If you aren't having fun, you're doing it wrong!
Jumbo Joke: Good joke: Do You Find This Funny?
I For O
In writing to my Sweetie
On this itty bitty phone
The tiny QWERTY keyboard
Shows each letter on its own.
But my attempts at typing
Have revealed a major flaw,
For I attempt to hit the o key
The i is what I draw.
I tell my man I love him
Instead I get I live,
I try to say I still want more,
But mire is what I give.
The words come out all jumbled:
Nit for not and if for of.
I hear the rolling laughter
Of the spelling gods above.
The virtual world of typing
Creates a spelling knot!
Which turns into a spelling knit -
And then what have you got?!?
Just think now if I had a son,
He might become a sin!
And if he does, and if he dies,
Would Don then raise a din?
Of examples there are plenty,
I could go on (or in),
But perhaps the most insulting
Is my altered name: Ribin
Lying in my solitary bed, my heart is filled with a restless longing.
From where does it come?
The change of the season?
A year of upheaval and changes?
A life in transition from the familiar what-was to the unknown of what-is-yet-to-come?
I drive in to work and my eyes are filled with tears.
From where does this moisture in my eyes come?
Is it borne of the suffering from resistance to what is?
Or the relief that comes from acceptance?
Or fall allergies?
It is autumn.
The heat of summer is ending and the promise of what summer may have held has passed away.
Thoughts turn to keeping warm.
Bringing in the harvest.
Long cold nights.
Cold, crisp days.
Holidays spent with loved ones.
Is the song true?
If you are alone when autumn comes, will you be alone all winter long?
But in a life filled with books and music,
and more things to do than hours in which to do them;
A life in which each day is greeted with a smile,
with anticipation of the joys it will bring,
with wags of tails and purrs of loving animals,
with laughter both shared and enjoyed in solitude;
Can one really be considered "alone"?
I think not.....
So the restless longing?..... probably indigestion.....
(Cue Scrooge - "You're probably a bit of beef, a bit of underdone potato! There's more of gravy than the grave in you!")
Thoughts on the death of a parent...
My mother is now 86 years old. The doctors do not know why she is still alive because based
on her physical condition and her choice of lifestyle for the past few decades; the doctors say
she shouldn't be. But she is. I come from a family of six children and we have periodically
discussed Mom's condition over the past fifteen years or so. My father is her primary caregiver;
it is a full time job. Mom needs round-the-clock care - we all have full-time jobs. It is a
concern for all of us.
This January my mom had a series of health crises, and ultimately she landed in the hospital
for over two months. During that time, I got "the call" twice. My oldest sister and older
brother, being the closest geographically to my parents, each took two of the remaining siblings
and they kept us informed of Mom's progress and prognosis. I live farther away than any of my
siblings; everyone else is within walking distance or a few hours' drive. I am a two-day drive
away. The first time I got "the call" I was home alone. My sister advised me of the situation
and I was so calm that she wanted to make sure I understood what she was saying: Mom could die
at any time. I assured her I understood.
I then spent several days in holding-my-breath mode: waiting for the "Come now!" call,
waiting for the "It's too late, she's gone." call, looking at my leave balance and trying to
figure out how I could stretch things out such that if I went up immediately, and then she
didn't die for another month, would I have enough leave (and money) to make the trip again. The
state only gives two days of administrative leave for a death, if I drive, that is enough to get
me up there, nothing more. I checked in to the cost of plane tickets and quickly determined they
were well beyond my budget. Basically I went through all the morbid realities of dealing with
the mechanics of an impending death, while simultaneously dealing with the routine stuff of
daily life - work, home, pets, spouse, my own health, etc. It was exhausting and my health
suffered. My mom rallied and the urgency of travel eased.
Then I got "the call" again three weeks later and found myself back in the quandary of what
to do, how to do it, when to do it. Mom rallied again. She was moved to a rehab hospital. Then
she was sent home. I figured she would take a turn for the worse again and continued to wait for
a summons for the final goodbye. Now, two months later, it has not happened, she is still home,
and the doctors are again shaking their heads in amazement that she is still alive. I guess
there is much to be said for sheer force of will to stay alive.
I know that eventually her indomitable spirit will not be able to stand up to the reality of
time and infirmity. I know that eventually the woman I have known all my life, literally, will
no longer be a living presence in my life. How does one prepare for that? I have had nearly two
decades to contemplate, plan for, imagine, and try to prepare for my mother's death. But
realistically how does one "prepare" for the loss of a parent? Studies have shown that some
children find the death of their parents liberating, they can finally emerge from the parent's
shadow, real or imagined, in which they have always lived. Other children feel the ache of the
loss the rest of their lives and never stop missing their parents. Some respond with anger
because the chance for the loving relationship they longed for, but never had, is now lost
forever. Some feel relief that the pain the relationship caused has ended. Some feel relief
that the parent's pain has finally stopped. Some feel guilt for feeling relief. No one can
really know how he or she will respond until it happens, one can only imagine.
Death is permanent. Once your parent is gone your opportunity to be heard, to make right past
wrongs, to heal old wounds, to share another laugh, to identify the unknown faces in those old
family photos, to hear the often-repeated family stories told in the oh-so-familiar voice, to
look again in to those eyes that beheld you as an infant and watched you grow to adulthood and
that you have watched fade and grow dim with age, are all lost. Their face and smile and voice
and laugh live on in your memory, but the life that was behind each of them is gone.
We all have a parent or a parent-figure in our lives, whether it be biological, adoptive, a
relative, a mentor, or some other person that fulfilled that role for us. Regardless of the
relationship with that person, and whether the relationship was a happy one or not, they were a
huge part of our lives and they helped shape us in to the people we are. How does one prepare
for that person to no longer be? Realistically can a person prepare for a
death of a person while still enjoying and being present for the life that is still going on in
that person? Can one fully be in the moment that is now while simultaneously preparing
for a future moment yet to come?
I will be visiting my parents this summer. I have less time with them than any of my siblings
due to the distance between us, so the time I have with them is precious. The thought has
crossed my mind, as it has for the past several visits, that this could be the last time I see
either one or both of them. My father is in excellent health, but he is 87 and he is not
immortal. I relish the time I have with them in that beautiful location. I spend time talking
and laughing and reminiscing. Two summers ago several of us spontaneously began singing together,
complete with harmony, as we did so long ago when Dad would play the guitar and we would all sing.
In my time with them I make memories I know will be bittersweet when they are gone. And when my
vacation time is over and I have to leave, I always wish for just a bit more time. I hug them
knowing that I may never be able to hug them again, and I hold on a bit longer, and hug a bit
tighter, and I know they have the same thought in their minds too, because I feel them doing
the same to me.
September Morning Musings
Over the summer, I have taken great delight in watching the Canadian Geese standing by the pond
in the morning on my drive to work. As the sun was climbing in the east, and I was stopped at
the light by the pond, I could see them all standing together on the bank, facing the rising sun.
On occasion I would see one or two birds already in the water, but the vast majority was all
standing facing the sun, the goose version of the sun salute, as the great orb rose, brightening
the sky, dimming the stars, and warming their bodies from the chill of the night. September
arrives, and the earth continues its gradual, almost imperceptible shift on its axis. And one
day I notice the sky is still mostly dark as I make my morning trek to work. I sit at the
stoplight and I don't see any geese standing on the bank for their morning sun ritual. I miss
them. I enjoyed sharing the morning rituals with them - me my drive to work and them their sun
salute. Then one day I am running late for work and by the time I leave my house the sun has
risen. I barely notice the change, until I reach the stoplight by the pond where I casually
glance over not expecting to see the geese - but there they are. They are all standing grouped
together on the bank, only one bird is in the water, all of the others are standing facing the
sun, some stretching their wings, most just standing enjoying the warmth of the rising sun. I
realize the geese haven't stopped their ritual, they are continuing it as they do every morning,
and for them it is happening at the same "time" - that being the time the sun rises. I, on the
other hand, am bound by a different "time" - that being the time on the clock. While the geese's
rhythm stays in concert with the natural world, mine is forced to twist and bend to the
contortions of man's clock. So I drive in to work in the dark while the geese are sensibly still
sleeping waiting for the sun to rise. I think the geese have it right...