Sunday, September 21, 2014

And then September comes

September has always been a difficult month for me.  Anniversaries will do that.   But this year it seems to be hitting in a different place.  

Memories used to knock me right back to the day of the assault.   I could feel the memory coming on and be body slammed back in time as if I were there, experiencing it all over again.  I have come a long way since then and I will be forever grateful for my therapist who held onto me and slowly pulled me out of that recurring nightmare.   I have become an expert at separating past and present.

But the memories are always there.  Everyday.  

I let them come, the tears well up, I distract myself.  Life goes on.

And then September comes and the memories come more often.  The tears flow freely.  The nights are more difficult.   

This year it is worse.  I’m not sure why.  I am experiencing an indescribable heavy sadness that I can’t seem to shake.  I can’t get the horrific images out of my head.   They are not triggering.  I know they are just memories.   But they follow me everywhere throughout the day and into the night.  They are unrelenting.

The anniversary is next week and I usually go down to the city to visit her grave.  In the last few years her mother had joined me.  Perhaps that is why this year feels so different.  Her mother passed away early this year and she was the only living connection I had to Daphne.   Now I have no connection at all.   We didn’t like each other but at least we had a shared sorrow. I feel very alone in my sadness this year.

This is also the season of atonement, something I have practiced since my youth. But this year, for the first time, I will not be asking anyone for forgiveness.   Not that I have been a perfect spouse, parent, friend, colleague or human.   So far it.   But last year I wrote a very sincere letter of atonement, and for the first time ever, my effort was totally ignored.  Not rejected (which has also never happened).  Just ignored.  Dead silence. And ever since I have been grappling with what it means to be unforgivable.  Which continually feeds the reality that I will never be able to forgive myself for that one day that took Daphne away, forever.  Yeah, I’m not in a good place.

So yes, life goes on and then September comes. I go into a funk.    

I will be sitting here with it for as long at it lasts.  

This too shall pass.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Full of Grace

Summer weather ended rather abruptly for us.  Quite suddenly the mornings are dark, the light has changed and the nights are very cool.  Although I generally like to ease a little more slowly out of summer, there is so much I love about fall.

1. The bedroom windows are open a bit to let the cold air in and the heavy blanket and down comforter are back on the bed.  There is something very soothing to me about sleeping under some weight.

2. And being able to snuggle.

3. The pool has closed.  Normally I find this the saddest part of the end of summer, but this year I am tired of cleaning it.  People seldom use it anymore, and it the constant vacuuming and chemicals and skimming and something always wrong with the pump - this year I was grateful to see the winter cover go on.

4. Having Beaner ask me to take her and her boyfriend on a hike on a cool, crisp Sunday morning.    Feeling very blessed to be asked, and got a great hike out of it too.

5. First apple cider donuts of the season,  hot out of the oven and melt in your mouth awesome goodness.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Little Kayak That Could

For all the years Martha and I have owned our little lake cabin, we have owned boats.  She, a used 17 ft. motorboat, me a canoe and a couple of kayaks.   She is all about taking the kids out water skiing and maniacal tubing thrill rides and causing a lot of water commotion.  I am all about getting up before dawn, paddling through calm misty waters, exploring little feeder streams, and sitting quietly watching turtles sun themselves on a rock or herons fish for their meals.  

Every year we have this faux argument about boats.   Her boat is always requiring repairs, or runs out of gas, or the battery dies.  It is truly a hole in the water we sink money into.   Mine has no moving parts and requires no gas.  But she waves me off, laughing that my kayak is a solitary little piece of plastic with no value, except to me.  I can’t pull  a water skier or even a tube.  It would be difficult to fish from a kayak and it is worthless as a platform for diving into the water. All true.

This year we met our neighbor to take his and Martha’s motorboat out of the water for the season.  (I merely toss my kayak into the garage).    His battery was dead so he borrowed ours to start his boat and drive it over to an area that enables boat launches and removals.   Martha then replaced her battery but could not get her boat to start.  This is on top of the cover which ripped so the interior of the boat flooded with water whenever it rained, and the bilge that broke so it could not pump all that water out.  Every time someone wanted to use the boat they first had to take a pail and bail it out.   Because of all the problems, she was going to trailer the boat home and have it serviced.  

But I digress.  

So there was Martha, standing in her dead boat at the dock, cursing and wondering how to get the boat over to where the trailer was waiting at the launch.   Even though I was secretly wishing it would just spring a leak and sink to the bottom of the lake,  I quietly went and got my kayak.  I tied a rope to the front of the boat to the back of my kayak and started to paddle.   It was extremely hard paddling but like that little engine that could, I managed to slowly, ever so slowly, pull her and her boat the half mile to the launch and then pull it up on the trailer.  

Oh yes I was smug.  Very, very smug.   And I extracted a promise that she would never, ever make fun of my little kayak again.

Driving home with the boat we heard a strange noise.  Then a car raced up beside and said that the trailer wheel was smoking.  When we pulled over we noticed that the wheel hub had lost it’s cover and most of the bearings had been lost.  The wheel had seized.   I knew this was the last straw and wisely kept my comments to myself while she made a lot of calls trying to find a towing service that could handle a boat and trailer.  

It was an old boat when she bought it.   Although she hasn't gotten an estimate for repairs yet, she knows it will not be worth fixing.  She is very sad and reminds me that this is the boat that the girls learned to swim from, and water ski, and fish.  It is the boat that provided hours and hours of good outdoor fun for our kids and their friends, away from social media and devices.  The boat that our dogs, who have always been afraid of the water, would happily jump into and ride the bow with their ears flapping in the breeze.  And the boat that took me on my quiet twilight cruises as the sun set.

I guess I should start saving.  Looks like we will be buying a new (used) motor boat next year.  

Let the cursing begin.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Full of Grace

1.  That life has been filled with so many outdoor things to do while the days are crisp and warm and the nights are clear and cool.   If I had my druthers I don't think I would ever go inside.

2.  That this is growing in my garden. I have tried for years to grow sunflowers and never had even one tiny stalk.  This year I didn't even plant seeds yet this is what smiles back at me from my kitchen window. I am beyond happy about it.

3.  Babysitting a 4 month old and a 20 month old for 36 hours.  Makes me very grateful that I was much younger when I had to do this full time.    Phew, they wore me out.  But in a very fun way.

4.  Sitting in my kayak for an hour just watching this amazing bird pace back and forth, patiently fishing.

5.  Primary election day today and I am very grateful that I live in a state where my choices are all good.  I can't imagine living in a state where the politics are so conservative that women and minorities are still fighting the same battles that were won in most places decades ago.   In fact, we were just enjoying a political commercial where a young man running for Congress said, "my husband and I."  Yep, that is a political asset here.  Like everything around me these days, it feels like a breath of fresh air.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Full of Grace

Labor Day weekend was spent at our lake house.   From Friday to Sunday we had a few of Beaner’s college friends as guests.  It’s a wonderful thing to see this place that I sometimes take for granted through someone else’s eyes:

1.  Stars. A young man from Boston could not get over the stars!   Funny, I am usually complaining that our neighbors have so much outdoor lighting that it obliterates the amount of stars I get to see compared to when I am out in the wilderness.  But when you live in a city you don’t get to see them at all, so yeah, the night sky there is still pretty amazing.

2.  Water.  I forget that most people cannot walk out their back door and enjoy swimming in the cool, calm water of a mountain lake.  

3.  The air.  Our camp is near an old sanatorium where people who had TB were sent to convalesce and breathe the crisp, pine scented air.  Breathing clean mountain air is something I definitely take for granted, but I have now been reminded that this is a luxury for many.

4.  The woman who exclaimed “this is such a fun place!”   I hope it will always be so.

5.  Then by Sunday evening the rains came in and the kids were all gone.  Martha and I enjoyed sitting on opposite ends of the couch, reading and listening to the rain on the roof and the thunder rumble and echo through the mountains.   And then some much needed intimate time.  Her crazy family problems are starting to settle down and my health issues are finally fading into the past, and we now have the time and energy to enjoy each other.  

After these last few years of chaos, our live's are getting back to normal and I am so, so grateful for that.