R and R

What a whirlwind the month has been! I can hardly remember Thanksgiving and fret about how little gifting I managed but in the end, with the kind reminder of a friend, I surrendered all such concerns and just let it all unfold. Between her admonition that no one will notice anything left undone and the following sentiment from Susan Branch I was left with a calm and peaceful heart.

“It’s not what’s on the plates that counts, it’s what’s on the chairs. Your friends and family. A party is a gift you give the ones you love.”

Sarge drove home for the funeral, managing all those details with an amazing professionalism. He had such a burden to bear but he did it all. I am sure some people were wondering why I was not there but a party had to be managed…he drove home, arriving the evening before the party.

We hosted a baby shower luncheon on Christmas Eve, amazed by how many people attended. It was a nonstop day and, come evening, I collapsed on the sofa, ignorant of anything going on around me. Christmas morning was slow and quiet, neither of us wishing to be pressed for time. Too, it was the first one in which he would not – could not – call his mother and give her a Merry Christmas. That realization hit hard as his feet his the floor. I remember it well and, frankly, it is a disappointment that rears its head every High Holy.

So we took our time, putting off the dinner obligation as long as we could, just enjoying each other’s company. It was yesterday that I offered the idea of taking a vacation over Christmas, avoiding all the planning and drama by merely not being there! He added on the idea of our gifting each other a mutual item, perhaps something for the house or garden. I think we have hit on the perfect solution and Christmas 2017 will find us in Wyoming. How wonderful to just let it all go with a smile and a wave. Yes, I think I could manage that quite well.

I hope your own holidays were as calm and bright as possible.

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A Soul Wends West

This evening the winds from the north are howling around the house and the temperature has dropped 30 degrees in as many minutes. It is apt weather for the evening as it is one of mourning.

I have always been a fan of Avalon, that mystic place in the indefinable “west” of the world. Sarge’s mother has passed this night and her soul must be riding the wind with speed toward her new home. All afternoon we saw hawks and I knew the message sent – his Cherokee elder told him it was his spirit animal and so it has been. They were coming to take her with them and someday we will all be together again. But for now he mourns the loss as well as the dark feeling that comes of being the last of the line.

There is a sense of failure in me for that – we didn’t intend to have children right up until the day we knew we never could. And now I feel it turn deeper in me, that coiling sadness of Fate. He carries that soldierly stoicism for now, knowing the amount of details he must command in the coming days. But in a small place he is that child, lost and alone, weeping for himself. And it is well. It is right.

There was a mercy in how she did this – not letting on how ill she was until the very last so that he could visit and annotate all her wishes. This, a lesson for us all – be kind to those who must care for your final business. Have all your own wishes and details clearly delineated so that no one need wonder what to do or who to call.

How bright she will gleam now that the exhausted flesh may fall. She raised such a man…such an amazing man. I shall owe her all my days.

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