Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A December fortnight

The fortnight is finished

It was a fortnight of anticipation and hope and joy and sorrow. To mark the first anniversary of those December days I will keep a journal of creativity around my memories. It's not unlike the practice of opening an advent calendar window each day. Instead these are windows into my soul with the hope of lightness on the other side. In remembrance as well as to purge memories, with discipline and with heart, I hope to let small acts of creation see me through this December fortnight

Dec. 5

It was well into this year that I realized that lunchtime on Dec. 5, 2005, was the last time I felt that life was normal. I was working that Monday, having spent the weekend making food to leave for Ryan and Jeff, doing laundry and packing, and otherwise preparing to head for Texas and my father's heart surgery. Molly's car was being repaired (after breaking down on the way to the OB Christmas parade), so I drove her from our church to her clergywoman support group and sat on a bench outside the Pacific Beach UMC and ate a burrito while she and April Herron talked. When I left, I went on to do more work, more packing, more cooking in preparation to leave early the next morning. Not long ago, I ran into April in a restaurant. We were being introduced to each other by a mutual friend, and April remembered me before I remembered her. She reminded me of that time on the bench. I had to reach back into the recesses of my memory to bring it up, and that's when it hit me, that time on the bench with Molly and April was the last time life felt normal. By evening, my stress and exhaustion were high, and I had made the transition from the chaos of departure to the reality of where I was going and why. But the evening was filled with several moments of grace. I was staying at Molly's condo, where I could call a taxi at an insanely early hour and get to the airport nearby without having to trouble Jeff and Ryan. I remember when I first arrived not being able to do anything more than just sit for a very long time. After some time (and some wine), I began to come out of myself (or back into myself, I'm not sure which). Molly was carving a design in a linoleum block that would become her Christmas card. I remember watching her work and being drawn into the simplicity of this act of creativity, this act of creation. I just watched and marveled at the beauty of this craft. Time stopped, and for a moment I could focus on nothing else but the carving tool flicking away bits of linoleum as a poinsettia emerged.

Simplicity

I am lost to time
and momentarily free
of thought and fear and worry
as I enter into the irregular rhythm
of the flick, cut, flick of your carving.

I see a glimpse of beauty
not in the art but in the craft,
in the focus and intensity of each cut
as you sculpt a two-dimensional flower
into being, into blossom.

I carry it with me, still,
that poinsettia print,
tucked in the back of a calendar,
reminding me of that moment of suspended time
when I stopped to watch creation.


###

And my hope today is this, life is beginning to feel normal again. In fact, lunch today felt quite normal.

Dec. 6

The best laid plans...

I know exactly what I would write about if I were to write about this day last year, but I have no need to. Too much happened on this day this year to write about last. .

Today was a day filled with the inbreaking of God. I felt God's presence in my own life. I watched God's presence penetrate others. I even got to midwife some of that Spirit. All day long.

Vespers sustains me. Tonight it overwhelmed me in the most wonderful ways.

Tonight our Vespers service was full of families.

I have yet to find the words for the joy of serving communion to so many families, some sharing communion together for the first time. The love of God was embodied in those families as they shared in the bread and cup and as we all shared communion together.

And I keep trying to create, as I said I would, some art to capture the day. But, really, there is no need. The art was in the moment, the moments. No words are better than the ones spoken at communion. No images are better than those I hold in my heart from this night. God's creation stands without need for adornment.

Tonight I saw God incarnate.

O God, incarnate,
Alive in our communion,
(See, no words, I can't find the last line)

Dec. 7

I suspect December 7 will always be a day that brings me joy. On Dec. 7 last year, my "original family" drove from Houston to Austin together in a trip through life and time. It was a gift that I recognized as precious even as we were living it. It would have been an amazing day no matter what the outcome of Dad's surgery had been.
I wrote about the trip last year in a myspace blog called A Gift of Time.
Two notes: Mom insists she didn't call Paul Simon a dork. We disagree on this point. The blog is dated Dec. 8 because myspace ate the version I wrote on Dec. 7. So the today reference in the text is to Dec. 7.

Ode to Joy

I awoke today in prayer,
Prayers for a woman enduring a grief I cannot imagine.
Prayers for the pastor who would officiate her daughter's memorial.
Prayers for my mother. Prayers for my son. Prayers for my husband and our marriage.
Prayers of thanksgiving for the experience of the Divine at Vespers last night.

I felt alive and grateful to be so.
And I was thankful, joyful.
And I wanted to call Dad.
I wanted to let him know I was happy.
I wanted him to know how unbelievably good I felt.

To be able to pray earnestly for others,
To be able to minister without hesitation,
To be able to be a daughter and a mother and a wife,
Fully engaged in living and being,
This is my joy. This is my Ode to Joy.


Dec. 8/Dec. 9

The overnight low had been 20 degrees the first night I spent at my parents' home, and ice covered the ground and the roads outside. Those first two days were spent cocooned inside. I was working on a complex paper for my Hebrew Bible class and just hanging out with Mom and Dad. Those two days blur together a bit now. Dad and I both were staying up late -- he because it was his habit and I because I was still on California time and trying to finish that paper. Several times each night he and I had short little philosophical talks as I stood in the doorway to the living room and he sat in his easy chair. He had agreed to read and edit my paper, which I was delivering to him in sections, and it was fun to have his academic expertise and his layperson's curiosity involved. It had been years since he had edited anything of mine, and I found myself much more open to suggestion and question! And he delighted in getting a sense of what my seminary studies were like. One of those nights, I heard from Molly that a woman I had been visiting who had been on hospice care had died. I had been visiting her weekly, and we had sung numerous Christmas carols together. She told me that she thought Christmas carols should be sung year-round, and I didn't disagree. I remember coming out of the room where I was writing and telling my Dad that news. I wasn't really sad or upset, just a little heavy with the sense of loss, even when it is anticipated. Dad, ever the life coach, said, you're going to be dealing with a lot of that in ministry aren't you? Yes. And then he talked about death as a natural part of life, about accepting death as part of the life cycle, about not fearing it or denying it but embracing it, especially in the Christian context that death ends our earthly life but not our spiritual life. That conversation would prove a comfort to me many times in the days that followed. And it comforts me still.

Dec. 10

This day a year ago, I attended Mass with my father for the last time.
This day this year, Mom heard me preach for the first time.

Mom and Dad and I went to Mass on Saturday evening last year, because we would be returning to Houston the next day. On the drive from the church to the restaurant where we ate dinner after, we started discussing transubstantiation -- the Catholic belief that the communion elements -- the bread and wine -- are transformed into the literal body and blood of Christ. It was a friendly discussion, we were really just comparing notes on how he could believe it and I couldn't. As we pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, he turned off the ignition and turned around so he could see me in the back seat of his Expedition. I can believe it, he told me, because religion is not science, it's mystery.

Part of the reason I joined the Catholic Church when I was 20 was that it offered the opportunity for us to worship as a family. Each time I visited my parents over the years and knealt in prayer with them at Mass, one of my prayers was always a prayer of thanksgiving that we could worship together, that we shared a common faith. And when I left the Catholic Church in my early 40s it was with an understanding that nothing could shake the common ground my family and I shared.

I was nervous today preaching in front of Mom, but once I started, I honestly forgot she was there. I saw the congregation as one true body of Christ in a way I haven't before, and I felt as if I was preaching with and for that body of which I am part. Words aren't really doing the feeling justice.

(Mom got to hear a real preacher, not a practice one, after because we attended the 11 a.m. service in the main sanctuary and she heard Jim Standiford preach an amazing sermon.)

Sometimes, in the past year, Mom has spoken not just for herself but for her and Dad. It's a sweet gesture. It brings each of us a different kind of comfort. Today, as we were driving home, Mom was telling me again that she thinks I'm in the right place, doing the right thing. And then she started grasping for a scripture. I don't remember exactly what it says, she said and then she paraphrased: This is our beloved daughter in whom we are well pleased.

Today I Celebrate

Today I celebrate a year-old Mass,
My last conversation with Dad about the nature and mystery of God,
The peace that passes understanding that filled both mother's heart and mine,
The loving embraces of the loves of my life, including an ailing five-year old whose hug lasted more than an hour,
A Midnight Clear and an inclusive doxology,
The body of Christ, the presence of God, the bread of life and the cup of salvation,
Today I celebrate life.


Dec. 11

This was the day a year ago when I looked at my Dad sitting at the kitchen table after lunch and had a profound moment of clarity. It was just an ordinary moment, but I looked at him and I knew to the core of my being that I needed to soak in his presence. You need to savor this, I said in my head, because you really can't know how much longer you'll have it. I don't think of it as a premonition, more as an intense insight into the reality that life is something to be savored, even in its most simple moments.

Later that day, my brother arrived to drive us all to Houston, and the car ride, while not bad, was far less jovial than the ride home had been four days earlier. We arrived in Houston and checked in to our hotel.

Then we went out to dinner. We ate at Goode Company Seafood, a restaurant inside an old railroad car. We went for the seafood, not the novelty of the rail car. Dad's all-time favorite food was seafood, shrimp in particular. Hey liked raw oysters, too, which I would often split with him when we ate at Anthony's in San Diego, but we didn't have oysters this night. I can see us at our table. I can even remember the lighting, which was soft but not too low. I don't remember much about the conversation except that it was warm and comforting.

Last Supper

If I could choose a final meal for my father,
It would include shrimp.
So I'm glad he ordered some unaware.

I remember him savoring the meal,
Knowing it would be his last for some time,
Not knowing it would be his very last.

And I'm glad I was there
To break bread and drink wine and eat the fish
Of communion.


Dec. 12

This day last year was the day of Dad's surgery.
This day this year was far harder than I expected.
This creative exercise has been life-giving for a week.
But I think my comfort in it has come in remembrances of Dad in that week before his surgery. Now that the memories are of the hospital, I'm not sure it's useful or helpful for me to go back there.
And so I won't, not this day, anyway, maybe not this year.
I will hold on to this memory though: Dad's surgery was delayed for hours. He was in one of those horrid hospital gowns and he had not eaten since the night before and could not eat anything even though his surgery, which was to begin around 10 a.m. did not actually begin until 5. We bided that time togther, Mom and Dad and me. We sang hymns, we told stories, we read some scripture and recalled favorite poems. When we had run out of favorite hymns to sing, we sang some folk songs. Dad and I sang a duet of Stewball was a Racehorse. That duet is what I hold on to from this day.

Stewball

You sang to me of this oddly named horse when I was a child,
And now I sing of his longshot victory to my son.
It is a curious lullaby.

And as I recall the duet we sang that bridged the generations,
Your baritone and my alto joining together a final time,
I wish you had shared Stewball's triumph.




Since I don't know whether further exercises in creation will benefit me, I have filled out the rest of the fortnight, including some links to some things I wrote last year.

Dec. 13

I remember Monday, Dec. 12 in great detail, and I remember Wednesday, Dec. 14 in even greater detail, but I don't remember much about Dec. 13 beyond the Waffle House breakfast I shared with my mother and brother after our first visit to Dad in the ICU. We got to see him at 5:30 in the morning, but he wasn't really awake yet. Nevertheless, we had the good news from the night before that the surgery had gone well, so our breakfast was a bit giddy from our lack of sleep and our relief that the surgery was over.

I wrote about that morning last year in an essay called What Transubstantiation has to do with the Waffle House.

And I still wish I had that mug!

To jog my memory about the rest of the day, I did an email search for any email dated December 13, 2005, and the results were a bit surprising. If I tried to recall the day, I would remember it as a series of visits to Dad in the hospital interspersed by attempts to sleep back at our hotel. But the email trail reveals a day of hope, full of good wishes from dear friends and my own levity as I sent emails sharing the good news of Dad's successful surgery.

At 10 a.m. when we visited, Dad was awake. He told us that he had awakened that morning to people shouting his name and running around and making lots of noise. He told us he determined from that that he had made it through surgery because, "I knew this wasn't heaven!"

There was a long stretch between that 10 a.m. visit and the next visit at 5 p.m. And the email trail shows me that I did some long-distance Christmas worship planning, celebrating a joyous plan for our contemporary service. I can tell from the emails, and now remember, that Jeff helped me order some Christmas gifts for Mom, a book on Our Lady of Guadalupe as well as an OLG calendar. Mom's favorite icon is Our Lady of Guadalupe. Dad's surgery was on her feast day.

One email from Jeff reminded me in his signoff of the December day when he surprised me at Montana's, my favorite restaurant. His surprise was to ask if I wanted to marry him. "I remember that December day!" I emailed back.

In San Diego, Molly was preparing to join Jeff and Ryan for dinner at our house, and later reported that my boys were doing fine.

I had even begun to make arrangements to come home, something we expected could happen the next day, when Dad was expected to move out of ICU to a regular hospital room.

My mind and my being had returned to the ordinary, delightfully so.

That was last year.

This year I spent the day battling some profound grief and pain, but taking some odd pleasure in the fact that I could tell it wasn't as bad as it has been in the past. It was a call to visit a dying man in the hospital that snapped me out of it.

And this is what I learned today. Death can be beautiful. Not always, perhaps not even often, but sometimes. This man had requested a visit from a minister because he knew he was dying. When I visited him in ICU he had a gentle spirit and quietly and carefully explained to me all the things he could no longer do. He was ready to die. I often (always) take a hymnal with me when I make visits, but I had forgotten it today. So I had him choose from the three hymns I am confident I can sing by heart: Amazing Grace, In the Garden, and How Great Thou Art. He chose In the Garden, my beloved grandmother's favorite. And he sang it along with me, moving his lips, forming all the right words but not making much sound. Next we sang three verses of Silent Night, and, at the end he closed his eyes and fell asleep. There was such beauty in the peace that already surrounded him when I entered the room and the palpable pleasure it gave him to sing hymns. Even his acceptance of the inevitability of his death was a thing of beauty. And I thought of a woman I visited last week who was also dying. She was not very alert and could only respond yes or no to questions, but her answer was yes to hear Christmas carols. And, as I sang, I marveled at her beauty. It's a beauty the world might not embrace, but she looked lovely to me. Maybe it's because I could recall her stories of playing the piano as a young woman in a small Texas church, where she knew every song in the Cokesbury hymnal. But maybe it was simply because, sometimes death is beautiful. I also remember thinking as I looked down on her that I hope I show such beauty and grace in death, and I hope someone knows to sing to me.

So today I learned that death can be beautiful, and I learned that Silent Night is not just a lullaby for five-year-olds. Today, I put both an octogenarian and my son to sleep singing that song.

Dec. 14

The longest day of my life.
Which launched the longest year of my life.

I had forgotten how palpable, how physical the pain of grief is until it reopened yesterday. Yet, today, I was living, moving, having my being through the grace of God, through the being of God's loving Spirit. I was helping with a holiday lunch for Ryan's class and was doing more than going through the motions. I had a second lunch (having not really consumed the dino chicken nuggets of the first as much as served them) with a friend who has known great loss in her own family. A friend with whom I don't have to say a word, I can just be and she knows that who I am and how I am is authentic. It's a grace to be allowed to just have your being without being implored to be something you are not. There's a freedom in being allowed to be true to yourself and to your grief. And then I ran errands. And those, too, I completed with a sense of having done more than just go through the motions. As people who care about me checked in during the day, and earnestly asked how I was doing and lovingly listened to my answers and offered their own words of care and concern, I was grateful to hear in my own voice, in my own answers that I was doing better than I might have expected. I was aware, too, of those who knew the significance of this day and the challenge it would pose for me but who could not bring themselves to engage the potential of my pain. And, as my sadness at their absence this day grew, I prayed. I prayed for them, I prayed for me, I prayed for peace in all of our hearts.

Sudden death

As journalists -- literalists,
We learn that all death is sudden.
We learn that everyone dies from heart failure.
We learn to numb ourselves to other peoples' pain and loss.

As ministers -- realists,
We learn that all life is fleeting.
We learn that every heart supports a soul.
We learn to walk bravely beside all those who mourn.

As friends -- idealists,
We learn to hold fast to those we treasure.
We learn that broken hearts open to greater love.
We learn to hope against hope we can be present even in pain.



I only wrote two emails this day last year. Both were emails about Christmas hope. One was to Molly sharing an idea I had for our church staff to send a Christmas care package to the churches we had connected with on our trip to the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. (As it turned out, the senior pastor had already intiated something like this.) The second was an email I sent to Iraq, to Molly's Matt, asking him to consider writing her some message of love that I could offer her during communion at our service on Christmas Day. My hope was that, even through their distance and separation, they could be "in communion" with one another on Christmas Day.

This longest day held many scenes, but I cling to two.

I will always hold fast to the goodbye I shared with Dad at his hospital bedside. I no longer recall the dialogue, but I will never lose the feeling of sheer joy and palable love between us and among us as mother looked on as Dad and I said goodbye, not a goodbye forever but a goodbye until next time. It was 10 in the morning and our lives were filled with hope. That goodbye is a gift. A gift I will always treasure.

Much later in the day, after I was back in California, it became apparent that Dad was dying. At my request, a dear friend said a prayer for Dad, for me for my family. It was a calming prayer of peace and love. The only words I was able to offer at the end paraphrased Dad's favorite scripture passage, Psalm 27 verse 1: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? And then I felt a rush of Spirit brush past me, and I knew Dad was gone. A phone call to Texas confirmed it. When I reached my mother, she told me the doctor had just entered the room where she was waiting to tell her of Dad's death.


On a Wing and a Prayer

First, there was disbelief that you were departing.
Just hours before you had smiled into my eyes and I into yours
As I left for my flight home, confident of your healing.

First there was disbelief, and then there was prayer.
A gentle prayer for you and for me and for all those you loved
To be held in God's love and surrounded by a Spirit of peace.

First, there was disbelief and then there was prayer and then you took flight.
I felt the force of your spirit rush past me and I knew you were gone
And I knew an unimaginable peace even amid my continuing disbelief.


Dec. 15

Good friends and caring colleagues filled our home with Christmas aromas and hope and helped us decorate our tree this day last year.

Because Dad died at 2 a.m Texas time -- midnight in California -- it has always seemed to me that he died on Dec. 14. But his actual death date was Dec. 15.

It was weeks, maybe months, before I realized that this tree trimming actually happened on the same day Dad died. And, every time I think of it, I am grateful. Grateful for the friends who abided so lovingly, so tenderly, and grateful, too, to have the day redeemed. Dec. 15 will always remind me of that tree trimming. It redeemed not only that day but Christmas. And Dad would be very glad for that.

I hadn't really made plans for how to spend Dec. 15 this year. As the day began, I had vague plans to attend a lunch with Jeff for a former newspaper colleague who was retiring, and I had even more vague and ambiguous and unconfirmed plans to help tear out a wall at Matt and Molly's.

The day began with a continuation of that reopened pain of grief and loss, but I managed to talk myself into clothes and out of the house to make it to the lunch, which was life-giving for the man who was retiring and life-affirming for me.

As it turned out, the wall was to remain intact, so, without deliberate intention, I ended up at Matt's parents' home, helping Molly ice Christmas cookies and make a wreath from the abundant life of Bob and Linda's yard and garden. Bob and Linda were among those who helped us decorate our tree this day last year, and I loved the accidental symmetry of being in their home this day this year to help with holiday preparations.

I moved from cookie icing to helping Linda crush garlic and mix it into basil for pesto. Even as I type, my fingers still carry the savory aroma of the basil and garlic. A sensory reminder of the fellowship in that kitchen. But it was the wreath making that soothed my soul. The act of creation with creation. The act of creation as salve. The act of creation as abiding. The tactile act of releasing the mind into the movement of the body. And the wreath was wild and beautiful. Like life.

Circles

A hawk circled the sky as we gathered branches.
A nascent vision of this wild creation circled our minds.
Our hands circled in and through the evergreen, prickled and stained but steadfast.

Creating this circle of life from the abundance of the yard,
Creating this circle of creation in unscripted tandem,
Creating this circle of wild beauty, surrounded and soothed my soul.

Dec. 16

It almost always happens when someone dies. There are moments, especially in the beginning, when your mind is slower than your heart to acknowledge the absence. So, when a question comes to mind that you know that person could answer, you start to call them or email them or you say, I'll just ask Dad, and for that split-second, you forget you can't. I know some people who have actually made it all the way to the phone and picked it up to call before remembering. For me, that moment came this day last year. I had made arrangements online for Jeff and Ryan and me to travel back to Texas the next day. I forwarded the itinerary to my brother, and then thought: I need to email this to Dad, too.

I spent a good bit of this day with Dad -- Dad in the abstract. Dad in two dimensions and Dad in unfathomable spiritual dimensions.

Very early in the morning, after just a few hours of sleep, I got up and wrote an obituary of Dad to send to several Texas newspapers. Trying to capture Dad's life in the space and form of an obituary seemed a futile exercise. It truly was a two-dimensional and flat depiction of a man whose life was full and rich and funny. But it did feel like spending time with Dad, walking through the highlights of his life. One of the newspapers I contacted was The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where Dad had worked in the 1960s. A friend of mine from my Texas newspaper days works there, so I contacted him for some help getting the obit in. In doing so, I needed to update him on my change in status from newspaper editor to seminary student. Here's what I wrote: Are you seated? I've left the paper and am attending Claremont School of Theology to become a Methodist minister. Though Dad's death is tempting me to race back to the comfort and relative security of journalism, I'm trying to resist that urge. That is an urge I have been trying to resist all year, and I had no idea it had started so soon after Dad's death.

Later in the day, as I was driving on some mundane errand, I had a sense of Dad's presence. Rather than deny it, I decided to live into it. I immediately got a sense of thanks from Dad for what I had written in the obituary. I felt the warmth of that sentiment but immediately began crying from uncontrollable grief. I got another sense of Dad's presence, this one reassuring. The message seemed to be, I'm sorry to see you so upset, because I'm fine. I'm okay. Here's what I wrote about the experience that day: Maybe this was all in my head, maybe it wasn't. Whatever it was, it was reassuring affirmation of things I already know. Dad would have been appreciative of the obituary and the time and care I took preparing it. And Dad did/does have a sense of his final destination being a place/realm worth traveling to.

Deadlines

I always wondered why they called them dead lines.
Turns out an editor -- figures -- borrowed the term
From prison yards where a line demarked the limit
Beyond which a prisoner could not venture without being shot.
Journalists! Full of hyperbole and manufactured urgency.

I made my deadline, summing up your life in 500 words:
The poet, the scholar, the playwright.
The baseball coach, the husband, the father.
The sports fan, the man of faith, the journalist.
The man who did his Christmas shopping early, just in case.

I got the date wrong, though, by a day,
Confounding genealogists for generations to come.
This would have gotten me in big trouble as a cub reporter,
But for this error there was grace and I could almost hear you say:
It's close enough for newspaper work.


20" by 66"

Dec. 17

We traveled back to Texas.

This day this year, instead of writing here, I wrote a poem as a gift to friends.

Dec. 18

A beautiful wake/visitation/poetry reading in Dad's memory.

This day this year, instead of writing here, I wrote my annual Christmas essay.

Dec. 19

We celebrated Dad's life at his funeral and burial. In many ways, it was a beautiful day.

Here are the words I delivered at Dad's funeral.

This night, this year, if I write, I will write the eulogy for a man whose funeral I will officiate Thursday. But more likely than not, what I will be writing will be addresses on Christmas cards.

I didn't write for the past three days not so much because I was too busy to do so, but because I didn't need to. These days did not bother me much at all this year, and certainly not as much as last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday did.

This exercise in reflective creativity has been more wonderful than I could possibly have imagined. It was life-giving in so many ways. And I know Dad would have loved to know that I used poetry, in part, to work through my grief and reflect on his life.

I still find it unbelievable that he's gone, and yet his absence is a firm reality. Sometimes when I want to be near him, I turn to his poetry and marvel not only at the art of the completed poem but the craft of the wordsmith. I'll end with one of my favorite:

The Influence of Apollo 11 on My Time and Space

She was an early gift from my grandfather
As we glided his tree-hung swing
Through one sterling summer night,
His quiet vibrant voice revealing her
Just above the silver sound of locusts.

Overhead, she shimmered into crystal being
As he told away the old false images:
Chubby face, bunny rabbit, feathered chief --
All yielded to the fleeing Kiowa princess
Who poses forever on one bare foot,
Her garment flowing in platinum folds
Beneath tresses that trail like blown smoke.

Now, in these latter days, when I long
To pass her on, I find that Science
Has effaced her with fact: My children
Fall heir to a cold clutter of rock.
A few vague footprints in volcanic ash.

But this is mawkish, and even as I speak
I discover myself, in Whitman's words,
On the verge of a usual mistake, forgetting
That a field alive with luster
Awaits the young beyond the moon:
Forbidden my fantastic cameo, they've gained
The way to a trillion dazzling realities.


I Inherit the Moon

I confess I knew of that one small step
Long before I knew of the Kiowa maiden,
But I embrace them both, science and legend.

Before he could read, your grandson knew
About Neil and Buzz and Mike's adventure,
But he also knew about the running woman.

I cannot see a full moon without thinking of you,
Even when you lived it made you seem closer,
Now it is a cherished part of your legacy.


-30-

2 comments:

molly said...

As always, your words are beautiful. Thanks.

(And I'm working on this year's carving just now!)

Stacy Clark, MA said...

Hi Karen,

I read through your blog to see how you are doing. I didn't realize your Dad's funeral was on my birthday, although I'm sure I knew that last year. You sound pretty good. When my father dies, it will be a little different for everyone, but I learn things from reading your accounts.

I sometimes wish I could hear from you more often. I lost your blog for a while. Thank you for sending it.

I remember the 25 page letters, the camp songs and time in your home, and that tape of songs you made me remains one of my favorites.

I sang songs with my friend and roommate, whom I call Aubrey in blogs at her request, until after midnight one night last week in Santa Fe and thought of both you and my sister.

I've just returned from a visit to Texas where Mother lives in Mema's home. It's poignant. Of course, the Taliaferro tile and renovations rendered it Mother's home in many ways, but it will always be "Mema's House."

I went to LaMadeleine on Camp Bowie with Mother. I nearly asked her to drive me by Madeleine Place, but I refrained. When I do those sorts of things I just cry. I didn't even go by Westhaven this time, although I might have done both if I had been driving. But I flew and Mother drove.

Okay, I just wanted to say "hi" and tell you that I'm thinking of you.

Blessings and love,
Stacy