This was our previous home. My husband lived there just-shy of 30 years – 17 for me. He built that barn and shed. The barn will last forever if the owners choose to let it. He fenced the property himself. He planted trees and plants and tended to the land so lovingly. You would think that I would remember more than as if it was a movie I’d seen, but details often fade. I do remember where each of our dogs was buried. Late-great Wally the Whittler made signs for them with each name and date. The house has its second owner since we moved. If one had to be in the middle of nowhere, it was the place to be. Now, am so grateful for being in the middle of somewhere.
I shamelessly swear. It’s my only sport. This afternoon in an email exchange with a neighbor I realized that if I have a tombstone, in homage to my existence it will read, “She fucking died.”
You each hold the power to enhance someone’s sense of security in these batshit crazy times. All it takes is stepping out of your fear and focusing on someone other than yourself. You hold the power to make someone laugh, to allow one’s tears to fall, to be present in another’s moment, or to be an even momentary lifeline – to perhaps coordinate getting what is physically needed. Likely, you won’t be able to look in each other’s eyes while you’re working your magic, but don’t lose sight of the fact that when the fear lessens, and the madness calms…you will be seen for who you were…in a moment…when someone was needed…and you were that someone.
I wonder if overeating is the manifestation of being figuratively fed up?
On a cold Saturday morning earlier this month, there was a small event in my NH town. I put on my best I-overslept-and-it’s-almost-over outfit – jeans, big shirt, frayed jeans jacket and the requisite hair scrunchy and drove the distance – 2/10ths of a mile. Almost immediately, I ran into the town matriarch (if there is such a thing), gave her the requisite hug and said, “You look lovely.” She did. She just stared at me until I explained, “I’m in my best frump outfit.” She said, “You did a great job.” I replied, “Shh! I’m hiding my Greenwich.”
Tonight, with eyes closed, I am walking into my bedroom in my parents’ house circa 1993, and I am opening one of my bureau drawers. The bureau used to belong to my father’s mother. Nana died in the ’70s. Everything in the bureau is exactly where it was when I put it there. I open the closet doors and there is that dress I’ve been looking for – the first no-sleeve dress I intentionally bought to wear without a jacket or sweater or some cover up in an effort to see myself as others saw me. I have turned to my left and around the corner to view the desk, which has piles of unfinished writings, mail and articles and magazines, as well as a just-shy-of-embarrassing collection of pens and pencils, many of which are no longer functioning. The middle drawer on the left side is slightly ajar.
The bureau no longer exists. The desk – the closet? No longer exist. Who knows what happened to the items in them. The closet clothes? Mostly donated. Nana’s furniture? Tossed.
Nothing in that room exists in that room, because the room no longer exists, because the house no longer exists.
I know where everything exists in a nonexistent place.
One of many thoughts on tomorrow’s anniversary…For those of us who had a consciousness in 1963, the profundity of this anniversary of the day JFK was murdered forces us to reflect upon our personal memories of the event. While it wasn’t until many years later that I had any grasp of what had happened meant, or its endless impact on each individual, the day nevertheless has had a thus-far lifelong impact on my development: That day held the first time I had an awareness of being uncomfortable in my own skin.
I was a couple of months shy of 5 years old, but already had a Pavlovian sense of time with regard to my siblings returning home from school. I was playing in the front yard, and saw that Janet and Judy were passing the Docimo’s driveway next door. I knew they were early, and started jumping up and down and laughing, so happy they were home. As they rounded the tree which cornered our properties, I saw that they had kerchiefs or tissues being held up to their faces, and felt that at the exact moment that I was overjoyed, they were bereft. I felt something click internally – some awareness that what I was feeling was not meshing with what was going on.
At 4 years of age, I began losing things. ..I lost a president of whom I had no awareness, and I lost a sense of synchronization with my oldest sisters.
From a 2015 Facebook post:
Very reflective today. I realize that until Andy and I became Andy-and-Joc, I essentially stinted my way through life. Cameo appearances. Stayed in whatever it was until my attention, or doubt, or fear, or boredom took me elsewhere. I still have a short attention span, and I still have doubts and a few fears. I don’t have enough time in any given day to experience the luxury of boredom.
What the magic of a longstanding relationship has given me is someone with whom I am able to measure my personal growth – gains and losses (yes, you may grow from loss). Taking this trek with someone who has known me since I was a teenager makes me realize the many versions of me he has known, and yet, there is an Essence of Jocelyn (“the narrative thread”) which has accompanied each version.
I like the post-middle-age gig. I could only like it more if it had as many years ahead of us as those which have passed.
At a certain point in our lives, we realize that time is currency. As long as you are aware, it doesn’t matter if those on whom you spend it know the cost.
Even with three other dogs, with the exception of our grief, the house is very quiet.