Drop below the story line with me. Beyond the clean and polished Thanksgiving story you read in history books and beyond the true story...drop below to a day to pause and give Thanks! Ideally, we know this is every day, and in fact, every moment, but here we are on a day where there is a collective thanks. I like that.
I am thankful for my family and friends that love me when I am beautiful, and when I am ugly. I am thankful for what I have learned in the past year, even if it was heart-wrenching and painful. I am thankful for those moments of Connection that are so immense you feel you could just burst. I am thankful for the Sacred!
But, I am also thankful for the profane. I am thankful for toilet paper and the fact I can use it all by myself! I am thankful for Post-Its, new Sharpies and glue sticks. I am thankful for glitter and odd treasures. I am thankful that when I bake my family cookies, I get to eat the dough.
I didn't realize how many drawing I had done in the past 4 months until I saw them all together. And most of them have been posted on this blog. Then I realize it is a wee reason to celebrate - I am doing what I said I was going to do! Glory be!
HOT thick tears - so hot they burn my skin. Lumbering down my face... trickling down my neck...so slow...they almost tickle.
It rained the day before you died. And I could sense you didn't want me to visit. It was the following day that matter so much. You waited for me to arrive. Thank you.
It rained the day before we released your ashes. It has been two months. And I can sense you...still opening the door to love wider and wider and wider and wider...
I remember how your chest soften and turned warm again...relaxed...your skin aglow and pink. But only in your heart area. Your heart! It was my secret miracle. OH, I WAS WATCHING! I was watching, my friend. I wanted to shout, "Everyone, LOOK!" I didn't. I watched a mystery unfold before me. Gone. Returning to cold.
Then you flew away.
All I have done since then is laugh and cry...at the same time. And yet...I am so very happy.
When the cow itself is stunning, turn your mind to the departed.
You are with all that they ever were.
Artwork - marker & colored pencil from Winter 2006. My friend, Deb, owns this piece. The words are a conglomeration of phrases randomly pulled from three emails I received last night that touched my heart.
The days where I am unsure of what needs to be said are the days I know I have work to do - shedding more layers. A quiet day...again.
I did find a line from a Rumi poem that speaks of truth:
The mystery does not get clearer by repeating the question.
Photo - me and my brother, Summer 1977. Together we hiked and picked wildflowers for our mom. It was one of those rare and heavenly moments when I had my brother all to myself and he was paying attention to only me.
Yesterday, I was up at 5, gone by 6 to arrive by 7. Carolyn's house. Together we organized the photos for Gary's service next Saturday. I wasn't there even 15 minutes before we where laughing and crying. We miss Gary. We are in awe! He left us all so much love.
But it is Carolyn I am in awe of. Four years ago, she had a brain aneurysm. In the year that followed came four brain surgeries. Doctors said she may not survive. She did! Such beauty - allowing me to photograph her as we had our second round of laughing and crying. Carolyn IS living Beauty and living Grace.
They gave him a seashell: "So you'll learn to love the water." They opened a cage and let a bird go free: "So you'll learn to love the air." They gave him a geranium: "So you'll learn to love the earth." And they gave him a bottle sealed up tight. "Don't ever, ever open it. So you'll learn to love mystery."
Artwork - 5 x 7 mixed media collage. Last night I was in the mood to collage again. The skull is my photograph taken with a disposable camera; the lens was obscured with clear nail polish. And the skull? Well, it is a real human skull...a medical skull which belongs to a friend.
I was there. My hand on his leg - just above his ankle.
Repeatedly, I tell people I am sad...but it is a clean sad. Then I wonder. Was it ever messy?
Gary loved me. I knew that. But he loved me much more than I ever knew.
This is also something I keep repeating.
I didn't know he loved me that much. He loved me as a daughter.
I was honored to lay next to him on his bed as he slept.
I was honored to spoon ice chips into his tired, parched mouth.
I loved smiling at him even though he could barely open his eyes.
I loved how strong I felt when I was around him. I wasn't me. I was so much bigger.
I marveled at the way we all loved one another as visitors came and went, coming to love and say good-bye. I was honored to hold the phone to his ear when someone else called to share love and say good-bye.
I chuckle at how many times I said good-bye. Who am I to predict death? Ha! Until the last good-bye was whispered... and I knew it was the one. Ten minutes later...
I didn't know Gary loved me that much.
Nor did I realize he, of all people, would show me how to truly open to love...to receive it, not just give it. This is the lesson I am far from mastering, but slowly learning. It didn't just plant a seed. It is seared into my soul.
Waves of grief come at the oddest of times. A couple of days ago, I started bawling while drying my hair. Laughter quickly followed as I watched my face contort in the tears. Then, I noticed a vein start to bulge. It runs from my right eye brow to the bridge of my nose. More laughter as I hear my ego tell me to stop all of the emoting because bulging veins on a woman's face are unattractive!
The sadness keeps washing over me and I just return to crying.
Thank you, Gary.
I love you.
Okay, that's the last time...
Photo - Gary with his moutain lion, Tia.
This was taken long before I met Gary, but I love the love in this photo.
There is a wee whisper of healing. Can you hear it? I have been waiting. Thank you for coming.
Photos - I took them Saturday. At my mom's yoga studio, she offers free yoga to anyone undergoing treatment for cancer. Very few people actually take her up on the offer. One man does! He brings my mom fruit from his trees. Last week he brought these pomegranates and I just had to try to photograph them.