Life Topics

Hard to Say Goodbye

You died on a Monday.  I saw you that morning struggling to breath.  I’m so thankful to have given you a kiss as you slept.  The last kiss I would ever give you.  Oh, how many times had we kissed and embraced?  You were so tired and working so hard to breath like your body couldn’t do it any longer. I hugged your wife not only because I care about her, but because I couldn’t hold you.  She understood as I whispered “I love you” to her.  She always showed strength and grace through your illness personifying love and hope.  Her pain will never go away.  But your pain is gone now and for that I am relieved.   I had hoped you would quietly slip away, and you did.  God Damn it!  I wanted you to stay forever.

The last visit before you left, I asked you if you remembered the time I was walking the dog, and you came out and offered me wine.  Of course, I said yes, so you grabbed a couple of glasses of red wine and we sat on the front stone wall and sipped and talked on a glorious sunny Spring day.  People slowed down to watch us “day drinkers” having a ball laughing and talking.  Pretty soon other neighbors came over and we all chatted.  I liked how you quietly laughed when you said you remembered. It filled my heart.  It was our moment in the sun.

One day, you called me when I was sitting on the beach and thanked me for what I wrote about you on my blog.  There were a few people on the beach, as it was early, and they just watched me sob into my cell phone.  We were both crying.  All of your time was borrowed, and we knew it.  You were so strong and positive while you took your time saying goodbye.  I would have been a mess.  But, not you!  As I hung up, I looked at the horizon meeting the ocean, and drank in the soothing woosh of the waves as they hit shore.  I wiped away the last of my tears and realized that you were one of a few people in the world who know me, who really know me and for that I am grateful and comforted.

Everyone will miss you, especially me.  We stole looks and gestures when we were in each other’s company.  Always connected in some small way.  I know you will continue to be there when I’m looking for you.  In a corner sipping some fancy Italian drink or standing next to your wife always to support her.  We will always watch over your wife.  I promise.  Your spirit will never leave our little community, our little lives that we are forced to carry on without your grace.  I toast to your generosity, love and joy that you gifted so many.  Cheers.

You are a once in a lifetime friend.  True friends that I can only count on one hand.  You were not just a friend though, you were a mother, a wife, a neighbor, a confidant and a caregiver.  My heart breaks with you gone now.  Please carry me with you wherever you are.  Let the others who have passed know that I think of them often too.  I can only hope to laugh at our memories some day when the thought of you will bring a smile, not a tear.  You will live on in my heart until I take my last breath, and we once again sip red wine in the sunshine.

Life Topics

A Sleepy Sermon

Easter Sunday approaches with dew in the air and buds on the trees.  The day brings friends and families together to celebrate the unofficial arrival of Spring.  Candy dishes are full of jelly beans and the chocolate bunnies sit on the counter with a shocked look on their face.  Easter baskets are long gone, as far away as the kids live now.  No need to put them out.  The religious enjoy the spiritual meaning of the holiday.  Us?  Well, we attend Mass and would actually like to eat our jelly beans while listening to a good sermon, but that might be frowned upon.

Every since we got back from vacation, we started to attend Sunday Mass.  I don’t know why, but I thought it was the right thing to do.  Growing up Catholic, we both were religiously educated and received most of the sacraments.  And, as we got more and more involved in life, kids and work, that part of our life slipped away somehow.  Some people do a good job incorporating spirituality and life, but obviously we weren’t one of them.  There always seemed like there was something else we had to do, or a place we had to go instead.  Church didn’t fit into our schedule.

So here we are, a month into re-introducing ourselves to religious ceremony.  Sermons are good, people are nice, but the benches are hard.  We usually arrive early and just relax before the organ signals showtime.  Looking around, we notice a lot of people we know.  Feels kinda’ homey.  We’ve even started to be recognized by the Pastor.  It’s all about who you know, even at church.  The choir starts singing a song that he recognizes, but I don’t.  I know most of the prayers, but the hymns are touch and go.

My eyes start to droop.  We woke up super early to go to the 8am Mass, and it’s just hitting me  now, that this is actually the middle of my night.  Good Lord, 8am!  How can any sane person, or sane Catholic be to church so early?  My head drops and I’m out like a light.  Let the snoring commence.  Right here while Father Anthony gives his weekly sermon.  My companion nudges me awake and I’m incredibly embarrassed.   I’ve made a commitment to my religion, but can’t stay awake for it.  I’m going to burn in Hell.

I ask him if the sermon was nice, as we walk to the car.  He said it was.  We drove to get coffee and had a few laughs.  I really felt bad for sleeping, especially when I was looking forward to a little Catholic wisdom dropped on me.  Now, the only option I have, with my little problem, is a secondhand sermon.  Shorthand.  So why go at all, if I wasn’t going to get anything out of it?

So, I made a decision. If I was to continue to go to church, I wouldn’t go to the 8am Mass anymore.  The odds of falling asleep were just too high.  I can attend the 10:30am Mass and do just fine.  I will stay awake.   I will open the missalette and follow the hymns I don’t know.   I will pretend to know the prayers that I don’t.  I will listen to the sermon and try to be a good Christian.  What more can I do?

Easter is here and it’s Spring!  Whether you are religious or not, enjoy time with your family.
Don’t eat too much candy, and remember to get enough sleep.

Life Topics

Waiting

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I check Facebook with the sound of hammering in the background.  Jamie is in the yard removing the legs to the dock.  He needs to put new legs on for the summer season, these are too short.  I just finished raking about a half hour ago.  I’ve had enough for one day.   I used to be “outdoorsy” but prefer the company of my computer as the tapping keyboard lulls me away.  It’s time for the spring cleanup and my mind is still frozen in the Winter.

I do prefer the Spring to Winter, but this time of year is a waiting game.  The dredges of the last season are scattered on our lawn.  Leaves, branches and twigs remind us of the toll our trees payed over the cold biting Winter.  Acorns crunch as I walk across the lawn, soon to be mulched by the lawnmower.  Should I think about buying flowers?  Not yet, I decide, as the temperatures are still too turbulent.  The Sun is beginning to be our ally again though, melting the Spring snow quickly and giving us some warmth as we do our chores.    I cringe when I look at the empty flower pots, thinking about the work to come.  But,  the thought of lazy summer days and the beauty of the blossoms melts my heart.

We wait for our boat to show up from the boat yard, so we continue to spend our free time picking up and unpacking.  No snow in the forecast this week.  I still don’t feel like there’s any progress, as I look at the calm lake. The lawn looks better, but the dock still sits above the shoreline waiting to be put in the water.   Temperatures will be cold tonight.  The boat will be here in two weeks, but it feels like an eternity.

I type with my feet wrapped in layers of warmth, just thinking about shorts and flip flops – and no more cleanup.  The stripped down ease of the Summer engages my mind to wander.  Why does this transition to Spring bother me so much?  I don’t mind the work; it’s just the anticipation of Summer that gets me out of sorts.  Transitions are neither here nor there.  They are usually a placeholder for better or worse things to come.

I know that this Summer will be fantastic entertaining our friends and family.  Until we put away the boat, and start raking leaves in the crisp Autumn air, waiting for Winter to come.