Wednesday, January 28, 2015

When the Centre Cannot Hold

Dear John,
 
I've had Yeats on my mind all day: Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.
 
I'm still having a rough time missing you. And yes, I know that times like this will come. But that doesn't make it any less uncomfortable. I feel like my life is coming apart, things are flying off everywhere, and I'm trying to hold it all together by sheer willpower. None of this is accurate, of course, but that's what it feels like.
 
This widowhood thing remains disorienting. Life goes along fairly well as long as I don't stop to think, but Mama always said that I think too much. When I pause to reflect, I realize that there seems to be no center at all; as I told you before, I feel like my central loadbearing wall is gone. The center cannot hold because there is no center any longer.
 
You were the center, the linchpin, the cornerstone. You were the one certainty. As we moved, changed jobs, entered new careers, lost parents, and experienced the normal losses and changes of adult life, you were the one thing that was constant. You were the center that held. And now you're not here anymore. Centripetal force is pulling everything apart and there is nothing to stop it.
 
Father was right - soon after your death, he told me that half of me was in Heaven. It's the old thing about trying to unscramble an egg, isn't it? Part of you is here with me, and part of me is there with you. Looking at it that way, it's no wonder I'm feeling disoriented and lopsided. You were all I ever wanted, and now you're gone. And I'm living on as half of a person.
 
None of this solves the problem, does it? I guess I'm not here to solve anything tonight, just to try to understand what's going on inside my head and to talk it over with you. Don't worry about me - all of this seems to be perfectly normal, if uncomfortable, and the common fate of women. If you get a chance, please ask my grandmothers and great aunts to pray for me. They traveled this road before me and know it well. Please pray for me, as I do for you.
 
Adore you,
Joan.

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