Friday, September 8, 2017


The calendar page was flipped to September over a week ago and our temperatures are in agreement; fall is very near, like it or not.  We've been having very cool to downright chilly weather the last few weeks, all the way down to the 40's.  

We didn't have a very hot summer, I guess we never even hit 90 degrees, which is all right with me.  I'm no fan of hot weather.  I do remember a few days when it was quite uncomfortable, though, and I'd caught myself wishing for a cool breeze at times.  

There I go again, wishing my life away.  That was something Mom was always cautioning me about.  And she was right; now that the hot weather is a distant memory, how I'd welcome the warmth.  I was taking the recycling out to the road tonight and had realized in a few short weeks, I could be trudging through snow.  When will I learn to appreciate the here and now?

Summer was a fast-forward blur, much more so than any other year I can remember.  I can scarely believe how fast the days flew by.   I melodramatically admit most times I feel like I'm a tin can tied behind my Buick being dragged down the highway at breakneck speed.  The only way to slow down the days is to prolong the nights which is not in my best interests.

I know a lot of my problem is grief coupled with anxiety. Settling my mother's estate has been.... well, not dreadful, but definitely not easy.  With every step I take in closing accounts and making decisions as to what to do with everything she ever owned, I feel another pang of loss.  I know it is natural; losing those we've loved is never easy for anyone.  At times it feels as if she's been gone for ages and then at other times, I swear I'll see her sitting at her painting station in her kitchen every time I go by her window.  

I wish I'd kept some recordings of her voice, but she never did like calling me and even if she did, she rarely spoke to the answering machine.  I didn't think to make any videos of her with my phone, either.  In a way, I knew she wouldn't have liked to be secretly recorded, so I didn't.  

I wish I had recorded her playing her organ, though.  I remember one night two years ago when my little dog, Pudding, was still alive and how we went out for a walkies right before sunset.   I was going to stop in and pay Mom a visit, but the sound of her organ music was drifting out into the twilight, calling us in.  

Unbeknownst to Mom, Pudding and I strolled in, sat down on Mom's front porch steps and listened as she played her favorite hymns.  If we'd gone in the house, Mom would quit playing and I didn't want to disturb her.  

I remember stroking my dear little dog's silky head as she looked up at me adoringly.  Pudding was getting to be an old dog by then and congestive heart failure was taking her from me slowly.  Still, she loved her walks and I wouldn't begrudge her.  

As my faithful Pudding leaned into me, tears came to my eyes as I listened to Mom's lovely organ music; she was very talented and played her hymns with devotion.  Still, I could not deny I knew our time was short.  Old age and congestive heart failure was also taking my mother from me, too.  

As my tears fell, Pudding licked my hand to comfort me.  Too soon, the mosquitoes found our perch and I had no choice but to continue our walk, leaving behind the strains of 'Amazing Grace' wafting gently on the evening breeze as Pudding and I made our way home.  Pudding left me a few months later.

Still, every time I walk down the road and hear a leaf skitter on the black top, I look behind me in anticipation--- oh, how the sound mimics Pudding's quick little feet.  But she has crossed the Rainbow Bridge where she suffers no more.  

My dear mother no longer suffers.  I'm still grieving, but I know she would not want me to.  She would want me to live each day to the fullest.  And Mom, I'm trying.  I really am.

  I have my memories; even though they are as ephemeral as rainbows.  

And they are beautiful. 


Ellie's friend from canada said...

I have thought of you so often as I know how difficult your journey has been. And is.. This is such a nice post.

I can just picture so clearly you and Pudding sitting on your mother's porch. The warmth and beauty of your mother's organ playing fills the air. I am still considering what to do with many of my mother's things and indeed it is very difficult at moments. Things that recall so many memories, memories to be cherished. Things from childhood. I found a program she had kept from a ballet recital I was in as a 7 year old. I shared the program with my friend down the street as she was also in the recital. The performance isn't so important as the idea that my mother cherished it so much. I was choked when I saw that she had it carefully tucked away. Ironically, it has always been traumatic to me that I took ballet as the stern teacher said with my flat feet and a few other reasons I had to quit even though I loved it and was heartbroken. And there my mother had kept the program!

It was only after her passing that I realized how much I meant to her. Things that were left unsaid that suddenly become very clear. I, too, have realized how beautiful the memories are of our mothers. How fortunate we are that we had such mothers. We probably assumed that everyone has mothers like ours but it's not the case. I only saw that later.

I know how difficult and how blessed at one and the same time it must be for you every time you pass by her house. Such thoughts will accompany you for a long time. It is fine that they do. My mother's birthday was recently. It has been so hot here and dry. Her roses had long since stopped blooming and they were finished. On the morning of her birthday, I stepped out on the porch and there were two sweet rose blossoms greeting me. It was such a warm hello. My best friend suggested it even without my saying it.

I love your rainbow photos. I had never heard of the rainbow bridge until recently and think it is so nice for our canine friends. Also, on the evening of my mother's passing, it was the first rain of spring and at the moment when she resumed her journey, a rainbow appeared at the very moment when she departed. It was a moment of overwhelming peace and beauty.

Your mother gave you so many gifts. No, she would not want you to be sad. You have come so far even in these past few months. You already realize that this grieving journey has warm blessings for you. Stumbles sometimes, tears, but embraces of wonderful memories.

outlawgardener said...

Dear Karen, I've been thinking of you a lot recently and hoping that everything was okay in your world. The very ephemeral nature of gardens, loved ones, rainbows makes them even more beautiful and precious. As you remember and grieve, please know that your imaginary friends on the computer are sending you love, hugs, and healing thoughts. Thank you for the blessing of your beautiful writing.

Karen said...

Ellie's friend from canada, what a poignant, wonderful memory every time you see a rainbow. And the roses opening on her birthday......yes, we were both blessed beyond measure to have had our loving mothers. How sweet that she kept your program from the ballet recital. I am sure she was the proudest mother in attendance! My mother hung my fifth grade Mother's Day gift, a macaroni 'art work' spray-painted gold on her bedroom wall back in 1969 and it's still there. Oddly enough, I never asked her why she didn't take it down, but I know why. I have artwork my sons made for me in grade school hanging in my bedroom, too.

Thank you for thinking of me and know that I am sharing with you in the sadness and the warm memories.

Karen said...

Peter, you are a wonderful friend! Though we have never met, I feel as if we are old acquaintances. I've been absent from blogging for far too long. When I should be working on a blog post, I find myself trying to beat my high score in an ancient video game for no reason whatsoever other than it takes my mind off more pressing matters. For someone who will likely lose their vision eventually, I actually cuss myself out for wasting my sight on the silly game, but the specialist said it doesn't matter if I read, write or watch TV or sunsets; it isn't overuse that will rob me, just the nature of the beast. Still, what a waste of time. I know......sigh.

Thank you for thinking of me; please know how much I appreciate your friendship.

Alison said...

It was such a treat to see that you were online today, commenting on various blogs, and writing a post here. Hugs to you, Karen! Strangely, our summer has been both too short and too long. I know, that doesn't make sense, but there's been too much heat and smoke from wildfires, which stresses me out and keeps me indoors and not able to garden, and therefore too short, because I get less done and make no headway on summer garden projects. I would have loved some cooler days.

Karen said...

Alison, I cannot imagine what you are going through with drought and smoke. If only we could distribute the rainfall where it is needed. I would be very stressed, too!