Conversation

Each time I attempt to add a blog, to get back to something that was vital to my days, a communication with appreciated readers, I give up knowing that the line between maudlin and honest emotion can be thin.

Time does not heal. Time drags, weighing on the soul. Time questions the belief in the future, a future able to hold a measure of peace, let along any measure of joy.

I want my Bob back in my life. I want to talk to him no matter that our conversations were mostly me talking and Bob looking at me either smiling or frowning. Economy of words, yes, but a heart that loved me without reservation. Who possibly deserves such a gift? Not me.

I yearn–absolutely yearn–for one more conversation. He needs to know that Mark and Chris take care of me. He needs to know that Mark and Chris really take care me. He would love them more if I could tell him about their phone calls, their advice, their support, their strength. He would laugh and frown at our fantasy of a little hotel in a particular United States possession, walking the beach, sharing the work so we could get to the play part. Guess who gets to clean the rooms? Guess who doesn’t care?

Bob needs to know that Dan and Paul absolutely stay with me in every way that is possible for them, attentive, caring, checking. Each has welcomed me into their lives in new and caring ways.

Bob needs to know that I ache with sorrow over not appreciating him as I should have done. He simply went about the business of living in his quiet, dogged way, mending, repairing, building, handling what was to be handled.

Bob handled living and he handled the process of dying with the same quiet, dogged and Bob-like way. I want to go back and appreciate how he did that. I want to cook his favorite food and bake a big batch of cookies that he liked.

I want one more chance to say, “I love you.” I want one more touch, one more time to reach over and touch his warmth. I want to see the way he looked at me in response to that touch. I want one more chance to say, “I love you.”

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Never Lonely

The dead are never lonely.
Dead is gone. Maybe in an eternal bliss, no matter the name. Maybe in that down side of bliss. Maybe just gone, no more–dead. Universal destiny, the sure and certain agent of change.

Because death is, life surely must evolve out of pretense, of false pride, of ignorance. Surely we recognize the life requirement to face the mirror with honesty, with a grasp of the reality of death.

This was a drive-around-and-pretend-to-have-a-destination day, one of those days that can suck the good out of the best of work intentions. Air so sweet with autumn, colors random, filled with splash and zest. My favorite season of layered clothing, sun and shadow, wood fires to warm old memories.

Without warning the tears came, blinding me. I was driving. I was not the passenger in his big SUV. Was not reacting to his hand as he reached over, touched my cheek. Such a brief and private moment, one I perpetually took for granted.

My thought was so odd. “Please don’t be lonely. Be OK. I don’t want you to feel like this. Please don’t be lonely.”

So I am grateful. I am. He is dead but he is not lonely. That is a good thing.

I Believe

Alan Stark wrote I Believe.

On page 128, Stark wrote:
“I believe the definition of a friend is someone you call when you have really great news or really sad news.”

On page 111, Stark wrote: “I believe couples should hold hands at least three minutes every day.”

On page 156, Stark wrote: “I believe that memories are treasures worth more than gold.”

Three is that good number, the one that can mesh the unrelated and find a new truth. So I have an addendum to Alan’s beliefs, my big three for today.

I check myself off the definition of a friend. Today has been one of the saddest days of the last 11 months. There is no one I will phone to share the sadness. There is no one with whom I have that kind of comfort. There is no one to whom I could even begin that conversation, share that deep and penetrating loss.

Holding hands is vital, an intimacy to be cherished. Going out alone today, I did a virtual hand holding via four area wide garage sale events. Bob loved them. We trudged up the driveways as he searched for his bargain of the day and until he was too worn to continue. I bought three things just so the experience would be true, a book, a light switch, a leather purse. Three dollars ventured and a memory gained.

That brings me to those memories worth more than gold. My brain is odd. My memories are rarely specific in detail but definitely specific in feelings. Bob and I had two love stories, one in youth and the second in middle age and onto his last years. Between those chapters, I had another love story with a good man, the father of my children.

Today is not really an empty day. It is a day of far too many memories, far too much emotion, far too heavy with a sadness I cannot shake. I feel ashamed, weak, to be as I am today. Wonder why the amazing goodness that is so much a part of my life cannot handle the overflow of memories?

I believe that time as healer is a ruse. What really happens is that we get really good at covering over, pretending and doing make-believe. Today is my birthday and I want what I cannot have. I miss him.

Moving On, Leaving Behind

A Ramble–nothing more than a ramble to no where…

The self gets blurred, like that image in a store front window, recognizable but rubbery. Our edges are not defined any more, distorted by circumstance. We concentrate. We force our eyes to see, but only the beveled edge of the mirror reflects.

Life mapped, goals decided, timetables set. Head down, emotion on hold, we plow through holding to clear and defined self-promises. Something happens; medical diagnosis, financial hardship, a deeply altered relationship, a forced change, a death. So we wonder at the reflection of this gritty thing we see, this new person invading uninvited.

The worst part is that decisions have to be made, not by who we once thought we were, but by this acquaintance we have become. Nothing unique about this–millions of daily multiples, probably the truest normal. Still, it feels like an unattainable balance, this moving on, leaving behind.

This house has to be part of moving on, a change that refuses to be gentle but one that I know, sooner rather than later, must happen. I will replace can’t with must and find an easier place to live. Then, again, if I drag my feet long enough, dig in deep enough, concentrate on finding what isn’t in this current state of now, I just might find some chrysalis-butterfly-thing waiting. Maybe.

Yesterday’s Gone

Yesterday’s Gone. Song lyric? Think it is. Know it should be. Yesterday.

Everyone has a yesterday, one to touch with nostalgia. Even an unfulfilled yesterday is a respite from the newest today.

Yesterday’s blog was lame. It didn’t come close to what was waiting.
For weeks, this spot stood fallow, lost in the yesterdays of so many people who I love–family/friends, the church of my formation, the community both local and global.

When there is nothing to say, we don’t seem to know silence. We grasp at the inane rather than simply hold a hand or hold the phone. That is a good thing even though it shouts at our inadequacy to do much more than care.

Valiant has a tradition of matching with war, with swords and guns and horrible battles. That is not right.

Valiant is a word for keeping on keeping on, for men and women who step up when slipping away would be so easy. Valiant is day after day after day of staying because leaving would simply trade pain.

There are no words to sooth the deep depression of those we love. We try. We stumbled along, but there are no words. When distance means that words are all we have–and there are no words— we feel the depth of inadequacy. So we talk along, trusting that our love and support are felt, knowing that more is required.

When The Going Gets Tough

When the going gets tough this stutter-stepper gets more than I deserve, a gentle push, a leg-up to a new awareness, giant steps of help most needed.

On Friday, Mark drove nine hours to get here so he could spend nine more hours driving Miss Daisy (moi) to look at real estate.  He knows the city, my budget, my temperament and my tangent jumping mind.  His notebook was filled with possibilities by zip code.  At 2:00, Saturday, he redid the nine-hour trip back to his home.    He actually helped me find two perfect houses:  the one I now live in and another about 15 minutes from this home.

My current  home is perfect in every way— except for long-term old person independence which will be an issue in the unforeseeable future.  The 15 minute trip takes me to a place where that old person independence would be stretched a bit, give me more years with less upkeep.

One of my major stutters is getting ready for an auction spelled with an ‘o’ as in overwhelming.  With his usual calm, Chris laid out a plan so perfect in simplicity, a reality check for me that  defined doable.

During all my self-imposed drama, I knew I could call neighbors Steve/Lisa and Dave/Laurie.  They would talk me down from uncertainty about 101 property and maintenance issues.

Bob’s voice lingers.  “We don’t need to bother people.  We can handle this together, by ourselves.”    Right–when there was a ‘we’.   I am inching closer to those phone calls.

On Wednesday, Chris gave me Cub Cadet Lesson 101 and I cut half of the 2.34 acres without damaging anything but my hearing.  Duh.  Ear plugs?  Ear muffs?  Next time.

Well, to tell the truth, my mowing might have been less than perfect, better described as ragged.   A very few days after I mowed, I decided on a short escape-from-reality-fake-errand, one of those times when getting away was mandatory.   Returning,  I drove up the long driveway.  A red mower flashed behind one of the sheds.  Wait a minute–my mower is yellow and I’m not on it.

Brian, another neighbor, handled the grass to crisp, clean perfection.  Speechless.  I was speechless.  He just did it.  Brian used his Sunday afternoon to mow this place in addition to his own multi-acres.

Indeed, with my family and my neighbors, this house is close to perfect.

I  want to be independent, to depend on resources that I muster, relying on myself by doing, or by compensating for the labor of others.  It is tough, but after a brief hiatus from reality, I am going again.  And this new chapter of going is definitely not because I am tough.  Rather it is because I am surrounded by walls of strength.

Hiatus

An unintentional hiatus but a hiatus just the same…

You are an amazing group, Gentle Readers.  Some of you, noticing the dearth of blogs, have contacted me asking the why of the dry spell.  I appreciate you more than I have words to express that appreciation.

My calendar has little respect for anything but the passage of time so that cluttered life-map cannot be excuse or  reason.

Some rearranging of family schedules has encroached on my version of disciplined writing, but adjustment should never be that difficult.  Union Station on the occasional Thursday rather than the standard Friday visit is simply a tweak that will eventually be realigned.  (Hi, De.)

Taking on a few extra commitments isn’t overwhelming, though some have been more time-consuming than expected.  In addition, I have spent hours writing two short stories depicting life changing events.  The stories processed important pieces of my history and I value the time and thought spent writing them.

Stutter steps while learning to handle the chores of this place should be just that–stutter steps–and nothing more.  Still, I continue to stutter.

The litany could get longer, but the point isn’t that chiseled and truly doesn’t matter.  My mind has gone underground, sort of like the moles building a city under the top soil of my yard.  Some of me has disappeared.

Hiatus is a brief stoppage, a thing to end on schedule.  I will find what is missing and look forward to tomorrow.