a sopping wet
into a dusty
of my heart.
i keep it there
i do not
i walk around
i am only
of its weight
reach for it,
wring it dry
in safe company,
over a lazy day
in the living room,
and in so doing
my rag of regret
becomes the soil
a story shared
is a seed of hope.
after i finished reading “the year of magical thinking” and “blue nights” by joan didion, i watched her documentary. if you haven’t read joan didion, you should. apart from being one of the bravest voices to write on grief, her honest words instill in her reader a hope of living well what we still have yet to live.
she writes as if she has nothing to lose in sharing what she does. she speaks openly about her regrets, airs them out for the reader. normalizes regret by owning hers. and i didn’t understand the magic in her doing so until i sat with hers and examined mine.
in her documentary “the center will not hold” she says,
quintana and i were talking one time about what kind of mother i’d been and to my surprise she said, “you were ok but you were a bit remote.” i didn’t
see this at the time, i didn’t think it was possible because john and i so clearly needed her. which is the way we tend to deal with our children. later we
realized that maybe we hadn’t listened to them at all. we’d been listening to the very edges of what they say without letting it sink in.
hearing that, i thought to myself, gosh. she is so free.
and it stirred up some tears as i sat alone in the living room because joan was gracious enough to share the pain of what she wishes she could do over with people who maybe still can.
in some way. not every way.
we all have moments we wanna do over. that’s ok.
but there’s some moments we maybe still can.
in some way. not the same way.
some moments are gone. that’s ok.
it’s ok to feel their grief. sit in them.
and when we’re ready,
it’s ok to look at today.
who can we call? turn our full attention to? check in with? listen to? share with? celebrate?
joan is partially to thank for why i’ve stopped hesitating and just picked up my phone to call, much more now than i ever have in my entire life. thank you covid and thank you joan and thank you grace. and she’s partially to thank for why i’ve left my phone in the other room so i can give my full attention to ben. her story of regret has become the soil for my growth.
she’s why i don’t wanna wait to ask : “what do you need right now?” or “what can i bring?” or “how can i help?” or “do you wanna talk about it?”
and it’s interesting because no one actually likes to share the moments they regret. i’m sure joan is no exception. we much prefer to focus our attention towards the gossip of another’s history instead of our own. we’re more comfortable that way.
but it’s not always the best way.
sometimes the best way is to tap into our inner joan and invite each other into the less than lovely parts of our story. i bet we’d feel a lot less alone if we shared in safe company the 1% of our story that’s rarely if ever been told. the part, the story, the “rag” that’s stuffed in a corner of our heart and needs to be wrung out so we can live more free. and it’s not always a big moment. small moments, too, hold the power to produce hope.
and maybe when we do, we’ll be more attuned to the moments we still have.
the moments where we still can listen to more than just the edges of each other.
while we maybe still can. not in every way.
but in some way.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.