The crunch of the fresh snow under my boots was invigorating to my countenance. The millions of diamonds glinting in the sunlight was breathtaking as far as my eye could see.
When I breathed in the crisp morning freshness, my nose tingled like Rudolph’s nose ready to head up Santa’s sleigh. It is a magical time of year….sometimes.
It is a time for family, for being together, for closeness and tradition…for remembering. But as it is with most things, it is bittersweet. Just thinking about that word…bitter and sweet, it is harsh. We all like sweet, but bitter on it’s own is a desolate, unwanted flavor on the tongue. It is repugnant, and a person who is bitter is often a solitary creature.
The lake is frozen, and the geese gather around a few open places in the center honking and swimming, and delighting in the break in the ice…a chance to gather together, to be in a community.
I observe them as I walk, and then almost as if on command, they become utterly silent. I wonder why? The honking ceases, and the wings stop flapping, and all is still. Are they taking a “moment of silence” to think on other geese brothers and sisters who have passed on? I had heard that geese mate for life, and every once in a while I hear a lone bird flying over honking his beak off, and I wonder if he is calling to his mate, forlornly hoping she or he will magically reappear?
There are not many walking this morning. I’m bundled up, and I am glad for warm boots, socks, mitts, hats, and my Dad’s coat. It is a comfort to me to be out in nature….remembering. There is lots of pain, but I feel an overwhelming sense of peace in knowing I have loved my dear departed ones with my whole heart, and will one day be reunited with them.
Footprints in the snow. Some are made by my boots, with a distinct imprint etched upon the white, but some look to be made by a deer, or dog, rabbit, coyote, or perhaps a fox. It’s fascinating to observe the different marks made by man and beast.
It’s interesting to look behind you to see the past designs where your feet have trodden, but the way ahead suddenly looks more promising than it ever has before. Poking through the snow there are some points of rocks that can be easily seen, but there are also flat stepping stones completely encased in snow. Dirt is visible, and white laden cat tails stand tall and proud beside the icy lake.
The way before me is uncertain, and yet it is hopeful. There will be stones to move, and throw out of the way, there will be dirt and muck to wipe off my feet, but there will be the pure white vision ever in front of me, the moving forward in life.
My little “beetle bug,” “Dot” began sputtering, and chugging today, as we were out Christmas shopping. The orange check engine light began to frantically flash on my dashboard. I decided that it made sense to just drive into the nearest gas station and check things out.
Natalie and I tried to find the hood release button in “Dot”but to no avail. Suddenly a young man appeared, and asked if he could be of assistance? I said, “well sure,” so he casually opened up the driver side door, and found the lever. My Mother sat staying warm in the passenger seat, and just watched with keen interest. He was so unexpected, and polite, and I thanked him for his gentle concern.
After the latch was found, Natalie lifted the hood, and the oil stick thingie was checked. The oil looked good, so I decided to call the mechanic. Upon hearing the ailments the car was experiencing , he told me not to drive it, and have it towed to him. He said” if the check engine light is blinking…that’s not a good sign.” Poor Dot is now in the shop, awaiting a proper diagnosis. Poor…poor Dot!
Incidently, the very day before. Dot triumphantly came to the rescue of Natalie and her Isuzu rodeo that quit on her on the side of the interstate. She swooped in, and sat determined at the side of the freeway hoping that no semi trucks would mow into her. Seriously…AAA saved our vehicles two days in a row. I’m feeling very grateful for these “up beat ” tow truck driving men who came to our rescue and made us feel safe..Their smiles, and the way they preformed their tasks in an efficient and attentive manner was most excellent.
So we are housebound…but no matter. The puzzle is out on the dining room table, and my Mother sits determined, and enjoying the challenge of the 100o piece puzzle depicting a gazillion pets. Last evening she and Natalie sipped tea, and worked on the puzzle, while the new kitten, “Bonkers,” lazed in the center, doing what cats do. Taking over the space, and trying to knock the odd piece to the floor with much mischief in her eyes.
Zach works on his manuscript, and munches occasionally on the big overflowing bowl of hot buttered popcorn.
Things are different in our house this year, but they are not without joy. Dear loved ones have come, graced and blessed us with their presence, and have gone. We miss them..we probably shall always miss them.
The beagles are wearing their adorable doggie sweaters, and so the cat is not left out, one was purchased for her… So stay tuned for a group shot…which I’m sure will be quite hilarious! After all, the beagles and the kitten are new kinda ,sorta tentative friends….so the organizing of the moment could prove to be a challenge of momentous proportions.
New plans and footprints on the frozen landscape are being forged. I’m trying to find the courage to look through Bianca’s closet, and sort through her clothes, but each time I open her door, I touch her things, and I see her little body in them, and I find my face pressed close in amongst them hoping for a scent of her, a breath of her being…something, anything to fill up that empty space deep inside my chest. It is overwhelming to try to part with her things. How do people do this? I’ve been told that I will know when it’s time, that I’ll be ready.. But I don’t know. I don’t think I’m ever gonna be ready to give her things away….and so I wait.
I laid upon her bed again, and for the life of me, my mind cannot comprehend where she has gone. Her room is still…and the silence deafens my limbs. They feel heavy and weighted to the thick carpet beneath me…
My dogs feel it too. They enter her sanctuary, and gently lay beside me…there is a knowing, an understanding in them. They are missing her too… We all do… Of course…it is the way it is with separation.
Life goes on, as they say, whoever they are, and we find ourselves pressed onward into another phase of life. It’s something we don’t necessarily want to depart from, because somehow it feels disresptful, irreverent to those lives left behind.
“I’m so thankful to have been her Mummy for 18 years. I got to hold and love her. I’m humbled that I was chosen for her, and that we had a connection so rich it was…pure poetry.”
I am grateful for so many who haved loved her, and loved my family through our grief and life changes. Your support and encouragement have meant everything to us.
As the season is upon us when we remember our Saviors’s birth as a baby, and the humble way he decided to come to earth, it reminds me of the miracle of birth. The brilliant star that led the wise men to come from far away, and the persistence they showed in finding baby Jesus, the King of all mankind…there amongst the straw. Did He cry?.. Was He a fussy baby, did He have colic…what would it have been like to breast feed the King of glory? It’s a staggering thought for me to consider…
Jesus…and his beloved Mother Mary…what an incredible Mother/Son connection. His birth gave way for fresh tracks to be made, for humanity to have a savior, for new and everlasting life to be made possible. To God be the glory…..