I woke up a few days ago with the word redux going through my mind. It’s not a word I often use, though I was familiar with it from John Updike’s Rabbit Redux and I had a vague idea of what it meant. It was such an odd word to be mulling on as I crossed over the threshold into consciousness that I decided to check the dictionary definition.
brought back; revived.
past participle Latin reducere to bring back
I am reviving, I thought. I am coming back to life. There had been subtle changes in my body in the previous few weeks that seemed to signal such a revival. My hair, which had been dry and brittle for the past two and a half years, felt soft and silky and my fingernails had become stronger and stopped breaking.
“These are good signs,” I said to myself. “I’m doing well.”
But then I stopped to think about the word that had prompted this rather self-satisfied reflection. Redux: brought back. Brought back, not brought myself back. Reducere isn’t a reflexive verb. I didn’t do this to myself.
The truth is that I’ve been sustained by a filigree of love ever since Chris fell ill and especially since she died. So many friends – men and women – have held me in their thoughts; have written, emailed, called, skyped, and visited; have offered convivial company; cooked for me; walked and talked with me; have witnessed my tears and held me in their arms; and have insisted that I have a place among the living. Without your loving kindness I would have disappeared.
Some of you are old friends who stepped forward when I needed you most; others are new friends whose paths have fortuitously crossed mine or who have sought me out. And I confess, there is one recent and especially dear friend who makes my battered heart sing.
Chris taught me that love is manifested in what we do; that it makes itself known in the world not as a noun but as a verb. Together, all of you have taught me that there are many ways to love, even though we are deficient in language to express their various forms, and that they are all good.
Your love has brought me back to life.