Thursday, March 27, 2008

Time for Thanks

Well, after re-reading my previous post, it seems that what was undertaken as an expression of my desire to save my loved ones from pain actually came off as a rather selfish move to gather in all the grief to myself. What I had hoped was a desire to spare the ones I love and who love me the pain of separation, was in fact a move to deny the others who loved Pierre the opportunity to feel the pain that they should rightly feel in his absence, and for this I apologize.

Though I obviously often forget some basic human courtesies, especially when writing, my goal is not necessarily nefarious and I know that no one sees it as such. In fact, if anything, I have so far not managed to state it clearly, so here goes.

It does seem to me most natural to allow for a pain that no one should be able to usurp; to each his or her own moment of grief and for each to find a way of living it. On principle, I would not presume to take this from anyone, and, but for the fog that surrounds me and prevents me from making good judgments of late, would promise to hold to that principle. Doubtless I will cross the line again, but it helps to know where it is. I'll keep my eye out for it.

What I haven't done enough of, here in this journal, nor especially in 'real' life, is to say 'thank you' to all the family and friends who have supported us emotionally since Pierre died. So many people just opened their hearts and made their way to our house during those first few days, I cannot accurately recall them all. Believe it or not, there are times when I have to ask Valery if someone was at the wake just because I can't, with certainty, recall the memory of that day, or even, unfortunately, that whole month.

This thought is relevant not simply because I find myself thinking about that day often, which I do, but because yesterday was the first day that I've sat down to try and make a list of people who deserve thanks for their love and support. The stack of cards is quite large, a testament to the caring quality of our relations, whether they be by blood or not. The list of attendees at the wake was an equally impressive measure of the love that so many people felt for Pierre and continue to feel for us.

Though I haven't actually begun to write the thank-you cards, it is nice to know that I've got the list ready. Desiring, as I do, to write each person an individual recognition of their thoughts and thanks for their sympathies, it will doubtless take some time to get through the list, but it will thus remind me of the gratitude I have yet to fully express.


sonja said...

I had to think a little while before I could write any response; I admit I am very upset to find that I missed the only memorial, but I certainly respect your wishes, if you don't feel another is necessary... I guess instead of coming down in May like I previously planned I will come down sometime sooner, I am planning April 8th but I need to talk to my boss about it.

I didn't mean by my comment that I thought you were being selfish; actually it's completely contrary. I understand that this is your journal, and the beauty of a journal is the freedom to write your mind, in it's rawest form if you wish. And I understand your desire to take on the pain for everybody around you who is also suffering from Pierre's death was just a pondering or dream, thoughts, whatever you want to call it. My comment was only to express my concern and perhaps pose an answer to your questions about why everyone has to experience this unneccesary pain. I didn't think for a second that you were being selfish, I actually admired that you would do something like that if it were possible. That is not selfish in the slightest bit... I just don't want to see you put too much pressure on yourself, especially during such a difficult time as this. So write anything you want in here, do not worry about "crossing lines" or offending anyone, and I'm sorry I came off offended, I wasn't in the slightest. The only thing I am upset about is the memorial, but like I said I respect your desicion, I will still come down to visit anyway.

pd said...

Dear Sonja,

Thanks for your comment. I really do appreciate hearing from you.

I am indeed sorry that you missed the memorial, but as I am sure Valery told you, it was a matter of timing as we had a number of family members in from out of town. I wish we'd let you know in time, but we were not thinking clearly at the time, of course, but we would love to see you if you can come down for a visit.

I realize that you didn't mean to imply with your comment that you were offended, nor that I was being selfish; the former is simply not the case, and the latter, well, it's an invention is of my own making. Well, mine and others, including Valery, who has cautioned me to keep from assuming too much of the burden upon myself. I think this is exactly what you were saying, and for this I really do thank you.

I am most grateful for those who will remind me that this is not my grief and pain alone. I am most grateful for those who will walk with me down this tortuous road until it straightens out a bit and I can again see the horizon.

I have discovered a number of Pierre's friends who share in our grief and yet encourage us to remember him with fondness and grace. I count you, Sonja, among those loyal friends, and I look forward to the opportunity to see you again when you come to town. I hope you'll take the time to join us around the dinner table, where we saw the best of Pierre and his friends over the years. We can then and there raise a glass to his memory and our commitment to continue to live in his honor.

As for the contents of this journal, I shall not censor it, but I do think that moderation is in order, since I can come off as rather dark unless I keep in mind that others will not necessarily want to read such blather. I actually have private a journal for the dark thoughts, but this journal is more of an open letter to my friends and family.

As such, this volume needs to strike just the right chord, somewhere between complete unvarnished honesty and totally unfounded optimism. The line I hope not to cross is, apparently, a moving target, but I think I can keep to this side without losing my edge, or at least, that is the hope.

Again, thanks for your feedback. Sometimes it feels as though I am writing in a vacuum, so it is nice to know someone out there cares enough to write back!