What if Vic’s cancer had been caught earlier? What if the diagnosis was a mistake? What if they’d tried a different treatment? Maybe he was sick because of foot x-rays in his childhood shoe stores or the irradiation of a scar on his neck before he was ten. Maybe there was a hidden cause for this strange cancer with no known risk factors. Vic and I soon gave up the game of alternate realities and settled into life as it was—chemotherapy interwoven with publication of his new book or a day at the hospital followed by watching white geese dancing over our fields. Continue reading →
I wait for Vic to call. I saw him exhale without inhaling again. I washed his body, shrouded it, and zipped him into a body bag. Still I wait.
“May I speak to Vic,” a voice says when his cell phone rings a week after his death. How do I tell her without burning her ears and hurting her? I don’t even try.
“He’s dead,” I say.
I turn Vic’s cell phone off and leave it on his desk, but wonder how he will call me. I turn it back on and charge it. It sits for a month. Occasionally it rings. Occasionally I say, “I’m sorry, but he’s dead.” After two months, I am ready.
“Hello, customer service,” a young woman chirps when I call Verizon. “How may I help you today?” Continue reading →
This week, author Kathleen M. Rodgers shares a healing experience she had after two hard losses. You’ll find her bio and links after the article. Thank you, Kathleen.
Two weeks after the death of my dog Bubba and my elderly ill dad, my friend Paula called.
“Is it possible for you to watch Kaili while I go to a meeting?” she asked. Kaili is Paula’s four-year-old daughter. I almost said, “No, I can’t possibly put on a happy face and entertain a young child for a couple of hours. I’m still so sad.”
“I can take her with me to the meeting if you can’t watch her,” Paula said sensing my hesitation,“but Kaili specifically asked if she could ‘come play with Mrs. Rodgers.’”
My legs ache and a blister throbs, but I don’t stop or slow down. I focus on the copper vessel ahead of me with its beaded red cloth cover. It holds water collected four days ago at the southern tip of Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes in New York State. The sacred bucket was carried by a relay of walkers eighty miles around the lake. I joined the walk Monday morning for the last eight miles.
“What the hell did you do to my forsythia?” I screeched.
“We agreed it was too big. It took over the whole yard,” Vic said. “You’re being a bitch.”
“That was my bush. You didn’t ask me.” I’d just come home from town. We’d discussed this plant as it thrived and expanded. I loved its wildness, but it was taking over. We never got around to trimming it in June. It grew like kudzu.
“You can’t trim forsythia in August,” I yelled, red-faced, arms flailing. “It won’t bloom in the spring. Shit! How could you? You can’t…” But he already had. My wild graceful shrub was a round tight ball, an over-trimmed suburban foundation plant.
I stomped toward the house, but glanced back. Vic glared at me, his jaw popping with anger, and then he turned and walked away, toward the barn. Continue reading →
“No, you sit with David,” I say. She belongs next to David, not me.
My son David, his bride Liz, and I head for Watkins Glen State Park on this glorious late September afternoon. Yesterday was David’s birthday. We want to celebrate.
We leave the sunny parking lot and enter the moist shady caverns of the gorge. Liz tucks their five pound Chihuahua Lil’Bit into her jacket. David and Liz keep track of each other on the trail in a coupled dance—step together, then one step ahead, then together and three steps behind, pause, wait for the other to catch up, walk together again. A smile, a touch, a hug, a whisper. I watch and remember this dance with my husband Vic. Continue reading →
I’m honored to have a guest post by Jean Raffa this week. I met Jeanie more than 15 years ago at a workshop in Orlando, FL. She is a Jungian teacher, author of three books, and a wise crone. Find her bio at the end of this piece.
Have you noticed that gray is the in color these days? I’ve been seeing it everywhere: women’s clothing, jewelry, purses, shoes, furniture, fabrics, paint, cars, kitchens, bathroom fixtures. Suddenly, gray is the new gold.
The gray I’m loving most is the soft, silvery, salt-and-peppery gray of women’s hair. Especially my own. My love affair with gray hair originally came about by necessity – I started going gray in my twenties and quit fighting it in my mid-thirties – but its inevitability doesn’t diminish its beauty for me. Continue reading →