Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Certain Things...

There are certain things I can no longer do. Let me rephrase that. There are things I no longer want to do. Some of these things include listening to certain pieces of music, going to certain places, and being with certain people.

Allow me to explain

I married my college sweetheart in May of 1980. We met at Southwestern University where we were both music majors and, as such, had many classes in common. We studied music literature, music history, and music theory together. We even took a piano ensemble class together and frequently played four-handed music together. One such piece was a Brahms Hungarian Dance.

Listening, as I often do, to WRR Classical 101.1, this morning I heard that same Brahms piece. In a “flash back” moment, I was abruptly snatched from the present, and hurled back in time when Tim and I played this composition in that piano class. Then, almost as suddenly, I was in a “fast forward moment”, remembering when we reprised that same piece for a concert we were doing together – many years since first learning the music in that piano ensemble class.

The memory was fresh – as if it were yesterday. As lovely as the piece was then and is now, I slammed my hand against the on-off button of the radio and drove the rest of the way to work in silence.


This year – 2009 – marks my 30th reunion from Southwestern. I have several friends who graduated with me. Though Tim did not graduate that year (he was a year behind me in school), he was an inseparable, woven-into-the-very-fabric-of-my-body part of my time at SU. The thought, however, of going back without him is unthinkable, unspeakable, and undoable to me. There are too many tender memories in the buildings, the halls, in the nooks and crannies of the Fine Arts Building, in the campus itself for me to be able to go back without tears. Not only would the memories of us as students haunt me, but also of the times we attended other reunions (our 10th), and of the times we drove through campus -- making that slight detour off of I-35 – as we drove down the interstate. It’s too sensitive. It’s too fragile. I won’t be attending my 30th reunion.

During our life together, we met and made many friends – lifetime friends – or so I thought. But when death comes, it doesn’t just take your beloved. It can also take or change other relationships. Suddenly you go from a couple to a single. The dynamics in relationships change. One such relationship has succumbed to this fate.

While I am happy for this couple, for their togetherness, and the fact that they have a strong and vital marriage, because there are so many memories of us/them, it’s somewhat painful to be with them. I know they sense it, too, but we’ve never spoken of it aloud. It’s too sensitive. It’s too fragile. The relationship is not exactly lost, but it has changed, altered, shifted. In short, there’s a big hole. That hole is Tim.

In a loftier and truer sense, however, the relationship IS lost. You can never have exactly what you had before; therefore it is lost.

“Time stops for no man,” is true, especially in the grieving process. Death comes. You grieve – hopefully in a healthy way and you “get better”, whatever that means – but when you finally drag your head up from your grief, time has marched along and you are several years, maybe more, behind everyone else. Some things have changed. You no longer look at the things the same. You can’t. Music, places, people are different and you must start to redefine yourself by your current set of circumstances.

It takes time. It’s not fun to have to “re-compose” one's self. It’s hard. It’s painful. It’s scary. It’s lonely. Yet, it starts to happen. Slowly, maybe. Or perhaps in larger spurts. But it does come – if you’re lucky, if you have enough prayers said on your behalf, if the planets all line up, and if the stars are in your favor.


Terry Lee said...

i'm glad you're blogging again. it's therapetic. :-)

lovely, bittersweet thoughts and feelings, belinda. grief is a bitch, no doubt about it.

am proud of you, my big sis!

lotsa love and hugs to you,
terry lee

amcnew said...

It never ceases to amaze me how fresh memories can feel, even years after the event.

I admire you.

Library Lady said...


Yes, indeed -- therapetic. Seems I have a lot of emotions bubbling up recently. Maybe that's why I'm writing again. It really does seem to help.

I'm proud of you, too, my little sister! I love you! You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

Library Lady said...


Very fresh. Fresh enough to disturb. Fresh enough to hurt. The memories come in my sleep and are often not accurate -- they are twisted and bizarre. This October has been hard. It's Birthday Month for many people I know -- both alive and dead. It's my 30th college reunion. While I'm happy with my life overall, I am feeling The Hole in my life that Tim has left.

Even in my own little world, I know you, too, are struggling at this time. You remain in my thoughts & prayers.

SarahBowie said...

This is incredibly beautiful. Thank you for posting it. Love, Sarah