A dear friends' wife, a hospice nurse, told this story to me.
"Freud (I was told) used the word “CATHEXIS” to talk about attachment. My supervisor talked about the process of grief being the work of "DECATHEXIS" and that is the tying off the threads (the warp & the woof) of the tapestry of our relationships. All the threads that make up that tapestry have to be tied off for the tapestry completed. The tapestry remains and is preserved through that tying off of the threads that formed the relationship. And it's hard, time-consuming work."
I am creating a tapestry of memories and emotions to carry with me like a cowboy moving from one safe place to another safe place knowing they have all that they need to thrive. My tapestry of memories of Donna is all I need to thrive. But there is a cognitive and emotional dissonance creating this tapestry of memories. I look backward and forward never fully set in today. I hear the footsteps of sadness like a wide receiver ready to be hit and I freeze. I am not deterred.
It's not a great vista this snapping of my mind back and forward. It makes me dizzy. Yet I remain an active participant in my grieving (memories) and looking back I have discovered what Donna and I were, what we became together and independently. And this occurs with more clarity then one could imagine. Donna loved me into being. I still seek what am I, what have I become, what I will become. That is the task of my creating a tapestry of memories. It becomes my today.
WS Merwin an America Poet laureate in 2010 said
'I think memory is essential to what we are. If we - we wouldn't be able to talk to each other without memory. And what we think of as the present really is the past. It is made out of the past. The present is an absolutely transparent moment that only great saints ever see occasionally."
My memoirs of the past are brought into the present to create new memories. This is not the perfect fix for those moments (memories) when they happened.
Our anniversary looms like a submerged jagged rock that I emotionally impale my heart on. It is times like these that I find myself wondering if I have what it takes to stand on my own. That is the gift I want to give to Donna. To drop the crutch of grieving. Create a tapestry from what was lost and from all my learning after the loss. I want to create something new by understanding that memories are key to my present. Even with the support of friends, the grief tribe, and family there is that moment when you step out alone.
I guess I will quote what Donna said in hospice before she lost her ability to speak and I asked her about funeral plans, life, regrets, etc. "Don't be a maudlin p****." My tapestry of memories hanging on my shoulder does not make me maudlin. It is a bandolier of memories. Like Donna, A Photo Memoir of Love and Loss.