I’m an introvert, so social distancing isn’t too difficult for me. What is getting to me, however, is being inside.
We have had a lot of rain these past few weeks. Normally, I love rain, but right now, it is making me feel like a caged animal.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m home is sit on my patio and work or read. It’s too wet and cold outside to do that. The patio is covered, but with no walls for protection, the wind blows right through it.
I am also pretty content to get my vitamin D by visiting my fruit trees and wandering the backyard to look at rocks and insects. Right now, my backyard is a two-acre mud pit. I’m sure I would have loved it when I was a kid, but I’m mostly beyond that.
I keep telling myself that I will start taking long walks around the neighborhood for exercise and a change of scenery. The idea of getting soaking wet and being cold the entire time is very unappealing.
Sunshine, I’m sorry for all the times I cursed you for blinding me with your rays while driving. Please forgive the many times I declared my dislike of you because you’re too hot, too bright, too intense.
Please return, Sunshine, so at the very least, I can get outside of this house and set my eyes on more than the walls that surround me.
I was visiting my mom and sister in Edmonton, Canada, when I got the news. It was the day after Christmas, and the West Edmonton Mall, where my sister and I were spending the afternoon to distract ourselves, was crowded.
Our brother had been taken to the hospital the day before because he was not well. My mom, sister, and I could see this when we Face Timed him Christmas morning. My sister-in-law brought him to the emergency room in Idaho Falls, and he was admitted immediately. His liver was failing.
The news from Idaho got worse and worse as the hours passed, and my mind was shadowed with what if thoughts. But we didn’t really expect him to die. He was only 40 years old! Sure, he wasn’t in the best physical condition, but he had three young sons and a wife who needed him. Things like this don’t happen to us.
But it did.
The call came as I was considering a purchase in a store that doesn’t exist in the states. My sister was the one to get the news from our sister-in-law. She turned to me and said two simple but life-changing words: He’s gone.
I was in shock at first. Then the white-hot pain of irrecoverable loss seared its way into my core. I was gutted.
We abruptly left the store. Our mom, who lived within walking distance of the mall, needed us. Tears now rushed down my face as I dodged shoppers, strangers who knew nothing about my pain, looking at me as if my secret-to-them tragedy might be contagious. I wanted to fall to the ground and cry out that my brother—my baby brother and one of my best friends—was dead.
I tried to call my husband, but my US-based carrier wouldn’t connect until I was outside in the cold. My sister led the way as I followed far behind, trying to tell my husband what had happened. In my distraction, I almost walked into a man who was crossing in front of me.
Canadians are supposed to be nice, but this man’s look said, “Watch where you’re going, idiot!” I stopped, prepared to challenge him, to stone him with four-letter words. It might have felt good to take some of my anger out on this man, but he kept walking. That was a good thing, for both of us.
My hands grew numb during our walk, which was longer than my sister implied. She carries her grief differently than I. I wear my heart on my sleeve; she keeps it inside. My hands grew numb, and I was glad. I welcomed the pain, the distraction.
By the time we reached my mom’s condo, my southern California body felt nearly frozen. But that didn’t stop the nauseating disbelief and emptiness. It didn’t bring back the breath that was knocked out of me at the news. It didn’t stop the tears.
I was broken. I am broken. My brother meant the world to me. He was good. We shared a bond through our love of nature, a similar sense of humor (he was so much funnier than I am!). We worked together as team teachers at the same school for a while, and I never tired of talking to him.
My brother was loved by countless people—former students, school families, friends, co-workers. Again, he was good. He touched lives every day. His wit, combined with his non-judgemental heart made him easy to talk to.
But he struggled. Underneath his humor and his generosity was a man who was filled with anxiety, depression, and self-doubt. The grace he extended so freely to others, he rarely gave to himself. Not many people knew this side of my brother.
He felt he didn’t have much to offer, that he wasn’t able to impact people in a positive way. This bothered him greatly. He passed on with these doubts. One thing that comforts me is that I know he now knows how much his life mattered to everyone who knew him. He now knows how loved he was.
We had a memorial service planned for my brother. It has been postponed because of the pandemic. As is natural, the loss of my brother has taken a back seat at the moment as Covid-19 slithers its way into countries, cities, communities, and families around the world.
Andrew was a father, husband, son, uncle, brother-in-law, cousin, friend, teacher, counselor, mentor. He was my brother. He will always be my brother, and for that I have been eternally blessed.
My go-to source for most things word related, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, doesn’t recognize that form of the word so I can’t say for sure it exists. But I’m going to use it because it works for what I want to write about. Because two days ago it was “X” day for the A-Z Blog Challenge.
Because two days ago, we had to say good-bye to our sweet Golden Retriever.
We adopted Rocco four years ago. Even then, he had enough white fur on his face and body to tell us that he was an older pup. Still, he was energetic and healthy for most of time we had him. And, like most Golden Retrievers, he loved just about everyone—friends and strangers alike.
A few months ago, things changed. His health and vitality began to decline until finally his suffering, his struggle to breathe and eat, became too much.
It was a gloomy, atypical rainy day in San Diego County when we gathered around Rocco as a family, stroked his once-golden fur, and said tearful good-byes to our faithful friend. We were there when he took his last breath.
I couldn’t help but think of the day—two years ago—I sat by my dad’s bedside, held his once-strong hand, and sobbed as I told him how much I loved him. I was there when the first man I ever loved took his last breath.
In Rocco’s final moments, he lifted his head and looked toward the door of the vet’s office. Maybe it was a normal reaction. Maybe he noticed a change taking place in his body. Maybe it was electrical impulses. I prefer to think he was responding to a loving call to transition to the other side of life.
I wonder if it was my dad—who always enjoyed visits from our happy, loving dog—he heard. Maybe Rocco recognized the man who slipped him pizza crust when he thought we weren’t looking.
In any case, I know Rocco is being taken care of. I know I will see him again. I also know we will always love and miss him.
The ZaniLa Rhyme is a form created by Laura Lamarca. It has 4 lines in each stanza.
The rhyme scheme ABCB; the syllable count is 9/7/9/9.
Line 3 contains an internal rhyme and is repeated but switch alternately with each stanza.
It has a minimum of 3 stanzas. Source: http://www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/zanilarhyme.html
Steel Like You
I see the steel bars on the window
and there are locks on the door
I hold the key and I can be free
but do I want to give any more?
What is left unsaid, others will claim
and what I can’t give, you steal
I can be free and I hold the key
but is it too late for us to heal?
A generous heart that is tender
bound in a soul that is true
I hold the key and I can be free
but I never want to be like you.
Oka … in this case it was two esterda s ago. I sat down to write a post for the letter Y and I lost the little one. I think it dropped on the floor under m desk and bounced awa . The big one is fine, fortunatl . Yes… see? It’s still there. I’ve looked ever where for the little gu but I’m afraid it’s gone forever. It’s like it decided to fl awa ! Do the have wings? I don’t think the do.
If ou come across a lost and lonel lowercase Y, please send it m wa . Thank ou so ver much!
I used the “See Your Memories” feature on Facebook this morning and this is what came up:
Between that and the Blogging from A-Z Challenge, which I did last year too, I’ve been thinking about how much things can change in the span of a year. Apparently, a lot!
When I posted that Oxycodone comment, I didn’t know then that my dad would die only a few days later. I didn’t know I’d lose my teaching job about a month after his memorial service.
Those were very difficult things, but there has been a lot of good that has happened in course of the year. I made a lot of new friends. I started writing for real and published a few stories. I am doing something I love, which is editing and helping indie authors promote their work. I’m homeschooling my kids and it’s a perfect match for our family. I’ve grown in ways I won’t get in to, but the growth has been positive.
A year ago, I would never have dreamed I’d be doing what I’m doing now. I miss my dad, I miss teaching, but all in all, things are great!
People sometimes act surprised when I tell them I like to scrapbook. To be honest, I don’t scrapbook as often as I used to or as often as I should. I do like to go to scrapbooking getaways though. Scrapbooking getaways are when a group of scrapbookers get away from home, sometimes overnight, and scrapbook. I like to go with my cousin, which makes it more fun. I usually do just a little scrapbooking while I’m at these getaways. I spend more time writing, reading, and editing. It’s just nice to get away from the house and have time devoted to my creative interests, whether that includes writing or scrapbooking or just hanging out.
As I write this, I am at one of these getaways. There are lots of women here. All kinds of women… younger, older, loud, quiet (I fall in the “quiet” category), night owls, early risers, some who snore loudly, and some who bring earplugs so they can sleep. I bring earplugs.
There’s always good food and, of course, wine. That makes the less quiet women more likable in my book.
This weekend has been mostly an editing weekend for me, but I did manage to put a few cards together. They turned out looking decent and best of all, I can give them away.
And look. On my computer, you can see that I am writing this very blog post. Crazy, isn’t it?
Anyway. That’s all I have for the letter S. On to T.
Reconcile (verb)= to restore to friendship, compatibility, or harmony
Reconciliation (noun)= the action of reconciling or state of being reconciled
Source: Merriam-Webster Unabridged
The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.
The overall purpose of human communication is – or should be – reconciliation. It should ultimately serve to lower or remove the walls of misunderstanding which unduly separate us human beings, one from another.
~M. Scott Peck, The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace
Chimps are very quick to have a sudden fight or aggressive episode, but they’re equally as good at reconciliation.