So it starts, another morning of hollow functions leading into a day of shallow steps towards the end of the sun. I cannot actually remember feeling less alive than I do these days and that is a feat as I have spent the remembrance part of my life always at a place where the present was filled in its entirety with the ghost of the past. Constant second guessing and the desperate fear of making the same mistake in the present that I made in the past obscuring the every present moment I am in.

Where that comes from I cannot truly say, it is certainly figurable but then what is the point of that? Even if I could say for certain that the cause of it was directly related to this or that action, this or that moment, perhaps even this or those many life lessons learnt as I grew in my youngest of years would it change anything other than give me a point from where the compass went rogue and left me awash in these ghosts? Really no point in figuring it out, but perhaps there is a point in asking if I choose this or if it simply what makes me up as a person.

In recent memory I have been saying “I just want to be happy, but you know I may not be capable of happy so I will gladly settle for simply content” and in reading that outside of the moment of it being spoken it can sound awful. The truth is that it is not awful, it may be the very best and most hopeful thing I can say and that is good. We are all not the same and we are not all capable of being that happy, free, and that person who can let go of what has been and can embrace what is now and what will be.

Does all the above make me a sad and depressed person, or does this make me pragmatic and accepting of my personhood and perhaps my fate in life?
I do not know.

What I do know is that this is what life presents itself to me as, and even with deepest of hopes and most sincere of intentions life is nothing more that a present moment that is never present and it is immersed in my past. Every moment lived compared to ones I have already passed thru and every moment stolen by history, its not something I can say is awful as I have not known any different.

I write this all with the intentions of being immersed in the process of writing, and while I do so to be fully present to the art of it all, I am still lost in the memories, the visions, the smells, the touchstones that my past bring forth.

For a moment I find myself rejoicing in the those memories, but not because they are breaking apart the present but because just maybe I was present in those and that is why they are so forward in my mind. As I drift into those memories I find myself remembering how even then I was comparing those actual seconds to some past that preceded those times, seems to be a vicious circle that serves only to reinforce its closed loop.

At 50 years, I can only know two periods of my life that were present to me without the past eating its insatiable emptiness into the living reality of now. Those times were filled with some of the most intense, contradictory and confusing emotions I have known as well. Total loss, pride, sorrow, total exhaustion to the core of ones soul, moments so precious they are burned into my very being, and moments so painful that I am awoken at night by them. In the very worst of it all this constant battle between sorrow so deep and painful my body literally shifts under the weight of it and joy so intense that tears well up in my eyes at the emotions of the most present moments I have ever been gifted in these 50 years.

Those times were as I walked both my parents from this life to the other, both times were unfair and both were brutal in their own rights and I walked each each parent thru it all alone. Even with good people at my side on occasion as it all occurred, it was not their father nor their mother. They were my parents and they were mine alone to be a son to, no-one could have ever taken on the weight of what I had to carry from me. Sweet words and good intentions do not equate to the hoisting of that pack filled with lost dreams and stolen moments onto your shoulders then walking that long road of dying. The very ones who gave life to you at your side to start, then stumbling behind you and eventually standing free of this life sorrows in front of you. That is one of the rare things in life that only you can own and only you can fully and truly experience.

Over the years I have held out this deeply selfish notion that I could actually talk to people and share these things that I carry, to be fully heard in not only word but in emotions. In recent years I have learned that we all have such experiences that can never be shared with others and that can never be heard in their absolute fullness.

I believe that the very last time I tried to share these few moment when I actually lived in the moment of all that was happening was with my grown children. My selfishness drove me to talk with them in depth of the experiences, and my selfishness led me to anger when they could not truly hear me. I feel this foolish and ignorant sense of betrayal as if all the people in the world who would have the knowledge of me enough to understand my depth of pain should be my children, as I did for my parents.

Foolish is good a word for how I feel about placing that weight on their backs, recently I have grown to understand that the only way they will ever be in a place to hear me is when they are walking me down that same road that I walked my parents down. Wishing them to understand and hear me was wishing them to carry the same burdens I hold on to, but I was expecting them both to carry those before they had to.

I guess in retrospect and in this moment what drove all those attempts were not just selfishness but in all likelihood something more uncontrollable, it was desperation to find presence in the telling of the tales and in the sharing of the memories, as if in some twisted way I could find presence in the one thing that steals it from me, reliving the past over and over.

Today the sun is perfectly shining, glistening off the wet trees, and they are dripping the remaining rain from last nights storms from their leaves onto this keyboard with each passing breeze. In all of that beauty I can see now that I do to the very same to myself with every present moment, dripping the drops of my memories and history onto those living seconds, and I am now fully present to the irony in it all.

4 thoughts on “Presence”

  1. Wow! I totally feel the same way. Learning to cope with those burdens that are only my own and knowing no matter how much we try, those even close to us can never know the full weight of the burdens. POWERFUL! Thank You!

    Liked by 1 person

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