Friday, December 11, 2020

Beauty from brokenness

 Three years. Three years ago today you left on your last great adventure, leaving me behind, stunned and bereft. 

Thirty-six months, 156 weeks, 1,095 days of getting out of bed, putting one foot in front of the other, trying to reinvent my life without you in it. 

Except, of course, you ARE in it. Your imprint is everywhere I turn, every room I inhabit, every drawer I open, every inch of space through which I move when I am home, and in many of the spaces in which I move when I am not at home -- church, grocery store, even the gas station where that one employee often walks outside when he sees my car to tell me he still thinks of you often.

Your happy spirit keeps showing up, making me smile even when I get teary. It practically exploded out of the boxes of Christmas decorations Gavin and I pulled out. Yes, we hauled them all out, including the boxes and boxes of fabulous Christmas decor left to you by Tom and the others. Right now, they are filling the front porch room and the morning room of the farmhouse, with artificial trees (yes, plural trees) standing outside. 

There they sit, while I slowly go through them. Gavin thinks we should put it all up in a wild Covid 19 quarantine frenzy of decorating, and I think he may be right. Of course, like you, he has no intention of helping put it all up. He just wants to admire the finished job. Like you, my love. 

But what an admiring appreciator you were. You loved the extravagance of it and wasted no time planning parties to share it with friends. 

Well, no parties this year, as we all hunker down while the pandemic rages. If you were still here, I would have to tie you to a chair to keep you safe. You would have gone nuts without seeing and checking on all your peeps for so long. 

But I have started the decorating -- and yes, I know it's still Advent, but I needed some cheer, knowing this day was approaching and that I would need some bulwarks against the still-fresh grief of losing you. 

The Christmas tree is a real one, a gift from Mike Judge. It is lovely, and so far, Sable Cat has simply admired it. Let's hope her restraint maintains.

The lights on the garland for the round window still work, which was a pleasant surprise. And you are glad to know, I am sure, that the window has been repaired and is now in great shape, considering it's what, nearly 100 years old?

The fireplace, as usual, hosts Santa and his reindeer and my mom's straw Christmas trees. Of course, I never sit in front of it without thanking you again for its design. You were a genius at things like that-- creating beauty out of broken fragments and leftover pieces that others discarded as useless.

In fact, that's what the genius of your ministry was -- taking broken and discarded people and reflecting back to them their real beauty. 

God, I miss you, my love.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Happy birthday, my love

Today is Gayland's birthday. He would be 83 years old.

He would have awakened me with a cup of coffee and said, "Come on, my love, let's walk in the garden to greet my birthday."

He enjoyed his birthday, and in true Gayland fahion, often used it as an occasion to help others. He would invite people to a party and ask that they not bring gifts, but donations to Planned Parenthood, or to a group working against the death penalty, or to the Humane Society.

He's been gone more than 800 days, so you'd think some of the rough edges of grief would have worn down.

Well, no.

But life does go on.

Some months ago, when it became clear that my ancient dachshund gentleman Mr. Carson had had a stroke and had to be gently helped into a peaceful death, one of my coworkers sent me a spectacularly beautiful orchid with multiple spikes of blooms. It was a sweet gesture of sympathy from another dachshund lover.

I enjoyed the blooms for weeks, but resigned myself to the fact that the orchid was doomed, for I have no gift with orchids. But I faithfully followed the directions of more knowledgeable friends, and it stayed alive.

And then two nubs appeared that began to grow into obvious potential blooms.

I was astonished, but dubious that these nubs would ever open into full flower. But when I looked at it this morning, one had, just in time for Gayland's birthday. I had to laugh.

So, if you choose, please make note of Gayland's birthday by making a donation to the 4Saints Episcopal Food Pantry. This amazing little operation works with the Tarrant Area Food Bank to provide food to the increasing number of families with food insecurity. And the numbers grow each week as more and more people lose their jobs due to the pandemic.
You can donate the old fashioned way by mailing a check to :
4Saints Food Pantry,
4301 Meadowbrook Dr.
Fort Worth, Texas 76103

or use the Venmo app @Four-SaintsFood.

Gayland would love that he might have a part in feeding hungry people.

Now to get through this day.

Happy birthday, my love. I miss you so.