It's a beautiful fall week-end. A little chilly, but clear and colorful.
My group of women friends is off at a lakeside cottage. I had planned to go this time -- spring and fall trips last year were out for me, due to illness in the fall and exams in the spring. But I'm not there. I've discovered that time spent in groups of people, even small groups of my very best friends, requires skills I have lost. Skills usually exercised without a conscious thought, apparently. But, for now at least, any ability I had to listen to and participate in a multilayered conversation with people saying and hearing and feeling different things, is just gone.
One of my friends said that she would reassure the others that I miss them, too, and that I'm not avoiding them because I don't think they can understand.
Well, yes, I do miss them. But, although they are my very best friends in the world, and have taken good care of all of my family over the past two months, it has never occurred to me that any of them can understand. I have a good imagination, but I'm not delusional. I am not staying away because people can't understand. (Although the fact that anyone might think so demonstrates the truth of the statement.) I didn't try to explain further. Sometimes even one-on-one is too much for me.
I may have lost my capacity for group interaction, but I am honing silence as a skill for negotiating the terrain of sorrow.