Monday, March 27, 2023

Nine years minus a day

I have so many seemingly-disconnected thoughts in this moment. I try to write fairly cogent essays here, but this won't be one. Please forgive me. This is not the usual longing love letter, though both the longing and the love are here.

  1. I'm sure part of why I'm not thinking in a linear way is because I spent the weekend at Sharing the Fire Storytelling (STF) Conference. This conference was integral to our relationship. It's where our friendship really nudged into more. It's also an annual event we both worked hard at (Kevin did a lot of the audio work, I ran it for several years) and decompressed from together. It took me years to return to STF after he died, it's so full of memories and triggers. I went in 2018, I think, then not again until this year, its return from the pandemic.  It felt very strange. Mostly it felt like a reminder that Kevin has been gone for a long time. I taught a workshop, told a story, and mostly had one-on-one conversations, hid in my room, or walked. I didn't want to open the door to all of the feelings. I think sorting through STF will take some time.
  2. This far out, the feelings are so much more layered than they used to be. Yes, I miss him deeply, but I now have a whole rich life full of things and people he never knew. I live in a state he never visited, many of my friends are people he never met. That is both a blessing and a weight right now. It is both a solace and feels very lonely. I wish he could have known these people and things, yet I know I wouldn't have known them were he still here. This feeling is especially strong when I look at Charley, a man Kevin would have really enjoyed, yet a relationship that never would have been were Kevin still alive. It's complicated.
  3. Time both dulls and releases memories. He is a memory, and some aspects of those memories are sharp and clear, while others are faded and hard to work out. The release of memories is not only a distancing, but an ability to look at things that hurt to much before. I'm looking.
  4. Kevin died at 55. I am 55. Next year, on the tenth anniversary of his death, I will be older than he ever had a chance to be. This is making it all harder; this year the grief feels like walking through a marsh with both beautiful moments and treachery. This year, too, I know there is a path through. That also feels like a blessing and a weight.
  5. Finally, I have some stuff going on that moves energy from this anniversary. I'm learning how to live with back issues. I'm thinking about how to restructure my business, a business he believed in, in the long tail of the pandemic. Oh yeah, there's still a pandemic. Some other people I love are making their way to the end of their lives. And so on.
There is more, but not stuff I'm ready to share. All of it together means that, while I'm thinking of Kevin often, missing him, and having some hard memories, it's not the cutting pain it once was. This is a good thing. It also is a pain unto itself.
So it goes. Tomorrow I will go someplace beautiful for the day. I will eat foods he loved. I will feel and write and be grateful and sad and joyful that he was. Love doesn't die, it expands and fills us and helps us live.
Wherever you are, I wish you all good things.


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