You regular readers may have been noticing a decided lack of content-laden posts lately. I apologize. I have been up to my eyeballs in personal matters.
Lo these last few years it has been fairly commonplace for many bloggers to rue a flavor of the week doomer issue: global warming/climate change, peak oil, global fiscal collapse, terrorism, whatever. What to worry about, what to do about it, is generally the theme of those posts. “Preparedness,” “sustainability,” and “adaptation” are very commonly mentioned terms made in response to these problems. I certainly didn’t read (much less use) these terms with such frequency a decade ago. Statistics show however that personal tragedies are much more likely to befall you, and probably a lot sooner, too. A job loss, say, or a house fire, or a car accident, or natural catastrophe, or the illness or even death of a dear family member. It is these common tragedies that we should prepare for, that we should…befriend.
One often goes through Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ five steps in things other than death. “Acceptance,” the last step, does not mean fait accompli; often, the griever circles back again through the steps like some nightmarish carnival ride. Personally, I think what hurts the most is the yearning for that time Before The Event. You know: your carefree miles spent in your gas-guzzling SUV, say, or life before the job loss/accident/flood/fire/illness/death. Life seemed so much simpler then! Our problems were so few! What could we possibly have had to complain about?
Grieving too is practically another world, a parallel plane to the one most of us walk about every day. In the words of Iris Murdoch, “A real experience of death isolates one absolutely. The bereaved cannot communicate with the unbereaved.”*
Our family is going through some changes. My autistic brother has moved in with us; I have blogged about him before. My mother is suddenly very ill and cannot care for him. We, in turn, will be caring for my mother.
What in the world does this have to do with gardening? Quite a lot, if we were to look at my garden, my kitchen. The dining room table will be set for five, not three. We will probably purchase the farmhouse across the road for my brother: it’s larger than this one, and needs a bunch of work. He will eventually live there with a few other developmentally disabled adults. That house’s eleven acres will complement this house’s five. And the old farmstead will be reunited (the houses and land were originally part of a 38 acre fruit farm, built by two immigrant Sicilian brothers a hundred years ago). And, well…life will go on.
*An Accidental Man by Iris Murdoch, NY: Penguin, 1988. Originally published 1973.