This is, I guess the 'dark side' follow-up to my NCOD posting on http://imablogaholic.blogspot.com/
It's autumn, the time of year when nature's cycle goes into 'death mode'. Deciduous trees and shrubs quit sending water and nutrients to their leaves, causing the color change, and dropping from the plant. That's the process of senescence. Non-botanically, it's the process of becoming old. (Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition). I love autumn. I like the change of seasons. I even like the death. Yes, it's one of my odd quirks. It's the yan to life's ying. Though it has it's melancholy moments. Death seems to be around me.
Sunday, I was talking with my neighbor (and good friend). This week is the second anniversary of her father’s death. She’s a nurse. I was somewhat taken aback as to how hard it is for her still, two years later.
My Mom called me last night to tell me they’d just returned from the visitation of the father of one of my grade & high school classmate’s/friend’s. T was part of the ‘group’ that I belonged to from Jr. High on. Mom said she’d asked about me, told Mom to tell me she thought of me often. We’d kept in touch off and on, until she’d gotten divorced and moved away from the last address I had for her. I don’t know why she chose not to let me (& others) know she’d relocated. —Embarrassment? Shame? What I know is that I missed not knowing what was going on with her—even if only via the holiday updates. She’s the second one of our ‘group’ to have now lost both parents. Our group knew death from an early age. We lost a classmate to cancer in the 8th grade. Mom was like the Grim Reaper last night, regaling me with the death notices of another classmate’s mother, as well as two other people from the small town where I grew up. I’m reaching that age where this is going to become more and more common. I’m fortunate that I still have both parents living and healthy.
I was in grad school when I finally came out --to myself--when I finally said the words, "I'm gay". To take off on Dickens, “It was the worst of times. It was the worst of times.” That’s NOT a typo. I had begun seeing a shrink at the student counseling center on campus (with whom I credit my presence on earth). Integrity is a trait that has always been high on my list. I felt as though I had none. I felt as though I was a fraud. Even though all the things I’d been taught in church, and even through all the prayers to ‘fix me’. The feelings I had would not go away. I had emotionally, spiritually, and nearly physically “senesced. Something had to change. I had to accept who I was, deal with it or cease to exist. The latter came very close to being a reality. The unwitting intervention of a friend prevented that.
The metaphoric death of the closeted, faux me had to occur for the rebirth of the ‘true’ me to happen. While I no longer consider myself (nor would others) a religious person, I like to think that I’m a spiritual person. It really pisses me off that people think and use these two word as synonyms. But that’s a whole post in itself.
When I get nostalgic about autumn, there’s a tinge of melancholy, but mostly it’s gratitude that permeates my being. The autumn of 1989 was pure hell. But I walked, sometimes crawled, and sometimes was dragged through hell. I made it through and came out on the other side--the phoenix arising from the ashes in spring of 1990. I’m reminded of the death that had to occur in me before I could really begin living. The scorch marks and scars are still present, though mostly invisible to others, they merely reminders of the journey. I’m also reminded that dormant friendships can be revived. I’m looking forward to that possibility.