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July 2020

Regret

 

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I just finished re balancing my IRA Brokerage account.  I sold two stocks that I thought I would hold forever, McDonald's and Facebook.

This morning I have started painting my vacant hive so that I can expand from one small hive into the newer remodeled bigger hive, started cleaning the kitchen, started vacuuming, well you get the idea.  I don't seem to be able to focus on any one thing and as I was getting ready to close the computer and start back into the chores of the day I decided to see what might surface if I just did some free writing.   Almost always a dangerous pandora's box to open.

I googled, one word writing prompts and the first word to appear, "Regret".

We all have them.  Some are huge and some are almost non existent.   The one regret that will always top my list is Shannon's last birthday.  She turned twenty-three and insisted that she didn't want me to make a fuss over her birthday.  She was all grown up and didn't need or want the fuss of a cake or gifts ( although she wouldn't refuse the gifts ).  Our day was special in that family sort of way.  We had Mexican for lunch with family and ate too much and laughed too much and got home in plenty of time for her annual 6:14 pm birthday celebration of envisioning the coming year before blowing out the candle.

Somewhere around 6:10 I realized that she was sitting alone in the living room.  She had become tearful and said that she hadn't realized how important the traditional birthday fuss was... at any age.  She didn't have the candle to blow out at the exact time of her birth.  

I frantically rushed into the kitchen and found graham crackers and a marshmallow and fashioned a ridiculous excuse for a cake and managed to find a candle and a lighter and ran to her side on the couch.   By now she was in an full blown weep and just looked up at me and whispered, "It's too late."

For the first time in her life, I had listened to what she said she wanted and tried to ignore the Mom voice in my head that always claimed to know best... or at least better.  I had not gotten the cake from Paul's bakery.   I had not placed 23 candles in the middle of the white icing and pastel roses.  I had not hidden extra presents wrapped in white paper with pink rosebuds with big old floppy pink ribbons.  I had tried to respect the wishes of my woman child and now here we sat tears streaming down our faces until finally, feeling totally silly, my beautiful blue eyed daughter started to smile.

One month later, I delivered the eulogy at her memorial service...never to see that smile in this lifetime again.

Do I think that cake with its slowly melting candles would have changed the course of our lives?  Of course not.  We had had banana nut pancakes for breakfast that day and I read "The Old Turtle" to her as she ate.   We had laughed and loved and enjoyed every moment of that day until we didn't, I will regret to my own final breath that I listened to her and did what she asked.   She is laughing at that sentence, and probably most of her friends are laughing with her.

Does regret have value?  Probably not.  It sits heavy in the pit of my stomach and pushes waves of sadness down my cheeks.  It weighs heavy on my heart that I never had the opportunity to make it up to her every year after for the rest of MY life.... but this regret has done one very important thing.

  No one has missed a birthday cake in 22 years, including Shannon.

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Sudden Light

Sudden Light

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I have been here before,

But when or how I cannot tell:

I know the grass beyond the door,

The sweet keen smell,

The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.

 

You have been mine before,

How long ago I may not know:

But just when at that swallow's soar 

Your neck turn'd so,

Some veil did fall, I knew it all of yore.

 

Has this been thus before?

And shall not thus time's eddying flight

Still with our lives our love restore

In death's despite,

And day and night yield one delight once more?

 

Sometimes I wonder if I have been before.  I wonder if Shannon and I were together and chose to come together again.  Did we know what each of our souls would need to experience in order to evolve?  Did we know that the choice would require a love so deep that even the pain we would come to know, could not keep us from accepting that choice?   Perhaps we chose to spend twenty-three years together as mother and daughter, knowing that we would part too soon but agreeing to share the time we would have, understanding that we would not remember that we had made the choice from a place of higher understanding, because we knew that love would show us the way through.

I would not trade one second of my life with her for a life without pain.  She was, is and ever will be my Sudden Light...in life and in what we believe to be, death.  A thought, a fragrance, a song, a poem, a flower or a note tucked in a book and she is here.

Today I lost a bee hive.  It is so silly to feel sadness but I do.  I noticed a decrease in numbers and before the sun got too hot I opened the hive expecting to be greeted with large numbers of guardians only to discover a handfull of honeybees, anxious and erratic.  This spring, my hives swarmed multiple times.  If the hive is healthy and the numbers meet certain criteria, the kingdom decides to create new queens.  Once the new queens emerge, the existing queen leaves with a select number of her minions, to build a new home.  This particular hive had at least three swarms.  They moved very high into the surrounding trees and I opted to let them go.  Once the new queen is acclimated and her new family imprints on her unique perfume, she makes one flight, to find the drones and mate.  On that maiden voyage, she gathers the DNA to fertilize her hive for the rest of her life.   It is a dangerous flight and sometimes the new queen does not return.  Without their queen, there are no new baby bees and eventually the numbers are too few to guard the hive.  Wax moths, varroa mites and hive beetles see this as the perfect opportunity to move in, and that is what happened to my oldest and once thriving hive.

It's funny how something as insignificant, in the overall scheme of things, can be the catalyst for every other sadness to float silently to the surface.

And so I wander from one task to the next, finishing some, starting some, deciding another can wait one more day.  I think about everyone I love and how much I miss those no longer a phone call away.  I know we are all still connected.  I know that Shannon is probably standing at my shoulder at this very minute, but I can't wrap my arms around her. 

To add to my melancholy, I can't really wrap my arms around anyone, well except for Jules of course, these days.   Social distancing and masks and caution and responsible actions and little people who can't really grasp any of this and know that hugging is in our DNA, look at us with huge questioning eyes and an enviable innocence that would melt even the most ominous of viruses.

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