"Thank you for productive phone calls. Thank you for my diploma. Thank you for Classic Custom Framing. Thank you for cable splicing. Thank you for dinner shared with my family." SAB 9-15-1997
"Thank you for weekends with just the girls. Thank you for Diet Coke. Thank you for magazines. Thank you for Giant. Thank you for award shows." SAB 9-14-1997
"Thank you for days spent with families. Thank you for book stores. Thank you for hammocks. Thank you for letters from loved ones. Thank you for life." SAB 9-13-1997
Okay, so I'm having one of those days. You've been forewarned so if you're not in the mood to ride it out with me once again... press the little x in the upper right corner of the page and find something more fun to do until bedtime, it's okay, I don't enjoy my company either some days.
There are several recurrent themes in my life. Happiness or the lack there of and Fear. I've read about them written about them dreamed about them... and still can't quite get clear. Today my Mom is worried about her health. She is almost eighty and the lumps and bumps are being medically described as "masses" and "spots" and being human we always tend to imagine the worst. FEAR.
Logically, I know that she is going to be fine. That extended use of Amiodarone for her heart has probably caused toxicity and once she has the pacemaker placed, she can be weened off of the offending meds and probably feel better than ever but until then, there is talk of CAT scans, MRIs, biopsies, blood tests and all of the associated anxiety.
I called her this afternoon to make sure that she was NOT obsessing, not telling her that I certainly had been, and she said "No"... and then went on to say that she had been organizing photographs so that "If and When" we should have to sort through her things...they would be separated for each of us. Then she said that she hated to miss her trip to Oregon because it might be her last chance to see her brothers. FEAR.
I am fifty five. I am incredibly blessed to still have my Mom on the planet. Blessed to have my brother and sister and husband...so many of my friends have lost theirs. I am forever telling people not to waste today worrying about what might happen tomorrow and yet here I am doing that very thing.
It occurred to me that perhaps in the same way that fear and worry travel together... love and prayer and peace of mind might as well. After Shannon "left", I sort of lost my way with prayer. How do you reconcile asking God to save your child, with their death? I prayed for my mother in law. I prayed for my sister in law. I prayed for my Father. I prayed for my Shannon. I prayed for Bob. They are all in Heaven.
Maybe that's the answer. They are happy and safe and whole and joyous. Now when I wake up at night and can't go back to sleep, I pray for everyone I know and most of those I don't. I pray for Michael and Garrett and all of the men and women in the military. I pray for my friends and family and neighbors and pets and my neighbors pets and the bag lady in Washington and the fox with mange and our President and his ad-visors. I pray for the earth. And the prayer is always the same..."Dear God in Heaven... and in each of us... Please bless.... ". Eventually I fall asleep. I don't usually ask for specifics... I trust that God knows better than me, what is needed. I often ask if He/She will wrap Shannon in the very best embrace, and let her know it's from me.
But even after all the prayers... the truth remains... it is out of my hands, and sometimes the lack of control is overwhelming. I can't see into the future and sometimes I lose sight of the past. I feel as if I'm in a midnight ocean and all I can do is flail and float and dog paddle until the light once again illuminates the way.
I sat in an open meadow yesterday with my camera in one hand and a notebook in the other. I was determined to figure out why all of my photographs aren't perfect by systematically taking photos of my favorite little tree. The sun was warm and there was a breeze and I was happy sitting in the newly mowed field, alone, focused, finally... when I heard someone yell, "May I approach?" I looked around and saw a gentleman standing at the edge of the highway waving. I waved for him to "approach" and he walked over in his khaki pants, white shirt and flip flops and sat down in the field beside me. He was happy to see another photographer and started sharing with me the things that he had learned and what I might be doing wrong that was causing my disappointment. I thought he said his name was Roger and so for the entire time he was with me I called him "Roger". Only as he stood up to leave, and politely extended his hand did I realize that he was saying "RAJA".
He couldn't have been nicer or more polite. He was knowledgeable and friendly and I gave him one of my "if you build it they will come" business cards. After he drove away, I felt a little vulnerable. FEAR. I simply hate FEAR.
Today I'm thinking that maybe RAJA was an Angel. I used to hear them and then they went silent, so it stands to reason that when I am at my lowest, they might compassionately walk into a meadow and take a seat.
No one wants to be sad. No one wants to be lonely or frightened or lost or feel inadequate or not quite up to the challenges that life offers, but once again Shannon is there to remind me of what matters... in this moment. "Life, letters, hammocks, family and book stores." She really understood. I miss her. I miss her so much that for today I'm allowing my self to feel really sad. I have fretted and worried about my Mom just like I did twenty years ago when she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy... and twelve years ago when she fell and broke her pelvis. But the truth is, we should all live each day as if we were dieing. Organize our photographs. Write our letters, read our books, ride your bike or each a Strawberry Cheesequake Blizzard even though you are going to a reunion with your husband and FEAR being the "fluffiest" girl there.
Life is what we have. It is an amazing gift and not one to be placed guardedly on the top shelf with the "good china" or tucked in the back of the dresser drawer with the "lace panties". Eat the butterflies right off of those plates and wear that lace with your best perfume and don't save things for later. Enjoy... Maybe that's why I enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Eat Pray Love" so much... (even though the movie didn't quite meet my expectations). I'm thinking that it's much harder to entertain fear and worry when your mouth is full of pasta, you head is full of prayer and your heart is full of love.
Thanks for hanging in there with me... I am feeling much much better, and I can't wait to dive into tomorrow !
"Thank you for wandering words that eventually lead somewhere. Thank you for understanding how often we misunderstand. Thank you for always hearing prayers and knowing that we don't know best. Thank you for health and happiness. Thank you for Goodwill." JJB 9-13-2010
"Thank you for $650." Thank you for study guides. Thank you for Mom. Thank you for Dad. Thank you for Em being okay." SAB 9-12-1997
"Thank you for Bell Atlantic and Mom. Thank you for Germanna and Candy. Thank you for Spotsylvania County School Board and Gil. Thank you for Jumangi. Thank you for Tonic." SAB 9-11-1997
"Thank you for the Spotsylvania County School Board. Thank you for Rosie. Thank you for Oprah. Thank you for letting me reach adult-hood. Thank you for short stories." SAB 9-10-1997
"Thank you for the pump. Thank you for Blood Sugars in the normal range. Thank you for water. Thank you for letters from friends. Thank you for T.V." SAB 9-9-1997
I've missed writing. I've missed having the time to sit and enjoy the breath of fresh air that Shannon's thoughts are to me.
There is a calm that comes with seeing her handwriting on a page. Her picture over my desk.
Bethany and Justin's wedding was beautiful. The weather was glorious and we are grateful beyond words to everyone who gave of their time and energy and love to make their day magical.
There were purple ribbons in memory of those who could not be with us. There were memories of weddings past and weddings that would never be but there was joy and love and the realization that we can't change what happens in our lives.. only our way of embracing it.
We are moving into a new season. I'm trying to decide what that means on a personal level. I realize that I am happy doing housework. I am happy taking recyclables to the dump. I am happy watering my plants and sitting alone in my "library" trying to declutter my thoughts.
Maybe I don't need a second career. Maybe simply finding a way to be... kind, generous, unhurried, appreciative, available ~ within boundaries, discovering stillness... such a foreign concept... maybe that's all we really need and the rest will take care of itself.
Where ever we are, how ever we are, who ever we are... it's all perfect and once we stop trying to control or manipulate or orchestrate what is inevitable... it will free up so much energy, we will probably be amazed at how good we feel.
Here's hoping !
"Thank you for Shannon. Thank you for Jill. Thank you for the DVDs that finally copied. Thank you for perfect weddings. Thank you for breath." JJB 9-9-2010
"Thank you for Sam. Thank you for bookmarks. Thank you for Gram. Thank you for Ansel Adams. Thank you for Michaelangelo." SAB 9-8-1997
"Thank you for creative projects shared with others. Thank you for time to grow and evaluate. Thank you for breakfasts out. Thank you for bubbles in the park. Thank you for sharing future dreams with others." SAB 9-7-1997
"Thank you for D's visit. Thank you for tasty, healthy, food. Thank you for sunbaths. Thank you for the beautiful sunset. Thank you for not giving me ulcers in my mouth, D would appreciate not having them." SAB 9-6-1997