The day my sister Dale died in 1981, I was surprised to find myself momentarily alone in her living room. I picked up a book of poetry. As I placed the book in my lap, it flipped open and the first words I read were:
We who are left, how shall we look again Happily on the sun, or feel the rain, Without remembering how they who went Ungrudgingly, and spent Their all for us, loved, too, the sun and rain?
A bird among the rain-wet lilac sings— But we, how shall we turn to little things And listen to the birds and winds and streams Made holy by their dreams, Nor feel the heart-break in the heart of things?
New to me at the time, it was a poem written at the end of World War I by William Lyon Phelps. It gave me gooseflesh and has remained with me ever since.
Wishing those others who are left, in so many places around the world, the chance to someday not feel the hearbreak in the heart of things.
I have no rain-wet lilacs. But I have heard birds singing among San Geraldo’s sun-drenched hibiscuses. So, I’ll share those and finish with a smile from a sweetly dreaming Dudo (he of the toothy grin).
As most of you know, I live with clinical depression. I do what I can to keep the dark days — and nights — at bay. Medication helps, but needs to be adjusted over time. Without medication, I couldn’t survive. And sometimes I feel like I have to justify that to others.
“Oh, just change your attitude,” they’ll say.
“I just pull myself by my bootstraps and put a smile on my face,” some tell me.
“Just spend more time at the gym.”
Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Attitude helps. A smile helps. Exercise helps. But they don’t cure clinical depression.
With the help of San Geraldo, I manage to keep the worst bouts from returning, simply by being aware and getting help when I/we see the patterns returning. What returns are the voices in my head. They tell me I’m not good enough (for what, I don’t know). I’m not handsome enough (for my life as a fashion model?), I’m not smart enough, kind enough, rich enough, confident enough, talented enough, humble enough.
On my good days, none of that even matters.
On my bad days, I’m simply not enough.
Lately, I’m not finding myself interesting enough, which explains my recent dearth of blog posts.
But, finally, rather than trying vainly to be enough for you (OK, for myself), I figured it was time to just tell you what’s been going on in my head.
The walks have helped. Usually about 11 km (8 miles) in 2-1/2 to 3 hours, with a day off between. Monday, it’s back to the gym. Really. No excuses.