Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Hair Past Six

It was just a hair past 6:00AM when I seated myself in my sister's Ford Explorer - put my coffee in the drink holder and buckled myself in.

We were headed to Missouri.
My haphazardly packed vintage suitcase was in the back, and I wondered if I'd packed a hairbrush.

My oldest sister Vivian had taken ill, and the Pastor was summoning the family to come.

At a few hairs past 6:00AM my sister's cell phone rang with the news that Vivian had been unable to wait for us, and decided to go on home.

I've never lost a sibling before.
It's a different genre of grief.

It's losing a partner in crime - childhood memories - it's squinting at the horizon line of life and seeing something that you couldn't quite make out before - and now it's coming into view more clearly.
Your own mortality.

I just wanted to share one quick thing - and honestly, I just don't have it in me right now to say anymore.

In the final two days of my sister's life - she kept talking about a black cat. 
She wanted a black cat - a stuffed one - a real one - a black cat.
None of us knew where this was coming from.
My sister bought a little black stuffed cat for her, and was bringing it to her.
One of her caretakers had a black cat, and was bringing it by for a visit.
We were all perplexed.

Until today - going through photos - I found this.

My sweet sister Vivian as a child with a black cat.

This photo just tore me up.

I found this sweater today when shopping for an outfit for the services:

I do believe it's 95 degrees in Missouri, but I'm wearing this to the funeral.

I'll be gone the better part of a week - I'm so not looking forward to all of this - 
if I cross your mind this week - do say a prayer.
My mind is aflutter with thoughts like 'is she whole now?' 'is her mind working fully?' and 'why is it that we consider her abnormal?'

My prayer for us is that we'd really really realize how brief our time is here, and that we'd begin to be kinder to each other.  We'd be more understanding, patient, accepting.  We'd put our phones down and look into each other's eyes and have deep conversations.  We'd listen more than talk.  We'd cherish each other. We'd take our eyes off of Facebook long enough to enjoy the sunset.  We'd spend more time with friends and family.  We'd take better care of ourselves.  We'd slow down.  We'd even stop more often.

It's over in a blink.

Friday, August 1, 2014

All the News Worth Printing

A month?
I can't believe it's been one month since I've sat here and jabbered.

Remember that soup that I was making in early July?
It was a premonition.
We've had unseasonably cool temps here, and I've even been chilled at night in the yard at times!

Life is good friends, it's very good.

It's so good indeed that I don't know what to talk about first.

Let's talk about Aaron...we haven't talked about him in, like - forever.

Do you know the child is nearly 19 years old?  
It always flabbergasts me when I look at him - and he's a man - but he's a boy.  But he's a man.  

He's doing great - loving life - planning his move to Chicago.

His cologne lingers longer in the house than he does.
He breezed in last night for a few minutes.
I hadn't seen him for two days - and we'd just sat down to a bowl of Ina Garten's Chicken Chili 
(see, I'm still cooking up the fall foods!) 
and I was so excited to see him.
I ushered him to the table in between hugs and kisses - 
"tell me what you've been up to!"

He brings so much life into the house - I love hearing his stories - Lord - the laughter!
I was saddened when he said 'I've only got a few minutes Marmie!  I'm leaving for a five day camping trip to Wisconsin - I'm just here long enough to pack!' To which I respond 'but what about my hair!?'

And so that's how it goes here with him.
He's happy.
I'm happy.

I told him to be careful - and my exact words were 'now - don't be drinking and fall off the boat and drown - cause things are really looking up in my life right now'.
We collapsed in laughter and kisses - and he blew the horn on his way out of the driveway.
He's a boy. 
He's a man.

On to the yard - 

I've fallen in love with gardening all over again!
I'm so enjoying the changes, and the downsizing.  It's like I have time to think again, and be creative!
I'm not spread so thin that it's all I can do to maintain things.

Here's just a few snapshots...there's still so much work to do here, but I'm just over it - it is what it is.
It'll get done.
I'm waking up to the possibility that there is life beyond being consumed by this old house.

Thank God for kind neighbors with heavy machinery!

Where I sit with my morning tea/coffee.

This used to be the garden where the brick walkway was, and the scarecrow....ah's all lawn now, with a little veggie garden.  I'll get some new photos soon. (like next month!)

 I promptly took out my seeds and planted a little vegetable garden.
I'll get a few beans and cucumbers before the frost.
Today I plant more lettuce and peas.

The chickens are terrific.  I just have 8 now.
I sold 10 to a great gal in my Beekeepers Club.

The bees are doing 'ok'.  I've got a few great hives, and a few not so great hives.
I've ordered a naturally raised half a hog - and a quarter of a cow.
I'm doing well with eating right and have started excersing again, as much as my knee allows...and I've even *gulp* committed to doing the RAGBRAI bike ride (500 miles across Iowa) next year with a blog reader I've not met yet!
I'm in a good, mentally and emotionally healthy place with food and my body.

The best news of all - I'm well.
So is Glenco.
Nary a thing to complain about.
Remember a year ago?
I do declare that it's taken nearly a year of getting that Effexor out of my system for me to truly 
feel like myself again.  
What we've gone through here is a lot.
I know that drug has helped some people - but I believe it's harmed just as many, if not more.
I can't encourage you enough to use drugs as an absolute last resort.  
Let food be your medicine.
If you are going through a hard time - find a friend to be an advocate for you - don't blindly follow Dr's recommendations.  Research things for yourself.  Follow your instincts.

Peter McWilliams wrote:

Definition of a victim: a person to whom life happens.

And doesn't life just happen to us all?
I suppose it depends on what we do with it.
Will we dwell on it, or let it destroy us - or will we find the gumption to get up and start over?

I feel like I must have been in the front of the Gumption line when God was handing it out.
I'm not sure where I get it from, but I flat out refuse to quit, give up, see thing negatively, or believe that life is anything less than what we make it.

I'm looking forward to August - not with butterflies in my stomach - but butterflies in my spirit.
Somethin' good is about to go down.