I need a friend

I am lonely. Since she died. I have two sons, with their families, and for them life is good.

What are the things we must endure in life? “Endure” connotes “suffer”, or “withstand with fortitude”, or “undergo as a penance”, “put up with”, or “go through for the time being”. I am in this situation and I see no way out. It is not exactly torture and it may not end, but if not, then there are the makings of a loss of life before losing my life. Loss of hope. And the mood becomes dim. Then dark. Then very dark and hopeless.

What are those things? Loss of something, not just a hundred dollar bill. It is more like a house-fire. A loss to an earthquake. A virtual mud-slide. An automobile accident. I can identify with the losses in the news. To forces of nature. Or to murderous deeds of human monsters whose only solution to their problems is killing, or rape, or theft, or other ghastly exertions against the rights of others to life, liberty and happiness. I feel losses more generally now.

But if one has that dark mood, the causes are multifarious.

What is the way out? For the victim of the darker mood, you name it. Hamlet analyzed the dilemma of his tragic situation. Resolved with Shakespeare’s solution. Taking arms against a sea of troubles and by direct action end them. Is that a way out for me, some direct action?

Everyone at some time will have that dilemma to resolve. I believe that for most of us it will be after the loss of a loved one. That makes it a nearly universal fact of life. Some simply say, “Just get over it!” Yeah, big help.

There is counseling. There is commiseration, in the company of friends, but that goes soon away. There is psychotherapy. There is something called, simply, fortitude, in the endurance of mental pain. Not everyone has that sterling trait of character, or knows how to build it up. Where does one find the character of fortitude, a certain strength of MIND that enables a person to cope with nearly intolerable forces with courage? That preparation, I believe, is done all along in more normal times, storing up resistance to the inevitable, by looking at the present joys and thinking momentarily of the evanescence of all good, like the evanescent joy of a morning mist or a bird-song in an enchanting evening. There also may be a source of “practicing” courage in active empathy with the heroes of endurance reported in the news about everyday living beings. There are models we read about which make us ask the questions of ourselves, our chances in the same predicament.

Catching the moment and rejoice in it, somehow. As (the German author) Goethe’s Faust said in that one precious moment, constituting his salvation in producing a magnificent and selfless work for the betterment of mankind, beating the Devil at the last, “Verweile doch! Du bist so schoen.” (“Tarry a moment. This moment is so beautiful.”) For the enjoyment of that one blissful, most beautiful moment, he wished his joy in his great deeds of construction contributing to the good of mankind might last forever. He was contemplating the unspeakable beauty of his project playing out down far below in his building of dikes for the greater good he had done with the supernatural powers given him in his bargain with the Devil who coveted the soul of Faust. (I would never think that the Devil would be that hard-up for human souls. Unless “it” thought it would hurt God. The Devil being an “it-“force, not a “he-“force for evil.)

I, too, am missing something that was a great beauty. I am missing some conversations we never had. I live now with the silences of her absence. I cannot get over the mistakes I made, in retrospect, during our time together. I should have helped her more, washing dishes, pots and pans, after the evening meal. Tired after a work-day, I would plop down to watch the news on TV.

I could have had longer talks about our experiences together, finding new interpretations of our meetings of friends. Of her past and my past. What our lives before marriage were. Of her hopes for the times coming up. A trip. A visit. The long missed friends out there. What we still had to do. Beliefs. Wishes. Hopes. Attitudes about issues in the news, our differences and agreements. Our mothers. Our fathers. Our parenting. Our politics. Our forebears, ancestors. There was so much more to share. Our self-congratulations. What we did well. Our losses, mistakes. My “character” and her “character” in our eyes. Plumbing the depths of our relationship, somehow finding some summary meanings. I may give the impression we had little of that, but, NO, not so! I just miss it so much now that I wish for more now. Ever the teacher of speech communication!

What “love” means. What the “future” means. Where we might have improved on our togetherness for all those years and what we might still do.

Too late, with her gone. I will do it alone.

Putting this up now is like erecting a lighthouse in the sea of matrimony for the lives of others still navigating those choppy waters.

I wish I had had such a hint as this before we launched our personal ship of marriage.

We had a good marriage. I am sure she thought so, as well. You know what the best word is for what we had? Loyalty. We stayed together to the end, with never a punctuation of even one fight. One always wonders about fidelity because that can be violated in thought as well as deed. One more often can know more about the “deed” part than the “thought” part, but one will try to make a good guess about that fidelity test. One knows what one’s self has done on that score.

I remain tearful.

Still, I, and I am sure she would also say “we”, had a great marriage. A gold-cup winner. Our golden anniversary was six years ago, and I consider our marriage to be unfinished.

I have heaps and piles of loneliness here.
But our two boys and their mates help. Good guys, and ladies.

I have my blogs. And I am writing two books. (I need an editor.)

I write all of that solely as a hint to other married folks. I hope it helped.

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Published in: on April 2, 2014 at 6:35 pm  Comments (1)