For all the decades I've been a freelance writer, it seems I'm rarely at a loss for words. I've covered community events as well as national (generally sporting) affairs. I've interviewed community leaders, followed family dilemmas and just overall submitted most of anything I could get published.
As of the past few years I've penned my own personal experiences for this newspaper, so it's pretty safe to say my life has been an open book to not just my closest friends, but newspaper readers. Lately, people have been on my case to produce yet another article, and although I appreciate the loyal (albeit few) followers, life's recent events have all but taken the vocabulary right out of my wits.
We all know emotional verbiage sells, especially on live TV, radio and in print. But when it comes to personal emotions, we all grow increasingly uncomfortable with the whole emotion thing and tend to withdraw from the situation entirely. Even the best of intentions has its comfort limits and we're all left to deal with our emotions on our own time lines, in our own poignant ways and through our own means and resources. I'm no different from the next in the emotional-stunted arena and it's been a quiet couple of reticence months regarding any sharing, writing or telling.
In mid-March, I lost my best friend and husband to an unexpected death. A lot happens to a person when they lose a loved-one. My entire life changed so abruptly that I've had to play catch-up with my thoughts and emotions these past few weeks. Life's realities can be harsh, to say the least, and is not for the weak of mind or heart. My skin is thickening as I breathe.
I worked at great lengths to bring calmness and peacefulness to my life these past four decades, but the curve balls come and blind-side you so quickly and fiercely that sometimes you just stand there, in shock, not realizing what just happened. You can remain that way for days or weeks or months, until the brain can take it all in through bits and pieces of truth.
Life is cyclic, some experts claiming in seven-year increments. For the past 12 years, my life has been on a wonderful high. So, by some standards, I was given an additional five years of bliss that I may or may not have deserved, but am very grateful for nonetheless. So, life , as we all know it, is ever changing —for better or worse. The English thesaurus for life (noun) is: existence; vitality; living; years. The antonym is death.
My newest challenges are making life happen when it used to just happen; planning a new social life when I was happy with the old one. Putting myself out there when I just want to crawl into a hole and forget about it all. Life is different for me; I'm not the first person to experience the loss of a loved one, but it's all new to me and I would give it up for a do-over any day. But life doesn't allow for a do-over.
I wasn't ready to say goodbye, so life did it for me. Life replaced my husband with wonderful, caring friends that I am indebted to. I will never be able to repay their deeds of kindness. Life exchanged my peaceful home with busy-work to keep my mind focused on forward movement. Life created a void that, under any circumstances, can never be filled, yet, I find myself doing the best I can to fill that contemptible void anyway. Life insists we move on. There are no other options for those of us left behind, just life in a new cycle.
As with all single women or widowers and widows everywhere, I'll get through this and move forward and create a new life filled with events and people and joy. I know this. It's who I am. I'll continue to write and eat and dance and hum another melody, but there will always be my life-before-life that will create who I am meant to be in the end of this cyclic world.
Ever changing. Always forward moving. Life .
Darcy Maness lives in Leisure Hills. Her current book, The Beast of Highway Twenty Two, can be found at Xilibris.com.