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I'm a summer girl and long for this time of year when February's cold comes. Winter was a serious thing where i grew up in upstate ny. i despise the cold even in its abbreviated form..
As much as I love the summer and love the ocean, I don't like the two together. Fall is my ocean time of year. Water is warmer, beaches are less crowded and rates are lower.
I've started twice to make the drive - the two hundred miles - just for the day - just for the lift of being there - but each time i've turned around.
Our country is in shambles. I have great hope for our new president and i support his approach to resolving our myriad of challenges .
I fear the divisiveness in this country is going to be our greatest downfall. We are too quick to condemn, too slow to applaud and in doing so have set up what i fear to be a self fulfilling prophesy.
Please, people of our country, set aside your thirst for instant gratification and give these programs a chance to succeed.
We need heathcare. We need environmentally sound commerce and industry. We need freedom. We need empathy.
my memories of childhood fourth of july celebrations are strong - just as strong as the linguine with white clam sauce that cannot be duplicated in reality, When the third rolls around i can expect my annual tears and remorse that i have not replicated the idyllic setting for my own children that was there for me.
the early days have the pull - before the 2nd wife and the party house... the wooden raft on barrels we'd swim out to - the scrabble and cards on rainy afternoons, the ring of fire and the fun of tradition - all missing now - all
as expected, i did my tears and sad routine - expected - almost a tradition now!
I contemplated a drive to the beach - four hundred miles round trip dotted with radar traps - anything to break the mood - i actually got into the car - tossed in the bathing suit, bottled water, grabbed my cds - my daughter had given me an old copy of the doors - I slipped it in and was transported to penfield, NY circa 1966...Mark Wolfe
I drove until i didnt. i stopped, traded $25 for my do-it-myself-cookout, took it home and that was that - done - over.
It's dark. Raining. The breeze blows the rain against the screen and probably in as well but it's such a relief to have the change from the heat, the humidity, that i don't move to check or to close the windows. I do go to check the bedrooms to be sure the beds aren't getting soaked and leave the rest alone.
I can feel the change in my dog as well.. The storm came up quickly but i managed to swoosh her out before the rain came. She's content now to be stretched out in front of the fan.
The bird feeder seems to have absorbed the moisture from these high humidity days and the seed has morphed into an unmanageable mass i need to dig out before i can enjoy the birds again. I've ignored it for a while, hoping it wasn't so, but a moment of energy found me last week and i expunged the mass and filled the feeder with fresh dry seed, whereupon the birds returned as if never gone.
I enjoy them so and they're used to me on my side of the window. Such beauty. The squirrels have gone for some reason.
My birthday. One year now until I can claim the small income allotted to senior citizens when they become 62 in the United States. I gave the latest job back today. Simply that. Gave it back.
I also interviewed for another. It would be a good job - hectic - on the go - not healthcare - good money.
I'm not ready yet. This seven day misstep has shown me that. I need to ease into a new one not fall off a cliff into it. I know this about me now. Spontaneous is a wonderful concept but not a job related one.
So now what do I do? Relief? Embarrassment? I feel each of these.
I have to extricate myself from them now. The phone calls came quickly, then the e-mails. All easy to ignore.
I'd left them a packet with everything they would need to erase me from their records. I had been there for such a short time there was nothing of me yet stamped anywhere that mattered. The pebble in the pond. The ripples. Then the smooth surface.
I'm amazed I got up each of those days, dressed, drove, walked into the conference room, took my place.
I walked away from it. On the night of the 7th. I knew I would - just not when. It was a mistake I'd made before. The difference now is that I know what it does to me to stay too long - to let the pain of it become me. This time I stayed outside of myself - watching. In to meetings, carefully keeping my distance.
I went through the necessary removing myself motions without elation. Resignation - that word fits like no other. It would have become worse with each moment of deception. It was already a horror
Summer of 2009.
61, 32, 29
I recall clearly how anxious I was for them to become 18. My marriage had ended. Their dad had not yet stepped up to be a part of their lives. I was anxious for them to become the legal age so they wouldn't be forced back into that life. Cancer is my family legacy. I knew it would be, just not when. So I counted up to 18.
That would have been:
Summer of 1989.
41, 12, 9
Summer of 1998
50, 21, 18
I've had a slow realization this month that the life I thought I wasn't living yet has been exactly that.
I think about small things that made up the moments of my life with Ben and realize those things were my life too.
I was numb from despair after Bud died in 1999 and then my sister in 2000. I wasn't able to consider living myself yet and so when he wanted to come to me I said yes.. He needed me and a place to be. I thought that doing something for him would be a good thing.
It was wrong from the start but it simply didn't matter to me. I went though the motions to follow up on what i had begun.
He had not been candid about many things. It didn't matter at all that he hadn't. His life began the moment he stepped off of the plane in Charlotte.
Mine did as well.
I just didn't know it until this year - nine years later.
I was working near Wilmington then. I'd just come back up from Florida. My children were in Greensboro, two hundred miles away and i thought i could do this alone.
In my sedated state - sedated not by drugs but my the traumas of my life, i went through the motions: worked every day, got him set up with a dialysis center, kept in touch with my children, tried to make it work, tried to make it matter but all the while knowing it simply did not matter.
He wasn't easy to be with then. He had a temper and was bitter about his kidney failure. He saw everything as a battle and i simply didn't care about anything. But i did care about disrespect - and so i was clear.
It wasn't me he was disrespecting. It was everyone else. I couldn't handle the antagonism. It was threatening to get through my fog and cause me to come back into the world. I wasn't ready for that.
I told him clearly. Lower your voice. Give people a chance to do what they're trying to do. Recognize the hospital workers are not the cause of your illness. Treat them kindly. They're there to help YOU.
There were times when his forceful personality leeched out at me over foolishness - telling me where to park the car or how to turn the wheel.
The chronically ill have no control over their illness and therefore their lives so they lash out to control the tiny bit that's left for them to control. Classic. But annoying just the same.
I recall this scene - in Wilmington - in Asheville - in Greensboro. I'm telling him I will leave and not come back if he doesn't change the way he speaks to people. "I won't have it in my life. I simply won't." Interestingly he knew i meant it - even though it was a repeated scene.
He experienced a total change over the years we were together.
It was gradual, but dramatic.
But I digress. My topic was about living my life when I thought I wasn't yet and how I've come to recognize this now, a year after his death.
He came to me out of his avowed love for me. He didn't know, I thought. He said he loved me because he needs me. That was what I thought then. Over the years as he changed, I came to recognize with a lightning bolt of clarity that it's not our fault if a person loves us. We can't help who we love - or don't.
I felt guilt over not loving him. I felt I should let him go where he could find someone to love him. He wouldn't hear of it. He wanted only me. I urged him to return to California. When I moved to Asheville from Wilmington, I didn't know all of this yet, but we weren't getting along - I pressed him to move back then. He wouldn't hear of it. When I moved from Greensboro from Asheville I pressed him to move to California or possibly stay where we were. He refused. I said he would have to get his own place.
It was impossible for my children to understand this - any of this. I didn't understand it myself for most of it - even at the end - well at the end I did. The last year of his life was truly lovely. I had accepted that he loved me and he had accepted that I didn't love him but that i
him and our relationship.
I write this now with tears in my eyes, not about the years leading up to our discoveries, but because of the poignancy of our time together. I did love him - pure everlasting eternal love.
And no - i'm not romanticizing this. I did not love him in that way. I loved the man he had become - the man he was with me.
I truly believe people are chameleon like. Some are not as intuitive and steamroll through their lives not noticing if they're too loud or too soft or too anything else.
Just as parents of children are different people for each child based on when that child is born into their lives, so individuals are different from one stop on the path to the next.
Think about this. Replay meetings. Conversations. Body language. Yours.
Bath time now. It's getting near one o'clock and I have much I want to do. I tend to save my writing up as a gift to myself and once I begin I don't like to break the mood by stopping to even get a cup of coffee or toss a load of laundry into the washer.
But it's time for a break. I'll go back to read what I wrote just now.
I know i haven't yet written of the thoughts that have come to me, tumbling to me, about living my life during the transition time with Ben.
I'm not going back to read and not going to write about the thoughts that set me in motion when I began earlier.
Water shifts me. On a dramatic level, the ocean is my transition from depths to hope. On a minute level, my bath transitions me from wherever i am to the exact next step. I sink into the hot bubbly water knowing i need to switch gears, or more likely, to FIND gears. Usually it's gradual but at times the process is shockingly obvious and I rush to get out to begin. Slower times involve a shower also.
I've been mired for some time now - not a long time, but enough for me to notice and wonder if this is the time when the mire will pull me out of the functioning world entirely.
Multiple issues - the job that ended in May. the frenzy of setting up the business plan with my son overlayed with the dramatic misstep of the health care job - sick - so sick - and for nearly a month now - not doctor sick, but my malaise has combined with the minor maladies to cause me to become nearly inert. And then my daugher hurt her back.
And i was grateful to be free to assist - to go to her apartment in the cool air conditioning and to read aloud to one another and to bake cupcakes with coffee filters cup cake liners and to eat left over lasagna and loading her dishwasher and going to the grocery and walking her dog. Grateful I had this time - the time - this precious time. Days of this - together time. We have valued our time and this of course almost, almost, has masked the fact that i have continued to do nothing at all.
My bath had me surging, ready to put paper in the printer , to begin.
I've faltered. I'm writing again. The printer, front load for paper firmly closed, no thought other than these words, of moving forward with the project - even the tiniest morsel of it.
Open the e-mail, Jac. Open it. Open the printer. Yes. Open it. Put the paper in. Do it. Begin.
Not yet, I answer myself. Not yet - it's easy - nothing to it. Stop making such a deal about doing it. This is me talking to me in my mind as i type.
I realize I've stopped listening to music. It's in my head but i've gone days without music - weeks?
I keep shifting systems, trying to get it right.
Much of this is computer related - scowling at my assortment of parts hastily attached to this aged and faltering laptop. hub, mouse, now keyboard to compensate for the orange juice i dumped the other day, speakers - of COURSE - always the speakers. I have three sets of them and still they can't seem to keep up with me when i move from room to room as the heat overtakes me and the computers crash.
I just read my writing and with tears streaming at the tenuous, tim buckley is in my head - his voice tremulous - his pain searing into my heart.
I know if i let it get past my mind and actually HEAR it, my day will be over - the tears will flow and the headache will overtake me - and so.. with deepening tears, i allow his voice only in my mind - knowing the power of music - the power of thought spilling out on the page and i accept that there will be no music again today.
Leonard Cohen - Tim Buckley - odd linkage.
I think it was the open windows that caused me to be more careful about the music.
My nephew mentioned something that I hadn't directly told him. I realized he'd heard us talking when he was out on the porch.
This made me realize I needed to be more respectful of their night time air space. I listen to music in the night - Leonard Cohen or Bill Evans or Van Morrison. Sometimes I branch out or I'll flip on NPR to catch their all night jazz. I turn up the volume and become the music.
He's gone. No fanfare or drum roll - just gone. 90 days of here preceded by seven years of absence and then what? Contact for a bit? Life folding over itself and the pebble falling to the bottom of the pond, the ripples soon gone? Perhaps.
But like the pond, the 90 days of here will have a lasting impact on each of us. Different. Lasting.
I was relieved to see the damage he'd suffered had not taken away the sweetness of his personality. His politeness also intact despite his fixation with tatoos and piercings. The ravages unfolded over time however.
I could do it now perhaps. Just the act of submitting the entry has shifted me again. I long for the music - the silence is false because my mind races regardless.
Van Morrison is safe. Will the computer manage the rhapsody player? It's getting stubborn now. I've had to remove the magic jack in deference to her aging persnickety personality. I could grab the CD and play that - but the rhap is right here - a click away - shall i chance it? or do without the music? Perhaps another way - Pandora will at least start with Van Morrison.
DAMN this shouldn't be so difficult. This music thing. But of course it is. Minimizing this window now in search of rhap.
Slowly it opens. I'm wondering now if my info's still there. I got an e-mail that they had saved everything and want me back. I never left. They do a draft every three months and nothing has changed about my account so I have no idea why they sent me that - and wasn't interested enough to check at the time.
Paypal also has fielded something odd with that account and their security has stepped in.
Here we go - Van Morrison - Astral Weeks To Be Born Again - From the far side of the ocean - could you find me? would you kiss my eyes - lay me down - standing with a look of avarice - eyes closed now - letting it in - feeling the music - almost right - almost - searching now.
Moving now to his a brand new day - searching - nothing quite right - listening to a bit of this.. then that.. not finding - searching - and then now. .finally - i found what i was looking for - Stranded, from his Magic Time CD - nobody's going to tell me what - what time it is.
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