A Complex Wave of Emotions

The day started like most other days, albeit a tad later than most. By the time I had taken my morning regiment of what seems like one hundred pills (but is far less), it was around 5:30. Before I made coffee, I struggled through a game of Wordle, guessing the correct word with four tries; not embarrassing, but less than impressive—fairly typical of my performance. When, finally, I sat at my desk to write what I am writing now—when I looked around the room at the familiar surroundings—a complex wave of emotions swept over me.

First, a sense of intense sadness that I will soon leave this house—this room that was my late wife’s retreat. This was her cocoon, the place where she voraciously consumed hundreds of books and watched television programs. The stuff she watched ranged from silly reality shows to intellectual explorations of issues that required intense critical analysis to understand. The books were equally as diverse. Murder mysteries with a female protagonist were her favorites. But she read extremely complex novels and biographies and everything in between, too. I felt an indescribable sadness as I thought about these matters.  Her beautiful life, the one that gave this room and this house a personality, is gone. But, here, at least I could look around the room and get a sense of her. Her presence was everywhere. In the books, the whimsical animals on the shelves, the stacks of papers that she went through in meticulous detail. The hundreds of recipes she gathered from magazines. And much more. Only a few books remain now; I’ve given most away. And the stacks of papers have been sorted and reduced to a size more manageable to me. I am— more slowly than might be appropriate in preparing for a move, but far faster than I like—discarding things that made this study hers. This move is, by far, the most difficult one of my life. I feel like I am cutting off a piece of my life that I can never regain.

But another emotion rushes over me, even in the midst of a traumatic sadness. It is a mixture of gratitude and elation. It is a feeling that, by clearing out reminders of a life I can no longer live, I am opening myself to an opportunity to start a new life. I will move into a radically different house in an utterly unfamiliar environment. I am exchanging breathtaking views of the valley below for a private oasis deep in the forest. Some of the daily reminders the old house gives me about what I have lost will be replaced by daily reminders of what I have gained. A woman who loves me—and who shows it is so many ways throughout every day. A relationship that I sense will only grow stronger with each passing day. Opportunities to learn from a new partner whose life experiences are, in many ways, different from mine but who shares so very many sensibilities with me. My sense of elation is magnified when I think of how quickly my life changed, for the better, with mi novia in it. She helps minimize those days when my feelings of loss are overwhelming. But her presence not only eases the loss of the past, it opens up opportunities for so many new and wonderful experiences. And she sees in me someone worthy of her time and her love. That, alone, fills me with a sense of euphoria.

The tragedies I have faced in my life, compared to those of millions of others, have been difficult but readily surmountable difficulties. They were and remain painful, but others have faced far more than I. I have survived my tragedies so far. And with the good fortune of a new love in my life, I believe I will overcome the most difficult and painful of them all.

Sitting here, now, I am both sad and happy, concerned and optimistic. Curious about the unexplored world around me, but satisfied with the comfort of the familiar. Anxious to break out of a hardened shell, but worried that shards of the shell might wound me. These competing senses are what makes us feel alive. The agony and the ecstasy of life surrounds us. We have to make the best of both as we make our way to the end.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

I wish you would tell me what you think about this post...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.