I was talking with somebody this week about getting over the idea of something versus getting over its reality. Reality is easier: When a person hurts me, it's a no-brainer to walk away. When a cup chips, I no longer want to drink from it.
But I live in the world of ideas. Ideas are like stones in my pocket. I roll them between my fingers when I walk. I panic if they're not there, grasping until I find them again. I mourn when they are lost and feel poignantly their absence, though I can't simply and immediately bring myself to replace them.
It takes me much longer to get over the idea of something than it does its reality.
Grief isn't only about losing an object or person. It's about letting go of the ideas you assigned to them, rightly or wrongly. The crown you let them wear; lover, friend, family. And about feeling those ideas left adrift, unoccupied once you lift them from a person, or place or object.
At the end of the year, I start to feel all this. This time last year, I was filled with hope about somebody. The reality quickly evaporated. But what they stood for, all too briefly, still has an echo that makes me want to reach for them, although I know it's only my own idea I'm reaching for and I might as well reach into my pocket as out to them.
But there's still a fine filament of thread connecting that idea to that person. And I have other filaments of ideas cast out into the world, to people and places and some are real and some are not. And many are my own fictions and can break my heart. But at this time of year I think about all of them and churn how we were wrong and how I'm still struggling to get over so many of my own ideas.
We talk a lot about the holidays as a time to spend time with family and friends and to tell people we love them, to reaffirm bonds. And we push to the side the truth that not all things are so constant and friends are lost as well as made, and family can be estranged, and love affirmed and optimistic last year can be gone this one.
And I may sound maudlin to be feeling all this right now. But the truth is I like those poignant moments when I let myself really feel a loss and really feel how much I wanted, and still want, an idea to find its reality. And feeling all of this helps me get over that harder part, the idea part. So that I can find new filaments to cast out under this new moon.
And some links...
The most beautiful thing I read this week.
A reassuring post for lonely bloggers.
The song I listened to over and over.
I still dream about having a writer's cabin.
Have a great weekend!