Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Seven years of healing through blogging

December 8 was the seventh anniversary of my blog.  Some of you know the history of my blog.  For those who don't, I'll tell that story again. Look here for my first posts in December 2006.  My blog's first name was "Old Girl of the North Country."  After being haunted by memories dating back to December 8, 1970, when my Richard returned from almost a year in Vietnam, it was suggested that I do something new on that day, something to give me another way of looking at December 8.  I decided to create a blog where I could present a 40-year retrospective -- my art work up to 2006.  My hope was that by looking carefully at my art work and sharing it, there would be insight and healing and that perhaps I would be inspired to paint again.  I had no idea if anyone would ever read my blog.

In September 2001, Richard's mother had told me that Richard had written down the lyrics for "Girl of the North Country" and had written my name next to them.  He was living with his parents during a time he was undergoing chemotherapy for what was thought to be terminal lung cancer.  By 2006,  Richard's cancer had been in remission for four years.  For my own physical and emotional safety, I was not in touch with him but thought of myself as his Old Girl of the North Country.

Although blogging has brought unforeseen healing to me, including a change in the name of my blog, I have had an usually difficult time this December, with unexpected edginess and anger and grief surfacing.  I hadn't been able to come up with a idea for a post after December 5 and the death of Nelson Mandela, until today when I saw the Doonesbury strip with Alex and Toggle and their twin babies.

Alex and Toggle are dear to my heart.  Their life is unfolding in a way very unlike the way my life with Richard unfolded, and I am grateful to witness other possibilities for veterans and their loved ones than those Richard and I experienced:

During Richard's first nights home he had nightmares, and to his immense dismay and to my bewilderment he punched me in the eye in the midst of one of his nightmares, as I lay sleeping beside him.  In 2008, Richard died in a VA hospital from complications related to Agent Orange exposure, tobacco abuse, drug addiction, alcoholism, and cancer.   I was able to be with him in the ICU during the last days of his life.

Toggle met Alex about a year after Richard died.  Toggle reminds me of what I loved about Richard.

Richard gave me a copy of "All Things Must Pass" for Christmas in 1970.  This morning I had just happened to listen to "Wah-Wah" and was listening to the rest of the songs when I went to the Doonesbury website to see the comic strip for today.




"Is that ... harmony?"

I love the smile on Toggle's face.

Thank you for reading my blog.  Thank you for your blogs.  Blogging is a way of my life for me now. I haven't gotten back into painting, but I am beginning to do some weaving and am playing the autoharp, dulcimer and ukulele and am happy to be spending time taking care of babies in a volunteer position.  I have plans to take classes and take care of babies as a job in the future.  I wonder if Alex would hire me.


Dale said...

Thank you! It has been a privilege to be able to share some of this journey --

Dominic Rivron said...

I remember when George Harrison died, his family quoting a Hindu saying I'd not heard before (and which has stayed with me ever since), that "life is the universe dreaming".

Just been to your profile - that's a great Patti Smith song. I didn't know it.

Sabine said...

Thank you for blogging and sharing. I always sense a great deal of delicacy and careful thinking when I read your posts. I hope you will be able to gently move on and on along this road of discovery and healing.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thank you for sharing this today, Am. Beautifully written, as always, and honest and moving. Yes, blogs can be healing, I think: the expression, the confiding, the sharing, the inclusion, the writing it down, the creating, the making sense through some kind of creative ordering, the responses.

am said...

Dale -- Good to be on this journey with you.

Dominic -- Thank you for Hindu saying. Glad you share my appreciation for that song by
Patti Smith.

Sabine -- You're welcome. I'm grateful to have found your blog through Dale's blog.

Solitary Walker -- Thank you for following along with me for about as long as I've had my blog!

Anonymous said...

These years of blogging have been good for us. Connecting with a wider community and hearing the heart beats all around the world. I'm happy to have found you, and glad to have been reading you all these years.

am said...

robin andrea -- Yes, it is about connection
and community. Thank you for continuing to read and comment here.