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so much life lived. [merely-a-thought monday]

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we were talking on the phone.  it had been quite some time and there was so much to catch up on it was difficult to know where to start.  we started with this week.  “so much life lived this week,” heidi said.  yes.  so much.

in the last week or so we have traveled both east and west.  from the ocean to the mountains.  from children to parents.  from littlebabyscion to big red.  we traveled from together to missing.  from gathering things for a new home base to removing things forever from a home.  from being known to the dementia-induced-agony of being not-known.  from a new plan to yet another new plan.  from certainty to uncertainty.  from before to after.

we have driven over 3000 miles and flown 1000 miles. we had the absolute joy of being with our children.  we had the absolute joy of being with david’s parents.  we’ve been with beloved family, with our dearest friends, with complete strangers on airplanes, in rest areas, in hotels, in shops.  we laughed, we talked, we questioned, we argued, we cried, we cringed at how life changes, we celebrated life’s changes.

days swirled around us as we turned the pages of our calendar and we kept going.  taking snapshots, memorizing moments, sealing memories for eternity (as mike wrote).  for this was only one week or so.  and yes, there was so much life lived.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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empty the dishwasher slowly. [merely-a-thought monday]

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we have a dishwasher.  this is a picture of it.  it does not work.  but it takes up space in our old kitchen that would otherwise be blank.  instead, we wash dishes.  by hand.  the old fashioned way.  it’s a good time to gaze out the window and think or have a little conversation as we wash, dry and put away.  in no rush.  i distinctly remember watching my sweet momma and poppo do this when i was growing up.  they would stand and chat (or be quiet) and work together until one day when my dad brought home a portable dishwasher that attached via a hose to the sink.  they would roll the dishwasher out of the laundry room.  it would sit, attached to the faucet, in the middle of the kitchen and you had to maneuver around it to get to the cabinets or across the kitchen.  ahhh.  dishwashers have come so far.  and yes, some haven’t.  like ours.

for the last week we have had the gift of being in an absolutely beautiful place on the ocean.  there are too many superlatives to list about the magic of being there, too many stories to tell.  so many memories to take with us, so many learnings.

and – we had the use of a dishwasher… a real live one that actually works; it washes dishes all by itself and then dries them.  amazing!

one morning, after waiting for the coffee to brew, david brought me coffee in bed and said he had realized something.  during the spell of time he was waiting, after opening up the house to the rising sun, he emptied the dishwasher.  he took each item out and carefully put it away in its place.  slowly.  when he came upstairs he told me that this simple task had actually been quite profound.  and, because it’s what we do, we talked about this observation.

as we take on many new tasks with much to orient to and learn, we have agreed to do just this, to move with this simple mantra:  to empty the dishwasher slowly.  to put each thing gently in its place.  to be mindful and intentional and not overwhelmed.  each glass will get put away, each plate will stack, each utensil will nest.  there is no rush.   there is right now.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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tear down, build up. [merely-a-thought monday]

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the seasons pass.  we lurch from lush to barren.  we see the fire season lengthening, the arctic ice shelf shrinking, the oceans warming, the atmosphere more potentially lethal.  we see the lack of a bipartisan country, divisiveness poisoning our communities, self-serving rule over a democracy based on equity and compassion.  we are stymied by what we can do, what we can accomplish as individuals and we speak up, at the ready to be buoyed by support or torn down by scorn.  we have traversed the spectrum of built up and trampled.

i hope this season will pass.  that the tearing down will yield a new harvest.  that we will pay attention to our good earth and its physical struggles.  that we will cross the aisle and reach out.  that each of us will count, no matter our ANYthing.  that sensitivity and humanity and fairness will lead our actions.  that we will be kind.  that we will build up.  that this now barren-in-so-many-ways-land will again be lush.  with promise.  for everyone.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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baggage. [merely-a-thought monday]

your past

“your past should not dictate your future.”

we carry it all with us.  baggage.  baggage upon baggage upon baggage.  i once (poorly) drew a graphic of a stick person with an “outbreak of baggage”.   rollie bags and attaches, spinners and hardshells, suitcases and totes; i depicted a person with multiples of these, pulling and dragging and lugging them everywhere. each experience shoved into the depths of some piece of luggage; more and more loaded into expandable bags, the zippers stretched to the breaking point.  we lose sleep, perseverating over all the baggage we have.  the wee hours of the night nag us; we miss the hope of the sunrise.

but the sunrise happens nonetheless.  and the grace of a new day is gifted to us.  just as the tide-wave rushes in to the shoreline and cleanses the beach, washing away the footprints of the previous day, smoothing the rough edges, so does the new day grant us another chance.  we stand – present – right now, feet neither in yesterday nor in tomorrow.  our load is lessened, our baggage drops away.  we are freed to step lightly into next.  for our past does not dictate our future.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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it’s in the stars. [merely-a-thought monday]

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mike described the night sky and ended with, “…and sometimes you can see the northern lights.”  the blanket of stars in a deep inky sky are vivid with no city lights.  magical and unending, the light from the moon and stars light the tiny island.  a smattering of front lights or the warm glow through windows belies the notion that there is no one present on island.  instead, it just shows the majesty of the infinity-sky and its luminous spheres, seemingly suspended for our delight.

you can feel it when things start to align.  despite one’s tendency to question or even ignore the telltale signs or the pull of gravity, sometimes things are, indeed, in the stars, as the saying goes.

and so, this tiny island with this vast sky will also be our home.  and i imagine that we will sit on the beach or in the purple adirondack chairs.  we will look to the sky and marvel at the stars, both at their incandescent beauty and how they somehow line up.  and we will be starstruck.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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little did i know. [merely-a-thought monday]

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when i was in junior high i wrote a piece for an english class titled “old age is not a disease.”  i’m pretty sure if i searched high and low for it i could find it in a bin somewhere, but, suffice it to say, i have other things on my docket to get done and, heaven knows, i don’t want to even attempt to go near those bins.

when i was in junior high i’m quite convinced that i would have thought 60 was “old age”.  as we know, it’s all relative.  you know, “60 is the new 40” or (i’m hoping) some such faaabulous idiom.

when i was in junior high i’m betting i thought that life slowed down at 60, that people did less and rested more.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high i would think i, errantly, believed that getting older also meant less engagement with unknown things, less learning, less involvement.  perhaps i assumed that getting older was a time for fewer challenges, more relaxation, less thinking, less new.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high maybe i thought that most people who were older thought inside the box; their lives and their activities were conservative and tight, protected and quiet.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high it would be my guess that i thought most older people were secure, maybe retired, with essentially predictable lives and not much to really worry about.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high i’m sure i, like most junior-highers, looked at people who were 60 and thought, “wow!  that person looks old!”  i probably never considered how their spirit played into their look, how life experience added to their wise eyes and kind smile.  little did i know.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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the blue notebook. [merely-a-thought monday]

why?

a text from 20

my sweet momma was an optimist.   growing up, she’d wake me up in the morning with a cheery, “good morning, merry sunshine” and she would happily start her day.  she would jot everything on her desk calendar (the kind with the base, two metal rings and sheets for each day that were replenishable yearly.)  for her, everything counted.  she would write down all of it, in her personal shorthand.  to read her calendars now is to see all parts of life – the magical parts and the painful aspects.  but momma? she just had a way of listing to the magical side.

we drove down to florida nine to ten times in the last couple years of her life.  we’d visit and laugh and listen to stories and catch her up on our life.  she was in assisted living then so we would listen carefully if she mentioned something she clearly wanted from the home she and my dad had shared.  her finnish wood carvings, a certain sweater, a jacket, a movie in the entertainment center…all things back home.  we all worked to be sure she was surrounded by things that meant a lot to her.

one day momma started to recollect another of the rich stories she and my dad had experienced on their trip to europe decades earlier.  she spoke of the brand new vw bug they ordered ahead and picked up in germany.  she spoke of roadtripping for six weeks around the countryside.  and she spoke of a red notebook in which she wrote down all her impressions, all their doings, all the adventures during their trip.  she wrote of tender moments and of the simplest of pleasures.  she wrote of what made that trip magical and painful challenges they had.  she didn’t write of the grandiose or the impactful tourist spots.  she wrote of what made that trip theirs and theirs alone, a deeply personal account.  and as she spoke of it, you could feel the presence of my dad by her side.  these were cherished stories and precious time she spent with her beloved husband.  clearly, she pined for this notebook – written memories of that magic.

we went back home that evening to my parent’s house with a mission – find the red notebook.  we started in the office, scouring the desk and the closet, going through bins and boxes, our eyes searching for a red spiral.  defeated in the office, we moved on.  every nook.  every cranny.  we opened every bin and box in the house, rifling through, trying to find it.

we moved on to the garage.  tall filing cabinets stood against the wall (for basements are somewhat inconceivable in florida).  i started pulling out drawers.  david headed for the stacks of plastic bins, piled in another part of the garage.

we kept at it.  determined, but losing some hope.

david opened the last plastic bin, the one on the very bottom of the piles.  he shuffled through the papers in the top; his eyes fell on a brochure.  a travel brochure.  from europe.  his pulse racing, he continued to dig through the bin.

and then he saw it.  a BLUE spiral notebook.  on the front was penned the word EUROPE.

the last time i saw my momma – ever – was the very next morning.  when we left her, she was clutching the blue notebook to her chest, tears in her eyes.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

 

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