Friday, October 9, 2015

Whose life is this anyway?

For years, one of my favorite songs has been Once in a Lifetime by the Talking Heads. The sense of confusion expressed by the lyrics has long resonated with me, but never before has it been this appropriate. I find myself in an ongoing state of discomfort and awe that this really is my life.

This is real.
This can't be real.
Maybe I'm living someone else's life.

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack

And you may find yourself in another part of the world

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife

And you may ask yourself

Well...How did I get here?

I am living in another part of the world. I am living in a lovely home, one Kevin has never seen, and loved by someone who is not Kevin.
Who am I?
How did I get here?
How can this be real?

This is not to deny the very real and very good things in my life. I am living in a beautiful home, in a city I love. I am loved and love in return. I am earning my own way, by my own work, doing things I am passionate about and making a difference in the world.

It is a repeated shock when every day I recognize these things and am grateful for them, yet Kevin is not a physical part of my everyday. I can tell him about these amazing things, many of which would never have happened had he not died, but his responses are subtle at best; he's not here cheering me on. I simultaneously feel so lucky that this is my life and so bereft that life with Kevin is no longer my life. It is tremendously conflicting.

And you may ask yourself

What is that beautiful house?

And you may ask yourself

Where does that highway go to?

And you may ask yourself

Am I right?...Am I wrong?

And you may say to yourself

My God!...What have I done?!

What I have done is I have chosen to live. I have chosen to honor what has been and to still embrace what is before me. It's really, really hard. It is the work of life, what we all must do every day; in my case it's maybe a little more obvious but it is no less than what you do every day as well.

It's a constant choice, letting myself be present in this world, in this life, in this moment. It's a constant choice accepting the gifts that are offered to me and the things that are happening because of my own hard work. Part of me wants to remain frozen. The rest of me is usually willing to let the world wrap itself around me but it is an ongoing struggle to balance life and immobility.

I may not recognize this life I'm living all of the time.
I may ask is all of this real and ask how this can be my life.
I may sometimes still wail for the life I had.
Life will happen whether or not we want it to. I can look at it with awe, with wonder, with regret and sorrow, but mostly I am looking at it with gratitude.

Thank you, Kevin, for loving me so well that I am in this moment. I could not be here without you, even though I am without you.
Thank you world, for welcoming me back and letting me occasionally run away.
Thank you.

Letting the days go by

Let the water hold me down

Letting the days go by

Water flowing underground

Into the blue again

Essay (c)2015 Laura S. Packer
Lyrics and video, Once in a lifetime (c) Warner/Chappell Music Inc. Creative Commons License


  1. Beautiful post, Laura. I'm glad you have found love again and are moving on.

    1. Thank you.
      It's funny, I don't think of it as moving on but moving forward. Kevin comes with me and my new love understands that. This is part of what made it all possible.


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