Wednesday there was some excitement at the (new) house:
A painting was delivered. I was very excited. Although it had nothing to do with the work that is being done in the house, or the reason I have not yet moved in, I was happy to be able to get the painting up before the furniture, and very happy to see it on the wall.
(the artist discussing his work)
Later in the day, I began to question myself. It was the anniversary of George's death, a date I know well, and I even, perhaps stupidly, used as the alarm code on the old house. At that time, when I put in that alarm, it was perhaps the only number that mattered, the date of loss, of untethering. Not so much anymore. But I had forgotten. I wouldn't have thought about it at all except for a series of family emails commemorating the loss. I wondered if perhaps there was something wrong with me that I did not remember, did not hold that date close, did not feel pain or loss. For me that time is past, but it is also important to gather around to support each other in our individual paths and struggles.
Intellectually I can say it is an interesting coincidence, that this painting in this house, this expression of future movement, should be installed on this date. George would have found it humorous. But George is gone and I am here, and, although he is always with me, life is about moving forward and letting go, even of love. In fact love itself is a kind of letting go, of not holding on too closely. You know, of course, that we don't love people less because life moves on without them. Love is like that. It makes us more ourselves than we ever knew we could be, but it also gives us strength and resilience, at least if we let it, so that we can overcome great wounds, even when that wound entails the ripping away of a part of ourselves. There is no life without relationship, just as there is no life without suffering, and to thrive we must share in both. To convince ourselves otherwise is to live in denial, which, is perhaps, not to fully live at all.
For me, at least, it was better to hang a painting.
The past makes us who we are. The people we have loved, and who have loved us, are our personal saints. They are woven into the fabric of ourselves. But we are not our pasts. It is the future that beckons, and the future is what we have been made for.