So it's inching towards Xmas again, and the days are getting shorter, and it occurs to me that the plans which had been gestating in the depths of my mind for a while will have to be postponed. And not because of my lack of employment. I had been thinking about this time next year: would I be able to go home for Xmas, and also for my mother's sixtieth, which would have been in December. It would have been really nice to be at home for that. But, without sounding too dramatic, home has changed, and the scenario I had envisaged had disappeared.
The next step in my thinking has been, really, what do I take from everything that's happened this year? What should I be learning from it? What lessons can be gleaned - or perhaps constructed - from the events which have unfolded? What is the meaning of it?
And yet even this seems strange to me somehow. This line of reasoning indicates a monstrous arrogance, usually only seen in the religious: i.e. that events should occur for the purpose of providing me with a meaning or a lesson, that my mother should be unceremoniously struck from the earth so that I might become a marginally better person. In the end this is wrong. What is, is. It is in my nature to find a way to understand it, but it is not in the nature of the universe to provide events for the purpose of educating me. The universe is a machine, neither malicious nor benevolent. Any revelation to come is a function of how I think and feel, and no more.
And therefore I reiterate to myself: the first and most obvious piece of information is that there is no meaning, not really. Meaning is a human construct applied to situations, and in that regard, if I haven't found one, then for the time being, the whole situation is meaningless. But of course that is true of anything I encounter, and so I feel maybe I should apply the same filters and discrimination, and work through until I find my meaning, that is, how I choose to respond to the situation.
I believe that the way I choose to respond, the way I choose to act in the face of a quite frankly heartbreaking event, will in the end become the core of the way that I feel about it. This truth, combined with an upbeat but nonetheless accurate acceptance of what is, and what has been, will be the defining characteristics of this year as time creeps on. And in light of what has happened, it seems the most appropriate way to proceed is to act as my mother would have wanted.
What am I really saying? I suppose that to really honour my mother is to endeavour to be the kind of man she would be proud to have raised, even in the face of an occurrence which has the potential to make a man cry and rant and be angry at the world. There is nothing simpler or more profound to it than that. No other rationale or explanation will fit me better than the legacy I have been provided with, by virtue of the person my mother was.
In the end, the meaning, the reason, all these considerations fade away. In the end, or perhaps merely the beginning, I understand that there will always be pain, and there will always be regret. There will be choices to make, and make them I shall. But I also understand that I have help, that I have an example to guide me, and this is an amazing source of comfort to me.