Merlin had a bad day this week, and I had a bad day as a result. It’s a weird feeling, that vicarious angst. It reminds me how grateful I am to be 40 and not 15. It reminds me that I can’t solve other people’s problems. It reminds me that I’m connected to people in ways that I can’t fully control. It reminds me that I have a presence that evokes itself when I’m not there – and so does she. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that, sometimes, but I’m always grateful and surprised by evidence of it.
Epic poetry assures us that grief shared is grief lessened. It’s a koan. The division is meant to make the burden lighter, but it also spreads it. Does division make more or less? Or is there something else at work?
Everything in a teen’s life is worthy of epic poetry. This drama necessitated a series of texts and an emergency meeting between classes, a short counseling session, a bit of discourse analysis, and a plan of action for a variety of anticipated events the next day. Did I counsel wisely? poorly? Did my presence even matter in this situation, which I was no part of? This is the stuff of Shakespeare. And systems theory.
Did you know that heart muscle cells will continue to beat in time with the heart they are removed from? I’ve been thinking about that. I’ve harvested and transplanted my heart in several places. I wonder how they’re doing – so far from me. I wonder how I’m doing – so far from them. Evidence suggests that I can’t really help the people right here with me. We all fight our own battles. But I want you to know that I evoke your presence in your absence, that even in my distraction, my heart beats in time with you.