Inside The Glass

Photo by TJ Parker

I feel worn down.

This is not an uplifting missive, as is usually my way, about kindness and joy. Though those things are still trying to claw their way up out of me.

I feel worn down.

This has been a tough few months for everyone, I don’t deny it. The virus, the violence, the continued finger pointing one side to the other (whatever topic you pick there are two sides), days of isolation and separation and fear.

I devour the news, the numbers, the opinions about the numbers. I look for rays of hope, possibility.

Right now I’m looking for rain. It’s been hot here, muggy, for several days. We’ve had bits of rain, but nothing cooling. We need a little cooling off. Doesn’t everyone?

We lost K’s dad a month and a half ago now. It seems like longer, and yet, not. We just lost our boy dog as well. Just a week and a half ago. I’m still sad about both. I picked up our boy’s ashes yesterday, trying to picture taking them to his favorite spot, a particular beach in Oregon, releasing him there, letting him run forever. I cried in the Jeep after picking them up, feeling the absence of him.

I’m trying to get up. Be up. Look up. I’m trying.

Today is another hard day, I can tell already. I’m not fit for consumption. Meaning, I wouldn’t visit me if I were you. I’m not exactly a bundle of joy right now.

I feel worn down.

This is a temporary thing, these feelings, the way I feel right now. I know this. Logically, I do. I know I’m going to bounce back or up or some other direction. It’s inevitable. Plus, with my usually positive outlook, it’s in me, my natural state, I know I will. I will.

But… I feel worn down.

I need more coffee. I need to pet the girlie. I need to hug my wife. She is sad too.

The world moves on and you grieve. You keep grieving. Wheels turn, people live their lives, they don’t forget, but they get sidetracked by their own stuff. Of course they do. They fail to see that you are still grieving and hurting and sort of stuck where you are. You put on a good face. You laugh appropriately and ask about their days and you mean it. And yet, you feel a sort of black hole inside. An emptiness. No one notices it. You try and camouflage it. You do a pretty good job.

This is not my only experience with death. I’ve lost grandparents who I felt close to and a father and a step father and another step father. I’ve lost cousins and uncles and an aunt. We lost my Mom’s best friend when I was in college. This is not my first rodeo.

There is no point to this post other than to say I’m feeling worn down.

Loss makes you think of other losses you’ve had. I am not immune to the feelings of it.

You look at people living their lives and you envy them. They don’t know you are living in a bubble where time has slowed down. Stop motion is what’s happening over here right now. You?

I don’t know.

It’s freeing to say those words. I don’t know. Much more than saying, oh, I know. I know. I know. I don’t.

You know what it feels like right now? It’s like this…

The other day a spider was running across a wall in our house. I grabbed a glass to capture it so I could release it outside. Yeah, I don’t kill them, I try to save them. Anyway…

I just got a picture in my head of a giant glass coming down over me. People can see in, I can see out, I’m not in distress inside the glass, not really. In fact, I have a nice comfy couch and a tv and a laptop and great music and food. I have my girlie and my wife. But I’m in the glass and there is this separation. I feel the barrier. I know it’s there, even if I can’t physically see it. I can even say hello and wave to people on the outside of the glass. They can wave back. But the glass is there. It’s there.

I need more coffee.

Writing helps. Gets it out of me and onto the page, as if I’m getting that treatment, cupping it’s called, where they put the hot glasses on you and it’s supposed to draw out the toxins. My toxins are getting drawn out.

I’m trying. I’m trying. I’m trying. We went for a walk earlier. We sat outside this morning with our first cup of coffee before the heat started to kick in. Yesterday I watered the flowerbeds and the lawn for three hours, moving the sprinklers when necessary.

I’m still living life. Laughing and smiling at times. Meaning it, feeling it.

We’re in another excessive heat warning today. We’ve been warned. It’s going to be hot.

We could go for a drive. Go to the drive in. Do something. See something. Be somewhere else. Today is not a good day for any of that. I’m afraid I’d take this with me.

I hate wearing a mask. Just saying. It’s necessary. But I hate it.

K is going over to the rental to meet the sprinkler guy in a bit. Regular life stuff. The system needs to be serviced. I’m staying home with our girl, who just had minor surgery and has a big incision that has to heal, because we don’t want to leave her alone right now. We need to watch her. So I’m staying here. That’s OK. We’ll hang.

Poor her. She is deaf now. She is old too, will turn 12 at the end of this month. She can’t hear, is getting weaker in her hinds, and is sad herself, still grieving her brother. She’s never known life without him. She keeps looking for him. I love her so, our little spitfire.

We commiserate together. She and us. Our tiny family of three.

I feel worn down. Which doesn’t change the fact that I need more coffee right now.

I’ll get more coffee right now.

Photo by TJ Parker

On Saying Goodbye

IMG_1785M, my friend, I love you.  I know your heart is breaking as you get ready to start your journey.  This trip, in one sense, signifies an ending, but I know in my heart it will also end up being a celebration of a life well lived.

I believe the people we love never truly leave us.  She lives in your heart, she lives inside of you. Her spirit is with you…

She’s there in the sound of footsteps and the rain falling on roofs and the feel of the wind on your cheek. In the rushing of the waves and the ceaseless movement of the tides. In small kisses and the purring of a furry friend and when you are wrapped up in a warm hug. In the emotions brought on by the pages of a good book and in the beats of great songs. In hope and joy and laughter and in the sunlight through the trees. Inside deep conversations and thoughts of love. During moments of celebration and sadness.  In the quiet space on either side of a breath. In the flapping of birds wings overhead and in the lightly falling snow. In the moonlight, the moving of the planets, the rushing of the blood inside of you. She resides there. In all those moments. In so many moments. Strong, eternal, full of grace, and overflowing with love.

Love surrounds you my friend, as it surrounded and surrounds your Mom as she steps to the next place on this amazing cosmic adventure.

I Hope The Fish Are Bitin’

I can’t believe it’s been a week.  A week.  Time goes so fast, or slow, or fast again, depending on how you look at it, and how you feel.  To me, and in talking to Mom, to her as well, it seems as if the last week has stretched out creating the illusion that oh so much more time has actually passed than has.  Yet all in slow motion… stretching.  It’s strange.

It’s strange what emotions do to you.  Sad ones anyway.  A week ago today Mom called me early early in the morning to say her husband, Don, has died suddenly, and what everyone believes is pretty peacefully, in his sleep.  She woke to strange breaths, tried to wake him, called 911, did chest compressions until the ambulance arrived, and watched as they worked on him both here at the house and then again at the hospital.  He couldn’t be revived.  She was sitting with him when she started making calls.

I couldn’t believe it early that morning and still I don’t know if I can believe it.  I was just here visiting a month and a half ago.  Just here at the house hanging out with them.  Here chatting with him, loving that occasional mischievous grin he’d get sometimes when he thought he was pulling one over or getting your goat a bit.  I really liked that grin.  I really liked how he made my Mom happy.  Gardening, traveling, spending time with family, trying new Vegan recipes together, reading the paper over good espresso in the morning, and watching the news at night.

Don was a passionate man.  Passionate about seeing and exploring the world, passionate about his grandkids and kids, passionate about my Mom and their life here on the farm.  He loved trying new gardening techniques and recipes and finding just the right mix to make a suet the birds would like and eat, mixing it up in big batches and devising a plan of delivery so the bigger scrub birds couldn’t get it all.

Sitting here helping Mom go through some of his papers I discovered he was a bit of a poet and philosopher at heart, eloquent when he wanted to be in writing his thoughts down.  Snippets here and there of things he’d experienced while traveling, feelings he’d had as kept moving forward through life.

He was an amazing guy, and though I didn’t know him nearly long enough, or know him as well as I would’ve liked, I really only need to know this… he loved my Mom well, he loved his children, and he adored his grandchildren.  He had friends he cared about and who care about him.  He knew what life is all about.  He lived his life using that as his guide… it’s about the people you love and who love you.  And because he lived his life that way, because he knew it was all about loving his people and them loving him, he made such and impact on those people… he made an impact on me.  I can see him in the beauty of his grandchildren, in their smiles, their sense of fun, in their determination.  I can see him in his children, how they are as parents, who they are as people.  His legacy is vast and far reaching.  His memory, his impact on everyone, so lasting and strong.

Don… you loved well… and you are so well loved…

And if you can hear this… hear me… I hope the fish are bitin’ where you are, and I hope they look out because Fly Fish Don is coming.