It’s like that, and that’s the way it is.

I have tried, I promise. I’ve tried to write a new post without mentioning the recent death of my younger brother. But it still doesn’t feel right, yet.

But I miss writing, so sometimes I sit down at the computer with a vague notion that I’m going to write something unrelated to him. I imagine that I might write something interesting, thoughtful – even perhaps entertaining or witty – but I usually find myself staring at the computer for a few minutes and then quickly cutting the whole farce short by giving up and checking out other people’s blogs instead. I’m not ready.

Of course, every day I get through work, socialising, and the interactions I have to have with people all day long, without mentioning him, but blogging is a little bit like writing an – admittedly edited – diary, so I feel as though, if I can’t talk about John here, then I have nothing to say. In this particular forum, I don’t want to give anyone the mistaken impression that everything is fine and I’ve moved on. Despite it being an unpopular topic that is highly unlikely to get my blog featured on Freshly Pressed anytime soon, I’d rather indicate where I’m at, which is apparently that I’m not able to write an upbeat post designed to make the reader laugh and hit the “Like” button.

Hopefully I’ll get back there one day. And add a “Like” button.

So I thought maybe this was a good compromise; a way to slowly get back into writing about other things – by tying in a book I’m reading at the moment, however unrelated. As it happens, I’m reading A Visit To the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan. I’m really enjoying it. It is about a group of people whose lives are intertwined, and it’s set in various localities in the U.S. Each chapter is not only told from the perspective of a different character, but also jumps around in history, from when they are teenagers in the seventies through to (so far) when they are in their 40’s in the early 2000’s. So at the start of each chapter it takes a few paragraphs usually to work out who is the narrator, and a few more to work out approximately where this part of the story fits into the larger picture. I felt a personal resonance in this line from a character called Scotty, who appears to be a bit of a loner:

“There’s a fine line between thinking about somebody and thinking about not thinking about somebody, but I have the patience and the self-control to walk that line for hours – days, if I have to.”

I knew what Scotty meant about that fine line. What he hadn’t (yet) mentioned was that it takes a lot of energy walking that fine line. It looks easy, in fact it looks like you are not doing anything, but deep down inside while you talk to clients or friends or your plumber, you are thinking hard about not thinking about someone. I’m not as disciplined as Scotty – for me the energy used up by a stretch of not thinking about John usually gets balanced at some point, even inadverdently –  by the arrival of some really strong memory of him that makes me cry again. I am a Libran, after all, and we are supposed to need balance, so maybe that’s just how it works for me.

Scotty then goes on to say, of an old friend, whose picture he has just spotted in the paper, ” After one week of not thinking about Bennie – thinking so much about not thinking about Bennie that there was barely room left in my brain for thoughts of any other kind – I decided to write him a letter.”

Ah yes, see? The energy, or the space, taken up by not thinking about someone, needs release at some point.  So you write a letter. Or, as in my case, when there is nowhere that I can send any letter that John is ever going to receive, you look at a photo, or you relive a memory, and you cry. It still happens. It’s only natural, and that’s the way it is.

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3 Comments

  1. Wow! That was nice. Somehow Fluster Magazine managed to “Like” my post…..even though my blog didn’t have “Like” buttons at this point. They must have some sneaky I.T. skills over there at Fluster Magazine! Of course that made me add a “Like” button immediately!

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  2. Sometimes i think not putting a Like button inspires others to leave a comment. Then again sometimes I think not. Losing someone is the hardest thing to write about. Yet, it is so very healing and puts our own life in a different perspective.

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  3. Thanks, yes, it is a hard topic. You are right about the perspective, too – it was an eye-opening experience for me to realise that thousands of people experience it every day – the pain of losing someone they love. I still find it unbelievable sometimes.

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