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May 2009

May 16, 2009

Lily So... I wasn't satisfied watching Izzy and George meet in the elevator on Thursday night, I had to watch again this afternoon when I should have been cleaning house.

And then I cried... and then I cried some more.  Jules is working so I had the house to myself and sometimes in the midst of tears for imaginary friends, some of your own find their way into the daylight.

I finally graduated.  I thought I would be = oh, I don't know, I thought a bright light would shine over my destiny and I'd know exactly what I am supposed to do now ... still in the dark.  So many paths look promising but I think myself into exhaustion. 

I have had one flash of insight though, and I know I'll ramble all over the place so hang on and I promise we'll get there.  Several years ago we put in a goldfish pond.  Nothing elaborate. One of those black plastic inserts that came in a huge box from Sam's Club.  Jane got one for Bob and I thought it was such a great idea I got one too.  I remember the day we went to get hers.  We took the van and a frightful wind was blowing us across the parking lot, it caught that box and I thought we might take flight ... so much has changed but the van still runs and the ponds still don't leak.

Yep, off track....  okay back to the pond.  Six precious goldfish, some pond plants, the sound of the fountain, day lilies and a lily pad.  I kept the pond pristine.  I was always cleaning the filter and thoroughly enjoyed looking out of Shannon's bedroom window, watching my little fish, it never occurred to me that if I could see them so clearly from above, others could too!

Well, they grew and the next year we had baby fish.  That was wonderful and I loved taking care of them and naming them and feeding them and they learned to come to the surface when they heard my voice and I added plants but the lily pad never bloomed.

By the third or forth year I had far too many fish for the pond so instead of giving some away, I put in a second pond... and the Great Blue Heron discovered that we were on his flightpath and kept stopping by for snacks.  I tried all manner of tricks to keep him away but finally had to resort to covering the ponds with netting.  The lily pad still hadn't bloomed and despite my best efforts the fish population dwindled until at the end of last summer I only had two fish.  One of the originals and an offspring. 

Two ponds, two fish... so I moved both fish to one pond, kept it clean and the pump running all winter and allowed the other pond to fill with leaves and debris and felt guilty every time I walked by it that I had allowed it to simply "be" unattended, all winter.  Well, yesterday I went out to clean the filter in the fishies' pond only to discover a beautiful white and yellow water lily blooming in the uckey pond.  And there is a family of frogs, a lizard or two and some iris just growing as happily as can the neglected pond!!

Now I know there is a message in there somewhere.  Mother Nature has a way of getting our attention in the simplest and most amazing ways.  Is it possible that we work so hard trying to get our lilies to bloom that we rob them of the very ingredients they need to thrive?  I have pushed so diligently toward something ... I don't know what... only the pushing part... that I never allowed the lovely debris of simply living to settle to the bottom and become the fertile medium that allows life to bloom.

Maybe that's why I'm sitting here writing to myself.  Allowing the lovely debris of my life to settle in lines and curves and dots onto a page... tears, joy, love, curiosity, wisdom, innocence... memories like leaves floating, landing, absorbing, sinking, lingering, dissolving and blooming.

The beautiful lilies of our lives.

Heaven Days

Deskscan 133

April 30, 1998
"Thank you for a productive week"
"Thank you for McD's"
"Thank you for cute houses"
"Thank you for the smell of fresh cut grass"
"Thank you for time w/just me and the 'mules'."

"First thing, I'm now 23.  I don't feel older, but people keep reminding me of my age and the things I need to do to live up to it.  Things are back to normal with Gram and I spent this last week of April with her as her paid handy man, as much a blessing to her as it is to me 'cause I need the mula.  I quit Weight Watchers 'cause I was gaining weight, but Mom seems to be doing well, hope she keeps it up.  I'm thankful for the life I have, nothing I want that I can't obtain, wonderful family and friends and lucky enough to take my time finding a job.  Of course I know it's time to do so.  Everyone seems to be doing well right now and for that I am thankful."   (Shannon) 

Today is our 11th Heaven Day and I always feel closer to Shannon when I read her journal.  April 30 was her last entry and I will be forever grateful to her for leaving such a wise and wonderful message to remind me of how precious ordinary moments are.

I have to say that I'm sure she is grinning... I haven't lost weight and I have quit and rejoined WW about nine times since then, and next week I plan to spend a day after exams as Gram's handyman.

In the last eleven years, the children in our family have grown up.  They've gotten married, started families of their own, they've grown wings and taken flight, they have brought their own sweet wisdom and joy into life.  Maw Maw joined Shannon in Heaven, then Bob and once again we all found strength in one another.  Our Jilli will turn ten this year and life continues to unfold.

There is a line in "Steel Magnolias"..."I realized as a woman how lucky I was.  I was there when this wonderful person drifted into my world and I was there when she drifted out."  Only a mother can understand what that really means, and why, although we learn to embrace life again, we are forever changed and therefore entitled to set aside special days to remember and get quiet and breathe life back into memories for a little while, and then we go on.

In the first few years I needed everyone to remember with me.  I needed to be certain that Shannon was a continuing part of all of our lives. I needed parties and picnics and balloon releases and commemoration both of her coming in and her drifting out.  I wrote letters and sent cards and bought things or gave things or ate cake.  The first year I waited for the earth to stall, stop spinning and mark the moment that my life changed forever along with Shannon's.  It didn't happen.  A butterfly paused on a pink geranium and I'm certain it winked at me and then flew on.  Life knew, recognized the truth that we do not end.  We live in a physical body, eating, sleeping, loving, laughing, weeping and growing until we are complete and then we go home.  We leave the parts that came from earth, gather up all of the love and gleefully return.  Thomas Traherne says, "Love is the true means by which the world is enjoyed: our love to others, and others' love to us."   And that joy is not a finite commodity... love and joy fill us and transcend with us.

Today I will clean house a little, I'm even contemplating a manicure.  I will attend a reception at Germanna for graduates... yep I'm a Graduate... I'll hold the cats and push the vacuum and take a bath and eat some lunch and hug Shannon's Dad and cherish moments.  I will remember sitting at the table by the open door, drinking iced tea and playing rummy with Shannon.  I will look at the black and white photo on my desk, the one with her sticking her tongue out at me, the one that always makes me smile.  I will listen for her flip flops on the sidewalk, her music under the door to her room, her laughter, I will hear her voice, chastising or encouraging or  philosophizing and I will probably pot several pink geraniums.

Our lives are like perfect strands of pearls.  Moments strung together one after another... and when, and it often will, the strand breaks and the pearls roll and tumble out of control, there is always someone there to help gather them up and hold the needle while you restring them, one by one.  I never thought I could survive without Shannon, and I know I've said this before but never with more meaning... I can never thank you enough for always being there to help me restring the pearls.

Shannon placed a star beside the quote on the first day of May in her journal, it is by George Moore, and it says, "A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."
My home is where my heart is, with my Angel and with you.        Deskscan 293