Thursday, November 21, 2013

Grievances Forgone

Almost exactly four years ago, I thought my life had changed dramatically for the worse. Of course, I was wrong. Ultimately, I think what was and felt at the time a horrible thing was the outset of a series of exciting, good, and necessary changes. And I am grateful for the experience despite the unnecessary suffering it caused me, because I have gained dear friends, knowledge, perspective, and strength.

Nevertheless, I commemorate this experience annually by reading a poem. Today's is Shakespeare's Sonnet 30:

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

I summon up remembrance of things past, 

I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought, 

And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:

Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow, 

For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,

And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe, 

And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight: 

Then can I grieve at grievances foregone, 

And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er 

The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan, 

Which I new pay as if not paid before. 

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restored and sorrows end.
Who is my "dear friend"? Perhaps it would be better to ask who isn't? Right now I am thinking of three: one is a "precious friend hid in death's dateless night," a dear close friend I lost the same year I thought I had lost myself. This man remains one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met, a scholar whose mind and personality shone bright and strong. He died far too young. Another is my adorable beau, now my husband, who first showed me his strength when helping me through these troubles (and we had only been dating for a couple of months). And the third is my dear best colleague/friend Veralinda, who gave me a stern talking to when it seemed I would drown the world with tears and it was time to shut up and move on. These days, we're happily collaborating, kvetching, and congratulating one another on our many accomplishments in work and life.

I don't mull over that year very often, perhaps only around its anniversary. Lately, I think about this experience fondly, proud of how I overcame my fear and feelings of inadequacy, glad of my current situation. But honestly, I rarely think of it at all. Which is as it should be.