Five months on

DancingNobody told me about the exhaustion. And if they had, I don’t suppose I’d have believed them, or thought it would ever apply to me.

It’s now almost 5 months since the great catastrophe. After the “excitement” of getting to Texas in a hurry, the emotional events of that week, returning for the Irish funeral and then the dreadful day of doom scattering on the Sugarloaf—after all this comes the daily grind of grief.

Much of the grief is self-serving; did I love him enough? did he know? did he love me? why did I do such and such when he was 10? did he know his time was limited? is that why he said such and such? why did I not pick that up? why did he feel he could not confide in me? … you can imagine the little stories I invented – without any evidence.

The self-pity has more or less worked itself out. Slowly I deal with autopsy findings, intellectual processing, picking up broken ends, revising expectations. I am beginning to sleep through the night thanks to Nytol. And the sparkle has returned to my eyes, people tell me. I begin to recover mischief and iconoclasm.

Four months ago I said that I felt as if I’d been struck with the greatest imaginable physical force. And so I did. But the exhaustion goes on and on and on. I do not wish to leave the nest. I do not want to be in situations where people might ask things of me. I barely have enough energy for myself and certainly none to spare for others. People hammering on the vicarage door at 11 pm swearing and spitting leave me unmoved. Those who claim to need train fares to Birmingham are likely to be dismissed ungraciously. Conserving energy is difficult when people are wanting to touch the hem of my garment in all sorts of ways. They sympathize, they mean well, they don’t mean to steal my energy, they don’t know they are doing it. I need to rethink how I deal with it.

A friend of similar age was discussing getting older with me. He was lamenting the lack of intellectual oomph. But, you know, I rather like that. After a lifetime of living by my intellect and striving to prove myself to parents, to colleagues, and to ego, I find it liberating to renounce the multiple seductions—academia, music, church, to name but three—to which I fell victim. Vanity of vanity, all is vanity.

These last few weeks I’ve been very glad of films on Netflix and YouTube. I’ve been enjoying violence as never before. But the thing that always revives the drooping spirit is—wait for it—Benidorm. As I make the great renunciations I begin to come down where I ought to be …

… the gutter. The valley of love and delight.

7 thoughts on “Five months on

  1. I’m sorry this comes late. This is an unimaginable loss. My deepest condolences to you and your missus.

    – do (one of your former students in ’91/92)

  2. Dear R.R., Thank you for this refreshing thread. Scrolling down on your output, I have found your post on Blood, flesh and bread – Posted on 01/04/2015. I have taken the liberty of re-posting this item on my own blog – kiwianglo – as an inspiration to my readers this Holy Week. Thank you.
    Blessing on your continuing journey into Christ.

  3. As my Professor, you reached out to me during the very worst time of my life and your kindness and compassion brought me through the worst of times. I wish that I could help you but I don’t know what to say. Except, that we are thinking of you and praying for you and for your family. And we always will.

  4. Our love to you both – it’s a place you never wish to go- we know- but I would rather have lived then never loved – and it does wane- slowly

  5. You never cease to amaze me. Wise words that most can’t put into words. Love to you both
    Inishfree 4

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