Thursday, December 30, 2010

December—When The Light Returns

There’s not much left of December as I write this. We saw the red-hazed full moon, winter equinox and total lunar eclipse all on the 21st. This is a one in 300+ year event.

This month the man to whom I was married for over nine years died. We had been divorced for many years and stayed friends over those years. Love never really dies. Just because people grow apart doesn’t have to mean the love that brought them together diminishes.

I will always love him for many reasons one of the biggest is one that I thought at age twenty-three was not necessarily a reason to love him—that reason is the four lovely women who are his children.

We shared much family together my family, parents, brother, niece and nephew and cousins and their children. We have always been a close family sharing vacations, holidays and always “projects” together. We my husband and I merged our families we had a much bigger group and his children and my cousins children as well as the children of one of his best friends all grew up together.

This year Christmas brought phone calls and Christmas cards his children. We asked each other how we were doing on this day, checking out our current level of grief and sharing a story of two together of happier days and of the days to come and how we walk into tomorrow through today. Living one day at a time which is really all we have can be difficult when we are grieving and it takes the ten-year old grandchild who wants to open presents or just that the dog who needs a walk to bring us out of our reverie and back into the present.

My mother-in-law told me after the death of my own father when I was twenty-seven that her own experience of losing her mother thirty years before was that the pain didn’t ever really leave, she was just better able to handle it with time.

She was a wise woman then and I can pass what she told me and what I’ve come to learn on to the children of my heart.
December is the month of the return of light in the pagan celebrations. December 21st was the shortest day and longest night and from it every day grows longer still bringing more light to our days and hearts until the Summer Solstice when the days grow shorter once again. We are all part of the circle of life and we are all one


Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Walk With Dale

He got up slowly from the bed. It was still dark and would be light soon he thought. He noticed that his feet didn’t hurt this morning – no, nothing hurt this morning. He felt like he was thirty-five again and smiled as he thought of his children – Kenni his first born and he felt that wave of love wash over him for those years he’d had with Kenni and Kari the second born while he and Sandie were still married. Kelli the third born had so little of that family time she probably didn’t even remember any of it. Then there was Kristi, born just three months before the family broke apart.

But something wasn’t quite right he thought as he stepped out of the bedroom and onto the basketball court of the Community Center. And there they were all grown up. His eye’s smarted with tears as he looked on them and what husbands, mates, children (his grandchildren) and great grandchildren? What was this all about? How beautiful they all were. They’d grown up so fast, where had the time gone?

And over there were his sisters chattering away as they always had, smiling and laughing at something one of them had said. He felt another wave of love come over him as he saw them now and as they were when he and they were kids.

Their husbands and children and grand and great-grandchildren were all there too. Well, he thought sardonically, “It’s a damned good thing we’re all meeting in this big room. He remembered the year everyone gathered at his folks house to celebrate a family reunion of Grandpa’s family. They had to get a ladder to let everyone get into the photo at one time.

And over there was Neal and Joanie and coming toward him was Roger and Sue – just what had the argument been about that pushed them all apart? Oh, well it was sure great to see them all here now, laughing and telling stories.

This is sure one hell of a dream he thought as he continued out into the group where he was welcomed by this person and that person. It was really great to see everyone. Somewhere he heard music; one of his favorite dance tunes by Eddie Arnold. He thought he’d go find Jane and finish that dance. Where was she anyway?

There was Ken. Wasn’t it just a month or so ago they had lunch together? And there was Jeff and Sandie’s sister, Susie. The food smelled good, guess somebody was cooking salmon. And he remembered fishing in Alaska with Roger last year. And then he remembered all the firsts. The first fish Kenni caught, Kari’s and Kelli’s even Duncan’s but where did Kristi catch her first fish? Hmmm.

Then he turned and was walking toward the doors which lead outside and he saw a menagerie of animals, dogs, cats and was that a crow? Further out he saw Uncle Harry and Fred. I’ll go have a smoke with them he thought then remembered he’d quit smoking when he was forty. As he walked out onto the grass and across to the men, he began to see other people who were outside too. They seemed to be waiting for him. Smiling and welcoming him in. He saw his mom and dad, his grandpa and Aunt Jessie, his cousin Rocky and Uncle Jim.

Then Neil walked up to him and gave him a big hug and beat on his back the way men do. He stepped away a little and looked at his old friend. He thought he’d cry and saw the Neil was crying. It was so good to see him again.

This is sure the strangest dream he ever had. From the moment he woke up to right now when he was seeing impossible people. People he knew had been dead for years some of them. And here they were just as real as he was. What a strange dream or was it a dream in a dream or was it . . . real?