Bluefuture Merge

Good afternoon.

Today, I have merged an earlier somewhat short-lived blog titled “Bluefuture” with Echoes. You will see some new Categories, one of which is Bluefuture, and that is where you will find links to all of those merged posts. I have finally decided that it is difficult enough to keep up with one blog, let alone two.

The content of Bluefuture is similar to that of Echoes, and I hope you will enjoy these “new” posts. I am keeping the Bluefuture blog open and may bring it back to life at some point. Meanwhile, Echoes is where it’s at.

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Widow and Orphan

A friend told me, upon hearing of the death of my mom in January, that had followed closely on the death of my dad in September, just six months after my partner had died, that it must be hard to be widowed and orphaned all in one year.  Yes, indeed.  He also said that now we are the next.  The generation above us is gone, and we will be the next in line to go.  That comment was sort of a wake up, as I certainly had not thought of things that way at all.

In some way, maybe losing all of those loved people in a short time period was a blessing.  I could grieve them all, without needing to fear the next death.  In other ways, though, it was not at all a blessing.  By the time mom died, there seemed to be no more feeling in me, and I think I have not grieved for her as I would wish.

All three of these people meant the world to me, and all shaped who I am now.  I have spent some time on the beach (actually, a couple of beaches) and much more time at home in my garden thinking about the ways I was changed by the love given me by them.  And I think that my love for them changed them too.  I won’t go into all of that here.  But it is a hurt to know that during their lives I did not tell them often enough that I felt such gratitude to them and love for them as I went through life and recognized the better person I was becoming for knowing them.

I choose now  to do what I can to help bring about a good future for others.  I do this for myself, and in honor of my partner and my parents.  Their voices will no longer be heard on this earth, but I will try to speak for them in ways I know they would appreciate.

Cheers, to Bob, Stewart, and Helen.  You are loved and missed.

Meteors!

August again and another meteor shower is coming up.  Tomorrow night is said to be the prime night for viewing the shower where I live in the Pacific Northwest.  I hope the city lights are not too bright.

I remember my sister and I and our friends would take our sleeping bags out on the lawn on the meteor night (any night in August would do, when we were kids) and stay awake ooh-ing and ah-ing until one by one we would fall asleep.  We called them shooting stars back then and they were wonderful to see.

As I grew older and gained a little knowledge (always dangerous), I learned that stars are suns, and I wondered why suns would shoot through the sky.  Now I know that my shooting stars are comet dust entering Earth’s atmosphere.  Not nearly as magnificent as stars being catapulted through the sky.

I suppose that the meteor shower is what John Denver was referencing when he sang of “fire in the sky”.  I will be out in my lawn chair tomorrow night from 11pm on until I fall asleep, watching the sky light up with the fire from stars hurtling across the universe.  I won’t even think of comet dust.

Oceans

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Having just returned from a retreat to the ocean pictured above, I can say that for me, oceans bring peace.  I spent eight days on that beach playing in the surf, walking the sands, and napping in my beach chair to the sounds of the surf.  Each morning, I carried my coffee and my camp stool down to the water’s edge–this year, the tide was always out in the morning, so it was a relatively long walk–and I would practice a couple of rounds of tai chi and then wade in the water.  When I was tired, I sat on my camp chair and waited for the tide to come to me, all the while watching the waves roll and break.  They are endless, continuous, and each is different, like snowflakes.  The sound moves from the roar of the big waves breaking far out to the splashing of the water as it moves over the sand–a symphony that changes constantly yet has a distinct pattern.

The first morning, as I sat and sipped my coffee, I felt some tension leave me, and I wrote to my sister that I had finally found some peace in, some acceptance of, all that has happened since Bob became ill and then died.  I have always gone to the ocean when I have been troubled.  Every year for over twenty, I have retreated to this place, even the same campsite, for eight to ten days in July.  Every year until this one, Bob was waiting for me when I came home.  He always said I came back happy, my old self, free of all the stresses and strains of the previous year.  He said too that he would never let me not go for fear that I would fail to remember my real self if I did not see the ocean at least once each year.  Last year though, Bob did not let me go.  He was, I think, afraid that I would not come back; a fear that was a symptom of his illness but very real to him.  He would not be convinced that I always come back because I always love him and my own fear was of having to live without him.  So I stayed home with him and tried to comfort him, but lost a little of my self.

So this trip to my ocean was healing.  Not enough, not all, but a start.  The sunrise shown in the photo is my beach at its best, except for sunsets, and the in-between times.  It changes every day and is completely different every year; one year it will be scoured clean, another will find it covered with driftwood, and yet another there will be rocks.  I love it.  It is, indeed, our blue future.

Down to One

My partner died on the first day of Spring this year.  I look now to a future without his physical presence, hard as that is to accept.  Today I found the courage to view photos.  It began as an attempt to feel him near me, but through the tears came smiles as I remembered the times those pictures represent.  I could not finish the project; it will have to wait a little while longer.

It was sunny on the first day of Spring.  He chose a good day to die.

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This was our last Thanksgiving together.  I give thanks now for having had this wonderful man in my life for thirty years.

“If I should fall behind”

Springsteen performed this song on his Live in Dublin album, and it has haunted me since I heard it.  It is about a couple moving through life and their fear that one or the other would slow down–would the other slow down to match, or would each move on alone?  My partner of thirty years is in the process of dying–slowing down daily–and I am his caregiver with the strong support of Hospice.  It is hard, slowing to his pace, knowing that no matter how much I try to match his pace through life, I will soon be moving on by myself.  In Melissa Etheridge’s voice, I will be “down to one”.  At this point, I cannot say whether it is he or me who is falling behind.

Snowfall

Today it is snowing, very lightly, and we are being warned that we might have accumulations of up to 10 inches of snow by tomorrow afternoon.  I am not sure I am quite ready for that, since this is our first real snowfall this year.  I like to move into the deeper snow a bit more gently than to have the first snowfall the big one.  It takes my back a little time to get into the routine of shoveling snow, and the snow blower does not handle more than a 5 inch depth.

That said, I love the snow.  I love watching it fall.  I delight in watching it slowly (most of the time) cover the grass and the evergreen boughs.  Snow is a wonder that I could sit in my window and watch for hours.

When we get a really dry snow, you can hear the squeak and crunch of it when you walk.  I read somewhere recently that snow makes noise when it falls on water, and I would love to hear that someday.

I remember winters when I was little.  We lived on a steep hill that was over four blocks long, with just one cross street.  After dinner in the evenings, all of the kids in the neighborhood would get their sleds and our dads would stand at the crossing and along the sides of the hill to make sure we were safe as we flew down that hill–and then began the long trudge back up!  What fun we had.  A brother and sister in the neighborhood were Olympic-level ice skaters, and occasionally they would skate down part of the hill, and we would all watch.

Nowadays, we are surprised when it snows in my old home town.  But I remember that we always had good sledding winters as I was growing up.  I do not have a sledding hill where I live now, but if I did I would be out there being a kid again in the winter.