About Me

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In this blog I have created a haven, a place I allow my deepest emotions to go and sit. I can write easily about what I’ve accomplished. This biography I can recite in my sleep. But I’ve always written poetry and in diaries since I was a teenager. I continued to write poetry in my journals, and not until 2006 did I show them to anyone. I generally write every day, at the present in memoir form. I haven’t written poetry since my mother died in January, 2007. I didn’t write at all between her death and the death of my father three years later in January, 2010. On my father’s birthday in March, 2010, I began this blog, to honor my father and to help me grieve. But I also desperately needed to write, and this stream of conscious style emerged. I needed to find my organic voice.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Having a Gentle Good Time

I've got a million things running through my head tonight...most have to do with gratitude. Unravelling and unpacking them seems important. Is nothing simple anymore? I revel in the interconnectedness of people and lives, but also tend to overanalyze. Writing it down helps, even if it's all sunshine and rainbows. I am just loquacious. And it's never bad to spend time and energy sharing how grateful I am.

Sunday night: I am happily tired after time with friends.  K had had a rough few days and was unsure if he wanted to be around people--my husband, who thrives on social interaction, who sings and hums almost all the time, and who is the most optimistic person I know. Red flags went up everywhere and my heart quivered. He has been my rock--in our past, sometimes unavailable--but to see my sunny honey teary-eyed, expressing his sadness made me want to help him cheer up but also give him space to talk. We spent some time talking, and decided we would keep our date with friends.

We took a little road trip, about 90 minutes due west , into rolling green hills, along a couple of lakes, meeting everyone Saturday afternoon. I have rarely seen the big sky so blue, the varieties and textures of green so vast. Getting out of town, just the two of us, on a mission of happiness, turned out to be what we both needed. The only trips we've taken together in the past four or five years have been with family;  mine. [To digress a little, the past two summers our vacation time was spent with my dad, who took us, along with my sister and her family, on cruises to the Caribbean. This is not bad, nor am I complaining--although my dad was sick on both trips (lung cancer and all its complications, along with chemo), we still enjoyed our time. Bittersweet, naturally, but memory-making.]

So we set off after my yoga class for our trip. Barely twenty minutes into drive, K turns to me and says, "This is what I needed. To get out of town, with just you." He chatted like a madman for the entire 90 minutes, and in a flash, we convened at our lovely friend's house. She, brave woman, hosted five of her closest friends for a grown up sleepover party. I'd been to her house before, but no one else had. She proudly took us on a tour. K was back to whistling :o)  The six of us wandered on foot around this tiny town set up along the railroad, as many towns are out here. Huge grain tower thingies, a one street downtown, the backs of old brick buildings reveal faded, painted advertisements from years, years, ago.  The "downtown" deader than the proverbial doornail [note to self: look this up], but we gaggle of gregarious friends more than made up for it. The minute we gather the laughter begins. We wander into a park, a playground. I surprise myself by running up to a horse-on-a-spring; you know the kind I mean? The little playground teetery animals that rock back and forth? WELL, didn't I just hop on it?!? Seriously, in a previous life, even inebriated, I don't think I would have done it. It felt really silly and really good. I cracked myself up. My other friends were on the swings and then the jungle gym. God, how liberating!!! The wind, not gentle by any means, blew the sun down on us, swayed the birds in flight,  and I caught a glimpse of my husband laughing. At me. My heart quivered again, only this time it felt slightly different.  We all hit the grocery store, took entirely too long to buy entirely too much food for two days, and then sauntered back to A's house. Dinner on the grill--simple and summery--bratwurst, hot dogs, peppers, portabello mushrooms. For a group of dedicated foodies, we delighted in this very fun meal. At about 11:15 pm, my friend A suggested a walk. A WALK?!? I am usually wiped out, in bed, lately just tired from life. Again, I surprised myself by saying yes. Yes. It was magic. The wind still blowing, the air still warm, and in the dark, I had no idea we were walking up a fairly big road--it seemed a small street under a veil of milky darkness. We didn't get back until after 1am, giddy, sleepy, and I, feeling so carefree. Something about a breeze at night, walking through deserted streets, gently talking, ambling through botanical gardens...the Universe seemed to hug me.  The world was spinning wistfully.  I loved the calves in their pens who came toward me when I called and their big, cool noses nudging my hand. I loved my friends, I loved the night, I loved my sleepy happiness...and then?

I slept. Gloriously. No anxieties, no fears, no sadness. You know how huge this is, to fall asleep contented, and awaken, contented? Oh, my god.

The rest of our visit was low key; gentle. Having a gentle time is a wonderful thing. Time spent feeling content is a great, great gift. At the risk of sounding stupid, or crazy, before my father got sick I had always thought that "content" equalled "boring." It wasn't until I spent last fall with him, quietly watching television, sharing a smile, a hug, or a take out pizza, that I realized the world was so much more intimate than I ever gave it credit.

I will always revel in outrageous fun that makes my stomach ache with laughter, with glorious food in all its nuance, in dramatic scenery that steals my breath.

Memorial Day honors our military servicemen and servicewomen and all they sacrificed for our country. We attend parades, city band concerts, speeches; we share stories of our parents and grandparents who may have seen combat, lived during wars or conflicts.  While I may do some of this,  I will spend at least part of it, this year, honoring my parents, quietly, gently, for all they sacrificed.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pain Management: Body, Mind, Spirit

Ah, one step forward, three steps back... in my war with grief this is so. I am really trying to embrace it, let it flow from heart to head and back, circulate through my blood,  emanate from my skin like a scent. We reject each other, Grief and I.   I think our dance is over, and then it's not. You know, I kind of imagine a paso doble of sorts, one stalking the other, but in this case I am stalking Grief, almost pleading "take me over, take me over" so that I become engulfed and that Grief and I will become one, at least for a time. Grief is the one holding the red cape, and it deftly denies me as I rush full speed toward the cape. My allegory is a bit off, for those purists who know the paso doble, but I think the point's made.  

These grief bursts...I hate them. They hit me when I least expect them, and they are powerful. They can last anywhere from a hour to several days. I cannot control them. I've been staying in, a lot, to avoid any public grief bursts. Yoga class is okay, because I know the teacher and the class has the same people every week. There's a safety net built in to a class that focuses on opening joints, extending the body, and concentrating on breathing. I have cried in yoga class.

This week is accumulating a lot of stuff. House inspection finding nothing wrong (!), raising price on house, contemplating tree work, four hours, now five, of conference calls with financial planner and investments, signing, faxing, writing checks on the estate account. In addition to the pain body that's out of control, this other stuff is just a big boil ready to burst. So it did. Poetic it's not.  Feeling like this keeps me in the house. When the mind has pain and the body has pain and the heart has pain I am incapacitated. All of me is in pain. Where's the OFF switch?

I am tired of finding things on television that remind me of my father. Can they play the movie "RUDY" any more times in a row? In addition to the title being my father's name, it was also a favorite movie of his.  How many Mustangs will I see driving around my town. How many ads will I see for Carnival Cruise Lines--our last two family 'vacations of a lifetime'.  I feel pain when I see these things. It hurts. 

Something else that is bugging me is that people who are seeing me know comment on how "great I look." Yes, i've lost quite a bit of weight, but I wasn't in the market to lose it, and how I lost it was because I couldn't ( and still can't , really) eat. As if looking good tells the world I'm O.K. Even my friends comment.  What do I tell them? Thanks, I guess, but I've lost weight because I haven't really been able to eat much since my father died in January. 

Well, tomorrow I visit the Neck and Back clinic in our area.  I hope they can address the constant pain first and the other, less severe stuff later. I've made copious notes so I'm prepared. The appointment is at 8am. That's hideous. I hope I can hobble to the car. It's a very stiff and sore part of the day.  The thing I'm the most concerned about is my neck and shoulders. I am discouraged by the fibromyalgia diagnosis but it does make sense.  I remember my father being sad that I had so much pain for someone so young, but then he gave me a hard time when I travelled with my superduper heating pad, traction machine, ice packs, and prescriptions. I can only imagine his level of pain especially with the tumors. We had nights on the couch each with our heating pads and ice packs. 

Lots of activity on the estate over the past few days have thrown me into a grief burst. Supposed to be business like, organized, got-it-together kind of girl...but i am not that way now. At least for now. I trust that I'll swing back at some point. But while I'm not that girl, I am not comfortable around my friends. I feel so consumed by the business of death that i have a hard time concentrating on other things. I had to ask a friend what felt like the fifth time when she was leaving on her vacation. And then I found some courtesy to ask her what she's doing who she'll be seeing, and when she'll be back. These niceties never come easy to me ,but they are all but evaporated from my current mind.  It seems like no one feels like they can talk to me about what's going on in my life, but I am equally uncomfortable bringing it up to them.  I may be wrong about them, and that my reaching out skills SUCK. 

Rita has put some pictures in the mail to me....I am looking forward to them. I know they will bring pain, as everything does, but I will have something joyful of my mother's, kept for so long by her dear friend. God, I am so lucky.

I will just keep at it, opening my arms wider to embrace Grief, to try and catch it so it doesn't elude me. Part of my journey must include this walk with Grief, this Odyssey, begun in January of this year. There's still more to come. But for tonight I'm down for the count.  Night-Night.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Me and My Bad Self Take a Ramble

A brief fallow period, to write at least.  More action, I guess, that needed ingestion, and the processing. I've been engrossed-- perfect word--in the business of the my father's estate. After months of inactivity, I finally sent a very direct email to the financial planner/cpa , asking him what the hold up was, and that I expected the work to be finished by June 15th, six months after the death of my father.   He called me to be part of a conference call, and within five minutes, three emails came in with three different meeting times. I finally had to find a calm place within, and then type, 'Please get yourselves on the same page before you email me again. And remember the time difference." The next FOUR HOURS were basically a reiteration of the work I'd done and sent to their offices, Yes I'd sent the paper work to companies a, b, c.  And I was waiting on the word from companies a, b, c. A transcription of these four phone hours is too, too boring so I won't include them here. But with all the frustrations the went along with these four hours, the weight started to life from my heart.  I also realized the slowness, my perception that the cpa's office was the snail's pace, was misplaced. The oneness is squarely on my avoidance-addicted sister. It's been she who hasn't turned in the forms to these investment firms...I now owe this firm an apology, because for month I've intimated this business should have more momentum.
I have to face my sister on this, because she has to know I publicly criticized this firm unfairly. And while I feel an apology from her would be the adult thing to do, I am not holding my breath. I just cannot keep my disappointment for myself.  Miss PeterPan needs life lessons. I am running out of patience with a 40 year old Peter Pan.

On to other things this week, I've struggled with a number of "nuts and bolts" issues with the estate, namely the sale of the house, which is still for sale. We've got to have something looked at under the siding, which can be tricky, and risky (potentially exposing a can of expensive worms). I am vizualizing the contractor finding the least amount of damage and is easily able to fix it on budget. The apparently neurotic buyer backed out even before we had this issue look it at by a contractor. Good riddance, scardey cat.

The personal life hasn't gone so well this week either. Finally seeing the Rheumatologist was overwhelming and I realized that this type of specialist is the one. The one who can tie it all together, put all the blocks into a house, maybe link all the autoimmune diseases under one root cause, or one key.  My hopes want to soar, but I'm afraid. Living with chronic pain can make lots of things harder.   I am pretty certain my grief is exacerbating or magnifying the pain my arthritic body already feels, that my other autoimmune diseases are also ramping up.  Lots of tests, more tests on Tuesday, and some pain meds other than vicodin, so I"m not dopey.  I"m trying Celebrex, today for the first day, and stil needed a vicodin to help mitigate the pain. I think once the test results are in , and hte comprehensive panel is complete, we will have a clearer picture.  Believe me, I know the toll that grief takes on the body, the mood, the brain.  So should I have some sort of uber-kernel of illness that has caused all the other problems, it woudl surely answer long held questions.

I decided to take a little roadtrip today, to go shopping. I had to find some summer clothes that were not falling of me, and to replace my 7 year old summer sandals.  And I did! Buy one pair, get two pairs free. That felt like a gift from the gods; finally, a little break. I smiled.  When I bought my other goal item, black city shorts (like Bermudas only more tapered at the knee) I also smiled. They fit. Happy day. My splurge of the day was a faceted rose quartz beaded necklace. It felt so cool around my neck, and I love the vibe I get from rose quartz, and know I"ll be wearing it a lot at school in the fall. I'll probably start wearing it tomorrow!

While I did look at lots and lots of black clothes, I chose a dress with a very pretty green pattern. I felt pretty in it. First time in a while. It helps that it fits. ;oO

I have to continue working on eating. It may becoming a problem, after so many months. I am exercisng four to five days a week, but it helps me feel centered and focused. And I"m getting stronger. So I have a check in with my doctor in a month or so --to see how he thinks I'm doing.

More anon. Very tired. Not making much sense. Buona notte

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Just Okay


I've pondered about what to write this week; the torrent of tears has slowed, the level of irritation has risen, and overall, I just didn't have anything nice to say.  Or anything interesting. I must be coming back to myself.

Still having trouble eating, and then digesting.  This is been the case since Christmas.   I'm working on it. I've cooked a handful of times, mostly out of guilt ---my poor husband. Half my brain knows I need to eat, the other half is utterly disinterested.

My digestive system may be in need of serious therapy, but I am seriously grateful for the nights of sleep I've gotten over the last week. Several nights' sleep have been really restorative. News worth conveying. For many, grief disrupts natural sleep cycles: the extreme fatigue can either cause a body to sleep too much or not enough. Over the past several years I have worked pretty hard at overcoming insomnia, but I am at its mercy now, at least for now. Even prescribed assistance is sometimes fruitless.

The four month anniversary of my father's death was okay. I did okay. I talked to my aunt, who also said she was okay. We both said, 'just okay.'  And then we went on to talk about our gardens. Hers is months ahead of mine due to the geographical difference in our locations. She has the most spectacular garden, and this year is being featured in a prominent event.    We talked about hydrangeas, that we love love LOVE the blue ones. The "endless summer" blue ones.   They're about three times as expensive here, where I live, as opposed to where she is.  I'm sticking to lilacs; I know they like my soil, and I love them. The bank of white, lavender and deep purple blooms make my day. My little Tinkerbell (dwarf pink lilac) is starting to bud out, drawing a little smirk from the right side of my mouth.

Will I mark the 13th of each month for the rest of my life? Maybe, but I don't want to hold myself hostage and each month's passing.  My dad wanted to be remembered, and I don't think I'll have any trouble forgetting him, so I hope the pain on the 13th of every month wanes as time passes.

I spent part of the day, as I always do, in yoga class, and then... I cooked!  Fellow fans of the Twilight saga were gathering for dinner and t-shirt making (to wear at the midnight premiere) and I took this opportunity to cook. I made my grandmother's red sauce, minus the meat.  My husband was gigging, and I pushed myself to get out of the house.  It was a good idea, focusing my energy on something creative.  Even at the risk of sounding pathetic, it feels more comfortable to stay home, in my sweats, under blankets, watching brainless TV---I don't have to pretend to feel social, be interested in anything, or care.

Tonight's another chance to get out of the house...I can tell you right now I don't want to go, so I"ll leave the house when my husband takes off for the gig.  Let's hear it for extrinsic motivation-- I'd be lost without it. I'd weigh 40 pounds without it.  Once I am with friends it's usually okay; sometimes I've had real fun. Sometimes it's a freaking chore because my mind is so distracted and my body is so out of whack. And their cheeriness becomes annoying. It's certainly not the fault of any of my friends! They're living their lives, doing their things, enjoying themselves. I'm just not yet up to their speed so I've given myself permission to leave when I poop out.

My natural inclination is to isolate---when things get stressful, sad, angry, out of control. This tendency is now my barometer. Even if I don't "feel" stressed, when I suddenly want to spend all my time alone, something is up. And it needs to examined.

The journey of self-awareness continues, and I keep going. It's okay. I'm just okay. I'll be okay.

Monday, May 10, 2010

That Darned Dickens and Why Something Positive was the Last Straw

After a humdinger of a weekend, I am left completely without wits. This perfect storm of events  almost got me drinking. No, not really. Still fully alcohol free. Let's just say I verbalized that it would be easier to be numb than to feel the depth of pain I was experiencing.  Well, wouldn't you ask for a break from the pain? 

Oooooh, this week, this week. My god. The gravestone went in, as you know, then came my parents' 45th anniversary, the next day, mother's day. The Trifecta of Terror sat, coiled like a snake, in the pit of my stomach.  And then came an offer on my father's house. Should have been a good thing, right? It instead threw up all the red flags that too many things were happening at once, and the perfect storm was born. I huddled in the tv room, in the fetal position under blankets, sobbed, for over an hour. My nasal passages had swollen shut, and I could only breathe through my mouth. Karl came in and sat with me, gently patting my leg--he's not "hugger", though he is a very loving partner. He tried to say the right things, but I just wasn't having *any* of it. Because he didn't understand. He didn't understand that the house was the last piece of my father on the earth. I'm not attached to the house, per se, as he was trying to tell me I was-- I'm not attached to even the memories created in that house. It simply represents that last part of my father in the physical world, and I am selling it. It will be gone. My father's wish was for us to sell it, and so we are. But I feel conflicted about this.  Even still, I will follow my dad's wishes.

Someday new people will be living in his house. Before then, Karl and I will make another trip back to CT arrange for dumpsters, booksellers, estate buyers, moving vans. To say goodbye, for real, to the house, my hometown, and leave my parents behind in Elmwood Cemetary: Beloved Parents inscribed on their gravestone.  Yes, Yes, So I'm jumping ahead into the reality that is to come. Is it robbing me of any joy that I feel today?  Hell no. I don't feel any joy right now. I am trying to plan for what is to come. My inner control freak (I should give it a name) wants to get this all planned out so I can mobilize the troops. I am the troop mobilizer.

I am so worn out from this weekend of grief. It was the first anniversary that neither of my parents were alive to celebrate.  This year of "firsts" is supposed to be a bitch. I see this coming head on.  I am grateful, though sad, that I have a friend going through these firsts, too.   I don't know if my sister is reading this blog (I think not) but we don't share our feelings. We never have. I have tried, on and off for years, with never anything back. She is too involved in her own life, and now her own grief. She is unreachable, and frankly, I keep trying, through weekly cards to my niece and nephew, cards and small gifts to my sister....and...nothing. It is so sad. She told me once that I didn't treat her like a sister, and I wanted to say she doesn't even acknowledge my existence--not with phone calls, or  with thank you notes for gifts received, or an email saying the kids loved their presents (or even if they'd gotten them).  Or a note to see how I'm doing.  I am not going to ask, as I used to, if the kids got their gifts, or if my sister received hers. I don't do it to be thanked, and I will continue to do it. This is a door that I may have to close, although I fully know it would kill my father were he not already passed away.

His death has widened the gap between my sister and I rather than drawn us closer together.  We were at my father's side at the hospital the entire time he was there.  We barely communicated, perhaps out of the incredible pain of the experience while also trying to keep our spirits up around him. She is withdrawn and miserable and I cannot save her. She is 40+ years old, has two children and a husband as well as health insurance that would cover grief therapy. I am withdrawn but slowly reaching out to friends who will receive me in whatever state I'm in. The gift of true, abiding friendships is a salve on the open wound. I can't ask my sister to be anything she is not.  I want her to help herself so that she can live more happily and her children will grow up in an emotionally healthy environment. 

"It is my intention to emulate heaven's way by listening more, speaking less, and trusting that my answers will come without any screaming. I slow my pace so that it harmonizes with heaven's way." 
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

But if no one's talking, I have to learn to listen to the silence...and that makes me sad.

This next quote, sent by my friend Lori after our rough weekend;  there is a toast at the end of Nicolas Nickelby, by Charles Dickens:

"In every life, no matter how full or empty one's purse, there is tragedy. It is the one promise life always fulfills. Thus, happiness is a gift, and the trick is not to expect it but to delight in it when it comes; and to add to other people's store of it.

What happens if, too early, we lose a parent, that party on whom we rely for only...everything? What did these people do when their families shrank?

They cried their tears.

But then they did the vital thing: they built a new family person by person. They came to see that family need not be defined merely as those with whom they share blood, but as those for whom they would give their blood."

She's a good friend, my Lori. Our lives of loss have occured on parallel paths. We lost our fathers exactly two months apart, to the day. Our parents' anniversaries are two days apart, and they were married almost the same number of years. 

Rita has popped back in, I think this time to stay. We've made a pledge to keep in touch, and I've asked her to share more stories about my mother and her, to be part of my life in what ever way she wishes. I am happy about this. I want to write down as much of my mom's story as I can as I am doing with my father. These are the last gifts, the things I can keep with me forever.  Although I don't have kids of my own, my niece and nephew may one day want to know things about their Mimi and Poppi. I want to have answers for them.  I cried yesterday that my sister has a piece of my dad in the genes of her children; I can't have kids, and am denied that same part of keeping my dad alive through kids. I am jealous, I am angry, never angrier than I was yesterday. Not angry at my sister, but at myself and Karl.
If there's a god, what the hell was he thinking? This is not fair. But as we all know, life is not fair.  

I have so many amazing friends on this journey with me. Gratitude keeps me as close to buoyant as I can be. When the darkness closes around me, there they are shining a light for me, so I can find my way home.  Blessed be.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Grave stones, Anniversaries, Talking to Myself

The lilacs smell amazing and look even more beautiful against the budding greenery in our backyard.  We have so many great birds, thanks to the loving guardianship of my husband. Lately we've had a pair of Brown Thrashers pop in and out; they have a beautiful song and they love to chatter.  Mornings and dusks are especially marvelous: the singing in our yard and around our neighborhood, the dampness of the air that seems to amplify the scents of lilac and thawing soil. I love this time of year, even on a day like today, cold for May, raining, with evening snow showers possible. It's a cuddly-sort of day, time for tea, sweatpants, movies, and memories.  I've spent a lot of this year thinking and being this way. A year of reflection and revelations.  And they keep on coming.

May 8th would have been my parents' 45th wedding anniversary. This is incomprehensible to me. On so many levels. I just saw the photograph of their newly-installed grave stone. Beloved Parents. Had they not both passed away, they'd still be married. My father might have been out of the country working, and my mother likely would have been drinking. Thing is, I know my parents loved each other.  Life got pretty dysfunctional for them, each with their burdens and worries and fears, but their fabric was woven by forty five years of daily strands, of living. Each year, as it rolled around, the tenor of their relationship changed, but I'd always sent cards and called, and since my mother's death, for the past three years I've called my father.  Now what? Godammit, more new territory. 

What will I do tomorrow? Were I in Connecticut, or even within driving distance, I'd be at their graves, sitting between them, surely feeling the granite of their memorial stone beneath my fingers, the etching of our family name, their individual names, and the dates commemorating their lives. I am sure I'd plant some lilies, transplanted from the yard-- some of my Nonni's tiger lilies that she brought to our house from her garden. I'd hear the birds, notice the tree my father chose my mother to be buried near. I would be numb with grief, in disbelief of the tangible reality underneath me.

I'm neither in Connecticut nor within driving distance. I have a photograph, sent by my friend Heidi, of my parents' gravestone. I had asked her to take a picture and send it to me, because I needed something as real as I could get. I stared at the picture this morning, numb. I wondered if florists delivered to cemeteries. I could not help the flood of ironies coursing through my head.

I made a date to walk with my friend this morning--in the mall because it was too cold and rainy.
After a while, we stopped for coffee and a bit of browsing.  While we looked at clothes, I realized I was talking to myself, a lot, commenting on the relative cuteness of a shirt or something. Deb looked at me, smiled, and I just blurted out "I talk to myself all the time. I've been alone so much that it's become a habit." While she didn't seem shocked by my behavior, I was shocked by a) my admission and b) the realization of how much time I really have spent alone this year. Alone in the physical world, and isolated on the island of my thoughts. Since my dad died, I've often surprised myself with such personal statements and clear revelations.  It's easy to spew epithets off the top of one's head, or cliches, or to slip into learned behavioral responses. Why, just a week ago, I admitted to a friend that I needed help with the cluttered hot mess that is my bedroom. Are these incidents induced by grief? Am I just losing my filter? My mind? What is happening to me? Every interaction reveals something new, as if I've no control over who I am. And that's *exactly* it.  I don't have to choreograph a version of me that makes sense to people, especially friends, or control interactions between us.  While unfamiliar, it's easier. I mean, easier-going. I feel awkward sometimes, but never drained, even when admitting how sad I am, or that I've been alone a lot, or that if I see one more Mother's Day commercial I may throw something.
Am I a walking, bleeding wound, a hot mess?

*she pauses, thinks*

Well, yes.

I'm grieving still, but I think I'm growing, too. I wish I had a stronger sense that those who leave us watch over us still. I just don't know if it's true or if I should want it to be true. Grief books are divided on this--some say we should not place any faith in this notion, that it keeps us thinking in the past, prevents us from growing forward.  Other sources advise us to keep conscious spiritual contact with our lost ones, that our relationships with them continue to evolve.

So what will I do tomorrow, on my parents' 45th anniversary? Wake up, think of them. Dedicate my yoga practice to their memory, and thank them. Probably cry. And then hopefully move through the day more conscious, more grateful, without so much sadness.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It is Spring here, finally. My lilacs are blooming, the tulips have opened, and the grass needs to be mowed.  It's windy here on the Plains, but the sun and wide sky are so beautiful this time of year, tempered by the timidly unfolding leaves on trees. Can the season change be trusted? It's as if they're peeking, just in case there's a last-ditch effort by Winter to sabotage their courage.

Oh, soul who is waxing poetic, there you are.

What a see-saw week. My trust in Spring is tenuous, just like the leaves'. After a period of relative quiet, lots of things popped up, just like my flowers.  Messages from my mother's wonderful friend; photographs of the empty house with its newly exposed hardwood floors; a long phone conversation with my aunt; my husband posting baby pictures of me on FB;  Karl's busy gig schedule; notice from the stone mason that my parents' grave stone has been completed and placed in the cemetery.

I flow from event to event without knowing my reaction in advance. This is new to me. I have always  protected myself from "un-knowing" as much as humanly possible. Safer. This habitual practice would, in many ways, serve me now.  If I could create a sense of peace, of evenness, life could be taken more in stride.  Oh, my god, I was so wrong--I had no idea what taking life "in stride" even meant. I never looked beyond the cliche.

Life is fucking bumpy. Sure, it matters not what the situation is but how we handle it.  My father had a substantial quote from Charles Swindoll on his fridge: "Attitude."  It was his life-long mantra, even when I didn't know it. Life is fucking bumpy, but you just hand on and deal.  True.

"Going with the flow" has a different, more organic meaning to me now.  It is accepting the cragginess, the crevasses, the peaks, the meadows as the path unfolds. Hell, yes, it's bumpy. And right now, there's a lot of uphill rocky terrain with loose stones everywhere. I'm tripping, stumbling, and occasionally bleeding. But when I look up, the sun is shining, and I smell the breeze, and I breathe in and out a little deeper. Spring.