Further In. (The Danger of Dying in October.)

Just a few steps into the building, I happened to glance up.

The peculiar idiom, “stopping dead in your tracks,” came to life.

As I scanned the wrap-around floating shelves above the lobby, I barked out a laugh.

My mother was still moving toward the meeting room so I grabbed her arm.

“Oh, my God, Mom!” I croaked. “Look!”

What I thought was amusing, my mother thought was appalling.

It was October. Either, the 4th or 5th. Michigan’s got quite a thing for Halloween.

Tightly packed above my head were skeletons, ghosts and some extra-large Styrofoam tombstones emblazoned with “R.I.P.”

I stood there a few moments longer smiling and crying, and then scooted down the left hall to save the office manager from my mother’s indignation. “You should have taken that down!” she announced.

“It’s fine,” I told her over Mom’s shoulder. “I think it’s kinda funny, myself.”

The room was pretty full. I think my first choice of seat was the fireplace ledge, but that was vetoed by just about everybody. Someone came up with a folding chair.

Who was there? The neighbor couple from across the street, Jeff’s father, my mother, my mother’s husband, Jeff’s family and friends, and surprisingly two clergy.

Another unimagined oh-no moment. Jeff’s father was Lutheran. Jeff and I were Methodist. I expected our Methodist pastor would officiate since we were Methodist. Jeff’s father craved the comfort of his own Lutheran traditions. At some point, before gathering with the group, this had been discussed and the two Reverends had agreed to work together.

The result was Jeff had double Reverends. Odd, but not.

Following his larger-than-life life momentum, going big and large into the afterlife seemed appropriate.

Quote for the Week:

October-ish

October-ish. That’s how I’d describe the last few days here in Michigan. Of course, those few days were sandwiched between an oppressive humidity wave and today’s June like warmth and afternoon winds.

Anyway, the weather is what’s put me back on track. It was October and Jeff had died and things were moving along around me; absolutely progressing without me.

After the funeral planning, the funeral pants and the arrival of my mother, came more things I’d never thought of. More situations I’d never imagined.

Again, I have no idea how this happened, but there was to be another pre-funeral sort of planning thing. I couldn’t figure out what could possibly be left to plan. I walked into this one blindly.

Somehow, I learned that there would be light refreshments. I couldn’t fathom arriving empty-handed so I bundled up a beautiful, fruit bouquet. In my usual fruitlessness, I’ve searched the web for the name of the company. There are a lot of those companies, now.

After a dozen absolutely wrong search engine responses, I finally deleted: fruit, basket, flower, bouquet. Rethinking my approach, I entered ‘edible.’ Ah, yes. Edible Arrangements!

You wouldn’t think that mattered so much, but I used them for a few years after because they had been so absolutely accommodating.

The order had been placed by a friend in New Jersey, with specific instructions to not include any pineapple. Pineapple pretty much makes up most of the flowers. My arrangement had none, but was still gorgeous and generous.

I haven’t a clue what other refreshments were offered. Or who made them. Or bought them. But, I definitely do remember a necessary cup of Sprite in my possession.

Because, before I’d even made it from the front door through the lobby, I choked on simultaneous laughter and tears.

Quote for the Week:

Murky, September 30

I drove on after the rainbows. By then, there were only two. Kept them in my sight as long as possible; eyes on the sky as two turned into just one, and one eventually misted away, as well.

We might have stopped at the store. It seems like we would have/should have, but I don’t recall that happening.

We might not have, though, because we ended up at The Hoagie Man for take-home cheesesteaks. No fries. We’d been on US 223. Coming from M52 would have been either a double-back or a detoured, long way home.

No idea what time we got home.

No idea what we did after dinner, or before.

No idea what time we went to bed.

We did go to bed, together. Most of the time we did.

Jeff would stay until he’d thought I’d fallen asleep. If he fell asleep with me, he’d likely wake within an hour. At times, I’d be hovering in the twilight. Not quite asleep, yet, I  would hear him get up.

It was an aural thing. I rarely felt his movements, due to the California king-size, split into two twin XL mattresses, on our multi-directional, adjustable electric bed.

We’d purchased the ultra-expensive sleep set-up so that Jeff could sleep with his legs raised. I used the features more than he did, though. Head up, legs up. I enjoyed the massage feature.

That’s wasn’t Jeff’s favorite feature. At first, the vibrating caused heebee jeebee chills and ticklish grunt-giggling. Later, it intensified the neuropathy – the painful kind. He really preferred to lie flat. There was never any adjusting needed when Jeff returned to bed at some later, early morning hour.

No idea if he got up or not after I fell asleep. So, I also have no idea what his sleep cycle was like that night.

This is all kind of murky; and non-impactful, anyway.

I woke up to laughter. Technically, it was October 1st; sometime between 1:30 – 2:00 AM.

Big huge belly laughs, faded into shoulder shaking chuckles. I noticed he’d slipped his PAP mask off.

It wasn’t unusual from him to remove it, unconsciously, in his sleep.

It wasn’t unusual for me to slip it back on him if I happened to wake up. Since I rarely slept through the night, this was a fairly routine, routine.

“Are you awake?” I asked, knowing it wasn’t likely.

When he didn’t respond, I tried, again. “Jeff?”

He smiled, then sighed, and simply began softly snoring.

He seemed to have settled down from what I imagine was probably a highly hilarious, rather raucous, dream adventure.

I rolled out of bed, fished the mask from the floor and replaced it.

Quote for the Week: 2019 08 20 Detail isn’t always needed jakorte

A Colder October

I don’t remember a colder October.

Nature’s real lessons – love and loss and longing – echoing yearly. Simple trees and simple leaves. Temporary slumbers; predictable, patterned, withdraw with a promise of likelihood. Coming back, coming back stronger, maybe reaching a little higher.

Occasionally, that’s not the case. Of course, majestics don’t worry about that. Perhaps affording optimism in squirrels and birds and other creatures. Although seeing fit to plan, return rote expecting rejuvenation. Coming from another season’s slumber, they lumber; sometimes dumbfounded when the memory is bare or barely there.

Much like those times you thought you were growing straight, turned twisted in time, searching for the sun. Vital pieces fall away, hacked, splintered, struck by lightning. How it happens; endless possibilities, all still no less of a shock.  

So, I welcome the colors, and I welcome the lack. It’s part of the process.

Lightly suffering through another falling season. It only seems ok because I’ve been here before. Somehow now it’s easier to see. There are no perfect trees.

I don’t remember a colder October, or colors that faded so fast.

Quote for the Week:

2018 10 16 there are no perfect trees a colder october jakorte