High School Reunion: Sans Part 2
Well I didn’t go to the formal night. I woke up Saturday to a family tragedy and that kind of killed my being able to really participate in a party. I just didn’t have the bandwidth to go and put forth the effort to reconnect with everyone. I feel badly about this, but I would have been lying and acting and pretending if I went. And I am really trying not to live like that anymore.
My ex-husband’s mother died tragically Saturday. She was a lovely person. Kind. Funny. Loving. I can still hear her laugh in my head. She was just a wonderful person who loved to talk, drink coffee and discuss life. She could do that for hours! And I learned something new every single time. Even though our relationship kind of ended with the divorce, there were no hard feelings, at least not on my side of things. And I do not think that there were on hers either, she just wasn’t the kind of person to hold a grudge or hang onto any resentment.
I was sad all day. Sad for my ex-husband. Sad for my kids. Sad for his family. Sad for my ex-father-in-law. Just sad. And overwhelmed with powerlessness. And a feeling that life is really very precious, and fleeting. And it is a privilege of youth and delusion that we can be so disconnected from the reality of death.
It made me think of my relationships. All of them. And it made me go inward and to assess all that I do and say and feel.
I feel badly about not going to the reunion. I missed an opportunity to connect with people and to show up like I said that I would. I was conflicted. I felt like I needed to do what I set out to do...but I was really not up for it. The thought of having to be “on” having a lot of conversations with a lot of people was really more than I could bear. It was a hard decision not to go. But I elected to not go, over going and not being able to really engage and show up. I didn’t feel like a party, and so I decided to keep my non-party energy away, and let my old friends carry on without me.
It is so hard to be true to myself in the face of expectations from others. I feel badly about not showing up. I feel like I let people down. Maybe that is just ego. Perhaps many were happy that I didn’t come, saving them awkward time in trying to reconnect with me.
What tipped the scale in favor of missing out, was that I want to be me. All of me. Who I really am. And I didn’t want to go. I felt sad and overwhelmed. Not sure how to handle this situation with my ex and his family. I was sad for my kids, they lost their grandmother. And I was caught in some family dysfunction, because that is just how families work.
I am still going to reach out to my classmates. Individually. Those that I wanted to see and wasn’t able to. And I hope that they will reach out to me also. An in person gathering would have been best, but Facebook and text can work also. And there is always the phone...
I hope they understand that as much as I wanted to be there, I needed something different. And I honored that. I think that they would do the same if the situation were reversed.
As I moved through my day Saturday, I thought about her. She was a refrain that kept repeating in my mind. All of his family. All weekend long. And I am grateful that what I pictured in my head was her smiling and laughing. She loved to laugh. And she was such a kind, loving woman. I am so very sad that she is gone. So very sad that her family grieves her. So sad that my ex-husband lost his life long best friend. Sad that my kids lost their grandmother. They were blessed all this time to have four grandparents. A luxury not many people have these days.
In the end, I was just kind of sad and morose. Pensive and reflective as I wandered through war memorials and the shrines to fallen presidents. Walking around is how I grieve. Moving my body. And while I couldn’t call yesterday cryking, I accomplished the same thing by wandering miles and miles through downtown DC watching, looking, seeing. And grieving in my own way. Quiet. Peaceful. Sending love out to my former classmates and to my ex-husband and his family. Holding space for all of them. Practicing tonglen - breathing in their pain and out loving kindness to them all.
Not the day I had planned for sure. But life is like that. We get what we get and our only task, so it would appear, is to do our very best to ensure that those that we are close to, know that we care, know that we love, know that we are capable of showing up. And when we lack the capacity to show up, to be honest about that and take what we need to take care of ourselves...even when we really wish we could rally to do something else.
I hope that my reclusiveness honored her. I hope that I was able to put out in the universe a little of her loving kindness this weekend. She was on my mind constantly. I pray that everyone who suffers in their loss, finds comfort and my classmates can forgive my absence, again.
Maryanne and Larry with my kids on a cruise to the Bahamas many years ago...that was a wonderful trip! And I think this photo captures how my kids felt about their grandparents.