I had not planned to write today.
As the day approached, I felt a gentle shroud of melancholy descend and wrap around my shoulders like a soft caress.
I went to sleep last night pleased with my efforts and content in the knowledge that I am moving forward.
Today dawned cool and rainy, another Dutch autumn day. Yet it’s felt anything but ordinary.
For me, it can never be ordinary.
I don’t wish to hide away, I merely desire solitude.
Time for reflection. Remembrance. Loss, and grief.
I wished a friend ‘Happy Birthday’. It’s his 50th, a major milestone to be acknowledged and feted. I remember a few years ago his quietly telling me that September 11th was his birthday, how it had always been an ordinary day for others, but a special day for his family and him.
Until it wasn’t anymore. Until it changed.
He is a sensitive soul (I think he wouldn’t mind my saying that), and so his words were neither angry nor indignant, but gentle and understanding.
It was, and then, it wasn’t.
He deserves a wonderful birthday, full of celebration. And I told him so.
He deserves to have his lovely wife and beautiful daughters gather around him, mark his day with love and laughter.
I don’t know when the tears started to fall. They took me by surprise, first a lone teardrop slowly tracing its way down my cheek.
It was joined by another, and another, so many I’ve lost count.
I wasn’t expecting them. They don’t always come, perhaps because I’ve spent so long with them bottled up.
I suppose I’ve willed them to remain inside, out of embarrassment that I, here today, writing this, should have the privilege of shedding tears when so many cannot.
Sometimes I cannot fathom how far away I am from that day, how much my life has changed. It was two houses ago, two towns ago, two sets of friends and community and daily happenings ago.
A different country, different profession.
It’s still not a topic I feel comfortable writing about. I don’t know how to explain it except to say that it feels too sacred. Too holy.
But writing requires throwing open the doors to our soul, being open. Creativity demands honesty. Vulnerability. Even when it’s painful or isn’t pretty.
You can’t create positive works of beauty and light when you have a deep pain hidden away within you.
Eventually it demands to be recognized. Then acknowledged. And finally, accepted.
The rain stopped hours ago, the temperature has risen and it is now a brilliantly sunny day. The tears have dried although the melancholy lingers.
Shortly I will go to watch Daughter play soccer. It usually gives me joy to do so because it gives her great joy to play.
There is a beauty in her strength, an artistry in her movement.
It will not give me joy today, but it will give me comfort.
It is a different life now. But I have been marked all the same.