Archives for category: The Art of Being

I’m sipping my coffee. My face is wet with the tears that just keep coming. The phone call this morning was brief. Heartfelt. Tender. My sister’s resolve and her will to hold her feelings in check impress me, even as I continue to weep. We kept the call brief; no doubt she has other calls she wants to make. Neither of us like crying “out loud” in a public way, and seeing as we’re so “strong”, we manage not to cry on the phone. Much. The call ends, the tears start.

I consider not writing, but… grief isn’t an everyday experience. I already feel… shattered. This, in spite of knowing it was imminent, in spite of being “well-prepared”, in spite of speaking gently and explicitly with my Mother, herself, about this moment, frankly, compassionately, honestly… in spite of spending yesterday well-supported by a loving and concerned partner… nonetheless; I am crying. Routines are something I can fall back on to hold life together, until… something.

“This, too, shall pass.” (I know, I know – I fucking know that, now knock that shit off, while I shed these honest tears for the passing of a complex woman, who gave me life. I’ll be okay, just not… right now, exactly.)

…Anyway. No idea how this amount of grief may affect my writing. I’m glad you are here. I hope you are well. Maybe I write a lot more than usual over the next several days? Maybe I find myself unable to lift my hands to type words in row at all. I don’t even know. I guess we’ll find out together, eh?

It’ll be okay. I reflexively offer myself all the comforting platitudes I can find. “We are mortal creatures.” (That’s a very real observation, at the moment. Painfully real. It offers no particular comfort. Perhaps it will later…?) It’s not really helpful, and I let it go.

…I don’t really know what else to do. So… I begin again.

The text this morning was to the point, although not as abrupt as I imply in the title of this post. I feel grateful that my sister is right there, with our Mother. For a moment, I imagine this stern, strong, witty woman who raised me, pushing her chair back from a crowded card table, folding a less than ideal hand, and heading into the kitchen to refresh drinks. That memory is of a lifetime ago, in a far away place, disconnected from my experience of “here” and “now”. Do I want her to “hear my voice”? “Non-responsive” doesn’t sound like she’s likely to register voices… we’ve spoken recently, and regularly – is it enough?

…We don’t have a “Book of the Dead”, in our culture… It’s a strange random thought, a forerunner to intense grief.

There are tears in my eyes. I resent them; it’s too soon. Life stretches ahead of me, while I reach my thoughts – and my heart – across great distance. Imagining her as I remember her best; in her late 30s, in her early 40s. Strong. Determined. No bullshit. Rapier wit. Iron will. I observe the characteristics in myself that I most likely got from her; my tenacious loyalty. My intellect. My commitment to being a good provider. My reluctance to walk away from a bad decision. My willingness to hide my emotions for far too long. My laugh. That same laugh that her Mother had, too. I hear Granny’s laugh in my recollection. I feel, for a moment, my Mother’s warmth – like summertime in my heart. I sip my coffee and celebrate this woman who made me.

…Grieving comes soon enough. It’s important to examine those cherished moments as treasures, with great delight, and excessive merriment, and not allow the tears to wash those away. They matter so much more than the tears ever could.

Life didn’t have a map – you did okay with that, Mom. No reason to expect death to be more difficult to master; in a sense, we prepare for it all our lives, don’t we? Striving, clinging – and learning to let go. Good fold, Mom. Safe travels.

You are part of me. My journey began with you.

I sit quietly with my coffee, remembering life with my Mom. My “origin story”. Some details are fuzzy, others crystal clear. Some moments remain painful to this day, others bring me immediate joy when I recall them. One thing is certain; she will not be forgotten. Tears later. Coffee now. I wish she were sitting here, sharing that with me, right now; I have so much to ask, and now there is no time…Β 

I catch myself sitting for some minutes, quietly, just… staring forward at this page. I sat down, as usual, with a hot cup of coffee, warm from my shower, (and today, smelling like sweet peas and violets) and that was… 23 minutes ago. Since then? No words. Not really thinking “about” anything. Just… sitting. I finally notice, shake it off, and sip my coffee. Huh. Very drinkable. Was it really only 23 minutes…?

I sit awhile longer, this time with the addition of sipping my coffee, contentedly. Some mornings, I’m fairly well awake before my feet hit the floor… this? Is not one of those mornings. lol My head is foggy. I could as easily go back to sleep this moment, without even taking off my boots, as lift a finger to make any sort of effort, in any direction. My brain helpfully reminds me to start the dishwasher before I leave the house. The reminder exists, mocking me just a bit; I’m quite likely to forget even with the thought to remind myself still lingering in my consciousness, unless I get up this instant and take care of it.

I sit here quietly, still, sipping my coffee. I am not remotely concerned about the dishes in this moment. πŸ™‚

Music? No, I struggle even to lift my fingers to type, this morning. Searching a playlist and putting on headphones sounds like work. I continue to sip my coffee, grateful that it has cooled off enough (due to all the fucking time wasting and sitting around) to simply drink it. I need this cup of coffee this morning; it is the blurry boundary between sleeping and waking, today. lol

Although I risk dozing off, I know that meditation also tends to help me fully wake up and get my consciousness going, so I get comfortable, and prepare to sit a few moments longer, with purpose; awareness, resilience, and a deep down calm that supports a busy work day.

I take the time I need, and support the human being I am, on a journey to becoming who I most want to be.

After the meditation? A new day begins. πŸ™‚

β€œLife should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ~Hunter S. Thompson

…And all the new beginnings that that implies…and perhaps a few more.

I put quite a bit of time, enthusiastic daydreaming, and research, into the trip I planned to take this past weekend. I never did the one thing necessary to bring it to life; I did not begin the journey. I just thought about it. LOL There’s a lesson in there. An allegory. A metaphor. A parable, perhaps. The weekend did not lack of significant XP, however; it was an adventure, a brief journey, and an interesting progression of emotions and events, nonetheless. πŸ™‚

I needed wide open space, and big sky – and found it close to home. There’s a lesson, here, too.

My birthday has been well-celebrated. A new year of life has been kick-started, decisively. There has been feasting, entertainment, the company of friends, and so much love! Errands were run. Housekeeping got done. The garden was cared for. A humble adventure has commenced.

My first orchid. A wee adventure with which to start the year.

It’s been a fast, relaxed, and delightful handful of days, in spite of news of my Mother’s decline. There will be time to process that in full, and there is no need to rush, or to force it down into a dark quiet corner of my heart. It is what it is; we are mortal creatures, and of all the things that will inevitably pass, our brief mortal lives are one of the most challenging to let go of… and then that greater challenging of letting go of those we love. No user’s guide for this one, either. I sometimes feel I am fumbling around in the dark with my emotions. I know that my emotions haven’t killed me yet. πŸ™‚ I’ll get through this, too.

I think about the beautiful broad expanse of meadow, and the scent of wildflowers on the breeze.

I smile, letting the details of the weekend unfold in my recollection. What a lovely time to share with my Traveling Partner.

Life’s pleasures don’t have to be fancy to be enjoyed. Life’s beauty doesn’t have to be costly to be lovely.

I sip my coffee. It’s Monday. I shift gears to “now” and remind myself of the path ahead. The year will continue to unfold. What will July hold? What of September? And the holiday season with my Traveling Partner right here at home? What of the future? And the unanswered questions in life?

Where does this path lead?

It’s time to find out. It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

We human creatures make much of some small details, don’t we? Well… I do. lol A birthday is a birthday. It’s a day. Just one of 365 – and an arbitrary sort of celebration, as if to make a point of calling out life for being challenging, and potentially dangerous. “I lived through another year, y’all!!” πŸ˜‰

…Well… I did, though. lol

I enjoyed my birthday in the company of my Traveling Partner. It was sunny, summery, and suitable for both grilling – and air conditioning. Hell of a nice luxury to have on a hot day! I find myself appreciating it, even as I endure a sneezing fit kicked off by the air conditioning starting up, this morning. (Time to appreciate some tissues…)

We’re mortal creatures so skilled at creating our own personal hells… celebrating our own survival once a year seems both worthwhile, and faintly silly. I’m okay with that. I sip my coffee this next day in a new year of aging, contemplating my mortality, without being grim about it. I remind myself to ensure my will is up-to-date, and consider what other steps I can take to ensure my partner is cared-for, not burdened, if I happen to face death before he does.

…I’m also thinking about meaning, context, richness of experience, contribution to society and culture; what will I do with this lifetime ahead of me that meets those needs? Big questions.

Here it is, a fresh, new, summer day. What will I do with it? It’s time to begin and find out… choices, verbs, questions; stepping stones on a path that is a destination, to a finish I can’t understand in advance. πŸ™‚ It’s time to begin again.