Thursday, December 29, 2016

The last leaves

The last leaves still cling to the branches. What is that? Courage? Commitment? Or maybe folly and hubris. Whatever it is we know any remaining squatters will be pushed aside by a new generation of leaves.  That first leaf -- sometime back in September -- where is she now? Blown on to the neighbors yard, or maybe right under the tree now covered by others and forgotten. Some more fell in October and more still even on that day in early November that was too warm and it seemed like summer was clawing his way back. A cold front in late November took many followed by an early snow, barely an inch, but just enough for us to forget the fallen leaves. We woke up that morning startled by the new view.

These last few stalwarts, the centenarians of their lot, may just make it to the new year. I hope so -- they've seen a lot. Soon enough they'll join their fallen brothers and sisters. Just like last year.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

I've been thinking about the whole Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays thing, as if there can be a winner. It occurs to me that part of our troubles has to do with the notion that its the receiver of the good wish who gets to be the arbiter of what is right for him or her. What if we simply flip it? It's the thought that counts, right? And the act of giving is the act we should acknowledge. So let the giver choose. If they choose "Happy Holidays," what's the offense? That's what they want to wish you. Likewise, if a "Merry Christmas" comes your way, then feel the joy that is inside that giver's expression of grace. Or Happy Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, New Years or Solstice and so on. Let's give deference to the giver of the expression rather than try to guess what the recipient will tolerate. Because all expressions of human connection and love we should embrace.

Peace and prosperity to us all as we head into the New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

6 years ago

That first Christmas, 6 years ago, after Amy died, was hard. The echoes of that year's grief have faded but still reverberate, softly, against the walls. I read in social media, FaceBook, elsewhere, others who have lost a loved one recently or less recently grappling with this time of year. Here in the northern hemisphere it is darker longer. It is colder. That feels right. But that is nature's doing.

Then there is humankind's doing. Celebrations and toasts to the future. Honoring the life of a newborn child. Family and friends and gifts. Joyful and triumphant. All of which create a high-key contrast to our specific suffering. A return to the normal banality of normal time is the only respite, dimming the lights that reveal our pain.

Hope. We want this to be a season of hope. I went to Target yesterday and they were sold out. The liquor store is a better place and 6 years ago, and sometimes still,  helped. There is no hope there either, to be sure, only resignation. But, for a while, she takes away the hope-less-ness.

Love. Somewhere there is love. That is where the solace is found. That is the season's reason. But, you say, letting the love find me and take me away is what also lead me to the edge of new grief the last time. Fear, then, becomes the barrier and the room we lock ourselves in. Stay in there if you must, for now.

Grief is an endurance race. And no matter the laps we've taken, there will be one more lap. Love is the same way. That is our curse and our blessing.