Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Moments of Melancholia

One week ago today I boarded the return flight for my trip home to Connecticut from California - the first half of the flight taking me from Sacramento to Minneapolis via Northwest Airlines. I wasn't anywhere near as nervous as I was when I boarded the flight in Philadelphia to take me westward bound. Instead I was somewhat pensive - ruminative if you prefer.

My trip to California had been a wonderful time and a break that I really needed as I could tell that the stresses of my job were piling up around me a little too high for my liking and I needed to get away for a bit. The six days that I spent in Stockton were good for me as they gave me a chance to do something for myself - to relax, to revisit parts of my past, and to reconnect with Cyndi and Grandma Edith - two people who are very important in my life. My trip afforded me the chance to meet four more wonderful people - Sandee and Zane and Katherine and her man; to pay respects at the grave of a fallen friend; to see how Stockton had grown and how it was attempting to revitalize; and the chance to fall back, regroup, and recharge the batteries a bit. All good things.

What my trip didn't provide me - and there are those of you who have asked about this - was a chance to speak to the person from my past who has always been, and will always be, special to me. After asking what you all thought, I did send him an email informing him of where I would be and how to contact me should he desire to do so but I had the distinct feeling when I sent it that it was going to go unanswered. Call it a hunch, call it intuition, call it knowing this guy pretty well even after not speaking to him for six years. I would have been pleasantly surprised had he actually contacted me but I was bound and determined not to be disappointed if he didn't.

He didn't but I didn't let that dampen my happiness of being back in Stockton and spending time with my best friend. My seeing him or speaking to him was never the basis of my going to Stockton to begin with even though I can't be in that city without, as Cyndi says, "all the triggers being there." That didn't mean I had to let those triggers screw up my vacation and I didn't. I didn't even think much about the whole thing until the time I boarded my flight home, sat down in my seat, and watched California grow smaller as we climbed to 36,000 feet on our way East.

The problem is that I think too much on airplanes. There isn't a whole lot else to do when you're susceptible to motion sickness and can't read books so as I listened to the songs on my iPod shuffle through their rotation, the thought occurred to me that I should be proud of myself as I had just spent almost an entire week in Stockton - land of major heartache for me - and I hadn't even come close to crying once. I had no sooner finished that thought when next thing I knew my eyes had filled with unbidden tears. Oh good Lord, I wasn't going to cry in front of a plane full of strangers, was I?

A feeling of melancholy seemed to drop down on me much like the oxygen masks in the overhead bins would drop down should there be a sudden change in cabin pressure but the only change in pressure was in my heart as I felt it grow heavy under the knowledge that I now knew for sure that I no longer meant a thing to the man I can no more remove from my heart than I can remove that heart and continue to live. Oh sure, I had a feeling I had ceased to exist six years ago but there's that whole "hope springs eternal" stuff and I guess the least cynical part of me had hung onto that tiny shred of hope in spite of the rest of me knowing better.

There is nothing worse than telling yourself "I told you so" but I spent most of the trip between Sacramento and Minneapolis telling myself that very thing over and over as I beat myself up with it hoping that eventually I'd be lucky enough to beat it right out of me. Logic told me I had no reason to be sad or melancholy while common sense told me to take a big get-over-it pill and move the heck on but sometimes logic and common sense are useless tools - especially in matters of the heart.

When we landed in Minneapolis, I called Cyndi to let her know that I had made it safely through the first part of my trip home and, because she's a good friend and knows when I'm lower than the treads on my sneakers, she passed along words of support and encouragement as well as concern that this would set my heart back a few years. I assured her that it wouldn't, that I still believed in true love and romance though perhaps not for me, and that I'd be okay once I could wrap my head around being a non-person where a certain individual was concerned.

Shortly after I hung up, the second leg of my flight boarded and while the plane shuttled through the air at 500 mph heading towards home I came to grips with the situation, sucked it up, and managed to swallow that big get-over-it pill that common sense had been encouraging me to take. In all honesty, nothing had changed, things were still the same, and when I got back to Connecticut my life would continue just as it had before I took a much-needed break. The only difference was that I had no reason to say that I would never return to California, or Stockton in particular, as I faced the past head-on and was none the worse for wear because of it.

As for the song ... seems kind of self-explanatory even if not entirely accurate. I'll always care - I just won't always hurt.


  1. I'm here if you need a friend ya know.....

  2. Very good post Linda and one I sure you probably thought long and hard -maybe even shed a bit of tears while putting it together too. Love unrequited, unfulfilled -whatever you care to call it when the person you have these strong feelings for no longer returns the affection -is indeed very difficult to move away from. I still have many days when I wonder what happened, what could have been too, with the guy I was seeing 10 years ago. When he left my life, and since then, I have had no desire at all to even think of "looking around" much less trying to seriously consider anyone at all. Not that I've ever had an abundance of males beating a path to my doorstep, and with the age factors now, it's even more difficult to meet someone. And, that's not even tossing the medical issues into the mix. Thankfully though, I have finally (I think) become more comfortable within my own skin, don't feel I am completely lost without having a male significant other or anything, so I content myself with the way my life is now -fill it with the joys of my grandchildren. But, for me, it was a very long, often really difficult, journey to arrive at this place.

  3. Thank you, Jeni, for understanding and not being like those who tell me to just get past it and move on. I get the feeling that those people have never lost someone that they truly loved - whether it be through death or break-up or whatever else the case may be. People love to throw the word "closure" around but I abhor that word and think it's meaningless other than to fill the air as a bit of useless psychobabble. For some things, there never is any closure but that doesn't mean that it's an open gaping wound all the time. Reality is that you learn to live with the loss and if you choose to not plug the hole with someone or something else then that should be okay, too.

    I tend to wear my heart on my blog, as it were, and felt that people deserved an ending to this particular story so even though this wasn't the easiest post in the world to write, I felt it needed to be written and then that particular chapter could be closed. Like you, I think I think I've become quite comfortable with being just me and don't need someone else to feel whole or complete. Sure, it would be nice but it's not necessary. I think that some of us are just meant to make our way through life on our own. At least I can say that I had someone in my life who meant the world to me at one time, who I would have given everything for, as I think there really is truth to the adage - "it's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all". Conversely, though, as Simon & Garfunkel used to sing, "If I'd never loved, I never would have cried." But that's a good thing, right??

    Oops, and now I've written another whole post just in a comment!

  4. Anonymous10:26 AM EDT

    Hugs... big squishy hugs, my friend.

  5. Perhaps it's for better not seeing him again. I'm kind of glad my ex is not in my life anymore (his girlfriend is too jealous), because it still kind of hurts everytime I'd see him. They say time will heal everything... Oh and there is the right one outhere for you (and for Mags). I know it, bacause I got me one :o))))))

  6. I must admit I wondered what happened, or didn't happen. I'm sorry that you had to relive this all over again, but after meeting you I know how logical you are too. You are one sharp lady who knows what to do. Big hug honey. I so understand. I hope this hurt goes away at some point. :)

  7. grief, good grief.

    you know the stages of grief right? well one is acceptance, and it's a good thing that now you've faced the city without him and can return whenever you like... Glad you had a great time.

  8. Like Sandee, I too was wondering what had happened while you were in Stockton.

    This was a wonderfully written post. You know how to let it out!

    You are a remarkably strong woman in my book.
    I know many others feel the same way.

  9. Here is my take on the subject as someone who has contacted lovers from my past and distant past: You are over thinking this one. It probably has nothing to do with you or how he feels. It's all about timing. My very first girlfriend whom I hadn't seen from college sent me a Christmas card a year ago for Christmas. I would have responded, but Mimi and I started dating a week later so I did not. This year she did it again and I called her and wound up leaving a voice mail. She left me one back thanking me for the call and said I would here from her the next time she comes to Connecticut. If I am single and free I will see her, but if I happen to be involved I will not.

    So PLEASE let yourself off the hook. It most likely has nothing to do with anything you have rationalized.

    Your bud,

  10. Well at least now you know honey. It's his loss. xx

  11. I'm enormously proud of you; I was so happly that you managed to avoid the pitfalls out here & relieved that you didn't let melancholia on the return trip morph into a hostage situation--with you as the captive.

    Bud hit on a couple of valid points, including a grand slam on the big one (but worded just like a guy--go figure!). Your post hints that you are just shy of getting over this. There's just this one little thing...

    Since we've not been able to work that thing out verbally, maybe we can accomplish it virtually. Give me a couple of hours, then stop by what passes for my blog.(I HAVE to shop for food today or Mr. Right will be eating Cheetos for dinner)

    You keep telling me to write something, so tag, you're it. Maybe I'll even throw in a photo of my lunch...a lovely triad of my own addictive angst.

  12. Hi Linda,

    I'm glad you had a good trip to California even though your friend didn't return your email or call. Are you sure he had even opened your email? There's always that possibility, especially if you are unable to check the status of the email. I know you are hurt, but I'm glad you didn't let it ruin your trip.

  13. I'd say you took a pretty big step forward. Good for you.

  14. I don't like the word 'closure' either. 'Moving on' is a more proactive term, and applicable to you: You were determined to have a great trip...one event does not make or break everything. You knew that.

    In the air, the sky beckons, you have to look. At 36,000 ft, the sky is never more blue...the lowest part of space you can be in, and you are 36,000 ft. closer to heaven.

    Glad you're back!

  15. This sure was a heartfelt post, my dear...and good therapy all around. Big hugs!

  16. Anonymous11:23 PM EDT

    I'm glad that you wrote about it. I think that you're like me with writing being part therapy (or maybe mostly therapy).

    We all have our lost love. There's always someone from the past that we'll never forget. I believe that our lives are better for having that time, even if it ended in heartbreak.


  17. Beautiful post about a feeling that most of have at one time or another. Like it or not, love usually comes with a price tag at some point. The joy is in the doing. The sadness when it ends however it ends. If you are the one left behind when someone else moves on, that sense of lonliness and desertion is there tinged with a bit of "why me" anger. With wisdom comes the realization that the joy was worth the price and as the song says, you might have missed the pain but you would have had to miss the dance.

  18. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to comment on this post and for the support and encouragement you've given me. It's definitely cathartic to be able to write about these sorts of things as I believe that keeping them locked away inside only tends to make them fester.

    Connie is right - writing is a form of therapy for me which is why I write about the things I'm feeling. And it's definitely much cheaper than a therapist as I can certainly ask myself, "How does that make you feel?" and save a lot of money I don't have!

    Bud mentions timing and I have to say that it's always been a matter of bad timing with this guy and myself - probably right from day one. I wish that weren't the case but it is. HOWEVER, I wasn't looking to rekindle an old flame but merely wishing to know how life has been treating him. It would have been nice had he called just to say, "I'm still alive and I'm okay" but apparently that's out of the question for reasons I might or might not know.

    Either way, it's not the end of the world and I can be the one to say I'm still alive and I'm okay. I really am okay.

  19. You are fortunate that you can let all these feelings out on paper, Linda.
    Or cyber-paper? :-)

    We know you'll be OK.

  20. Anonymous6:02 PM EDT

    Hi Linda, I've been away for quite awhile and just came over to see what you've been up to! This post was so beautifully written. It got to me.

    I've had to say goodbye recently to a friend that I thought I'd be friends with forever. And I, too went to California in early May (did we pass each other in the sky?) which was where this friend lives. Except in our case, I know we will never speak to each other again. It has to be that way for many reasons.

    I'm glad you got to go, I'm glad you wrote about your feelings (it helps those of us going through similar things), and I wish all the best to you. You are a wonderful woman.

    I've been writing heaps in my private LiveJournal (six4paula) which is one reason my blog is so neglected. It has been good for me though, as I can write about things there that I can't publicly. I will be reading you though now that I'm back!

  21. Hi. Just wanted to give you a "I'm not touching you" hug. <3

    Love you!!!

    (Is it the 30th yet!?!?!?!)

  22. I don't have some long and brilliant advice to post in this comment.

    I just wanted to tell you that I'm thinking of you, I care about you, and I'm here anytime you need a friend.

  23. Anonymous5:25 PM EDT

    Linda, this is a beautiful post. So true and universal.
    Thank you for sharing a part of your beautiful heart.

    And I simply can't imagine someone considering you a 'non-person'.



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