in which I happily tell 2012 to fuck off. Mind you, it wasn’t all bad, but the bits that were life-shakingly bad.
January through April I focused mainly on writing. Writing my own stuff, doing heavy edits for friends. If I wasn’t working at the day job, I was focused on writing. For a while, I rather enjoyed this, even when my WIP imploded a few times. Towards the end of April, however, I realized that both my religious practice and my knitting were suffering, and that I needed to balance these things out. My involvement with the Pagan Blog Project petered out, my writing in general sort of scretched to a halt, and I started focusing more on my religious practice and my knitting. I did do some writing, and some even got published. Still, this is frustrating, because I went into 2012 knowing that I cycle this way and wanting to find a viable way to be more consistently productive on these fronts. I wanted to write more often, keep knitting, and continue to pick up spiritual practices that I let fall to the wayside in 2011.
In April I returned to Massachusetts for a week, to visit my grandfather (for what would be the last time), and to see the rest of the family. Visiting and then coming back home is always a bittersweet thing for me — I love my life, I can’t imagine not having the relationships I have with my Gods, I’ve worked hard to create a life in which I have the space and semi-solitude, and support to focus on devotion and contemplation, and I do believe such a path is valid. I can’t imagine doing anything differently — other than having a small bit of land with a spinner’s flock, of course. (Not that I care about spinning, myself. I simply want the sheepies!)
But I want to be physically available for my loved ones who are so far away. I want to be a support for them and make their lives a bit easier. It isn’t my nature to be talkative, to intrude on lives, to spend time on the phone rather than email, to be immediately there. I much prefer the distance that writing provides, the detachment to immediacy, the slower pace . . . but since April I’ve been pushing myself more to call more, to be more available in the small ways that I can be, due to the geographical distance. Doing things that make you happy doesn’t always have to *feel* happy, as I’ve read.*
April through June passed relatively calmly — or at least, I don’t recall any big things happening, but that’s easily because on July 9th, after a three week battle with illness, my grandfather passed away. To say that his death was devastating doesn’t even come close to doing it justice, and just shy of 6 months later, the loss of him in my life is a gaping wound. (This may have something to do with the salt that was recently rubbed into it . . . ) I haven’t responded at all the way I would like to have responded. I have my faith, my Gods, much love, and the knowledge that existence does not end with death. This hasn’t helped . . . and also it has. And also it’s brought into our lives a more multi-cultural religious practice than we had before. If I can honor Apollon or Pele or Kwan Yin as Gods held dear by my loved ones — family of family, so to speak — then clearly, clearly this God greatly beloved by the best man I’ve ever had the honor to meet, this shining example of generosity, grace, kindness, humor, love for life, and steadfastness has earned a place in my affection. I was able to attend the services for my grandfather thanks to the generosity of my family, and happily was able to see my grandmother (which would be for the last time) (you see where this is going?)
Still, in my grief I retreated quite a bit, and with work stress on top of that, the year took on a quality of just getting through the day. I dislike living life that way, and I’m working on changing it. Deciding that it’s okay that I’m not okay has helped. When I wasn’t retreating I was bitchy, nagging, and rather awful to be around. Beth deserves so much praise for being so wonderful and patient. I have not been nice at all.
And then August! And it became clear that Princess wasn’t going to with us much longer! And September, on the 6th she died. With the end of September came a reminder — mostly for Beth, poor thing, but for us both — that Shit Is Real, and time to get on that. A pretty severe injury for Beth enabled me to focus a lot of time on mundane things, like caring for animals and taking care of the household chores. At the end of it, I was really okay with not being okay, and bracing as best I could for the remainder of the Hunt Season.
Throughout October and November my grandmother continued to decline. Suddenly it wasn’t a hardship at all to spend time on the phone with my poor mother. It was hardly any surprise at all when Kevin called on the 5th — a Wednesday — of December to tell me that Gram had passed.
Despite being younger, Gram’s passing was less surprising than Gippy’s. Possibly because she was declining for a lot longer than he was. Possibly because she expressed a wish time and again to not wanting to be alone. Possibly because I can’t imagine the two of them not together.
Again, the generosity of family enabled me to fly back and be with them during her services. We buried her on my grandfather’s birthday, which seemed fitting somehow. I re-established contact with family members I hadn’t seen in decades. I was able to dig into the well of support that my Gods provide me, and I was able to revisit my grandfather’s church and connect a small bit with this god of theirs, whom they love so much and whose love supported them through their lives. And what glorious lives they had!
I spent many sleepless nights with my brother, talking about everything, and that was awesome.
Returning home was again wonderful. I flew back during the 1st of Posideion, which I found quite fitting, a wonderful welcoming home.
I am still devastated. Beth keeps stressing that it’s only been a week. I’m better at not being okay. I’m exhausted. And I’m less worried about doing All The Things than I was before. I am content with the bittersweet longing inside. When I’m there, I can’t wait to be home. When I’m home, I want desperately to spend time with people far far away. There’s no making me happy, and that’s okay.
I cannot wait for this year to be over. In 2013 we’ll have Beth’s daughter out again, and it’s been too long since we’ve seen her. Though I’m glad we’ve convinced her to wait for spring, when it’s less torrential-rain and when everything is closed for the holidays. We haven’t seen her since 2011, so that’ll be nice. And I’ll get back to trying to figure out a balance that works for me, writing-knitting-yoga-all the things-wise.
There’s a few more weeks to go, but I’m posting this now, because, well, because I can.
But, yes. 2012 can suck it, really.
* Happier at Home by Gretch Rubin