Friday, September 22, 2006

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

I kept thinking these words. Over and over again, starting Tuesday, when I sat with the minister from the church across the street and chose text to be read at my beloved's funeral. Love does not bend with the remover to remove. The remover has removed and the love stays right where it was.

This is some tempest.

Why would that not shake the fixed mark? Well, now. There's a question.

I was as in love with him last week as I'd been, pretty much ever. Things were going well. I did not want my marriage to end. I still don't.

Neither did he.

It did, though. The death did us part. I found myself thinking about those words yesterday--what the hell is that? Who thinks about that when you say that part, the "oh yes, my love, I will by the way stop being your wife when you die." As if I could. How do I stop loving him?

Wouldn't it be easier if the intertwining of our lives and passions and minds could part just as suddenly? If I could be Not Married Anymore with the cleanliness and suddenness of his death? Instead as ever I've got nothing but a mess of my feelings and what words are really the right ones, anyway, and he was always so much better at the words than me. "Oh, no, you're the artistic one," he'd say. Yeah, right.

Go look at his photographs.

We brought him to the cemetary yesterday. Odd; I can't really see that word properly, "cemetary," it doesn't look right and I think I've misspelled it. Yes, I have--it's cemetery. Still looks wrong.

They didn't do what the movies I've seen show--and really, I'm pretty much completely working from fragments of movies, I suspect there will be a lot of that--they didn't lower my husband into his grave at the end of what is called "the commital." Which I have no doubt spelled incorrectly. I can certainly spell "doubt." They didn't lower him into the ground at the end. They waited until I went away. I asked Leslie, so they can be sure I won't throw myself in after him, right? Right, she said. Because we both knew I wanted to.

Not that I want to be dead myself. I just want to be with him. As long as I'm with him, it's okay. There is this visceral need I have to be with my husband. But I can't.

I've been reading Joan Didion's book, "The Year of Magical Thinking." I'd been meaning to get around to it. Now instead of being this sad, unbearable tragic memoir, reading it is an experience in recognition. Oh, yeah, I think. Yeah, I'm in that space, too. You, too, Joan? Yeah, I keep going over the details of what happened, too. And no, I guess it isn't going to make him not die if I find some way to understand what I should have done, and when, to make him not die. My writing voice today is colored with bits of hers.

If I finish the book quickly, will I finish this pain, too?

Breathe. Remember to breathe.

I went to the cemetery today (and spelled it correctly this time). The dirt is over him now. The flowers, too, which I sort of thought would be down under the ground, but they're not, they're right there, arranged in a sort of line, filling the rectangle of dirt where my husband is now. Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest, my love.


Blogger Jen said...

Liz, what beautiful words, how marvelously you speak your feelings to us. Thank you for allowing us this window into your world.

Many hugs and much strength to you as you travel through the changes in your reality.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Jena the yarn harpy said...

Words cannot begin to convey the depth of your meaning, yet I think you have come close. He may have had a gift for words, but I think that his words have become a part of you as well.
I wish you as much peace and strength as you can muster. I will continue to wish you this forever and a day; I admire your strength, I admire your wisdom and I admire the depth of your love for your husband and your children.

Breathe, knit, take an indulgent soak, breathe some more. He is not here with you, but he will always be here with you.

And if all of this coping stuff just gets too hard at times, just call. I'm just a few miles away. There's always a hug, a cup of tea, and whatever else you may need. (And yarn. There's ALWAYS yarn.)

7:58 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

It was such a lovely funeral, Liz. Can a funeral be lovely? It was wonderful, painful, awful, beautiful ... Steve was an incredible man, and there were so many people there to attest to his brilliance, his kindness, the fact that you and the kids were at the core of his life. Of his being.

You will never stop loving him. And the love he had for you will be there, always and forever.

I'm thinking of you every day, my dear friend ...

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Kat said...


What a beautiful post.

I have long admired your husband's photography. I regularly visit his Flickr site when I need a break from the insanity of my job. His work is wonderfully calm and reflective.

I wish there was a way I could ease your pain. I'll keep sending supportive thoughts your way.

Take care.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Lucia said...

Liz, I know a lot about wishing things were different... but not about this. I'm speechless again. But I'm thinking of you all the time, the best thoughts I can.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

I dont't know you, but I read your blog. I wanted to say how very sorry I was to read of Steve's death and how much I am thinking of you. My very best wishes to you and your family.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Squawker Girl said...

Hi Liz,
We don't know each other, or have met yet... (I found your blog via SnB NH) and found your expression of grief, of sadness, and emotion quite poignant here in this post. What initially caught my eye was the beginning of Shakespeare's Sonnet 116. My husband and I chose it as one of the readings at our wedding. I had never thought of this sonnet as being true to a love loss, yet not.

My heart goes out to you.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

I'm sure a lot of this is a blur for you with so much to deal with. I'll remind you what you said to me Wednesday night about breathing, "I sort of don't have a choice" It seems that's the crux of the matter and the part that's most difficult to accept. You're in my thoughts daily.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Carole said...

I'm in awe that you could pull together and post this. Your pain is palpable and yet, there you are. I'm thinking of you all the time.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous witchypoo said...

He isn't gone, he's with you now and always will be. What was put into the ground is only the shell that held the man you know and love. You don't stop loving and he will not stop loving you either.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Erica said...

Liz, I cannot begin to understand how hard all of this must be for you. I'm just so very sorry that you have to go through it at all. Steve must have been a truly wonderful man, and the world is a lesser place without him. I am thinking of you.

10:21 PM  
Blogger diosa de rosas said...

Dear Liz,

I cannot begin to comprehend the depth of your experience, but I feel as if I have a small idea through your words. I am so glad you are writing about it all - I've long believed that expression is one of the best paths forward. I am thinking of you and your family, and constantly sending warm, supportive and comforting vibes your way.

All my best,

10:13 AM  

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