A birthday in the autumn light

I’m writing this on Janice’s birthday. It’s beautiful—blue sky, light haze, no wind. A great day like this is hard to enjoy; she’s not here to enjoy it, and I know she would have. It sounds goofy to me, too, but there it is. We each had a life, and a lot of what we did and enjoyed had nothing to do with each other, and now every situation I run across in which we had ever found ourselves makes me cry—in homage, I think.

When I go to sit outside in the morning and I see the chaise longue set to catch the early light, I think of all the mornings she and I sat there, drinking tea and waking up the day. She may have been giving me shit, but at least she was here.

Now and then, I retry going through some of her stuff, but I don’t get far and I don’t try often anymore. And her stuff is everywhere—art on the walls, bottles in the medicine cabinet, books on the shelves, photos in boxes, journals in stacks, paint on the walls. I’m immersed in her stuff—for Janice pretty much everything had value as art supplies or art—without the pleasure of her company, and her company gave plenty of pleasure.

There’s still an element of cosmic something or other about all this grief, a component that’s not specific to Janice or our bond, and for which I’m grateful without understanding. Every time one of those waves picks me up and turns me over, I feel softer somehow, maybe less resistant, and more able—willing?—to accept whatever happens along, not to judge it or decide anything about it, just appreciate it for itself. Odd. I think it’s a chance to surrender, which I’m finding is nearly always a good idea.

Grief is exhausting, crying especially so. It seems like I ought to be burning a lot more calories, but I’m not losing any weight, and it does nothing for abs. That recurring lump in my throat sometimes aches; maybe it’s getting stronger.

I’ve been crying a river for the last couple of months and blaming it on the movement of the ecliptic and subsequent change in season, and I see no reason to revise the results of my entirely unscientific study. The goddamn autumn light makes me cry.