For a lot of years, I have found such comfort in writing. Just finding a way to get the millions of thought threads out of my head and into the light of day has helped me to clarify and understand the chaos and cobwebs. This year has been different. I have spent more time journalling privately and quietly, while trying to keep up with life. The rambling hasn't felt relevant enough to share.
I thought that being retired would mean an abundance of time. I would finally catch up. I would write and paint and garden and take long photo walks.
This year I have done very little of any of those things and the idea of finally catching up and more time ... an urban legend.
Where does all of the time go that was once devoted to a forty hour work week? I should have forty extra hours every week for all of the things that I never seemed to have time for in the work a day life.
Okay, I will admit that I spend way more time watching mindless television. Big Bang Theory is my go to mood booster. Thank goodness it is in reruns on several channels and with the DVR, I can record and never be without a quick fix. Also, being 61 seems to be the expiration date that our warranty is good until. I pretend that I can go just as long and just as hard as I did at 50, but the very thought of lifting a 28 ft. ladder or hoisting this ever expanding backside up a telephone pole seems impossible and exhausting.
On especially bad days, I console myself with the thought that perhaps I am having a brief flare up of last summer's Lyme disease.
Today I realized that this is just my month. From Shannon's birthday on April 5th, until her Heaven day on May 1... my body remembers. In the deepest part of me where I feel her hand in mine, hear her laughter or grumbling, hold the truth of how incredible it is to be her Mother, there is an ache that never leaves.
We imagine, before we know, that eighteen years is a long time. Plenty of time to heal and "move on". But eighteen years passes in the blink of an eye...and feels like an eternity. Even when your mind is occupied, your body remembers and that ache finds its place.
April is my time. Time to plant flowers and watch old movies. To revisit photo albums and reread letters. April is a time of rebirth and renewal and wonder and the promise that no matter how cold and desolate the winter may have been, the warmth returns and life awakens and peepers sing at dusk and the bluebirds and chickadees find their way back to last years homes and lilacs bloom along with the honeysuckle and wild roses. Of course this year, April has also taught me a thing or two about grumpy honeybees who swarm, and relocate, and rear lots of new queens just to kill off the extras. The once gentle girls are angry and confused and doing all they can to find a new normal when the Queen Mother has abandoned ship and taken 60% of the family with her.
My days begin and end with two thoughts... requests for miracles for those who need them, and absolute gratitude for every blessing. I make every effort to be optimistic and kind, to see the light despite the shadows, but sometimes I take my Pollyanna hat off and throw it across the room. Other times that same hat is knocked off and pitched by someone who just needs their moment of utter despair, a well deserved, validated moment of despair. There are days that I mourn the loss of all of the wonderful people who have left too soon. We need those moments of utter despair, to feel deeply and remember tenderly. Then we take a breath, like stepping out of a warm bath, cleansed... and realize how precious every moment is. I'm learning.
I found an opened can of tuna in the pantry the other day, and the peanut butter in the refrigerator. I raced to the computer to look up the warning signs of impending dementia.
Thirty minutes ago, I was sorting the last month's mail when I remembered that I hadn't answered an email or paid an overdue bill. I had a notice that my blog was not being optimally utilized. I put the towels in the drier but I'm sure I didn't turn it on...and I can hear that the back door is open so the cats can go out but it's raining. The vacuum cleaner is in the middle of the living room floor where I started to use it yesterday when the UPS man rang the bell at our house by mistake and the phone rang at that same moment announcing that I had won a free two week membership at the YMCA.
Is it any wonder I put the tuna in the pantry? Sophie has just joined me to remind me that it's dinnertime and she can't open the can by herself. It's raining and she can't go outside and I can hear my cellphone dinging an incoming message. Time doesn't really GO anywhere. It just rolls along with us in our chaos and cobwebs, Pollyanna hats and cold peanut butter, bee stings and birthdays and the best we can do is take a breath now and then and just smile.