reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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ungrounded.

me&poppofour years ago today my daddy died. while in some ways this feels like yesterday, there are so many ways that this feels like eons ago. my sweet momma pined for him for the next three years. their marriage had been a lifetime of almost 69 years together. it’s hard for me to imagine that amount of time; i’m not even that age yet.

and now there are times i pine for both of them, her gentle but insistently positive and kind spirit, her chatty stories, her “hi, my sweet potato” or “good morning, sunshine”, his quiet pondering, quick norwegian temper, the tears in his eyes when it was time for leave from a visit, his “goodnight, brat” or “i love you, kook.” i wish they weren’t gone.

i find that today is not the hard day. it’s the days preceding today. it was like that for my momma too. it was the days preceding the anniversary of her dying that i was off-balance, out-of-sorts, crabby, ungrounded. anticipatory grief strikes hard, even after ‘real’ grief. anticipation of all the remembering. anticipation of The Day. anticipation of how it will feel…this time. anticipatory grief. ‘real’ grief. what’s the difference anyway…

he said, ‘we need to love more on these days.’ instead, we tangle some. this kind of ungroundedness is hard to explain. it’s raw. painful. one day in a note from lori, she wrote that she just wanted me to know that there is a different kind of grief that happens when both of your parents are gone and, having that experience, she would be happy to talk about it. i should probably take her up on that. sharing experiences with someone who can totally empathize –not sympathize- is a good thing.

we were walking yesterday, arm in arm, dogdog at our side. someone came out of her house, water bottle in hand, sneakers on, ready to take a walk. she said, “i have been trying to get my husband to take a walk with me. i tell him that we should walk together sometime before we croak. i don’t know how much more pressure i can put on him. i tell him all the time about the husband and wife who walk. i tell him they look so peaceful. i love seeing you two walk….”

i felt anything but peaceful yesterday. but there must be something. something that makes ‘loving more’ obvious. even if we can’t see it at the moment. even if we can’t feel it at the moment. even if i am ungrounded.

take a walk. hold hands. love more. every day.

hands

 

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and i wondered

growing up on long island, my mom and dad always were bird-watchers in our woodsy back yard. their favorite bird was the cardinal, its brilliant red and beautiful voice. they would identify other birds for me but i knew that this was a special bird to them.

this morning i sat on the deck, sipping coffee in the sun, feeling disoriented and raw. today is one of those anniversary days that you mark in your heart, whether or not you want to remember the details. my sweet poppo died three years ago today. and tomorrow it will be a whole month i have missed my sweet momma. it is hard to believe how much it changes things, even for a “grown-up”, when both parents are no longer in the same plane of existence. it takes you off your axis, uproots your root, slams into you when you least expect it.

then the cardinals showed up. there were two of them…a couple. they flew across my path over and over, landing on the fence, landing on the roof, flying into the trees, landing again on the fence. i watched and wondered. and cried.

we were out and about at lunchtime, doing errands. we hadn’t eaten before we left and we were hungry, but we usually don’t eat lunch out. there is an olive garden in our town; we have only been there once. but in florida it was one of my parents’ favorites, especially my mom’s. she, ever-practical and thrifty, loved the soup-salad-and-breadsticks lunch. so we decided today was a good day to maybe slow down and sit with some soup, salad, breadsticks and memories.

we weren’t there very long, sipping our soup, idly passing the time, chatting, half-listening to the soundtrack playing. we were talking about noticing things that change moments, change the direction of a day, change your balance, maybe tilt your axis a little bit back to center.

my sweet momma & poppo. always.

my sweet momma & poppo.
always.

and then frank sinatra started singing “always”. this was my mom and dad’s song. it has huge significance. great meaning. i listened and wondered. and cried.