Monday, February 4, 2013

Letting Go - Coping with Family Loss from Afar

I’m back!
Or am I?

I know I’ve been in a very bad place for over a year.. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t having fun! See.. my world works in parallel dimensions now. There is the Now and there is the other Now.
The first Now is my reality, the one that brings me down. These are the facts that I hate about my life. There is the loss of my dad, which I still have to seriously face and accept.  There is the loss of some people very close to my heart whether because their time in NY or in my life was up or because I didn’t have a computer for over a year and had very limited access through iPad and a dysfunctional not-so-smart phone.

There is also the lack of enthusiasm, a general apathy towards all the things that would normally lift me up: a good job, a dance class, a fit routine, a close friend or even a good book…

I’m done pushing the limits, turning heavy rocks over and reaching out for everything I can’t have.. and with that, comes my second NOW!

This Now is a spiritual realm I don’t quite understand. I don’t think I actually believe in this stuff but it’s here and I’m living it.

It’s that moment in November of 2011 when I went to bed and despite all odds, I realized I was actually very lucky.  My father was dying but for the first time in 38 years, I was able to connect with him on a level I never had. My father was dying and because of that I got to take my kids to live in Cairo among family and good friends for a short while.  My father was dying and for a very short period of time I felt very very safe so close to him.  My father was dying and thanks to him, many good people decided to reach out and stay close.  I don’t think I was ever surrounded by so many genuine and fun people.  It was then that I felt loved, cherished, trusted and not judged.  

Or maybe it was that moment last summer at the beach house, when I was settling comfortably in bed after an amazing night out with friends, when I felt that once more, despite the loss, the void that can’t be filled, the empty seat outside on the terrace, the sound of a nail hammered in my wall that has been forever silenced, the empty bowl of beans which my daughter no longer shares with her grandfather… despite it all, I had the most peaceful and relaxed summer in 7 years in that house.

Or maybe it was that Fall Monday morning as I was driving back from kids drop off and the magnificent foliage around me breathtakingly made me see life as so beautiful and so serene. Nothing really matters… careers, friends, family, money, material possessions, food, water.. Nothing really matters because at one point in our lives, we will lose one or more. At one point, we will cease to exist and it will all cease to exist, or matter.

I actually think it’s that moment… as I was shielding myself from an imminent sled crash in my backyard… as well as the incredibly good moments that Noha and Hedy brought with them when they came to wrap up a very lonely year in such warmth and amazing friendship.

And that’s the NOW I’m talking about. The Now that keeps a tight grip on my greedy inclinations for always seeking more than what I already have, for lamenting what I lost and what I could have had, for wasting so much time and energy on blaming myself, and sometimes others for my misfortunes, for holding on to anger and disappointment, mostly in myself.

It’s funny how life becomes simpler when it’s stripped down to its bare essentials. 

Walid asks me if we should move to a new country or stay another year. Normally,I would have a very concrete urge to go. All my good friends left already.  My kids need to be in a bigger more established school. I need to work to keep my dad happy wherever he is, and my mom proud and comfortable that I’m safe.  

But I look at my very confused husband and I sincerely don’t have much to say.  If we stay another year, I’m fine.. What’s another year anyway! If we go, I’ll just pack up the bare minimum and go.  Kids will be fine if I stop hovering over them like an overstuffed mother bear. Friends will come and go and when they go, I now have a new cool desktop to keep me company and virtually wired and connected. Like a true Roamer in this day and age, Virtual connections have become my only lifeline.