Sunday, September 27, 2009

Last Tears

"These are the last tears I'm gonna cry for you." It is a song by the Indigo
Girls "Last Tears") that has caught my attention of late. No, I do not think
the tears I have shed are entirely gone, nor do I want them to be, but it is
time to move on. It is time to lose the anger. Grief, like death, seems to
go through stages and I have been stuck in anger for too long. I want to move
to acceptance. Not understanding, I do not think that will ever come, but
acceptance. Acceptance with memory intact. Acceptance without pain would be
nice, but I will be happy with acceptance without anger. Pain is an old
friend and I can deal with it.

Music has helped, more than I expected. I wrote earlier that I had put a lot
of my music aside: Meatloaf, David Wilcox, Manhattan Transfer, some of my
Lyle Lovett. I put aside most of the love songs I sang when I looked for
love, and sang after I found it. I also put away most of my classical music.
Cyndie did not know classical before we met and we had a wonderful time
learning it together, her for the first time and me really listening to old
favourites with a new appreciation. Same with jazz vocals and big band - they
all went into the bin, literally deleted from the computer, pretty much gone
forever. Some I may get back into, some I know I never will. David Wilcox is
probably gone forever. I discovered him when we met and his songs were the
leitmotif of our courtship, marriage, and now her suicide. One David Wilcox
song did help stabilize me. The song is "For Real" and the lines that meant
the most are, "Death took the husband of a neighbor of mine on a highway with
a drunk at the wheel. She told me 'Keep your clean hands off the laundry he
left and don't tell me you know how I feel'." (I know now to never use I know
how you feel for any tragedy, I do do not either. At best, and it
is best, you can say you know what pain feels like.)

So, some new songs, some old friends untainted by memory. Tom Waits, who she
never liked, Indigo Girls, some new Jazz vocals by Jane Monheit even some
techno like the Safri Duo. Many of these songs hit hard, especially the
Indigo Girls one mentioned above. It is time to cry it out, then dry the
eyes..."I won't forget, I don't regret...but these are the last tears I am
gonna cry for you". Of course the singer will have more tears to shed, but
that the soul wrenching kind of tears needs to go away and stay away. Tears
of memory and loss are fine, tears leading to anger or dark sadness are not.
I do not want to forget, I want to accept.

Lots of Tom Waits helps as well, always has. I do not care if I am the only
person who likes him, he speaks to my heart and his voice is like mine so when
I hear the pain in his voice it feels like my own raised in song.

So. Going to give it a try. As the second anniversary of Cyndie's suicide
approaches, it is time. Not sure I can handle forgiveness, that is going to
take a bit longer and the betrayal was deep and personal. However, I think
she tried to atone for the betrayal by killing herself and I try to take that
into account. In my opinion, she had not a good enough reason - I was not
ready to say goodbye, I had no chance to say goodbye. If I am honest with
myself, I know that is part of what drives the anger, I did not get a chance
to say goodbye. The honest part of myself also admits that I never would have been
ready to say goodbye.

Because she did betray me, I am not sure what would have happened to us. I
would like to think I would have forgiven her, but I am not sure I could have.
My new partner and I were discussing things after dinner one night, around the
table with after dinner drinks. She said something beautiful and painful,
i.e., that she was happy with what we had, but thought that if Cyndie walked
in the door at that moment she was afraid I would go to her. I thought of
that and something crystalized in my head - no, I would not. The pain was too
keen. It is not the betrayal that would have made it almost impossible to
forgive, it was the fact that I was literally willing to die for her and she
was not willing to live for me. Maybe that is unfair to her, she was mentally
ill, but it is true. I would not now return to Cyndie if she was magically returned.

People mention that she had mental issues for years, and that it really was
not a surprise. Well, it was. She seemed to be getting better, had started
with a therapist after years without regular meetings. She had projects
started and had ordered things for her hobbies that only arrived after her
death. It was a surprise, yes. It was not a surprise, no.

A friend gave me a wonderful piece of advice early on. She said, do not make
her into a saint. True, she was not. However, I moved too far to the other
side and somewhat demonized her. That is also not true. She was a human,
both flaws and beauty. She was not always a good person, but I knew the demons
going in and learned many of the others. Maybe I could have forgiven the
affair, I do not think I ever could forgive the real betrayal of us - killing
herself. Suicide of this type is the ultimate selfish act.

I still had to deal with guilt and I do believe that drove the anger to a large
extent. The question of what I did or did not do haunted me a long time. I
have come to believe I could not have done more than I could. Her children,
we have five in common, say I made her happier and longer than anyone ever had
or probably could. I do take comfort in that. However, if I want to be
honest with myself, I have to admit that guilt drove at least part of the
anger. Easier to blame it all on her, is it not?

At Last - Etta James
( )
So where am I now? I am with a person who loves me despite having seen me at
my worst. She is adorable, lovable, helpful, close without smothering, and I
finally believe she is going to stay, that she will not be taken from me. Oh,
yes, there was some guilt in giving my love to someone new - guilt that helped
to drive the anger, but I think I have moved beyond that. In an odd way I am
sure Cyndie wanted me to be happy and find someone who could give me all her
love. I got lucky and I did. One door closed and another one opened, to
quote an overused cliche. Repeat, I got lucky. Will there be more tears, more pain
at remembrance? I hope so, it means that I will have dealt with it. Any time
you lose a loved one there should be tears, there will be pain. There will
even be anger because one is never ready to say goodbye, but the anger should
be allowed to fade. The love and good times should be allowed to thin and
fade the anger and allow new love and good times in to complement, not
replace, the old ones. My new love and I both took a chance that things would
work, there were no guarantees. It has, very well. Moving on and being happy
is not a betrayal of memory, that was a hard thing to learn. Feeling guilty
for being happy is normal, but hiding beind anger to cover both loss and guilt
at moving on is dreadful.

So, are these the last tears I am gonna cry for you? No, surely not. This
November, 2009, the two year anniversary, I am abroad and alone. So, what will
I do? Have a drink, have a cry, wipe the tears, sober up, "make some coffee
black and strong, give thanks for healing time, finally make up my
mind...these are the last tears I'm gonna cry for you".

Last Tears - Indigo Girls

I wrote this as pretty much a stream of consciousness and only reviewed to try and get caps and spelling right. I decided not to edit it. The formatting is screwed up and, frankly, I do not care. Comments always welcome, you can even say you know how I feel, but would prefer you just say you understand what pain and loss feel like.

1 comment:

JeffreyD said...

Not a single comment. Must be more boring than I thought. (smile) Ah well, it is for me, and it has helped so far. Anger is less and less each day. Which is a good thing as my mother is, if not knocking on death's door, at least in the neighborhood. If she dies, this will be the third Autumn in a row to bury a family member. I would just as soon not have that become a habit. Anyway, gearing up for potential travel to my hometown.