SORT, SEPTEMBER 29, 2015
It is that time of year again. My favorite time of year bursting with colors, and my worst time of year bursting with tears.
I was told the hurt never goes away, it just changes. Some years it seems it has; others it seems it hasn’t.
This is one of the hasn’t. Last year I barely had time to think about anything else but condo purchase. This year, I’ve got the time.
I used to write about it a lot more, intent on gathering thoughts and feelings and memories; sorting.
I’ve never been much good at sort. I’ve always argued that Mc should be filed after Mb and before Md – if such name roots actually existed. They don’t warrant their own alphabetical sub category or file tab. Should the Mac’s be filed with the Mc’s? If not, accurate spelling will be imperative when trying to figure out which drawer to pull.
Then there’s the fabric stash. Grouped mostly by solid color, unless there’s a pattern; American Flag fabric would sit nicely between red and blue – if red and blue were adjacent on the color wheel. They are not. This is my confusion. Would Poinsettia fabric be best placed under mostly red, mostly green, assorted floral or catalogued as just Christmas?
Sort ranks up there on the difficulty chart with where to start.
I’ve started this before, and I’ve done ok. Tidbits here and there; succinct vignettes.
Written, shared, abandoned or saved. It’s going to take some cull.
I’ve been at this 8 years now. Haven’t missed a Tuesday, yet.
Background matters, but this isn’t biography.
I was born somewhere, some date, schooled, worked, and have been writing since 1973: poetry first, some stories, blogging 2007. It’s key, relevant, but not now.
Now, I’ve got to start somewhere, so it might as well be here:
- Haslett, Michigan, a slightly-above word-processing level computer, a phone-line dial-up, a bottle of wine (no idea what kind) and the unexpected blessing of one very persistent neighbor.
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Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:
I’d sighed earlier at the half-read “Box of Butterflies,” by Roma Downey. Rather than re-shelve, I re-homed it to my priority chair-side reading table.
Because, 1. it was only/already half-read and 2. it would be a light enjoyable distraction because 3. I was giving up on the missing missive.
To feed my belly, there was a quick reheat of lemony chicken and roasted zucchini with garlic. To feed my soul, I dragged a zero-gravity folding recliner, my lunch and the book outside. For while I was pleasantly afternoon porch-sitting in the shade of my massive oak, enjoying the lovely light breeze.
Readings, prayers and stories blended, touched me, encouraging an emotional urge to sad-cry. Though, not something I do much, I also don’t reserve them as a resource. No, my tears map; mostly chartered for overwhelming frustration or anger.
When I do give into melancholy, I self-console it’s not entirely squandered time; there is scientific data on the toxin expelling benefit of tears.
To be sure, my dead-end searching contributed, but the reason was indeed sadness.
Yep. I wasted a solid thirty seconds pity-partying, which is a bit of significance. If you’re inclined, go ahead and time thirty seconds. It’s a lot longer than you think.
I sniffled, wiped my eyes and closed them just for a moment being miserable and thinking about Jeff. And, then, everyone gone.
I blotted to remove the refractory glare of still welled tears, Un-smudging my glasses, I began again (because I can’t not finish a chapter, or a song for that matter.)
Soft-stop blink-leaking, something glinted peripherally. I expected to see Blu and his shiny gold collar tag at the screen. When I am out and he is in, HBlu’ll check where I’m at, what I’m up to and yell at me to let me know he’s monitoring. I say hello, tell him I’m fine and he lumbers back to his most recent favorite indoor spot.
I was surprised it wasn’t Sir Harley. It was a flitty thing.
It took another swipe-rub and a second sweep to determine it was a butterfly – in orange.
The flutter-by stayed around a bit. Dipping, rising, dancing for fifteen seconds or so, until the gusty stream took it wherever it was going next.
I couldn’t help but smile.
Orange was my father’s favorite color.
Then, I couldn’t help but frown.
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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.
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Over the years, in my tragicomedy approach to healing, I sometimes emphasized the on-the-verge-of-inappropriate, near-comedic aspect of that moment.
Other times, I’ve grumbled outwardly about the monkey-wrench that almost reset the officer’s overdose suspicion back to square one.
I think back on it now in wonder.
To pass by two ambulances, two police cars, a parade of neighbors outside and in and still have the hopeful faith that what I said wasn’t what I meant, is perhaps a gift from God. One that got her from one point to another safely, and positioned her to tell the story in a way that I could not.
I don’t know how long I sat there on the couch, on the section closest to the front door.
But, that’s where I was at the moment it became real.
The moment when the heartbreak became a ripple and the ripple was absorbed.
I don’t know how they got there. It seemed they just appeared, each hovering one step inside the door. A three-man row of grief and disbelief. I recognized the vacancy.
These were the first three people to share my grief; the first intimate ones I had faced.
The ones I knew were at least where I was, and were perhaps even deeper.
The ones who’d had him way longer than I; the catalysts of tears.
I had no words. Even if I had, speaking and crying is a complicated gift I have always lacked. Unconquerable, it’s either one or the other. Right then, it was the flow and terror.
In many ways the police and the emergency personnel were impartial. They were interested in facts.
Facts were an eerily calm surface; I dreaded the questions barely beneath. At some point, they would rise, buoyed by ripples, pushed upward as expelling gulps of grief. How could I explain why I wasn’t where I was supposed to be; where I usually was; where, for just this one time I wasn’t.
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