There’s Got To Be A Morning After
I really wanted Shirley Winters to drown in that movie, “The Poseidon Adventure.”
I am a pretty peaceful person, but there are some characters in movies and TV shows, that I just want to die.
There, I said it.
If I have to explain that I don’t really want that person dead, but the character dead, it is time to get off of the train.
I just like the title of that song. It is in effect at the moment. There’s got to be a morning after.
And there is.
Even as of yesterday, I thought, okay, garden time is over. I just looked at it with rather dead eyes and said, eh, where is the joy? Is it done for the season?
And then, when the bottom appeared to fall out of my life, I felt numb about the garden. Things were dying from heat and exhaustion.
And that is how I felt. I was in recovery mode for my back, and then, voila, the 48 hours portion of the program.
It rained last night. Only a quarter inch, but that brought things back to August life. I think plants like August about as much as I do.
Now, here is the deal.
I can either look at the 48 hours episode as another reason to dislike August. Look at it as poor us, look what we, (Nick) had to go through, or, I can say, aren’t we the lucky ones?
Nick still doesn’t feel “well”, but he is so much better. He jus drove The Boy, to school. He wanted to.
Oh, before I forget, thank you all for your wonderful prayers and stories in your comments. I read them all. I still don’t feel as thought I can answer each one, as it takes me back to a weird place that I am still trying to stabilize.
And oh,listen to this , two neighbors brought over dinner last night. I didn’t know that both were making dinner until it was probably too late to say no. But what fun it was to have two meals, and the thoughts that our friends wanted to help. Yummy.
But back to where I was trying to move forward.
The way I see it is, yes, we have lots of zigzags to deal with through this. Life doesn’t stop with other situations, but the key is, Nick is alive. He was carted home from the hospital, way better shape than he was bounced in. (He said the EMT ride was really bouncy)
As I sat in that hospital room, it didn’t escape me that people don’t always leave a hospital sitting up in a Subaru. Instead of coming to our house for barbecue, and thanksgiving, many families are sitting at tables or on sofas or in cars, making funeral arrangements.
So although August has its issues, this episode is not going to make it a land mark month.
Here is the question. What is the new next to normal? Doesn’t something most likely shift after something like this? Or do things go back to the way they were, and if that is the case, doesn’t that mean we didn’t learn form them.
I believe we must take something from every situation. It could be something positive, or it could be something that you have learned to deal with another situation in the future. The fact that we get through them, with our nerves a bundle and faith tested, must be seen as growth. It can be a growth of the spirit, faith, confidence, and learning how to do some mourning while we are alive.
We do mourn when we are alive, don’t we? Don’t many of us put ourselves in thoughts of how am I going to feel if a loved one dies? Haven’t you played that out?
I have. I think it is because I have this notion, that if I have it happen in my mind, it is practice, so I won’t be so stunned if and when it happens.
Really, doing so, for me, just causes moments of agony and grief. Is it that I am mourning the thought of loss?
You know, practicing?
It really is folly if you think about it. Nothing is going to prepare me, really prepare me for the death of a loved one.
We/I, have talked about being strong, rising to the occasion and acting brave. But I think loss of someone you love, will bring me to my knees, and there is nothing wrong with that.
As long as I learn how to get up.
I am back on my porch this morning. I didn’t come out here right away. I sort of made myself do it. I don’t want the summer season, my summer of gardening, to end on a kaboom. I wanted to face it.
I wanted to walk in the garden and look at the flowers and plants, bot living a dead and all stages in between, and know that we are all part of that plan.
Yesterday afternoon, I marveled at my two lemon plants that I am growing from seed. Each is about an inch and a half high. Fragile. They are learning how to live. I cut some other stems from plants and brought them into the house to see if I could make them grow. Seeing life start again, and again, and again, is important to me right now.
I suppose our time will come when our time comes. It most likely will come in a way that we might not have expected.
As I listen to a bird squawking loudly, I suspect he is saying, just go out and live you old buzzard. Flap you flabby wings and fly, Don’t get too close to the sun, but try to fly like you are on an eagle’s wings.
A bit of death is in the air.
August does it to me. Most every year, the month of August brings a sullen, confused time into my life … into my state of mind.
This year, I lasted about a week into August before it really hit me. I am done with summer. Worn out from digging, bending, schlepping, lifting and tending the garden. Even the heat is different.
Yesterday, afternoon, I walked outside to try to get enthusiastic about something. I was hoping to feel the magic of the garden.
I looked around my yard. I walked to the wildflower garden, all spent from heat and exhaustion. Their bright colors had transpired to gray. Their heads, once bonnets of beauty, looked like me when I need to have my hair colored. Their posture was like mine, too. Bent.
The hydrangeas, which had been transplanted this year, and had been warding off the fungus, showed signs of weakness.
After. Few minutes, I walked into the house, noting that their was no air to breathe outside.
The garden had taken a toll on my body. I know, I know, I did it to myself. No one told me to haul bags of pea gravel, lift it and put it around. I didn’t have a gun at my head switch someone saying, dig deep into this clay to land this spires.
No, I was my own garden warden. The vision was strong. The body did most of what was asked. And now, it was revolting, telling me that it was time to rest.
There are times when I dance as fast as I can. I get a project, a vision in my mind and I go for it. I do what it takes for as long as I can.
Even if it involves trips to an orthopedic doctor and MRIs and. Probably, physical therapy.
Last week was also the week before my 6-month mammogram and visit with the surgeon. My first check-up since I was declared cancer free. And I had been cancer-free. Once the surgeon had said those words, after surgery and before radiation, I lived my life free of cancer. I simply went on.
The funny thing about many kinds of cancer is that you feel fine and dandy, even though a group of cells are gathering to form a convention of attackers, often you don’t know it. It is like walking in your yard, as you always do, but this time, you look at the grass and see a copperhead. Yikes. But you get rid of the copperhead and move on, perhaps with a slower speed because you realize that you need to slow down and feel life, or you speed up things because you hear tick-tock, tick-tock.
For me, it wasn’t so much the episode with cancer … it is age. No matter how much I want to believe that age is just a number … for me, it isn’t. It is trying to balance attitude, looks and body. I rarely have them all in sync.
And August is my month when I feel everything shift. It is my of uncertainty, a bit of a foggy head and a sense of loss … ad transition.
I see photos of my grandchildren heading back to school. A couple of days ago, I got a phi tire of my two oldest granddaughters standing by each other. One is a senior and one is a freshman. The senior was going to drive the freshman to high school. I couldn’t help but get misty.
It is so difficult for me to put my arms around the fact that one of my sons will have a daughter in college next year.
I guess that August is a melancholy month for me. The air even shifts. What was simply hot and humid, become stifling. The sounds of outside are different. The nights are loud with a cacophony of insects and their hallelujah chorus. And even now, as I sit on the screens porch, the sounds of insects drone, not allowing silence of any kind.
I tend to craw my way through August, waiting for it to end. If I acknowledge and embrace this weird sense that I feel, I can almost laugh at it. But mostly, I don’t think it is very funny.
The good news is that when September arrives, I have figured out my next chapter. I have let my mind and body regroup. At this moment, I am uncertain about what my next act on life’s stage will be. Will I continue to write and allow people to see some of the workings of my mind and heart, or will I hang that up? What will I do to move my life and thoughts forward? Or do I have to look at life that way?
There is something good that comes out of putting one’s shovel down for a while. Breathing deeply and taking stock. Maybe that is what August is about? Perhaps the discomfort and uncertainty of and uncomfortable feeling of this month is part of the growing process. It is a realization of the seasons. Seasons change. So must I.
But for now, I think I will rest.
PS. Winston feels this way, too.
It isn’t that we were actual friends. More like pleasant acquaintances. I know of her but hadn’t talked to her until she began following my writing. At that point, we had a few email conversations about some of the subjects that I had written about.
One of those subjects was Ireland. It made her think about her trips to Norway, where she visited relatives.
I love Ireland. She loved Norway.
The last time I saw my friendly acquaintance, was just prior to our moving south. I saw her in a local carryout. I was buying scratch off lottery tickets pats and she had just purchased cigarettes.
We chatted for a few minutes. I told her we were moving. She mentioned that she and her husband had moved into a little schoolhouse type building. She mentioned that her son had bought their big house on the lake.
It was a peasant chat. Friendly acquaintances. A pleasant sort of relationship.
One of my sons knew her husband. I think that they were friendly acquaintances, too. One day, maybe a year or so ago, I received an email from my son, saying the husband of my friendly acquaintance, had died.
I didn’t know him, but I felt badly for his wife.
Remember when Robin Williams died? That hit me. I didn’t know him, but I grieved. The same with Anthony Bourdain. I recall, crying, when Nick told me what had happened. Nick asked why I was crying, and all I could say was that I was just very sad. I was going to miss him.
Maybe it is my age, or how the world is or just the way my mind works, but when I hear about certain deaths, though I might now have known the person, feel like a bit of a punch in the gut. My equilibrium takes a hit, and I grieve.
I have a friend that I have had for probably 35 or 36 years. Long time. Good friend.
The other day I called her. We chatted and caught up on what her kids were doing and how my kids are. We talked politics and laughed and about my old neighbors and that the people who bought our old house, which is next to hers, are taking good care of my cottage garden.
She asked me if I knew a certain person. This person was my friendly acquaintance. I said, yes, I know her.
“She died last week.,” she said.
My gut immediately hurt. She was only 67.
I can make 67 sound young or old. It depends on how I am looking at it. For death, it is young.
My friend told me the circumstances for the woamn’s death, which unsettled me even more. Fire, burns … suspected to be caused by smoking.
My mind flashed back to our chat at the carryout. She and her husband had a lake house and were planning on spending more time there. Her obituary mentioned that she and her husband began dating at 16.
Now, 3 years later, they both are gone. Their 3 adult children have lost their parents and their children have lost their grandparents.
And though I didn’t know either, well, they are in my craw.
Futures. Plans. Pasts. Unexpected Losses.
I think I will sit and watch some birds for a fe minutes.