Even So… #22
Day ? of the plague.
It’s been a while. A long while. What have I been doing? Well, it’s been a slog and a trudge and a period of toil, just to keep my head above water. Has it felt like that for you as well?
Even so, I have tried to keep writing and mostly failed. Several days I have taken to my bed, pulled the covers over my ears, and said, “This day is over!” Never mind it was three in the afternoon.
But, in spite of everything, I find I cannot help but be amazed at storms and eagles and snakes (my Best Beloved less enthralled than I with that last one) and children floating on inner tubes up the creek and blueberries that explode on the tongue and hydrangeas and good strong coffee in the morning. I am grateful for the kindness of friends, and their laughter, and the way they will share tears when tears are necessary.
Still. Speaking of tears.
My aunt died of COVID. Alone in a hospital, with no family around her. I didn’t know Bernice well, but this I do know, she was loved, and she was sweet and kind. My mother holds her tears in and tries to be philosophical, in spite of everything.
A friend of my heart passed away suddenly early Saturday morning. A spiritual guide, a mentor, a teacher, someone I’ve known since I was fourteen, and with whom I talked at least twice a week. Michael. I knew something was terribly wrong, but when we talked he insisted he was fine. Just tired. Just a bit of undigested tofu. And then his sister called and he was gone. A Michael-shaped hole in the world, and not just for me, but for SO many people. But is he gone? I don’t think so. He has transformed, yes, but he is still here, still caring for all the many people he cared for, even so. Several of his friends dreamed about him on the night he passed. He’s like that. Checking on everyone. Making sure we’re okay. Making sure we’re still going forward in a good way, even so.
And it may not seem like much to most people, but one of the fish in our pond, one of the original four, and so fifteen-years-old, didn’t survive the power outage of the storm. That hurt. I felt guilty. We buried him in the back of the garden, where the wildwood stands, safe in the hands of the God of animals. And he might be just a fish, but he was mine, and a wept, even so.
But, we go on as life demands and as Michael insists. Thus, I celebrate my friend, Aefa Mulholland, a wonderful writer, who earned her MFA thesis this week, even so. I am made joyous to learn the lump under Bailey (the pup’s) ear turned out to be nothing. The few tomatoes that survived the hurricane are delicious. And…another friend, the inspirational Pastor Erich Kausmann, continues to feed the hungry and comfort the grieving in Trenton, in spite of everything, having found his life to be so much more useful than he ever thought it would be during all those years he spent in prison.
Plus, the forecast indicates this lung-searing heat may be over today, and in spite of everything, I still love a book. a quiet place to sit, and a cup of tea.
Tell me, dear ones, what’s sustaining you these days?
I was sad to read of your Aunt’s passing of Covid alone then Michael’s leaving. I have 2 very dear people who are in the phase of transitioning and who were so important in my life. I talk out loud and often to those beyond to vent or guide me.
I often feel like I have been covered in the cobwebs not touching, not hugging, no kisses or endearments that come with the gentle hair touch or holding hands.
Perhaps this solitude was a way for me to draw a map of all those moments in my life that tapped emotions raw and tumultuous, love and out of touch.
My walks by the ocean, the water rolling over me is like a hug, a way to cry without anyone noticing. The lush foliage, birds, fish, shells and the pups playing let me know I will be ok and with each sunrise and sunset I ask, “was I gentle in all of my interactions today?”
I pray for a time to joyously have a meal with friends, to see my family, to play with them and watch them and talk face to face.
I do not wish to live in isolation and solitude for months/years to come.
For now it is just that.
What sustains me, the love of a good man, the dog who makes me get up in the morning for his short walk and then later for our 2 mile walk. The quiet of forest bathing in my yard with the bird feeders being grand central station. Can’t forget the hummingbirds either. My garden has never looked better. Weeding is cathartic. Then a walk to the beach to say hello to friends and my day is done. 😍
You’re in a good place, Lily. I’m so happy. Give Domino a cuddle for me, and give Eliot a hug! We miss you. One day we’ll be together again.
Oh, Annie, two people in transition?? I am so sorry. I know how hard this isolation is, especially with all the uncertainty. But I am so happy you’re there by the ocean, with your beloved pups. I have no doubt you can answer that question with, “Yes, I can say I was gentle.” That’s who you are.
Dear Lauren, I’m sorry to hear of your recent losses. It would be difficult under any circumstances, but with the lingering Covid situation it adds more isolation when it would be better to be with other people. You’ve expressed what many of us feel … and I’m uplifted by ” in spite of everything, I still love a book. a quiet place to sit, and a cup of tea.” Yes, we do what we can to stay healthy and positive ….I’m making myself a cup of tea right now.
warm regards, Alice
Thank you, Alice, for your comment and for your kindness. Enjoy that cup of tea. I raise mine in solidarity.
A rediscovery of making music has helped me (after at least 25 years of hiatus). In my case, I make music with a guitar. After taking an online refresher course, I’m back to — and beyond — the skill level I had as a teenager studying classical guitar. At 60, I’ve broadened toward the blues. And I can thank the COVID-19 lock-down for motivating me to buy a new instrument — and find a forgotten part of myself. “Muses” is in the Greek root for “music,” and it’s nice to have easy access to those spirits again.
P.S. During lockdown, I also self-published my first (and last?) novel, begun in 2011 and copy-edited by a freelancer. I have little interest in marketing and promoting it, but it’s at least available to people: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54192390-crimes-of-disrespect?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=6qlWUNbXKT&rank=1
How wonderful that your creativity is seeing you through these difficult times, Bob! Keep going.
I”m sorry to hear about your losses (now I understand why you haven’t been in the mood for email). Is that a mischievous gleam that I see in your Aunt Bernice’s eyes? And what a gentle expression on your friend Michael’s fave. And I hope your family of fish has been able to adjust to their loss of a companion as well. For me? My best beloved, also the little black female cat who continues to visit us a few times a day and occasionally trusts us enough for a few pets, the feathered and furred creatures of the neighbourhood, a collection of weeds growing in such an interesting fashion on the porch and occasionally flowering, morning walks, reading, writing, some luck with publication, and delicious and varied seasonal food from local and trusted farmers. So much good fortune.
thanks so much, dearest ‘buried’. Although I suspect I’ve missed an email from you. I’m not surprised — between some illness here are home (we’re all fine now), and the stress of it all, and the fact I spilled water on my computer and lost many of my emails and address… aaargh!!!
I’m delighted you have so many good things in your life. Don’t give up on me. Can you send me another email so I have your address again? And besides, I want to hear about the luck you’ve had with publication!!!
Oh, I’m so sorry about your dear aunt, and Michael. Just now getting to read this, as I wondered what you are up to. It’s reassuring, in a sad way, that you, too, are having trouble focusing on the writing. By now, tho, the fog may have lifted. I hope so.
Long walks in nature and a week by the sea have helped but the ‘covid malaise’ hovers over all. We will get through this. Many blessings to you and your Best Beloved. And Bailey.
Thanks, Linda. It’s good to hear from you and I hope you and yours are safe and well, and that you’re writing! I did manage to get the edits for my new novel finished, and I take that as a big win! Love to you.