Miles traveled, journeys completed, contracts in the final approach to resolution. Dad’s passing was five days ago, my capstone presentation four days ago, our first family gathering now two nights past.
I drove south through and out of the fog this morning, to find sanctuary.
For the first time in many weeks of research, trips north and back, navigations, negotiations and witnessings around the approach of death and all its reverberations…
I feel I could paint. At least I could if I weren’t slightly nauseous with exhaustion, so, correction: I mean that I remember that joy, can feel its approach from the other side of tomorrow.
In my studio there is peace.
Out from this peace whispers something I want to try to articulate, however clumsily – something about how we see ‘the other’ only through our selves.
If I am confident, I see and connect with confidence in someone else. If I feel vulnerable but cannot admit or attend to it, I see threat, seek to blame.
What I believe I communicate is hardly ever what is received, and the corollary to this: my experience of My Beloved is entirely dependent upon my awareness of mySelf – my personal, emotional ‘weather’ in the moment. ‘Objectivity’ is, most often, an illusion.
If, in each exchange we are both actor and witness, then all of our existence, our awareness of self is relational – depends entirely upon connection and interaction with ‘other’. In how many ways do we hold memory for each other?
I seek old friends to remember parts of myself I’d forgotten, parts they have kept safe for me, should I need to revisit them. I do this in return, for them. But each of these pieces is less about ‘the other’ than it is about our connection, our mutual reflection upon the space where we, together, focus our attention.
The me that L knows and loves is a different me than the me that D or M knows and loves, and yet they are all me. My sister’s memory of our childhood together is vastly different than my own.
It is this way with my dad, as we gather to share memories of him, and try to make sense of them all. He cannot be rebuilt, has dissolved from the action he was into a Resonance. Through this ritual of sharing Jim stories each of us claims back the parts of him we saw and loved, or were injured by – as treasures, or, as the grain of sand, the irritant, that over time might develop into a pearl.
This is what I can decipher from the whisper that rises out of the studio Peace. It feels awkward, clunky, and so I will continue to sift and sort through this elsewhere.
The more subtle parts of these aftereffects require music and paint, which approach from the other side of tomorrow.
His was a beautiful soul, one I will always love. I will keep my memories of him safe, should they be needed, and I will make pearls from the sand.