Bouncin’ Back

Bouncin’ Back by Robert Cray from the LP Midnight Stroll

About a year ago . . . maybe a little less . . . I posted the above song and said that I couldn’t see the events in the song happening at that time.  If memory serves (and it’s been decreasingly subservient lately) I didn’t think I could ever see things improving to that point.  It was a fairly bleak outlook on things, I have to admit.  But the thing about grief and loss is that you never really know how you’re going to handle it.  I wasn’t putting on a brave face, if I had been I’d have jumped into the waters again and started seeing people and acting like life was normal.  I was smart enough then to say I wasn’t going to put myself through that kind of psychological labyrinth.

But now, after hearing the song again . . . first time in a long while . . . I realized things are truly getting there.  No, I’m not perfect, but then I never was so it’s not like I had far to go.  I’ve managed to stop the last bastions of mail from coming.  The solicitations for Creighton University’s Pharmacy School have stopped when I inadvertently made the young student trying to raise money cry.  “She’s no longer with us,” was my line.  Not sure why people who can be so smart can be so thick.  “Can you tell me where she’s moved to, just for our records?”
“No, miss, you don’t understand.  She’s no longer with us.  She passed away.  Andrea died nearly two years ago now.”

In my head – and this is how warped I am . . . and how far I’ve come . . . I wasn’t crying or sad.  I just had a massive urge to quote Monty Python: “this is a late parrot.  Ceases to be.  Not pining but passed on.  Bereft of life moves on to join the choir invisible. ”  But after having – for god knows how many times – to explain what happened and the girl not getting the hint that I was not only disinterested in going through this yet again I had started to lose patience.  Yes, Andrea went there.  No, I didn’t want to give money.  No, it’s best if you take our name off the list.

After we moved into the house and I set up the pictures, shelves, all our life together in this new space, the kids and I had found a box full of stuff from when Andrea was a kid.  Paintings, which I knew she’d made but hadn’t realized we’d obtained, were in a box full of High School memorobilia.  At the kids’ behest I had put them up on the dresser in my bedroom.  That, by the way, was a hard phrase to utter in those first months – my bedroom, not our bedroom.  Now it rolls off the tongue without pause or consternation.

In the last six to eight months I’ve changed things around.  New pictures have entered the wall space.  I took down the paintings because . . . well, to be honest . . . they held no special place for me.  I didn’t know her when they were made.  She never gave me an indication she’d ever had an artistic bent, other than writing.  I had pictures of my own I wanted to put up – not family portraits or other things, but my own photography and memories.

Fall Picture . . . my favorite time of year

I came to the realization this last few months that while I spent half my life with this woman I have only seen half of that life.  So if I want to go out of town and see a friend or what have you . . . I should do it.  My kids are amazing and I care for them and love them more than anyone.  But . . . I have about 9 years left and then the house is empty.  So as the song says, I took the picture off my dresser.  Took the name off the mailbox.

The influence is there.  I have confidence and maturity from this amazing woman that I would never have had without meeting her.  I am not trying to forget her or push her aside.  It’s more like the analogy of this blog . . . she’s stopped, her book in the series is over.  Like a major character in a Joss Whedon film her story line has ended but is referred to and influencing the rest of the characters throughout their actions and movements from here.

As Cray aptly put it – I have the urge to sing again.  I saw a friend a week ago and confounded myself with the desire to actually dance.  (I didn’t.  I may have rhythm but I have two left feet.  It wouldn’t have been a pretty sight)

Fall – through most my life – was my favorite time.  The colors on the trees and the bite in the air are things that give me both a nostalgia for my childhood and the start of the seasons that bring my whole family and friends together.  Last year all I could think about was the fact that Andrea – in those big, fuzzy brown sweaters – wouldn’t be there to sidle up next to me and seek warmth and as me to hold her.  When we dated I used to take walks with her and feel the leaves crunching under our feet.

But this weekend, with a major number of leaves and the first cold day . . . I didn’t think about Andrea.  Not that way.  We piled up the leaves so the kids could jump in the piles with their cousin.  We opened the windows and let the cool air in.

The kids in the leaves

We just felt like it was Fall and Halloween and . . . wonderful.  I hadn’t realized how much I was enjoying myself until the end of the night – and it didn’t make me sad.  It made me very happy.  One of those things that I’d lost . . . one of the things Andrea had taken, the Fall season and the love of the time was back.  I’d finally taken it back.

Like the Strong Persuader says . . . I’m finally bouncin’ back.

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