Saturday, August 31, 2013

Farewell dear little friend

This morning we held Sauntee, our kitty companion for nearly 20 years as she took her last breaths. And such is the circle of life.

Everyone who knew her knows what a sweet, gentle spirit she was. She never scratched our furniture, never jumped on the counters, only later, in her more forgetful years did she eat food that wasn't offered to her (who can resist fresh chicken when the plate is on the floor?). She tolerated playing dress up with Helena with a fair amount of grace and never scratched a human being, maybe because she considered herself one of us. Cats, on the other hand, were fair game and barely deserving of her notice.

She was most content on our laps, or in any available lap, and perversely, as cats are wont to, would seek out the lap of the least cat loving individual around as if to say, "the right cat can make a cat lover of anyone." Sauntee was the right cat without a doubt.

RIP dear small companion, I'm so grateful for all of the life we shared. I miss you already.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dear Mama....a letter to my mother on the first anniversary of her death.

Dear Mama,

I can't believe a year has passed. I still can't believe that you're gone. I know the truth of it, I was there. But sometimes, as I go through my days, it still suddenly brings me up short. And the seeming impossibility of it strikes me. How could this really be true? You, who were always such a powerful force in my life, are just gone.

For the first couple of months after you died, I had the impulse to call you almost every day, mostly to tell you something silly or sweet that one the girls had done. Slowly, that impulse faded, as I reminded myself that I couldn't, so I guess in a way the reality has sunk in, at least somewhat.

I also cried every single day, mostly in the car, driving to and from work, when it was quiet. I don't do that anymore, it only hits me in certain moments, so I guess that's healing, right?

Life has it's inevitable way of moving forward. The seasons continue to turn, the children are growing. Helena and Lucy are good for me in that way. They keep me grounded in the present, keep me from wallowing in loss. You knew that about children, I remember you saying something quite similar once. 

I wish Lucy had known you long enough to remember you. Helena has such wonderful memories of the time you two spent together. When talks about you, she often says that you were, "like a kid." You would like that, I know. She feels your absence keenly. She doesn't talk about it much, but when she does, I can see it and feel it, it's palpable, her sense of loss of you.

I know, believe even, that we are eternal, in some way. Whether we go to some place like heaven, or just become part of some cosmic collective energy, I do believe that we go on. The thing is, that doesn't comfort me much. It's not being reunited with you again sometime down the line that I'm concerned with, or the even thought that existence might just end. It's right here and now that I miss you. I miss talking with you, I miss holding you, I miss your sweet face. 

Your death has affected me in more ways that I can probably count, but the biggest of them, besides, of course, the missing of you, is that I no longer have a belief in my own longevity. You were so strong to me, so indomitable, so forever. I knew, of course, that that wasn't really completely true. But I was supposed to care for you in your old age, watch you become a wizened, feisty old lady, like grandma. I miss grandma, but it's hard to feel cheated when someone lives to 93. 64 is a raw deal as far as I'm concerned. And if it could happen to you, it could happen to me.

So it isn't that I'm certain that I'll die young, I'm just no longer certain that I'll live to a ripe old age. Which is actually a good thing, and probably a normal part of aging and maturing, the acceptance of mortality. It's pushing me to do things I might have waited on, and given me a perspective on life that I value. Even the strongest of us are not guaranteed any certain amount of life span, just the ability to make the most of what they have. I hope I'm learning to do more of that.

I think it could probably ramble on for pages about how much your being gone just sucks, but it would be redundant. The raw truth is that I just miss you, all the time.

Your loving daughter, 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Catching the moment....

Sometimes, as I go through my days, I suddenly realize I've had my head down, nose to the grindstone, so to speak, so much that I'm missing the beauty of this moment, the richness of this beautiful place where I live. Today though, when taking time out with the girls for a little fun, it struck me, and it took my breath away.

We're travelling, this week, to my home town, where half my heart still lives, along with so many loved ones, friends and family both, who still reside there. Always, when I make the journey home (I still think of it as home, even after 10 years), I ponder this choice we made to live to far from so many dear ones. My father is here, and my youngest siblings (but I expect them to spread their wings and fly elsewhere in the not too distant future) and some friends here who have become very dear. 

If I were to make a map though, of just our families, there would be a few pins for those of us in New York, one in Maryland, and literally dozens West of the Mississippi, with the vast majority concentrated between San Diego and San Francisco.

My girls know this as home, have only known New York as home. I look around at the rich beauty of the area, so green, so lush, and so more peaceful, relatively speaking, than big city life on the west coast. And I wonder, what is best. I'm grateful for the opportunity to go back once again, try it on for size, see if it still fits, and ponder some more.

But, for this moment, I will enjoy the rich beauty of the right here and now, and wish you the same.