Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hello, Leo here.

Its been a while since I spoke up so thought I would stick my two cents worth in.

How are we doing around here? Pretty good  - - except for some days--.  A few weeks ago she tried again to read Joan Didion's book, "The Year of Magical Thinking" and she just could not do it. She told a friend, " I am done with that. She is talking about how I feel - - so I have no doubts about the truth of what she is saying - but I don't need to read it from her - when I am feeling it for myself."

What is this "magical thinking?" she is talking about. As best I can see it - its thinking something will happen that can't - - like maybe Jim will be in the house when she comes home. Saturday night she went to hear storyteller Bobby Norfolk in his program for Telling Moments Theater and when she walked up to the house and pulled out her keys she started crying  - - she knew - again - that Jim would not be waiting inside to hear about the show.

During the evening three people came up to her, " We just heard, Ellouise. We did not know about Jim." Sweet, lovely really, but it brings her to tears and she has to turn away.  She says, "I hope they understand. I appreciate their caring but ---- it's hard to talk about."

She asked her bereavement counselor, "how long is this going to keep on?" and she says back, "its different for everybody - and 7 months is not much time, you know. You and Jim were together 57 years."

People compliment her - "you are so brave." or "you are doing so well." and I hear her telling her sister - "If they want to think I am OK  - let them.  I am not brave nor am I doing well - but I fake it and make people think I am. Sometimes even I think I am fine - and then pow - a tsunami of emotion knocks me over. I am perfecting my deep breathing."

This week-end she worked on getting together papers for the lawyer who is preparing the estate taxes - the deadline is approaching. I can tell you from what I hear and see Ellouise hates this kind of work. It doesn't say in the books that going back through those papers is like thumbing an album - - especially where she sees Jim's distinctive handwriting. He once told her how, as a kid, he practiced for hours to make his characteristic J when he signed James as his signature.

These are the tough spots.

A new kitten named Angel is a bright spot. She is funny and cuddly and brings joy to both Ellouise and Jim's dog Leia. Have you ever had a despondent dog? They are deeply grieving and they can't talk it through - but in Leia's case -  this kitten has brought back her spirit. Its a touching thing to watch. She is coming out so much that she even lets Ellouise pet her - and that is amazing.

Amazing is good.

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