Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon II

I just finished reading “Unpacking the Boxes”, new memoir of Donald Hall. This is 14 years after Jane’s death and he recounts much of the story that he wrote in “The Best Day/The Worst Day”…but now he is farther from it and tells more.

What struck me was how much he missed being her caregiver. The details of daily caring for her in leukemia were so hard but I understood when he wrote that he was with her and caring for her day and night. It meant connection and they were together even though the circumstances were shitty. After she died he missed her and he missed being able to care for her. I realize some days that there is a benefit in this cancer. It’s a connection and a way of being in relationship. No one would wish for this but I am aware that it is a gift of sorts. It sets a strong priority and it makes a bond.

The other thing that Donald Hall—quite bravely—writes about in the new book is his sexual fantasies and his sexual behavior while Jane is dying and after her death. He writes about the voracious fantasies that would flow thru him and how, after her death, he acted on them and wanted lots of uncommitted sex.

It’s a bit scary to read that but startlingly honest I thought. I never believe he didn’t or doesn’t love Jane but that he is carried by body and mind to a very sexual place.

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