The past couple of weeks I’ve worked my way through page proofs for my book. My last crack at perfecting Shepherd: A Memoir. As I’d leave classes for the day, walking across the campus’s lovely old green I’d think, I can’t keel over dead. Not yet. Not under this ginkgo tree. Not until I submit my edits!
So life went on. I nursed Kathy through emergency dental surgery. Walked the dog. Went to committee meetings. Ordered a new computer. Read lots of student essays. One was heartbreaking. And a brave work of art. It was rewarding to see some of my teaching come back, or at least see what grew in a space I created, but celebrating it was fraught. I told its author what Augusten Burroughs recently told me, in This is How: Surviving What You Think You Can’t (which recently I too briefly reviewed):
“As it happens, we human beings are able to live just fine with many holes of many sizes and shapes. And pleasure, love, compassion, fulfillment—these things do not leak out of holes of any size.
“So we can be filled with holes and loss and wide expanses of unhealed geography—and we can also be excited by life and in love and content at the exact same moment.
“Though there will always be days, like the weather, when the loss returns fresh and full and we will reside within it once again, for a while.
“Loss creates a greater overall surface area within a person. You expand as a result of it.”