought to move his words and maybe even the news of the funeral to another blog, but never found the time or the motivation to do so.
But these are, really just excuses - with some measure of truth to them - but nevertheless, as dear Lisa pointed out to me on Facebook last night, what I've really been doing is hiding out there. For the past three months [ironic salute to my mom - who remembers and invents countless "anniversaries" - yesterday, Valentine's Day was the 3rd month anniversary of Jim' death - oh how she would weep and wallow over that one], I've been reading or at least glancing at all my usual favorite bloggers writings, rarely commenting, and only occasionally marking up those that really grab me by posting them on Facebook. But writing - what I have wanted so desperately to do from the beginning - has scared me.
I didn't want to simply write on and on about Jim (did enough of that on Facebook as it was), not while I felt I had no control over what would pour out. It wasn't that I wanted to keep any of it private for my own sake (my personal life is pretty much an open book to anyone who asks and often to many who don't). It was that it seemed presumptuous and self-centered to just vent without some semblance of control and meaning-making for the sake of others. I recalled, among others, Kristen's remarkable blogging journey through her cancer (also influenced by this post) and Sharon's through the death of her husband and I didn't think I could come even close to the way they shared their anguish and joy through good writing. And also an NPR radio interview with an author, one I heard shortly before or after Jim's death - someone who had suffered a brutal rape, which she wrote about in both a memoir and a novel - explaining how what she wrote for publication was not for "therapy" (to the extent she needed that, she got it from actual talk therapy and, in writing, from private journaling).
Such thoughts were probably rather silly - me, a writer? not just another blogger out there blogging sometimes self-indulgently and sometimes making a little sense about something and sometimes just venting and not caring who reads or listens or that no one might? But having delusions of grandeur or whatever about wanting and needing to write well and not giving in entirely to the need to emote, vent, and process (i.e. "therapy"?), has been something of the fragile self I've been trying to preserve while taking my time weeping and gnashing teeth and alternately dreaming of life hereafter, either here on earth or someplace where I will find Jim again in some way. If I am to finally accept that I could still have many years left on this earth and the need to not only partially reinvent my everyday life but also embrace new possibilities, like maybe finally taking the time to read and write as I've always wanted, and emerging from the shadow of what seemed like Jim's constant criticism of my mental and verbal activities (which I only realize now was just part of daily friction between two vastly different personalities - not rejection or dismissal but simply natural weariness with something he appreciated in only small doses or at a distance when he could talk to others about my thoughts and accomplishments) - then maybe that self can grow and speak once again.
Well, he certainly was and is right about my over-thinking things. I should just write and stop worrying about whether it is the old me, the new me, whether I talk about Jim too much or not enough, whether or not any of the new or recent readers agree with my views. I am at least past the point of doing any deep or protracted weeping and wallowing myself (and, yes, as many, especially Jim, have liked to point out, I have some of my mom's flair for drama), so the rest will just be me, warts and all, the sometimes hot-headed, unrepentant, skeptical, and passionate person, ever stepping towards the Left in matters political, civil and religious, but often dancing or stepping outside everyone's boxes or just stopping by the roadside staring at the sun and the stars and letting the wind pass through and over me.
So, bottomline, thank you Lisa, I'm ready to write again. I have no idea what will emerge, will not wait to make any definite plans or try to shape this place one way or another. I just need to start thinking and talking again, and those who are bored or offended can, well, just change the channel or forever ignore.