I know it is forbidden to destroy ourselves, but I trust it is forbidden in this sort; that we not destroy ourselves despairing of God's mercy. The mercy of God is immeasurable, the cognition of men comprehend it not... Far is it from me to be tempted with Satan, I am only tempted with sorrow, whose sharp teeth devour my heart.
Sir Walter Raleigh
The time following the death of Aramis,"the mad Genius," was a cold desert for me. I was left alone, developing pneumonia, had lost my health insurance and therefore my medications. When I started them again it turned out I had become resistant- I've stated this elsewhere in this blog. I was waiting, lonely, but contented, for the end to come. It seemed not very far off. My allusion to UTZ in the title of this blog is to the land in which Job lived. During the subsequent years everything that I cared for was taken from me. Up to a point I would joke that I had lost everything except the cat, and then the cat died, but like Job I kept peace with my maker. It never occurred to me otherwise.
That is why I started off today with the quote from Raleigh. It is possible to be so resigned to the end of life that one can be even eager for it, to be in despair of the continuance of life without being in despair of, feeling abandoned by God's love.
I speak in retrospect, at the time I did not see myself as being in despair, in fact I wouldn't come to see that until much later, when I started to come out of it.
One may say that I was "depressed." In fact a therapist suggested it "Do you think you may be a little depressed?" I just chuckled, "Doctor, you know what's happened in the last 12 months, what would you think of me if I weren't 'a little depressed?'" he took it gracefully and acknowledged that I was right.
This was before the death of my brother, and the destruction of my house. It almost embarrasses me to relate all these dramatic events. I keep a notebook in which I record my readings. After reading "the Mysteries of Udolpho" last year I started a very arch comment about melodrama and then stopped mid sentence because my recent history was no less melodramatic. All the while I was expecting the last ride into the sunset so all these bad goings on seemed like temporary annoyances; irritants to be endured until my time to join Aramis and my brother. Sometimes when the sun would lower to the western horizon I could imagine them up there having a good old time- very likely stoned and not the least bit worried about the one they left behind. I would pray that God, in his immeasurable mercy would stop the sharp teeth of grief from tearing at my heart and take me.
I mentioned the sun in the western horizon, but should have said "when I went out to see it." At first illness and my medications kept me indoors. Every cloud they say...., The resolution to medication resistance was a new "cocktail" which reduced the extreme light sensitivity that had been keeping me indoors, but still, nature and the passing seasons seemed irrelevant to me, and the passing of time was only a reminder of how quickly I would be gone. Dr Choi, my infectious disease Doctor kept insisting that she would keep me alive to enjoy old age. Very sweet, I thought, and I appreciated her care, and happily I still do. I thought she was very wrong at that time but now think she may be right!
The worst thing about this is that I have always reveled in the beauty of nature, and when I look back at that time- yes it is different now, and that is really what this series of posts is about- when I look back I see that I was in despair. That despair is what I gave up for lent last year.