Friday, March 4, 2011

Life

We flew to Memphis, and drove to Baton Rouge together - all three sisters.  Cleaning out Dad's place was exhausting mentally, physically, emotionally.  We were drawn back into our childhoods, and into his life.  It was like he was with us so much of the time.  It was all done by Wednesday, and we started on Sunday.  Just like that.  Finito. 

The three of us stayed in one hotel room with two beds.  We did okay, we really did.  We talked about things we needed to get off our chests, and I think finally we are really sisters again .  Not that we haven't always been, but it's like living together again only better.  There is real, deep understanding of one another, grace for each other's quirks - and I say that with love - and a spiritual and emotional tie that continues to grow stronger. 

My sisters mean the world to me, and I would drop everything to help either one of them.  They would do the same for me, I think.  I don't know that I could have said that a year ago when this all started, but it's true today.  I know it in my heart.  I never ever want to lose that.

Dad, I know you can hear this.  We did it. And we did it well.  You would be proud of us - - well, you probably are proud of us.  We didn't argue about things or get greedy.  We did what you wanted - - if it was something we all wanted, we flipped a coin or did rock, paper, scissors.  As hard as it was, there was joy.  And love.  I know I keep saying it, but it's what has enabled me to keep going.  Their love, David's love, and God's love. 

I don't know what the next season of life will bring, but I'm hopeful. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Malaise

Just hearing the word makes you lethargic.  It's one of those words that sounds distinctly Southern, but hey, we won't fight you for it.  Hot sticky humid - - those words come to mind.  But malaise is more than that.  It says in the dictionary that it is mental uneasiness.  Ah, there lies the core of the matter.

To say that I have no energy is an understatement.  I keep up with the matters of the world - - Egypt, what that could mean to the world, Nepal - still no ruler.  Things like that I will read about.  But can I clean out my closet?  No - - although in two weeks, I'll be doing that very thing at my Dad's.  Cleaning out his whole apartment, and preparing it for sale. 

I guess my body doesn't need a dress rehearsal, but my mind does.  I have become a hermit - - not really a good thing for me.  I read a lot, which is good, but nothing else seems to matter.  I do keep my home clean, cook for my husband, etc. but it all just feels like sleepwalking.

To say that I miss my Dad is an understatement.  It's like saying it's been cold here ---when the temps have been like -8.  I think the saying "you don't know what you have until it's gone" is probably an understatement as well.  Thank goodness I have my husband and my sisters, or I would go crazy.  Maybe I already am. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Boundaries

I spent much of my life without having a center.  Although I was raised Catholic, as soon as I was out of the house I was out of the church.  Now, there is a lot of freedom in being released to do whatever you want, but there is also a lot of bondage.  If there is no reason to live a good life, why are we here?  If we aren't here to help one another, instead of hoarding what we have, what's the point?  I mean really - - the richest guy wins?  Or the man with the most toys wins? 

Somehow, in His goodness and mercy, God pulled me out of what I thought was an okay life.  Not great - single parenting, special child, not lots of money (not really any).  I seemed determined to live out my days in an apartment until I ended up in an assisted living facility. Lot to look forward to, isn't it? Then I happened across this line of Scripture:

 5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
   you have made my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
   surely I have a delightful inheritance.

It is out of Psalm 16.  I can't tell you why it lifted my spirit, but it did.  There were boundary lines out there!  I didn't have to feel alone, or dejected, or worry about crossing the line.  The Bible had everything I needed to know to live a rich, fulfilling life. 

Thanks be to God, for saving me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Mississippi River

If you have never gone and sat on the banks of the Mississippi River, your citizenship should be revoked.  There is never a time that I don't miss the river.  I can remember crossing it as a young child to visit my grandmother, on a bridge so rickety I STILL can't believe it's there.  And, there was a train on the bridge at the same time.

I can remember crossing it on ferry boats to get to Algiers, Plaquemine, and St. Francisville.  I need the water.  I need the lazy move of her swaying ships, like a woman singing a siren song.  The blues were born on the Mississippi.  The kind of blues you can't get out of your mind.  Not "Old Man River".  That doesn't even begin to do it justice.

I have gone to sit on the levee so many times when I'm faced with a decision, or a hard time, or a good time in my life.  Lying on the riverbank gives you the feeling no one else is there, until one of the barges or riverboats toots its horn.  I can remember taking a blanket and a bottle of wine to the levee, alone, when I felt alone.  I have gone there with friends to be festive, or to grieve.

There's just no getting around the river.  When we go to Baton Rouge, the first thing I want to do is go to the river.  And then go to New Orleans, so I can sit on a bench and just watch that lazy old river run down the bend and on to farther destinations, or maybe just the Port of New Orleans. It doesn't matter.  It touches me.
It makes me feel part of a greater plan, a bigger picture, something much larger than me.

So, if you have never been to the river - - go there.  Alone, or with friends (depending on the neighborhood) but you will never be the same.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snow

We are expected to get one inch of snow, but it is really really cold outside and the snow is blowing like crazy.  I am happy to be sitting in my chair, writing this.

There was a shooting today near my nieces' school.  They locked it down, and everyone's okay, but nothing like a little action to keep everyone on their toes.  This was a Dad moment.  Lynn would have called Daddy and he would have talked her through it.  All she had was me - I hope I measured up.

The snow makes everything bright and beautiful and peaceful.  Just the right tonic for this evening.  I am blessed to have my husband here and my family within a phone call or text away.  Today was better.  I got up and got lots of housework done, which makes me infinitely happy. 

I unpacked some pictures of Daddy and put them around the house.  He looks so good.  Just because he isn't here doesn't mean I don't love him. I do. I love you, Daddy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In Between

Today, I thought I was doing really well.  I laid out all the cards and donations that people have made to Cancer Services and my daughter Madison's school.  I thoughtfully began to write thank-yous.  Then, I realized there were two types of thank you notes and I was writing on the ones to the pallbearers.  Hours of work down the drain, and I just had to put it aside and stop.


Sometimes, I feel like I am ready to go back to work, to see people, to become part of a community again.  Then, I realize that even the smallest thing such as grocery shopping takes everything out of me.  My dear husband watches me carefully, makes sure I go to bed when he sees me crashing, leaves me love notes when he goes to work in the morning.  He is a true blessing to me.

I call my sisters daily, and it's the same thing....sometimes we can talk and sometimes we can't.  The silence in the house is at once deafening and comforting at the same time.  I need time to heal, and I can't rush that.  I feel like God gave me the most amazing gift to be able to walk through the last 9 months of my Dad's life with him.  I was drawn into his world, met his friends, learned his routine.

I find myself calling David Daddy sometimes, just because it was the two of us a lot.  My sisters came, but their visits had to be limited.  Lori is taking care of our mother who has Alzheimer's, and Lynn has two young daughters. 

I dream about Dad every night.  I'm sure that will begin to happen less and less.  And, sooner or later, the pain will lessen.  But right now, I feel like I have a boulder on my chest and I can't breathe.  He was our anchor, our rock, our glue that held the family together.  I'm not sure we know yet how to go on without him.  We will figure it out, but right now, it's too raw....too fresh.  Too lonely.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Fog

The fog in my brain is overwhelming.  I begin a task, forget what I'm doing, and never get back to it.  I tell myself every day - - today I'll tackle the office, or the basement, or even the garage.  Nope.  Not yet.  But I am continuing to read through the Bible daily, and I feel like I continue to get encouragement from Jesus and from Daddy.  He's not gone.  I just can't see him.