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Posts Tagged ‘death’

Life is strange, but death is stranger. At least it seems that way to me since certain tastes and little peculiarities of my husband since his death appear to have transferred to me. These have certainly not been conscious acts; I am usually shocked to find myself behaving in such ways.

How to explain my choice of peanut butter? I have always preferred chunky, but bought a second jar of smooth just for Jerry. Only recently as I spread the knife across a slice of bread did I realize I had chosen creamy, and from the low contents of the jar, I had been spreading creamy for quite a while.

Then there are the forks. The set I bought a few years ago has usually large dinner forks, so Jerry began to request only salad forks. Not me. I teased him about this small, delicate mouth. So one day I notice only the salad fork has been at my place setting for a while. How long? I don’t know.

Probably strangest is the coffee mug. I despised that ugly, insulated 7-11 mug he insisted on drinking coffee from. Why couldn’t he use one of the beautiful, hand-painted mugs like me? Then one day I filled an insulated mug (not quite as large or ugly) to take on an early morning trip. You guessed it: that has become my mug of choice.

There are more, but you get the idea. All I can say is, I will certainly get professional help if I ever find myself on the golf course.

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Today has been one year since Jerry died. I don’t like to revisit unpleasantness, but want to mark this day in some way for such a wonderful husband and father. His presence when he entered a life, or even a room, changed those who experienced him forever. I am lucky to have been the one closest to him, and am forever changed and strengthened because of it.

Last year when his ashes were delivered to me, my wonderful daughter came for support, and I suspected I might need her. We opened the door exactly at the allotted time to see a small box carried by Pee Wee Herman. Not really, of course, but the funeral home rep was small with cropped hair, pointy nose, mischievous eyes and a bow tie. Without sacrificing respect he carried out his duties in an upbeat manner. He even offered to help us see if the ashes would fit the favorite of two containers my friend Pat and I had purchased. It was close, but “Pee Wee” said he could usually “massage” these things into place. And he did. Surely Jerry had something to do with his delivery by the most perfect messenger. I put his card away in my Red Book of information and told Amy to be sure and call him personally when it is my time.

Maybe this is the time to post a poem I wrote this year and then back to living a life that takes all its parts in stride, including the ones that hurt.

Profound Pronouns

Must remember to say

I, not we

Me, not us

Mine, not ours

Was, not is

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What do you do when a strange cat dies in your backyard? The big gray, furry thing lay at the edge of the fern all day, shifting positions only slightly when one of my cats came to the window or when I talked to him. And then late in the day he ceased all movement.. So I tapped on a window. Nothing. Then a closer window. Nothing. That’s when I began to wonder what a person does with a dead cat. I’ve buried many animals in that yard, including a 100+ pound lab, but it’s been a long week and I did not feel like digging though the vine filled yard. How about the county? No, he’s not on county property; he’s on MY property. He’s my problem.

My cats perched  in the windows watching, even talking cat talk, and still he lay there. So I went out the front door to circle around, and grabbed a large stick at the last moment in case a rabid cat suddenly attacked. The spot where he curled motionless could not be seen until I was three feet from it. I took a deep breath and stepped into the opening, not believing what I saw—a perfect circle of crushed fern, an empty circle. There would be no need for the shovel tonight. Thank God!

Unless he just crawled farther back in the fern to finish his exit. Oh, please, let it not be.

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Marilyn

I went to another funeral today. The skies were overcast and a cold wind was blowing, weather so unlike Marilyn. She was always smiling and beatific. Her daughter said in her remarks that her mother hated the “F word” and never used it, but once in the dark days of her breast cancer she looked at her and said, “Fuck cancer!” May I add an “amen?”

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Hadley Hemmingway, Ernest’s first wife said this of him, according to her biographer:

Meeting Hemmingway at a party in Chicago, she told Alice Sokoloff, was a great ‘explosion into life.’ He was the first person to see deeply into her true nature, and in a rueful irony, he helped her find the strong sense of self that sustained her through their breakup.

I was so struck by this passage. Substitute Jerry and “his death” for “breakup” and you have my husband’s gift to me.

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After

monarchs-cats-004No coffee flavor wafts into the bedroom in the morning—

 Cat fur coats his pillow—

 The dinner dishes sit unmoved an hour later—

 The small wad of cash in my purse is no longer enough— 

It’s a darker dark when the power goes out—

 Pockets have new purpose, holding keys and cash at times—

 Short trips in the car increase threefold: his, mine and ours—

 Cats now go in and out the screened porch door forty times a day—

 Cell phone operation is still a mystery—

 The GPS is comfort and a modicum of freedom—

Emma mysteriously appears before the first tear reaches the cheek–

 A familiar voice on the answering machine says every day, “I’ll see you later.”

 Yes, yes, you will.

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A house unchanged , a house totally changed. I have time, lots of time to sort through a lifetime of possessions and I move at the speed of one with a long, lazy road before her. There is no hurry to eradicate the past, to decide what is important and not. No hurry, yet it begins to happen naturally, and what is important surprises. Of all the items piled in the corner of the table the largest is the size of a saltine cracker.  

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The worry stone  Hannah slipped quietly into my hand as the memorial service began. “Hold this, Ahmaw, ” my granddaughter said, “It will keep you calm.”

 

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His wallet. You have to open these things that have always been  a place you do not go. But you are there–a tiny picture from long ago.

 

 

 

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His wedding ring. So it was the third in a line of replacements, the others lost who knows where.

 

 

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The ubiquitous golf balls. 

 

 

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Oh yeah, and the Mile High Club pin.

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