After writing yesterdays post I took my dog for a walk. She is an absolute joy. She is a reminder of the beauty of life. She approaches everything with exuberance and loves us like no creature has ever loved me. At this time of somber searching she hints at the divinity of life for me. She finds ecstasy in the simple routines of daily life. We can all learn from our dogs.
A strange “side effect” of my grief surrounding my brother’s imminent death is how I’m responding to my despair. In the past when I’ve had despairing feelings–and there have been many long protracted periods in my life when I’ve felt despair–I’ve usually wished I were dead and often also had quite a lot of suicidal ideation.
Now I experience similar, though deeper despair, and my mind reflexively, by habit, starts it’s journey to the “I wish I were dead,” place. But instead of reaching that destination there is a sudden halt in my thought process–almost as if there is an internal wall within my psyche–I don’t wish I were dead and I don’t have any suicidal thinking. It is as if I, all of a sudden value life in a new way. I can stand the despair because it is a very natural part of life and I can’t imagine dying as an escape from it. It feels real and that is a good thing.
I told my husband about this development and started crying. While weeping I said, “it’s like all the cliche’s–life’s challenges make you stronger–but why does it have to come at this cost???” It made me mildly sick to my stomach to have a banal cliche seem to suddenly have some real meaning. It was deeply disturbing for some reason. I don’t really want anything to make sense right now. I certainly don’t feel like seeing the good in a terrible situation. It’s completely unsettling.
Nonetheless, my brother’s desperate fight for his life has modeled for me the value of life. I do hope to not dare to imagine dying an untimely death again.