A Brief Foray Into Love & Death

We all forget.My beautiful picture

That can be good.

It can also be bad.

The death of Robin Williams on Aug. 11 sent shockwaves around the world. It affected me like the death of a family member—specifically, Mom and Dad six years ago.

But it also got me thinking, as I had been prior to that terrible news, about why life can be so difficult for some people, so much so that (brain chemistry aside) they take their own lives.

That question is easily evaded because, well, we all forget. I know I have.

That is until I discovered a seven-page, handwritten note to myself from a couple years ago. While it’s undated (apart from month and day on the last page: 11/16), I’m willing to bet it was poured out shortly after my parents died. I’d titled it “A Brief Foray into Love & Death,” and jotted down “photo of me & Mom,” likely because I’d considered it for a blog post. Given that, it was probably written in fall 2010 or ’11, since I restarted CITD in Oct. 2010.

Here it is, pretty much in its entirety, with some commentary at the end:

LOVE can only occur when you allow yourself to be seen and you clearly see (accept) another. Think of the statistical improbability of two people experiencing this simultaneously—and sustaining that vision of/toward each other. Not impossible, but very difficult.

DEATH. We all start the game with the clock ticking. We can’t see the clock-face, only hear it ticking—aware that each tick could be the last.

Mother probably suffered from depression all her life. It just didn’t surface in the severity that later would claim her life until 1982, just after her mother died. For six years she was at home, with a schedule of eat, sleep, cry, repeat. In the last year of that episode she was hospitalized.

I was so disturbed by it that I went to see a psychiatrist—more for answers than anything else—when I realized I, too, had “it.”

The symptoms now are clear, but at the time confusing. It was like coming down with the ’flu—loss of appetite, sleep, and a crazy mental loop that can’t get off the idea of self-destruction.

LOVE. The past five years have included more divorces, separations, estrangements and misunderstandings than all the years previously—or so it seems. One thing I’ve learned the past two years of all that is the courage to be seen cannot be exclusive —> I’m still coming to grips with that uncomfortable notion. For example, with my ex, I was open to her and that was joyful and liberating. But she seemed to grow fearful of my willingness to be open—it is, I’ve learned, the big gamble of Love —> will your openness, your willingness to be seen, be returned? She opted out, and remains hidden, even, I suspect, with her latest boyfriend.

The realization is daunting: if you muster the courage to be open, deal with rejection and indifference and do it all over again, and again—then I’d predict you’d have to do so within the confines of an already committed relationship.

DEATH. I wasn’t there when Mom passed, but I did see her for the last time 5½ months before. Depression had robbed her not only of hope but of the strength to beat it back. The horror of death is not death itself, but how it saps the love out of life.

Authenticity —> Levels of falsehood. Assumed authenticity = “I’ll take you at your word, who you claim to be, what you are, and what you believe.” You can’t brand anyone as “authentic.” Authenticity “begins at home.” It begins with asking hard questions about one’s self…

Inauthentic —> You can’t be known, seen. The Other becomes only an extension of your imagination, the Other “created by me to satisfy me.” This is not and can never be Love. I’ve been what you might call Functionally Inauthentic for most of my life. “What do you want? How can I please you?” Loss of me—well, never sure who I actually was.

So, this has been rattling around in my head for a couple years now, what I thought I believed, and what I was actually doing. This blog has forced me to ask questions, the answers to which I always assumed I knew. In the past I thought by “doing this,” things would lead to “that.” Now I’m beginning to see there’s an almost imperceptible progression from one false belief to another.

Living the creative life, “the work,” as van Gogh once wrote to his brother Theo, has a price, which is often to the detriment of lifelong relationships. And the self—a fragile, fractured chimera largely borne by a belief in what “the world thinks [we are],” in most people never seems to ever get past that stage.

That November I last saw Mom, it pained me to see her unquestioningly absorbing all the bullshit that blared from the television, as if it were gospel. In earlier years she would’ve been more skeptical. But depression caked her mind with a false reality.

I’m left to wonder what “iron-clad beliefs” I still hold dear, many of which I’m certain are my false reality.

How did she die? She stopped taking her medication—drugs to keep her hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and depression at bay. Was that suicide?

I remember I asked Dad why she’d stopped, why he didn’t insist she continue her treatment. She was in a lot of pain, that I know. Was he trying to help her out of that? I don’t know.

So, I need to stop and remember.

The “forgetting” is a defense mechanism, a way to move forward without being stalled by memories brushing up against the truth, whatever that turns out to be.

Forgetting will not help me or the people I know, or hope to know, for the remainder of my life.

I must keep asking questions.

I need to keep remembering.

~ by completelyinthedark on September 19, 2014.

One Response to “A Brief Foray Into Love & Death”

  1. Reblogged this on Completely in the Dark and commented:

    Remembering Robin Williams this past week. Three all-new posts in preflight mode—first of which will be published next Friday. Cheers!


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