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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Tick Tock

The year was either 1953 or ’54, early in my Kansas City, Kansas high school years.  Bob was my brother’s friend and they spent hours in the basement workshop.  Time moved and my 14-year-old heart fell in love.  When I sort photos, seeing him through the years, breathing becomes a challenge.

Circumstances changed.  Our lives went in different directions.

In 1958,  while in college, I met a good man and we planned a future together.  Five amazing children who reflect so many of the dad’s best qualities, a trove of beautiful memories, a life filled with many of those ‘for better and for worse’ moments followed.  The sadness of divorce also followed.

Within a short time, circumstances changed again and Bob reentered my life.  First love.  New love.  This time, I wasn’t a teen.  I was a package deal…five children,  an aging mother and a teaching career.   Welcome to this new world.

We lived and loved that new world.  Five beautiful grandchildren were born in our new world.  Each baby gave Bob the magic of complete,  total love and acceptance.

On October 21, Bob left us.  He died.  He went away.  Those memories everyone talks about?  Those memories that are  to bring ease?  Those memories that are  to comfort?  Not yet.  All the memories do is tear at the heart and the gut, wrenching out the huge well of missing him.

A friend  told me that I had always loved too deeply, that I needed to see life with more discretion, that I lost the ability to emotionally self protect.  Imagine that…protecting oneself from all that love has to offer.

In our church, we say a prayer asking forgiveness “for what I have done and what I have failed to do”.   The failure hurts the most, missed opportunities, deliberate decisions to slide by an opportunity, hugs not given, smiles held back, anger over stupid stuff.

Yesterday, my brother said that my Bob was his best friend, his lifetime best friend.  My own lifetime is  overflowing with gifts, the riches of my children and grandchildren,  of family, of friends, of so much more than I deserve.  I keep hearing that time will actually ease this emptiness that stands in Bob’s place. Maybe.  Tick Tock.

Tick Tock.

Greek Men Don’t

My Greek man didn’t wear tubes, or at least he doesn’t now.  The tubes are all out–from his lungs, his stomach, his bladder, his throat.  He is gone.  My love is gone.  The missing is physical, overwhelmingly physical.  ‘Ache’ has a new meaning.  ‘Ache’ is real now.  I ache for him.  I ache for every kind word I failed to speak, for every corny joke that didn’t get my laughter, for every time I was too preoccupied to respond fully.

I love him.  I miss him.

Where Love Is, There Is God (ccr)

The church official was looking at the family of the deceased.  He saw their tears, their sorrow and their concern for one another.  His words were not the often used, “God Is Love”, but he looked at the family, at how they loved one another,  and he saw God.

Where love is, there is God.  End of search.  End of mystery.

Witness how people love one another and we witness the activity of God.

Witness the harm done to one another and we have obliterated the activity that is God.

Witness the uplifting, the sacrifice of self, the respect shared and we witness  God.

Witness the anger, the self-serving,  the measures of disrespect and we have lost the vision–lost God.

I like how this works.  Find the best of one another and there is God.  Give up on one another and the light goes out.

The church official could have used those six words to write the story.  Where Love is, There Is God.