As I bore witness to Dax’s dying, I struggled to name the colors shared by my loss of him and the loss of Tamara. Tried to weave a tapestry of them that would illuminate this journey, that would show me the larger landscape so that I might walk it more gracefully. To this moment, I have not stepped with ease or skill through that land; I haven’t even found a path, road or trail through it. Each step willing, in earnest, but blind. I have stumbled, cursed, fallen, refused to rise. I have hoped for her to pull me to my feet and point the way, even to soothe my pain with a touch or word. And, as always, she stands nearby, silent, waiting. I must find my feet on my own, before she can join me.
I have dressed her in so many costumes, so many masks, in the last months, as I’ve watched her watching me. She has assumed the shape of betrayers, liars, cold hearts. I have named as delusion the love I hold for her, have crawled far enough away from it to believe it a useful construct and nothing more. I have named as technique the love I felt from her, an honorable seduction meant to elicit trust, a spider’s web: useful in its specific strength, but easily swept away. I have removed her humanity and replaced her with familiar ghosts, whose falseness and treachery I understand. So many ugly possibilities have flung themselves at me through this time, and I have fought them all bravely, but to a standstill–there are too many of them, and one of me, and when they all look like her it confuses me.
And now I am sick at heart and without the steady compass of love that kept me calm and sure. Even writing “love,” as something real and not imagined, is done through will and hope, but not conviction. Fear and old wounds threaten to erase the good feeling we built over this short time. It enrages me, to watch myself do with her what I have apparently done with so many others I love and need. It’s not at all about loss; it’s about love. I don’t know how to love without turning my loved ones into frightening monsters. The awareness of it is the only saving grace I may claim, and that will only matter if I find a way out of it.
I have not reached a resolution, or peace. I can say this: the strongest thread that binds these two losses is perhaps the most obvious, and the most challenging: inevitability. Life pre-ordains death, this is a lesson we all learn early. And she spoke words to me when this started, about love pre-ordaining loss, which rested in my mind but not my heart. Now, at last, they rest in my heart as well. And I accept this as a corollary: injustice, unfairness, premature endings, are inescapable and real–and each event is a simple fact of the larger whole. Perhaps not as I want it, or not as it could or should be, but as intrinsic to the rest of the experience as anything else. There is no loving T without losing her in this abrupt and confounding way; that is one of the plotlines for our story. Finding growth and peace from it requires that truth as foundation.
This acceptance will not ease my pain, or guide me out, but it enables me to shoulder my grief, and trudge on. Now, I can write this on the portrait of my time with her, and know it to be true: with every first breath or opening of a heart, the sands begin to flow.