Love, Loss, Longing, and Postponement

Today was a day of many happenings. Yesterday was the funeral for G’s ex-husband, and she called me last night, saying that as such things go, it had been a good experience. The church was packed, all his doctors, nurses, and aides from the nursing home where he lived for the last 5 years came, much family came who she had not seen in years, she “made peace” with the 2nd wife, who was pretty much being shunned by everyone, and brought her into the “fold”, etc. She said she thought she was pretty much cried out.

Today was the actual burial. I don’t know if that’s a NY thing, or a his family thing, or the funeral home couldn’t do it till today thing (this is a VERY rural area where he lived–think Amish). So, more people, more gathering, more hugging, and crying. Then everyone came over to the son’s house, where she said there must have been at least 24 KIDS, not to mention parents, grandparents, cousins, in-laws, out-laws, and etc. She’s pretty worn out as you can imagine. But, it really was good for her to go. She made reconnections from old high school friends (she has a reunion coming up there that she won’t make, so this trip will substitute). I’m glad she went, I’m glad I’ve had this week to be in the house by myself, to work hard, to play in the garden and eat out of it, because for some reason when she’s here, I kind of think of it as “hers”–probably because she does virtually all the work on it. She calls it “tinkering” but most people don’t “tinker” 8 or 9 hours a day! Truthfully, it’s her therapy and meditation. I can do the quiet, sitting meditation. She can’t. She has to be moving, and moving outside is the best. She weeds her mind when she weeds the garden and tosses it all into the compost. It all goes back into the dirt and gets transformed into love and good food. So, my being able to do a little bit of that has been good for me. Still, I miss her and I can’t wait to have her back, “tinkering” away, and making things ever more beautiful here.

Got a call from my daughter today. She was teary. They have decided to postpone the wedding. I am SO utterly thrilled. I gave her much encouragement and positive feedback. It has nothing to do with the guy. I do think they are happy together–she has been happier around him, and the boys, too, than she has been around anyone else I’ve ever seen her with. I told her that. But her getting laid off really put a wrench in things. Plus, right or wrong, there are a lot of benefits she will lose if she gets married. Daycare help, food stamps (probably), kids’ Medicaid. In love or not, she NEEDS those things. I can’t pay for daycare, and they couldn’t either, alone.

If they love each other, they will let this make them stronger, and when the time comes, the wedding will be perfect. After all, the wedding is only a few minutes, it’s the MARRIAGE you want to last, right?

So, we divvied things up and made a few phone calls. The only one really out may be my sister who just got her plane ticket to come out here from Atlanta. But we were going to pick her up in Denver when we went up there for our convention, so maybe she’ll just stay up there with us and have a weekend fling, who knows? Or maybe she’ll transfer the ticket and go someplace else for fun. All will be well.

G. has a friend from one of her VA support groups, T. T. is a big, blustery guy, in his 60’s, from New York, white hair, white beard, very smart, but a lot of b.s. He’s fun to talk to, well-read, knows a lot about a lot, very intelligent, but you can’t count on him. That’s the thing about many alkies–they are charming, but empty.

But, T. has this little dog, Bella. Bella and Peaches could almost be twins except Bella is a few pounds lighter, and where Peaches has golden eyes and a pink nose, Bella’s eyes and nose are coal-black buttons. T. loves that dog. Whenever he saw her, held her, or even talked about her, his whole face just lit up and he really became a different person. It was quite something to see, this big Santa-Claus like guy with a dog that easily fit into his shoe!

We hadn’t seen T. in a while. His daughter lives in northern CO, and he had been spending time up there, even though he has a house here, and also doing some other traveling. So, when the phone rang today while I was working, and I saw his name, I almost didn’t answer it. I was cranking out the work pretty well, and figured he just had some kind of funky request, or wanted to borrow a tool, or something like that. But, I did answer it. I said Hello, and there was just this odd, snuffling or choking sound. “T?” I said. Gruffly he said “Hi.” “Are you okay?” I was pretty concerned, he sounded very odd. Then he just burst out “Bella died!” and burst into tears. And so did I. I couldn’t help it, because I had really thought a few times, how is he going to react when she dies? So he sobbed for a while, and then I got him to talk a little bit. I guess she died a couple of weeks ago while they were up with his daughter, from kidney failure. She was several years older then Peaches. Then, he tells me his brother died that same week! Dear, God, it just never lets up, does it? Apparently, they discovered his brother had a brain tumor 3 weeks ago, took out the tumor, and a week later he was dead.

So, we talked and cried for a while. He said he was writing and writing and writing and he didn’t know where it was all coming from. I told him as someone who had kept a journal since I was 12 years old that it was the best thing he could do for himself. He said, “I just can’t stuff all this back in.” He said he could go and get a bottle of vodka like the old days but if he did he would be dead. I agreed with him and told him we’d like him to hang around for a while if he would. He said he was reading Buddhism which made a lot of sense to him, about how pain was inevitable but suffering was not. I told him I totally agreed. He has to feel this pain, but if he lets himself feel it, then he can transform it, and just like Glena’s “mental composting” it well re-emerge in the joy of beautiful memories and things done the right way for a change. He said I was really the first person he had spoken to out loud in nearly 2 weeks, said the first week, he didn’t hardly react at all, but this week, he has not been able to stop crying all week. I told him good. It’s a lifetime of “stuff” he’s dealing with, because he’s hinted at his “rough” upbringing by a violent dad, etc., the military, the drinking, PTSD, etc. The typical story. But, we can hope, not a typical ending, but a continuation, a new birth of growth and expansion, and hope…all wrought by a little dog on a big man.

What a legacy for little Bella.



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