Saturday, April 5, 2014

525,600

How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter and in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?
How about love?
Measure in love
Seasons of love
~ Jonathan Larson, Seasons of Love


I drafted this specific entry 4 months ago - as a veneration to Boomer - 525,600 minutes without him.  The seasons of love for the man I lost.  Suddenly from somewhere unknown, that inspired intention fell apart.  ALL words evaporated.  Fingers to keyboard paralyzed; pen to journal dried up.  For months I struggled to understand why I was so inarticulately stuck.   What emerged was the knowing... that my 62 preceding blog writings already met that venerating intention.  I spent 525,600 minutes dedicated to surviving life in the aftermath of Boomer's death:  reflecting, grieving, mourning, understanding, tributing Boomer, my love for him, his love for me - - we.  Still, something is off-kilter...what is it?

Psychology professor, J. William Worden, PhD., has written extensively how grief is experienced in adults and children.  In his book, Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy, Worden identifies The 4 Tasks of Grief, a mourning process model that moves away from the better-known,  five-stage process,  associated with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, and traditionally explained to be linear in proposition.  Worden theorizes his model is flexible and fluid, organic to an individual, where a person will flow back and forth among the tasks, and in no particular order:
The 4 tasks of grief:
1.  Accepting the reality of your loss
2.  Experience the pain of your loss
3.  Readjusting to life now
4.  Reinvesting in your life

It is Worden's model my personal grief and mourning experience has followed.  For 525,600 minutes I had/have steadily vacillated between tasks one, two and three:  accepting, experiencing, readjusting - rinse and repeat - in no particular order or duration of time, often juggling two tasks simultaneously ( 'cause that's how I roll).  Truthfully, I have been living the first three tasks far longer than November 14, 2012 (read Bitch).  What came next was the whirlwind immersion into task number four - reinvesting in your life - or what I've come to call it:  ownership.   

This reinvestment task has become an expedition, defining what these next 525,600 minutes will be about:   part exploratory trial and error, part archaeological dig, part releasing terminus of what was (and wasn't) - - all in the hope of present-day peace, lasting freedom, wholeness and personal validity so there is room for the all the new to come in.

Shortly after my last post in November (read So Long), I realized I wasn't having any fun.  Genuine fun.  You know the kind - - fun that's entirely devoid of grieving feelings, heartache of loss, drudgery of getting through each day, confusion of the future, healing seeking, impatience of waiting out a process, etc.  Just fun.  Fun for fun's sake was not solidly present in my life.   Within days of this awareness reaching my consciousness (with a little help from counselor Amber), my phone began to ring, texts and emails arriving with invites to do stuff, go places, be with people.  I watched in astonishment as my social calendar rapidly blossomed from a dull, empty vase to a beautiful bouquet of fun.

At the house the Mouse built, Magic Kingdom, March, 2014
Thrilled, though difficult at times, I was indeed beginning to reinvest in my life by getting out and about.  Yet I continued to step backward into tasks one, two and three:
Accept the reality - - Life does go on, and life doesn't always play out the way we think it will or should.
Experience the pain - - Pain that this new-found-fun triggered, because all the fun I was having was "suppose to" be shared with and include Boomer.
Readjusting to life - -  It felt awkward without Boomer.  Year one is about emotionally surviving all those firsts without him (read I Do),  in year-two you experience them again though differently; proactively engaging in life's activities, the ones once shared, now solo.

In readjusting and reinvesting, Boomer's spirit conversation with me changed.  No longer was he saying to me, "It is time,"  (read Three Little Words).  In the new ownership of life phase, Boomer says, "Learn from Me." calling on me to look as his life, his choices, my life, my choices, our life, our choices and use them as my model of reinvestment and ownership; continuing my abounding transformation with (and now without) my guy.  Boomer stopped having fun, the disease that killed him took away the ability, sometimes I wonder if he ever really knew how.  Our life together, especially the later years, were not fun.  So I start there...

In these next 525,600 minutes, I am approaching a crossroads of time - - 17 months - - a major threshold of my fourth task.  Boomer and I lived here in Florida together for 17 months when he died (read Florida).   On April 14th, it will be 17 months that have I lived here in Florida without him.   In contemplating Boomer's new conversation to me, the significance of this edge of 17, along with the expedition of my own abounding transformation before me, partial answers to that mystery question I asked last September, "What the hell am I still doing here?" begin to crystallize:

1.  Probate (read:  P.T.S.D.)
2.  Winter, North v. South
3.  A charismatic Italian-Puerto Rican from New York (read:  L.G.)

...and the days go by like a strand in the wind
in the web that is my own I begin again...
...Well, I went searchin' for an answer
up the stairs and down the hall
And not to find an answer 
Just to hear the call
Of the nightbird singing "Come away"...
~ Stevie Nicks, Edge of Seventeen

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