21 April 2009

So Much for Respite...

Last April 15, just over a year ago, Kathy Krajco published her final blog post - not knowing it would be her last. But by early May, to the shock and sorrow of people throughout the blogosphere, she was gone.

Late last March, I was enduring a prolonged, incredibly stressful, hugely painful ordeal. Just as I was beginning to recover from it, beginning to remember that I was a human being, not merely a robot that worked and suffered and suffered and worked,

Kathy died.

Her death, of course, was not 'about me'; but her writing, and her wisdom, and her graciousness as a fellow blogger helped, encouraged, and touched me deeply. Her death was a loss to many, myself among them. I am not ashamed to grieve for her.

So one year later, I find myself experiencing an 'anniversary reaction' - to the combined pain of her death and my own past ordeal.

This has only been augmented by a newer loss: Anna Valerious, author of "Narcissists Suck" has decided, almost exactly a year after Kathy's passing, to cease posting to her blog as well.

Two bereavements in two years. Two brave voices falling silent. One on the anniversary of the other.

Pain. Loss.

So I sought respite.


Who first coined the term 'escapist literature'? I'm here to say there is no such thing. I simply could not face the anniversary. Could not think about Kathy, or Anna's well earned and richly deserved retirement, or my own year-old harrowing. Decided to lose myself for awhile in the jewelled, rarefied world of fiction, far removed from issues of abuse and human cares.

For this respite I selected two brilliant novelists, Kazuo Ishiguro and Arundhati Roy.

Those of you who actually read things like The New York Times Review of Books may begin giggling now, because you can see the punchline coming, can't you? It's OK if you guffaw, even. I had it coming. Stormchild the Genius decides to get away from memories of abuse and dysfunction, of loss, of pain, by reading

"The God of Small Things".

And "Never Let Me Go".

Serves me right. I owed my ghosts more courage.

These books are incredible, truly awe-inspiring works of art. But they are no literary respite from the hard realities of abuse in human lives. In fact, I was amazed, while reading them, at how profoundly these two writers understand the problems of abuse. It's an understanding so deep that it precedes words. These books are like sculptures, the authors' understanding is the raw marble from which the sculptures emerge - not chiseled out, but stroked free.

I don't quite have my courage assembled yet; the very thought of trying to explain anniversary reactions makes me feel as though I weigh a good half ton. I will have to return to these ideas later: to an explanation of anniversary reactions, and an appropriate homage to both of these powerful books.

Respite. Hah.

Savor life, Anna. May it be good to you; you richly deserve goodness. Feel the wind in your hair and the rain on your face and let it be rain, and not tears. Laugh and love and go with God.

Rest in peace, Kathy. You loved and served more wisely and more widely than you knew. May you be loosed and blessed. Rest in peace.


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