Not Dead Yet, But Charging Ahead More Slowly
It is hard to get up much writing-steam when your beloved spouse of 58 years slowly dies of a disorienting and untreatable brain disease. And my own capacity for charging-on has been complicated by a heart disorder and the implantation of a heart-stint. Lots of falls and other misanthropic misfortunes led me in April to move from our spacey cottage in the Epworth Villa Residential Community in OKC into an apartment in its main building.Even though Sadie went with me, it has taken me a long time to get settled into a new habitat without Sarah. Even with some outstanding psychotherapy, learning how to live without Sarah, how to mend a broken heart, how to get on with life in my 82nd year, I was limping along into a different life and style. But at this stage of life, there is little that can be taken for granted about the future, except the love of God challenging my aging heart to keep beating a path forward.
I assume that you readers are friends and therefore friendly to my confessions of despair as my dear Sarah was dying a disheartening and unstoppable decline toward death. But just that slow and insidious decline decimated our—hers and mine—capacity to recall a past full of love and commitment and mutual adoration. I confess that I was utterly unprepared for her despair and vagaries of mind and ongoing disappearance.
My own mind and soul became numb and a strange incapacitation gripped me. Sinking as I was, the deep joy I simply took for granted in our marriage and life-together, blurred into two numb souls bound together but drifting into darkness. A numb soul inclines unwittingly toward sadness and loneliness, often called ‘despair’. Many of my blogging friends are aging as I am. We sometimes fall into such talk as ‘losing a grip on life’, ‘the slippery slope of forgetfulness of the moment before’, ‘the retreat into silence’, ‘does prayer really help? Help what or who?’ Why do we suppose that the grief we feel in the death of loved-ones should pass on quickly and quietly, if we just have faith?
I confess to you that I have become—in these suffering and aging days—spiritually unable to slouch into much of the church-language about grief, death, loss, and hope. To be sure, grief, death, and loss are simply and implacably there! Hope for what—fades in and out. I have written only one blog since Sarah’s death. Perhaps a sadness too deep for words? Then why these words now? I do have family and friends, at whatever age, who live on and which stir a deep fondness in me to be there too. How to be hopeful in a way not defeated by dreary patterns of illness, alienation, and sadness and death.
Yet another word on life today. I confess that the idiocy of the Trump-World has kept me vacillating between discombobulating rage and a slender but desperate hope for divine intervention. Are the principalities and powers of divinity going to let us squirm and squabble until we learn a version of the politics of civility and the defeat of racial and class induced rage and societal-induced fears? Might we so hope and so act?