The title of this column is taken from one of your stories, that of a man who, since he was suddenly left by his wife for the past thirty years, is busy digesting the indigestible, transforming the astonishment first in a movement that would bring him back to the living. Moreover, many of you tell me about your hearts broken by unexpected departures, which occurred in the middle of the first wave or just after. For some, your ruptures have thus turned into “all personal ends of the world” against a background of collective amazement.
“Hitchhiking in a parking lot” may also mean waiting in vain for someone, somewhere, to take us under their wing a little while we repair ourselves. Difficult to do, when the whole city turns into a vast parking lot where everyone keeps their doors and windows tightly closed.
I would have liked to retain everything from your words, to make this Time.news a collection of your stories put one by one, end to end, so that you can see the obvious links there, that you can be moved to realize how much you resemble each other, everything by each having this “singular little trick” that sets you apart from each other.
A quilt, more than a collection, that would have been.
A quilt in which the vaccine issues might not divide you as much, since on both sides of the spectrum, you would find that you use the same words to name how much you miss that friend, that son or even that mother, who you do not know. talk more, differences of opinion oblige.
Putting it into perspective, this “outside of oneself” thus placed in front of you, could have made you perceive the subtle erasure of these yet so great cleavages which seem to constellate us more and more, collectively.
It’s my privilege. How I would like to make it live for you.
My job has taught me that on the wounds courageously exposed, it is sometimes enough to pose a look that is both tender and true, a look that implies “I recognize you”, for a huge part of the work to be done.
I’ll never be able to look back at you all, of course, because of the numbers.
I know you know it. However, I also learned that it is sometimes important to name things that we take for granted, especially when they aim to establish an understanding between people, a form of ethical commitment.
Say, for example, “I am reading you. And thank you for the trust. ” Simply.
Sometimes we only need a simple non-automated acknowledgment of receipt, to reintegrate the vast community of humans, to dare to stick with it a little longer. This is what so many institutions are struggling to give us.
The cumulative salary of many warm receptionists at the gates of our large healthcare systems may well equal what it currently costs to accommodate great pains with voice mailboxes.
“Press 1, if you want to hear again this menu in which your experience cannot be found. “
Difficult to assess.
To quote you, I also made the choice to name only your first names.
Although I admire the courage of Brigitte who signs her story with these words “we must not remain anonymous”, I wanted to stay in the intimate tone that we are installing here, to play the game until the end, introduce you to people who are closer to you than you might think.
I retain from this first exercise that we have not finished healing our wounds, but that fortunately we still believe that it is worth taking the time necessary for the digestion of everything that hinders our psychic vitality. You are not afraid of the dark, it is so reassuring.
You will excuse me for the work of cutting, inherent in the space in which it is necessary to manage to fit immense worlds; worlds of meaning that will never be completely contained, as we know, neither in 5000 characters, nor in Excel accounting columns, nor in DSM-V categories.
My greatest surprise, however, is this: while I expected to establish a dialogue between you and me, I understand that I may as well shut up now, leave you between you and allow your words to do their little work of relevailles.
My call said, “This month, tell me about your losses, the absences that have been part of your life since the start of this pandemic. Here are some of your answers.
During a divorce, I lost my children and the house I built, the garden and the forest I maintained. I dread the spring when I will not see the renewal of the flowers.
“It’s about breathing through the comforter
Surround yourself with loving pillows
Make yourself a large spoon
Cover yourself with camphor and menthol
Get through the first nights
Without anyone nearby ”
I miss your presence, which I have often underestimated. It is unfair all that we understand and forgive when we only have the memories.
Today I am sad. I lost a friend who didn’t know me.
Could it be, a friend who doesn’t know us?
My heart tells me yes.
This friend, you know him well, is Serge Bouchard, renowned anthropologist and prolific author.
My 1000 square foot universe has become my planet
March 22, 2020. It’s not the end of the world. I know very well that in this context, we have to keep a cool head. I try. But my old mum… Eighty-eight, entered the hospital with a fall, has lost all her landmarks and needs me more than ever. Mom to whom I try to explain the situation on the phone, but who repeats, anxious: “Yes, but will you get there soon? …” This sentence comes back to me from an old film by Lelouch: The war is not the confrontation of those who hate each other, but the separation of those who love each other. My God, I am dramatic. I have to calm down. Everything’s gonna Be Alright. Everything’s gonna Be Alright.
May 19, 2020. Entering here is a real sacrilege. Despite my gear, she recognizes me, squeezes my hand when I slip it into hers. As soon as the nurse comes out, I remove the visor, mask, latex gloves and lean into her face. She tries to remove her oxygen mask, can’t do it, too weak. I do it for her. Our naked faces, very close, I kiss her cheek, her forehead, her lips. I put my arms around her thin shoulders, gently rocking her. I begin, very low, Ode to love, almost a whisper. I’ll sing all night, at least a hundred times, until dawn.
May 20, 2020. Mom is dead. At seven this morning, in my arms.
I’ve watched it
and I smiled
that’s also life