It has been a while since I’ve posted any real writing. I’ve been told my words come from the heart. Perhaps that’s why I don’t seem to have any words flowing right now. My heart is hurting. In spite of our two vibrant young boys and all the life of Spring and Summer, much of my world seems to be in a season of death right now. I have never dealt particularly well with death.
First, celebrating Memorial Day, visiting my grandfather’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery. I was overwhelmed with all that he gave to other soldiers and their families as we went to the Visitor’s Center for the first time in my life. I was floored, telling my sons that their great grandfather was intricately involved in planning the funeral for JFK. Their great grandfather researched and wrote the military protocol observed for over 27 funerals taking place per day and that is just at ANC. What a gift my grandfather gave to those who died as well as those left behind. What a legacy. I had, only moments before, walked by a long line of tourists saying to my husband, “Grandpa would be ashamed of what I am thinking of those people. –Touring the dead and having picnics on their graves. Do they know what it cost? Do they really understand?” I was overcome seeing all these people stopping to read information, to pause and reflect as I never had before. I always made a beeline for my grandfather’s grave and went straight out again. I see now. I realize I haven’t the slightest idea what it is like to have a soldier’s soul.
Then there was Mrs. Z’s death. The first of my constants to pass away. We lost touch because life gets so darn busy and then the party list gets so long you feel like you have to cut it down. And you learn later you cut out the wrong people. You invited people who aren’t really invested in you or your children. People who aren’t really involved. People who wouldn’t know if you were having a good week or a bad one. No, she should have been here more often. I am reminded of something relayed at my step grandmother’s funeral. She once said, “Come to my birthday party. Skip the funeral.” I should try to remember to keep the invitation lists long for the birthday parties. Who cares about the funeral.
Finally, or at least I hope so, we just found out our “daughter”/dog is dying of cancer. I am a noted worrier yet I took her to this appointment thinking we were wasting our money on an x-ray because they were going to say everything was fine. But it isn’t. I am not certain what I expected to hear when I asked how long she had. A year maybe. But they estimate a month. And all of the sudden the 12 years we’ve spent with her seem so short. And every less than stellar mothering moment stands out boldly in my mind. Moments I should have been more patient, more kind, more loving. I’m tossing the regret aside, to be observed at a later time. Now, we have a month plus or minus (now already a week into that estimation), so I am trying to cherish and memorize. Silas celebrates every morning with a pronouncement, “Yea! Star is still alive!” He worries each time we return home, “I hope she didn’t die while we were away.” I know he doesn’t really get it but we are doing our best to help him cherish and remember what little time we have left with her. Maybe teaching him will help me to remember these important lessons I am reminded of with each death yet forget with time. The hum of a busy life is like falling asleep in a poppy field. It is so easy to lose track of the things which truly matter.
So… My heart seems to be building a cocoon to shelter from recent and coming days. It is curling up inside as it undergoes yet another metamorphosis. I have always been more emotive than anything else. I have a friend who calls me intuitive. Maybe I have intuited that I need to reserve my strength. At any rate, it is hard for me to write deeply when I am holding back pain. It is my heart that needs to speak not my mind. Perhaps it has to be both but my heart certainly leads the way. I feel the words beginning to stir but they have not yet taken form.