The past month has been a lifetime’s worth of change, challenge, and growth, and most of it has been good (if we can quantify such things with statements like “good” and “bad”). Perhaps this evaluation is simply my obstinate decision to find “good” in every damn thing, but I heartily doubt it. In any case, I am at a crossroad and this is why:
Anya and I are separating.
I won’t get into the reasons for why this is, for this turns the whole discourse into one of justification and explanation, an ugly exchange that invariably loses sight of the real issues and individuals involved. Suffice to say we care for each other so much, we want only the best for the other – not just what’s pretty good, but what’s the absolute best. I hesitate to present anything beyond that because, of the two persons involved, I am only qualified to speak for one of them. At bottom, I can only speak about what I know.
What I know is how I feel. And the feelings I have are based on what I’ve learned via living with brain damage. What I’ve learned is not just how to deal with trauma, but how to live with trauma. I know how to live when life changes entirely and irrevocably. This relational plot twist has tested me the same way brain damage pushed me beyond what I thought endurable. In a way, brain damage was a test run of my character, and I passed. So now I know how to respond and how not to panic (once I’m done panicking). At least this situation involves another person, and not something as irrational as a damaged brain.
What I know is people. My passion has always been to help others, to make life a little easier or, at least, make a moment a little funnier. At work, when customers pay for a flat repair, I’ll tweak the brakes or lube the chain as well – it could save them trouble later on, and to me, that’s more important than doing only what’s required. With friends, I resolve to be at their disposal when shit goes down, because I know the importance of just being there. In this situation with Anya and me, I know that, for each of us, there are more important things at stake than our official or legal status. If you can’t imagine how that could possibly be, well, from someone who has already experienced life and death, just take my word for it.
What I know is Life. For better or worse, I operate on a different level than most now. In some ways, as attested by this blog, I am operating with a handicap. In other ways, also presented on this blog, I am operating with a greater understanding, an advantage. What used to be a matter of faith, or a hunch about how life is designed to be lived, has been definitively worked out in my mind. It’s as if I have the inside scoop on the meaning of life, and maybe I do, for my life anyway.
What I don’t know is how things will play out for Anya and me, but I think that’s the point. If we can be okay with not knowing, if we can rid ourselves of predetermined outcomes and the inherent fear that works to preserve them, we are free to find truth – wherever it may be found. And I think that’s most important of all.
In fact, I know it is.