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Presence

thestoryofrain

It’s been almost a month since I posted last, my mother’s 78th birthday is this coming Saturday, and I’ll bring cupcakes for a (hopefully) candlelit vigil that day at dusk.

Already moving through month 3 without her presence, and for the most part I try not to dwell in the sad places in my mind. I talk to her a lot. Eventually I’ll allow myself to think more, probably to cry more (it’s there, I just don’t want to get started because I’m never sure when I’ll stop), but for now I have the conversations with her that I didn’t have when she was here. As my friend Diane says, “there is presence even in absence.”

It’s October, the month when the veil between our worlds, Mom’s and mine, thins a little. That belief comforts me.

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

Do I want you to become a vehicle for my grief? Some days, yes. Like Fridays, the day of the week my mother died. Seven weeks today. I was reading an article on the Sabbath that Oliver Sacks wrote shortly before he died, and besides the fact that I agree with him about keeping a Sabbath, I also thought of how much my mother would like the idea that she died on a Friday, the eve of the Jewish Sabbath. Blog, we both know how much Rhoda loved all things Jewish and Judaica. We even talked about how possibly her Davis grandfather, Frank, may actually have been a Davidovich at one time. But I’m straying off-topic.

The point here is I don’t always know what to write in you, so many times I just don’t. Then I remember I have dozens of sketchbook journals I could cull through to share bits and pieces of here, which I may consider eventually, although I do like something fresh.

Oh sure, when I’m driving or walking or listening to music and my imaginary conversations with myself start, the ideas flow, the words spill all over, but I usually have no way of transcribing until I get home, and you know how that goes. By then, I’ve moved on to something else and the solitary act of writing is neglected. It’s hard to write, and I don’t want to turn into a blogger who believes her mission is to teach others or enlighten them or constantly be a source of wisdom. I just want to share a few words now and then so that someday, somewhere little bits of my life and the lives of those who have touched mine will be noticed. And maybe remembered. Because none of us want to be forgotten.

Wolf Moon

I haven’t had a deliberate moon practice in a bit, but the Wolf Moon of 2015 seems like a good starting point for me, particularly as it relates to protection of self, hearth, and family (my idea of it anyway). I have a huge gold glass ashtray from my mother’s smoking days and it’s perfect to burn my sage in, as well as slips of paper I’ve written on — guilt, judgment, fear, clutter and doubt. These are things I am looking forward to releasing in the coming year — a huge task for me, but if I were going to have Colleen do a phrase for me, it would be what I remind myself when faced with big ideas — “baby steps.” Mother, may I? And a resounding “yes” is what I hear.

My quote of the day

…today and everyday for that matter because it comes up so much for me:

“The root of the word “jealousy,” is actually an old French word, jalousie, meaning “enthusiasm, love, longing.”

from Alexandra Franzen’s post, sent there from another Cape Codder’s blog (she packs some good leads) — rather funny, because it’s a topic I revisit constantly when I venture online.

Not jealous of this girl though, only happy and proud — my daughter’s off on solo travels this minute en route to Bali for 6 weeks. A huge thank you to my Squam pal, Cheryl, for hosting her in San Francisco before today’s departure.

Terry Tempest Williams

I’ve been blowing through countless mysteries in between the non-fiction I read. Books are my escape, my solace, part of my journey and healing when I am scared and uncertain. They are my self-soothing default (besides prayers) when I am struggling with what is beyond my control (essentially everything that is not myself).

When Women Were Birds has been on my must read list for some time (as are Williams’ other books). Her words and Rebecca Solnitt’s resonate profoundly with a deeper part of myself that I’ve neglected for the past several years, and it’s time for another resurrection. It’s that part of myself that recognizes a sacred path, and that I will be okay if I can trust. Trust is so scary when there is that constant fear of loss.

I start drafting blog posts, and then question how much of my monkey mind I want to share. So I will leave you with another quote today, one I discovered on Milla’s blog (I was familiar with Terry Tempest Williams from listening to NPR for so many years but have yet to read any of her books!).

Because of this quote (and a few others), I’m not feeling as resistant to the word Crone these days. Besides men at this stage of life hanging together are sometimes referred to as “cronies!” And I think of myself more and more as Crow. I love Crow.

So, a quote for you and a link for you also. Don’t know when I’ll have time to read her blog, but I do love that she practices NVC, and has some great new-to-me words (like “destuckification”) in her personal glossary.

“Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn, and to sing at dusk, was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.”

Motherhood

“When my friends began to have babies and I came to comprehend the heroic labor it takes to keep one alive, the constant exhausting tending of a being who can do nothing and demands everything, I realized that my mother had done all of these things for me before I remembered. I was fed; I was washed; I was clothed; I was taught to speak and given a thousand other things, over and over again, hourly, daily, for years. She gave me everything before she gave me nothing.”
― Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby

The time flew, the time crawled

“What you preserve is the cheeriest memento mori. It is a way to say and mean: of everything that passes, this is what I choose to keep. It is a clear reminder, there for the tasting, of where and when and how you have lived.”

Suzanne’s been gone a month today. She was my daughter’s boyfriend’s mom. A person who loved well and who was well loved. I think of her daily. I think of her boys daily, my girl and all the people heartbroken by her loss. When she was on the last leg of her dying journey I would turn for solace to one of my favorite bloggers, Hannah, from Inherit the Spoon. In between writing about food, her boys, and home, she writes of memories…in the making, and those made, of her mom, who died a few years ago, a lady who sounds like she was also about 59, same as Suzanne.

Recently, Hannah posted the above quote from a book I enjoyed reading a while back, An Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adler. It made me think of Danny, Brian’s older brother, Suzanne’s firstborn. Both boys left work last March to come home to care for their mom. Danny left San Francisco, where he was a chef at Outerlands, Brian took a leave of absence from his job in Boston. Time seemed to crawl for me as I held my breath, hoping, praying for miracles.

And when the miracle didn’t happen, the time that was left for them seems like it flew. A whole lifetime. Not nearly enough for any of us, glib as we may want to be with our easy platitudes about grief and loss. I just try to remember the Dr. Seuss quote Suzanne included in her obituary, “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” So like her to want to comfort from beyond. Suzanne, wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying an everlasting meal. We miss you.

Just a Hello and thinking of you

Hello Suzanne,

Perhaps you’ll have a chance to read this, no reply necessary. Just know that you are in my constant thoughts and however things turn out, I think of your kindness, Grace, love, dignity, courage and spirit…this is what I endeavor to share of the people who have been a part of my life, perhaps what most of us remember — the little things, the little glimpses and stories of a day in the life. Should we have grandchildren together, wherever you are I will make sure to include you so that they know their other grandmama well. We will set a place for you at our table always.

Much love for you .
Patricia

P.S. You have raised some remarkable boys, and your tribe will gather to embrace and support them however we can.