April 21, 2005

Insistence upon Resurrection

I've been giving some thought to the month of April. I guess I've been thinking about April all month, but it didn't really surface until I started rambling in a recent e-mail.

T.S. Eliot, of course, said that April is the cruelest month.

On the April Is the Cruelest Month episode of Sports Night, the characters were all uncertain about their futures. Relationships were tense. Dan apologized for taking his pain out on everyone else and explained that those were fractious times and that more and more they were coming to expect less and less of each other.

Two Aprils ago, my friend was pregnant and didn't know it, and now her little girl is starting to walk and becomes transfixed by the television whenever Constantine starts doing his facial gyrations on American Idol.

Two years ago in April, I was slowly on my way up after quickly falling a long way down.

I got very skinny.

I was planning a last-minute backyard party in lieu of a wedding reception.

My ex-fiancé had not yet married and divorced a stripper. (Not that there's anything wrong with being a stripper.)

I was really scared about the serial killer and a thousand other things.

I thought I might lose my cats.

I thought I might lose my mind.

My friends and family surrounded me like a cocoon and reminded me every day that all of their love combined was much greater and deeper by boundless depths than any loss caused by one person. It was like I could feel them grasping hands and standing in a circle around me, defying the world ever to fuck with me again. Being my own personal force field. They called me and sat on the phone with me when I had nothing to say and they knew I would rather hang up and hide from all of them. They showed up at my house and pulled me out of the door when I could not get off the couch. They walked my dogs with me. They filled my mailbox with cards and and music and movies and books that I spent every sleepness night with, listening or watching or reading, and they filled my home and office with plants and flowers. They rearranged my furniture. They swept wedding acccoutrements wordlessly out of sight. They still showed up that weekend from near and far. They never made me or let me think for one moment that I had done anything wrong.

My online friends also rallied unbelievably and helped convince me it was all going to be okay.

My friend told me two years ago that the best of me would always be mine. I look back at her words, which included excerpts of my own words (and T.S. Eliot's words, which I didn't even remember even though I've only read what she wrote about ten thousand times), and I believe her. Even though maybe I didn't then, I do now.

On Joan of Arcadia recently, one of my favorite God avatars, GodFella (nicknamed as such because he kind of looks and talks like a stereotypical mobster), told Joan that April is cruel with beauty. Cruel with its insistence upon resurrection. It was one of those moments on this show that can practically bring me to my knees. Not in prayer, but in a weird sense of awe and the realization of truth.

I was reading an excellent article in The New Yorker about David Milch, and there was much talk of Robert Penn Warren, his mentor at Yale, and aside from being a great article, I thought so much about my grandmother, cruel and beautiful. Robert Penn Warren was one of her advisors when she was getting her master's degree in the 1930s, and he signed her thesis, and it was a source of deep pride for her. Anyway, Milch quoted these lines of poetry by him, and I just about burst into tears.

This
Is the process whereby pain of the past in its pastness
May be converted into the future tense
Of joy.

I guess we all go through our own little deaths and resurrections of our own spirits, and it's so strange to look back and see on the other side, once the pain of the past in its pastness has been converted, what parts of ourselves are different or the same.

Instead of making a promise to one person that night, I made one to my friends and family, and they made one to me, over brownies and beers and guitars and vodka and sparklers, and that promise was that we would always be here for each other, and that promise is one that I believe with my whole heart will never ever ever be broken. I am so glad, looking back, that that was the only promise that was made that April. It was the only promise that mattered and the only promise that was meant to be.

One person left that spring, but every single other person stayed. And it taught me that, if you're lucky, life is infinitely more kind than cruel.

Two Aprils ago, I really wasn't sure that I would ever really open my eyes and see the beauty of the world, trust anyone else, or be happy again.

But I did. And I do. And I am.

:::

About this time in ...

2004

4/19:

Friends were here for Easter, and sleepovers were held and crunchy rolls and bunny cake and cheese fries were eaten and champagne was drunk and Freaks and Geeks DVDs were watched and pointy-toed heels were worn and hot guys were eyed at mass and cigarettes were smoked on the back patio and as always there were laughter and tears.

2003

4/20:

My aunt described in such detail her upcoming bladder sling surgery while I sliced bananas for the fruit salad that it was a conscious effort not to barf in the bowl.

4/19:

The only CD I had in my car was Become You, and I blasted it on the way home with the sunroof open, wishing that my sister were there to sing harmony with me.

4/17:

But it's like the more together I feel as each day goes by, the more nervous I get, like, what bomb is going to drop now?


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