This blog is messy but I couldn't be bothered with an essay
I had planned on writing about my DIY home improvements today. Anyone who's seen my house knows there's a lot to talk about. But then a friend stopped by this morning without notice, to give me a bottle of gin to help me get through today - 5 months. I hadn't reminded anyone or posted anything, just kept it to myself. I don't expect anyone else to remember, I don't even tell the kids because they have enough sadness on a day-to-day basis let alone me reminding them how long they've been suffering that sadness. But a good friend remembering brought me back to some thoughts that have weighed heavily on my mind lately.
Luck and guilt. Not separately but one as a consequence of the other. And the state of being while the feeling of one directly determines the existence of the other.
History behind the thoughts
For those who don't know, I had never intended on being an accountant. And despite all the "fuck accounting" memes I tag Petra and Maddie in ( see thebig4accountant on Instagram), when a job is finished and finished well, I do love it.
My first love, however, was philosophy. For five years I studied it, with my first degree being a Political Philosophy major and Poli Sci minor. To be honest, I couldn't give a fuck about what Kant or Nietzsche have to say about politics now, but the five years of study opened my eyes and taught me how to think and listen and observe. Skills I wouldn't trade for anything (and I fully admit, its been so long that I actually had to Google how to spell Nietzsche's name - I was close!).
On the downside though, studying Philosophy has made me an overthinking, critical, and overly-pragmatic pain in the ass. I think WAAAAY too much about things, and I'm almost stupidly introspective. I wonder "why" about everything, I observe everything, and while I preach being non-judgemental to my kids, I judge everything. I truly believe most of the time I'm not a very likeable person, which is what leads me to the idea of luck.
I've never believed in luck. I teach the kids about not believing in it either. And not to count on it, expect it, or rely on it for anything in life. Its almost unfair to them for me to have this blanket outlook on the idea of luck - unfair to have a mother so stubborn that she won't relent on the idea either. It would be so easy to just tell them that sometimes people are lucky in life. It would also be easy to just accept that sometimes we're unlucky, too.
I'd love to tell the kids that them not having Duncan anymore is just unlucky. I'm so desperate to tell them that life is just like that sometimes and there's nothing we can do about. Just bad luck. But I can't. I'd be lying. To them and to myself.
I'll be completely honest. Its my fault they don't have a dad anymore. I chose for them to have the best dad they could ever have even if it meant it wasn't for a long time. No, I did not give him the tumour, no I did not make it spread, and no, I did not kill him. But I married him knowing he had it. And it was the risk I chose to take. I couldn't help it. I just loved him so much and couldn't imagine my kids having a more wonderful father. So its not bad luck that this has happened to them.
But the tumour. Surely I can blame him having the tumour as bad luck. And it becoming cancerous and spreading down his spine - fucking shit luck right? Yeah it is. But there's reason and science behind it. A series of consequence after consequence that led to that. No one's fault, no one to blame. I so badly want to drink myself into an oblivion because I chose for my kids to have a father that wouldn't be around forever. Intent has no relevance, its just fact. But then I think of what would have happened if I had decided not to marry Duncan because of his health situation. I could have been shallow, deprived myself of the most memorable 18 years of love and experiences and our three children, and gone down an entirely different route. Married someone with a perfect health record. And then what? He has a heart-attack at an early age. Gets hit by a bus. Is an asshole. Can't have kids. Doesn't want kids. Doesn't like kids. Doesn't like his kids. Is a shit dad. So yes, I could have married someone else but there's no guarantee it would have been better or even as good. Do I feel guilty for the kids no longer having a dad. Yes. Do I feel lucky that I chose correctly? Yes. But do I believe in either? No.
This is philosophy.
But I digress. This isn't even what has been weighing on my mind lately. I've been thinking about it a lot, but I do know that despite life being as it is, I couldn't have made a better decision than marrying Duncan. What we had and made together means everything to me and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Our hearts are broken and empty and I hate that the kids don't have him anymore, but I'm so proud that they had him when they did.
Its my friends that have me thinking about luck and guilt.
As I mentioned earlier, I don't believe I'm an overly likeable person. I laugh actually at the idea that people that I don't like and don't like me might actually be reading this and thinking "fuck yeah I hate her". Those who do know me and like me though also know I actually couldn't care less if people like me or not. I know I'm outspoken, direct, and opinionated and not everyone can tolerate people with those character traits. I don't judge you for not liking me. I actually agree with your reasoning.
Carol sent me this. She knows me so well.
My friend that brought me the gin today disagrees with my interpretation of myself. He says I'm a try-hard bitch and am actually quite likeable. That's only because he's on my good side. Those that I don't like would disagree.
Carol once said to me that she knows I don't like many people. But the people I do like, I love with all my heart, and they know it. She was spot on. Which leads me to my friends and luck. Every day that I experience the beauty of my friends, I feel lucky. Even though I don't believe in it.
This is where the guilt comes in.
My husband died, my kids have lost their father, everything in life is difficult and tainted with sadness. What gives me the right to feel lucky? I'm not a likeable person, in fact I'm a try-hard bitch, so why do I have such amazing friends that even in our darkest days restore enough faith and love in my heart that I can actually bring myself to think that I'm lucky?
To know what its like to feel lucky, and then guilty for that luck because of the unluckiness that you don't believe in, is, without apology for being crass, a constant mind-fuck. But to be considerate of anyone reading that takes offence to that sort of language or expects better of me, I'll call it a head-spin. One that eats away at me and messes with me all the time.
I feel guilt when I tell the kids how lucky we are to have such amazing friends in our lives. I know they're thinking "my dad died, nothing in my life is good. How can she possibly think we're lucky?".
I feel guilt when someone brings me gin, or dinner, or fixes my trailer, or chainsaws my bamboo, or whipper-snips our weeds, or any of the millions of things so many people have done for us. How could I deserve this? How can unlikeable, judgemental, cranky and swears too much ME deserve this friendship? How can I be so lucky? Oh wait, I'm not. I lost the most important of all people in my life and my kids' lives, and how dare I feel lucky when the worst has happened to us.
As mentioned above, I'm a pragmatic person. So let me answer the "head-spin" from a non-philosophical point of view.
I'm not lucky to have such good friends. The bonds are strong and we adore each other, so I do actually deserve to have these friends. And since its not luck that gives me these friends, I have no reason to feel guilty.
Its not my fault Duncan died. I didn't know he would when I married him. We knew he had a tumour, but we loved each other too much to stop us from creating what we did together (when he was diagnosed with the tumour, I was in Canada. He told me to stay there, and was giving me an out. I flew to Australia the next flight I could get). I have no reason to feel guilty for my kids not having a father. And its absolutely fucking bad luck that he died.
The very first philosophy professor I ever had (who ironically was a barefoot Aussie originally from New Zealand teaching in Edmonton called Mason Cash) once told me studying philosophy was like trying to find a black cat in a dark room. Typical me would see this as a challenge rather than a warning, and study it anyway. As I said, I am so glad that I did. But sometimes I wish I could just believe in luck, and decide ours was bad, so I didn’t have to feel guilty.
And I do feel guilty. All the time.
Please don't leave comments telling me I shouldn't. I'll delete them.