I have a birthmark on the back of my neck, commonly referred to as a stork bite. It’s just a red mark that I’ve had all my life.
Mr. Stork, I would not have minded if you had skipped Cleveland Clinic, and dropped me off somewhere else, bite or no bite. German mothers are a pain in the ass.
That said, we now have a couples therapist named The Stork Man. Two sessions ago, he had a conniption fit and rolled around on the floor for a while. (This is a slight exaggeration.) So I wasn’t enthusiastic about returning yesterday. I asked my partner to help out. She got him to sit outside the back window so I wouldn’t be scared of another conniption (this is also a slight exaggeration). Then she told him to please not have any more conniptions and that he talked too much and took her side and spoke for her.
I would like to state, for the record, that I may have to stay with her for another several centuries now. Whether I like it or not.
I told him his conniption fit scared me so much that I had fourteen heart attacks within an hour of leaving (this is also a slight exaggeration). Then I told him how much I hate therapy, which I have told him several times before.
At which point my partner and I did this couples communication model. You say what you saw, heard, felt in your body at some moment in your relationship, what story you told yourself about that, what you felt about it, what you did about it and what you would have preferred (like, I’d prefer to be God most of the time). Your partner repeats back what you’ve said intermittently–just to show she’s listening (I almost got caught spacing out twice). In other words, we actually talked to each other in couples therapy. After interviewing five therapists, for a total of 14 sessions, we actually had a conversation.
Well, they say, “Progress not perfection.”
Perhaps we’ll talk to each other again in a few sessions.
In the meantime, I came home last night to do marketing with the lovely, wise and ancient Patterson twins (who are both in their twenties, but are more efficient and intelligent than 40 somethings and have more insight than people who have lived for 400 years…okay, another slight exaggeration). Instead of working, we talked a lot. They listened to me rant for quite a while, but I made them apple cake, so I hope it evened out.
And then I went to sleep. And woke up thinking about Don, because I will call his parents today and maybe go see them tomorrow. I miss Don’s voice. I have always been such a sucker for gentleness, and Don’s voice was very gentle. It made me feel cared for. Even if we weren’t talking about anything very personal, just the sound of his voice…
Couples therapy, productions, mishagas, my own insanity…I just wish, every day, I could trade something to get him back. I’m not okay about him dying, I am not my normal self (or my abnormal self, which is the same thing), I am not over anything. Sometimes everyone I know seems to be standing on the other side of a river. I’m on the side where Don used to be, and they’re on the side of not knowing he’s gone. They look at me as if I’m not followed around by this absence, they look at me as if the absence is over, and I am an invisible woman, a silent woman, a woman alone on this riverside. Except when I visit his parents. They’re on this side of the river. They might even have to build a house here. I hope not, but they have been through so much, who knows.
I wish we all wore armbands. I wish to say kaddish for Don Foley, every day. I wish for it to be heard.
Metta, metta, metta. That there may be kindness for me, for who I see, even for who cannot see me.