California

I know it is expected of me to write about the arrival of the California Dream.  I don’t think I can do that here.  I will break down in tears like I did the day she arrived.  She was taking her sweet time and it pushed me over the edge to a spell in the hospital chapel crying and praying.  Except now the tears would be bittersweet.  Not knowing when I will touch her again is something I refuse to think about.

Our son’s grandmothers had the same dilemma.  Our son was four weeks old when we left for California.  And we definitely didn’t know when we would see each other again.  Contact was a 15 minute long-distance phone call on Sunday afternoon and “snail mail”.  I still have the piles of letters my mother and I exchanged.

Things are different for our situation now.  Nevertheless, the need to catch a plane to get to her causes my heart to ache.

I am still fatigued from the trip. The all-day travel to then from California. The comfortable yet strange bed.  The time difference.  The anticipation. The anxiety. The excitement. The anguish.

I take photos of the foothills behind her house. In between my turn to hold her, I would go out and look at the hills again. The ever changing light makes them look different constantly.  They are like my lake with their continual cycle of lights and shadows playing across them.  I will try to go back to the lake tomorrow.  Time to start walking again. And I need to tell the ghosts who linger there in my memory about the little one I am loving for them and for me.

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Tears

My little nieces came to visit this past weekend. They are wonderful little folks!

But, it is hard on me when they leave. I cry for an hour or so each time they pull out of the drive to go home.

This house is so painfully quiet most of the time. Our own children have been out and on their own for ten years already. He and I ramble around trying to keep up with things.

I miss my children. Yes, I miss the adult children they are now. But, I really miss my little ones. When they were babies and small children and even big children.

I tried to have special times with them every chance I got. I was selfish with them, too. I didn’t let the rest of the world have much of their time until they were too old for me to keep them close.

I suppose I knew even then these days would come. Days when those amazing grown-ups would call me Mother and I would look in wonder at the marvelous people who honor me with that title in their lives. I suppose I knew even then I would forever miss my little ones.

And so I cry because the little ones who come to visit me now will someday be grown-ups and I will miss their little selves.

Such is life. Hurling through time at the speed of love. Life is far too short to be in a hurry. My motto for many years. Better stop and experience this life at this moment. Don’t rush headlong into the future. It doesn’t exist. Only now is real. Only now fills the heart with love. Only now allows memories to build the beautiful life I so long for.

Let my eyes fill with tears and my heart ache only for a moment. Then let the memories sustain me until the next now happens. When I will not rush to do, but pause to be.

 

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Risk

Last evening, a phone call with devastating news nearly took me down.  Without discussing private family business, let me say, we will get through this together.

The journey will be difficult and tragic.  The outcome will not be joyful.  But, we will get through it together.

We have weathered severe circumstances before and come out the other side damaged but afloat.  We will do so again.

He called me several times today.  My Monday morning at the 9-5 was spent battling a weak computer and a new payroll system.  Tears of frustration and tears of panicked grief from the news of the phone call last night alternated for a few hours.  Finally, I got my feet under me.  A large part of my recovery was because he called.  He called again.  And again, he called.

I realized the reason later as I sat in my car for my lunch break, breathing in fresh air and feeling the sun on my skin.  So many times over our many years together, he has seen me crater.  He has seen me fall apart at the seams.  He has seen me implode.

Sometimes the process is slow and not so noticeable. But, in recent years, he has figured out how to handle me.  He has figured out what to do and what to say to keep me from going under with the weight of grief.  Goodness knows we have had our share.  During one call he simple told me that I can’t stop what is happening.  There is no purpose in letting myself fall.  I said I have to feel the pain.  He said yes, but I don’t have to get lost in it.  Not in those exact words.  But that was the message.

Such is the risk of love.  When the heart is allowed to love another and that other is in peril, the heart breaks.  But, the mind and the spirit does not have to break along with it.  A peaceful mind and a brave spirit will pull the broken heart up and lay it in the Light of the Son for His Healing.  Time is a joker.  Only Love truly heals.

May we have Mercy and Grace in the days to come.

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The Right Medicine

My grandmother called them “nerve pills”.  She would go to the doctor and get a prescription for anti-anxiety pills.  I wonder what demons chased her.  I wonder why she could be so violently angry and yet so generously loving.

When I was growing up, she would come spend the night and sleep with me in my bed.  She would rub my back for the longest time.  I guess until I fell asleep sometimes.  That was good medicine for me.  I need to be touched to feel loved.  I need hugs and kisses and cuddles and back rubs to feel all is right with the world.

These days those kinds of things are scarce in my life.  There is only him and infrequently my angel baby to provide such affection.  That need in me is why in never put a certain baby down when she is with me.

I must often turn to another kind of good medicine.  A muddy waterhole on the Neches River.  It is actually a legitimate lake.  Neglected and dismissed in the shadow of grander drama queens in the area.  She is home to me as much as this house in which I live.

When the tears flow, I run to her like a mother.  I walk through my abandoned parkway and the tears fall.  I call out to the ones who have gone before.  I call out to Him.  Always, I am met with one or the other of them.  This evening my grandmother, not the one above, but the other one, passed through my mind.  I talked to her and felt her presence.  I could see her clearly and recall images of us together.

I was overcome with despair and grief at the losses I have faced.  But, then suddenly, unexpectedly, something changed.  Rather than ending in resignation and toiling home to endure a season of sadness, I stopped in my tracks and turned to the water.  I spoke out loud.

“I do not want to feel this way.  I do not want to be sad and grieving.  I do not want to feel useless and without purpose.  I will not do this.  I will not despair.”  And I looked out over my muddy waterhole and saw the beautiful lady that she is to me.  I was filled with courage, peace and strength.

Further evidence of my ever improving emotional health.  See my beautiful lady.  She shines gracefully and serenely.  Welcoming my tears and returning them to me as calmness.  She is my nerve pill.  Just to have her in sight is enough to allow me to reach deeply into my soul and straighten out the tangles of darkness.  I never know which of my ancestors will meet me.  My Lord always meets me.  And my lady, the lake herself, patiently awaits.  I live here on a hill above her.  I cannot see her from here, but she in only minutes away on running feet.  Comfort to me for as much of my half century I can recall.  Here she is in her cold winter evening shimmer, veiled with black lace.  Isn’t she lovely?

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