Our five day diversion in Osaka ended almost as soon as it had begun and found Carmen and me in Kansai Airport and on our way to Canada. My journey back to mental health almost over.
But my ‘rest of my life’ journey was just beginning.
I had survived grief, barely. I had recovered from two bouts of devastating loss. I understood much better what grief is, what mental health is, and why suicide seems like the answer at the time. And may yet be the answer at a better time.
I had struggled with the problem of loneliness, and aloneness, and I had found some solutions, even if those solutions might be described by economists as suboptimal.
I had immersed myself in the task of reinventing myself, recasting my identity with many new dimensions: writer, widower, wounded warrior, wanderer; confirming some of my previous identifiers: agnostic, skeptic, social introvert; relinquishing some of my delusions, or more accurately, accepting my limitations: but I won’t list them here.
I still have problems to solve and still need to find the courage to solve them. Chief among these are dealing with aging, living a more considered life (James Hollis), practicing virtue and dying (with dignity). Bundled with this is leaving a legacy to my children and grandchildren, memories they can be proud of.
Carmen and I were returning to Canada to continue this journey of discovery. Immigration Canada may have given her a long term reentry visa but it hadn’t solved the question(s) of whether the rest of my life included Carmen or not – I would have to figure that out for myself, and act accordingly.
I am gradually accepting the place Emily is in my life. I hope she is happy with her choice. I have forgiven her for herself, though never for what she had done to me. I guess I still have work to do on the virtue of Mercy.
There are people in my life who are struggling, who may have problems bigger than mine. But their misery and my misery are different things, the one desert cancel the other. ‘There but for the grace of god go I’ is of little value. I don’t think it wrong to seek solutions to my sadness, and find happiness; and I don’t think it wrong to share my journey with others, as in this blog, and my books, in the belief that others may gain something for themselves. I know that I am a kind and generous person, and I will continue to be attuned to people who may benefit from my small contributions to their lives, if they want to have them. I can’t worry about those who don’t.
I have renewed purpose and renewed energy. I have books to write, and publish. This blog may be one of them. Emily’s story may be another. I have a book percolating in my mind about a 14-year old boy growing up in a small village in Ontario, circa 1962; it even has a title, The Treasure of Stella Bay.
I may have returned to the sun, but getting on with life was still the challenge, as it is with every stage. So I better get on with it. No time to waste.