(From my phone) And I’m here, still.
...I’m trying hard to keep it together. My husband is pulling me off the ceiling sometimes, as I’m finding I’m having chest pains and horrible urges to sob loudly.
When I see her, I will be cheerful and not dwell on the fact that she is most likely dying and going to die an awful death. But in my alone moments, I don’t handle things so well.
Took a short nature walk today and it really helped. Saw a flying squirrel and an ornate box turtle. The poor turtle was stuck between a rock and a hard place, literally, but got free. The flying squirrel froze when it saw a human. I tried to be still, to disturb it as little as possible.
The walking paths were snow-covered, which is surprising since it is still autumn.
Sitting at home, done with grading, waiting for night to fall. Flashes of red from outside. Three male and three female cardinals picking seeds up from the bush in back of the house. Those brief flashes of red are so beautiful and so life affirming somehow.
I stand up to look outside, and they fly away. They must have been able to sense my presence, perhaps see my shadow.
And it helps. And the sunset helps. And the trees and the birds and friends and loved ones help.
But it is impossible to inoculate yourself from grief. At least I think so, if you are a loving person, the loss of a loved one will hurt greatly.
About 13 to 14 years ago, my family and I suffered the loss of many. Some died from a freak set of accidents, some from cancer, some from old age, etc. But it was so many in a short period of time that I was truly overwhelmed and didn’t get a chance to really mourn the loss of most of them individually.
Of these nine losses, the loss of my best friend, Susan, my godmother, and my mother hurt the most. The others I feel bad that I have not mourned them individually; it was like a collective grief.
So I know I’m going to face a lot of pain, and if you love someone, that’s to be expected.
But not something to be looked forward to.
It’s the price of loving people and getting older, surely.
The cardinals have returned, cautiously picking out seeds from the bush behind the house.
And I’m here, still.
Last morning in the Rocky Mountains. Deer at dawn and mountains. 🙂
On our way to the mountains and stars.
When I was a child, I was fortunate to live near a now rare Illinois prairie. Oh, and a swamp at one end of the prairie, right before a suburban housing subdivision.
As I get older, I begin to understand how much that open space, those wildflowers, those butterflies, that swamp mist, those ancient swamp trees–what they all meant to me. They are part of my very core, part of my poetry even when I am writing about teaching or abuse or anything. Why? This core of beauty and mystery provides strength, curiosity, and respect deep within, helping me find courage in this increasingly terrifying world. I am deeply sensitive, deeply afraid of much, deeply observant. Without this core, I think I would have become crushed as some family members have been–utterly broken down.
But mountains and a starry filled night sky have NOT been part of that core. I live in an area with too many people, too much light pollution in order to see that starry night filled sky. The few times I have seen such a sky I was overwhelmed and nearly had to squint–it was so much beauty at one time. But those times have been few.
And living in the “Land of Lincoln” means flatness everywhere. Flat, flat, flat–which made for gorgeous sunrise and sunset viewing. But it’s all so open. I’d like to see mountains. Last time we drove to NC, I panicked in the mountains, but I feel I’m better able to handle all that too.
I am not an easy person to know, nor an easy person to live with, even for myself. I am very high maintenance, very stressed, very much TOO MUCH. But I have a talent for gratitude and do not take things for granted.
We are headed to a family reunion in the great Rocky Mountains tomorrow, and I am beyond excited. I am overwhelmed by the prospect of seeing stars, seeing mountains.
As to seeing family, that’s another long story. (My family is a novel waiting to be written but too painful to write.) I love my husband’s family dearly, and this will be a great gathering.
Thanks for reading.
So much beauty. Know how you sometimes remember where you were when you see a photo? I remember what I was thinking when I took this photo. I thought, is THIS what I’ve been missing for so long? As a child I was a veteran sky watcher/sunsets/sunrises/clouds already, then I lost it as I became a work, work, work type of person. Is this what I’ve been missing? Just some phone photos.