Sweet boy

Nov. 29th, 2011 03:08 pm
meirwen_1988: (Torn)


A
s some of you know, we've got a number of cats that have decided we're the best outdoor dining in town. This summer there were four litters, and, for the most part, they are too standoffish to even trap/neuter/release, but one, Salt & Pepper, called Pepper, decided humans are cool. By July he was headbutting our hands as we put food in the bowls, by August he was letting use stroke him and skritch under his chin, and by September we could pick him up. Last week Rowan scheduled an appointment for either him or Frenchie (the formerly domestic black and white male who arrived in September), whichever one we could get into the carrier, to go to the Dr. to get shots so we could bring him in, and then we'd get the second. I wasn't sure we were keeping them, but they needed to not spend the winter outside.

We got home from Massachusettes on Sunday, and didn't see either of our boys. We still haven't seen Frenchie. But yesterday, when I got home from work, Pepper was in the yard. He started to leave, but then I called him, and he trotted over to the car to see me and get petted. I went inside, and then put more food on the porch. He was very hungry, but let me pet him and purred mightily. That was a first--coming to greet me. The last heart-string got plucked. I didn't think I could foster him now--he was ours.

Later that night Duchezz took the pugs out, and Jiro trapped Pepper in the back yard. Usually he runs away, but he was just laying in the grass, hissing at Jiro. She got the dog away, and Pepper got up, and limped up to the back porch where we've set up some crates with shielding and blankets, and crawled inside his preferred crate. She came in worried, and asked if I'd keep an eye open.

This morning she told me Pepper hadn't come to breakfast, and he didn't appear to be in the crate. Well, we thought, he actually likes the front porch better, so maybe he felt safer there.

This afternoon when I came home from work, Pepper was on the back porch. He was sleeping, laying on his side, his head was resting on some of the blanket that had come out of the crate. But he didn't raise his head when he heard the car.

My heart in my mouth, I thought "There's a chance he's sleeping." I called his name, and he still didn't stir. I bent down, looked at the beautiful sheen on his perfect fur, still the softest, densest I've ever touched. Under the fur his body was stiff and cool.

Our sweet boy came home to say goodbye. God, I'm going to miss him.
meirwen_1988: (tired)
(*cue Mamas and Papas Tribute Band filking "Monday, Monday"*)

I should be grading placement tests. But I console myself that I have been virtuous and graded film papers, and EN 101 in-class assignments, and did laundry. I should also be organizing my room, packing for the New England trip, balancing my budget, and working on the solution to the national debt problem.

At the very least I should be reading one of the books I have on loan, or the TV show I taped, or clipping the cat's claws.

Instead I've been tooling around on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon.

I have lots of thinky-thoughts going on right now--about friends having babies, and friends having cancer, about the thinning of my skin (both the actual [related to the passing years] and the metaphorical), about absent red-headed men, and the spaniel I miss, and the grey cat I long to hold again. About mommy food cooked by Momma, and Daddy's dry humor. About the extremely fertile womb, with no endurance, I was born with. About the sisters and daughters of my heart, and chosen family. And how I miss the time not so long ago when here was a community of many voices, with real things to say, instead of a place where the voices moved to the shallow end of the pool (yes, Mark Zucherberg, I'm talking about you).

But I'm tired, and my eyes hurt right now, so I think I'll just get out the eye drops the ophthalmologist gave me, and head to bed. Tomorrow is time enough to save the world.
meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)
Yesterday, during my office hours, my office mate Roman was also holding his. Roman is first generation American (his parents both emigrating from Mexico before he was born), raised Mormon, and grew up in southern California. We were sitting there, he checking his email, me grading papers, doing that before I turned on the computer, since I know what a brain suck that can be. He turned his desk chair so it faced me and said, "Can I ask you a question?"

"This has come up before when we've gotten one of those 'sad news' emails, but, well, I just don't understand what exactly is "calling hours" and how does one behave...what does one do?"
What followed was a conversation where he learned about mourning customs and public bereavement here in the Northeast, and I learned about how things are done in the Southwest, or, as he put it, "at least, in California." And then a bit about how things are done in Catholic Mexican immigrant families (some of his childhood friends). And since I'd used Morguhn's service as an example, what is specific to a Mason's service and burial, which led to what is specific to a Mormon rite.

I think we tend to assume that we "know how it's done," if we're "American," but as we both learned--we don't. I think you just do the best you can, and hope you're getting it right.

And then Roman told me about the specific email that had led to his original question.

Ever since I've been on the faculty, one of the most kind, supportive colleagues I've had is Tim. He's one of the dramatically oversized people who elicits the "Oh, Tim, please lose some weight--we don't want to lose you" kind of thought in those he works with. But, of course, he never does. When his middle daughter, Elizabeth, was working on her nursing degree he put us in contact because she was doing a paper on fairy tales, and he knew I did a focused unit on fairy tales and asked if I could help her.

About two years before Morguhn died, he lost his wife, Susan. Susan had been ill for many years, in ways that traumatized her family, that exhausted Tim, and broke everyone's heart. She fought her demons for years, but finally she lost her battle. When Morguhn died Tim didn't come to the calling hours, but after I came back to work, he stopped and talked to me, calmly, with compassion and the kind of understanding I needed. "No one else 'gets it,' Rosemary, except those who have gone through it. I didn't, before I lost Susan. No one can say anything to make it better. But I get it." And we walked our separate ways, on to our classes.

Tim retired last month. Between his time as a public school teacher, and his time at the college, he had more than his 30 years in. He'd met someone, a wonderful guy who lives down near Ithaca, and was moving down there, and teaching online as an adjunct retired faculty for MV. He'd finished improving his house, so Elizabeth would have a warm, safe home to live in, as she was going to stay in the house they were sharing; his last chick to leave the nest was going to keep the nest he was leaving. He looked so good last month--his color good, a spring in his step to the extent his health allows.

Sunday, Elizabeth complained that she wasn't feeling too well. When she woke up Monday morning she was feeling even worse, frighteningly worse. Tim drove her to the hospital.

Three hours later she was dead.

Pulmonary embolism.

I went to the calling hours today. I knew, given when I could be there, that I would miss all the MVCC people, who would be there in the first hour. But Tim is one of those people who just wrapped himself around my heart, and I needed to go. So I went.

I knew no one. I stood there, after looking at the photographs of the girl I only knew through emails, of their family, intact. At adults I knew must be his children, but who I didn't know, and didn't know me. So I went and stood where Tim could see me, and listened as he talked to others. "About the only thing that could have been faster is if she'd been hit by a bus," he said with the wry humor that is actually a substitute for wails of grief. And then a pause. A look down. "I...don't know....I'll still processing Susan's death..." in a slightly puzzled, lost voice, still with all the music it always carries, but in a minor, diminished key. He held out his hand, and I took it. He squeezed it hard, as he kept talking to the people I didn't know. I leaned over and laid my cheek against his and kissed it. Then I stood, gave his hand another squeeze, and then left. I didn't say a word, and neither did he.

At times like these, I think you just do the best you can, and hope you're getting it right.
meirwen_1988: (Torn)
My first high school boyfriend, Jim, and I have stayed friends through the years. It was one of those relationships where I became friends with his entire family, and it stayed that way even after we broke up. Holidays, weddings (I was a bridesmaid for both of his older sisters), funerals. Photos on Facebook for the last two summers were taken by him or his sibs, on his mother's porch.

He has two younger sisters. Margaret is 2 or 3 years younger than we are--one of the family's "wild childs." Her husband has been struggling with MS for years, and this week finally lost the struggle. She is the age now I was when Morguhn died. No children. Living far from her biological family. They are a loving clan, and will be there for her, and she has a good life in the southwest.

But my heart breaks for her.

May 4, 1991

May. 4th, 2010 07:35 am
meirwen_1988: (Roses)

Tonight

May. 3rd, 2010 11:19 pm
meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)
"Looking back
on the memory
of The dance
we shared
beneath the stars above,
For a moment all
the world was right.
How could I have known
you'd ever say goodbye.
And now
I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end
the way it all would go.
Our lives
are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance.

Holding you
I held everything
For a moment
wasn't I the [queen]
But if I'd only known
how the king would fall
Hey who's to say, you know,
I might have changed it all.

And now
I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end
the way it all would go
Our lives
are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss
the dance.
Yes, my life
is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
but I'd of had to miss
the
Dance."

--Tony Arata
meirwen_1988: (Torn)
Tonight is one of those clear, cold nights, and as I looked up at the sky, standing in the silver light so bright I could read by it, I heard in my head "Then look for me by moonlight,/Watch for me by moonlight,/I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way."

I went inside to let the pugs out. Their kennels are in what was the bedroom. At the top of the loft is a big, multipaned window that is just the right height to let the moonlight stream through and fill the room, sometimes so bright it made it hard to sleep. He said he'd watch sometimes, while I slept, bathed in moonlight.

Nineteen years ago tonight I was carefully stitching lace to white silk, pleased there was a week to go before it was to be worn: for a change, I was going to be done before the last minute.

Tonight is full of memory. The wheel turns, as the wheel wills.
meirwen_1988: (Hope)
Because of the peculiarities of the position of my bedroom windows, looking out them when I woke this morning, it was as though I was looking out into a huge snowglobe. The world was snowy, and soft, huge puffs of flakes falling slowly past the glass.

When I went downstairs, the illusion was shattered. There was only a bit more snow on the ground than when Heidi and the boys left last night, our slightly shabby Victorian was itself, and everything else was just ... banal. Banal isn't bad, but after the magic of those first few moments, it was...disappointing.

I'm trying, you see, to take a little stock, get a little perspective, write out my thinks. But even the little I"ve typed above, in as ergonomically sound position as possible, is already wrecking my hands. So I will abandon the long post I thought I was going to do for now, and instead just sketch some thoughts.

I am blessed by the love and friendship in my life, and I know this--both in my heart, and in my head. That doesn't change the fact that this year has been hard. I am not who I was, and I don't know who I am, including what I want of myself, let alone for myself. I want to be there for my friends, but some days, I just don't have the energy to reach out. Given some of the devastating losses, and heart wounds my friends have suffered, I wish I'd been able to do more. It isn't that I don't care, I'm just weak. I am trying not to see that as a personal failure, while at the same time finding a way to be better about it. A contradiction perhaps, but there you have it.

And in the raw around the edges that I am, I am trying, truly, to grasp the distinctions about when unkindness truly is that, and when it is just the consequence of others trying to learn what they want of themselves, and for themselves. But when just getting through the day without screaming and leaving everything and everyone behind to start new where, in opposition to the Cheers song, "Sometimes I want to go/where nobody knows my name/and none of the faces are the same...." requires supreme acts of will and strength, I don't have much left to try to understand things from someone else's perspective. Not an excuse, but still true.

In a little while I will leave my sweet Birman's side and go down to start another day. The new year began with love and laughter, and I pray that I remember that on the dark days. I pray that I'll find the strength to put on fancy dress and take joy in it and the people I see there. That I'll be a better teacher and a better friend this year than in the last. And that I will be better to myself, because I think if I don't do that, I won't be able to do any of the rest.
meirwen_1988: (Torn)
A old friend posted some pictures. From 1989.

There was a photo there I was sure Morguhn had never seen. I thought to myself, he's going to love seeing that when he gets home.

So, coping mechanisms apparently in place, though I didn't know it. Until they fail to coincide with reality. And then, well...

More bourbon. Definitely need more bourbon.
meirwen_1988: (Hope)
This has been a hard week. Saturday night was particularly hard. In putting together things for the tournament this coming Saturday, I had to go through some boxes. Item after item with our names, side by side. Dragons, and green and gold, or green and gold woven with black and red. Over and over. Pairs of items, carefully made, selected, bestowed. Or that we'd sat with and he said, "I want to keep this," instead of, "Let's give this to...."

And so I sat on the floor of the room, surrounded by objects, deciding what to part with, and with each movement of item here to there it was as though I was breaking some little part of him out of my life. They are just things. I know that. Parting with them does not diminish what was, what remains, but it feels that way. So to move out of that place of resharpened loss and pain, I offer up a small story of hope.

The Elephant in the Grass )

Habits

Aug. 8th, 2009 10:12 pm
meirwen_1988: (Torn)
A friend posted her Pennsic XXXVIII pictures on Facebook. There were lots and lots of pictures from the battlefield. I began to scan them, looking for familiar armor, familiar heraldry.

Per fess embattled Or and vert, in chief a demi-dragon erect and in base four mullets in cross counterchanged.

It wasn't there. Anywhere. At first there was the old disappointment, that he hadn't been captured in any of the pictures. It happened sometimes--not often, but sometimes. And then...the why...why that familiar form, familar surcoat was not in any of those pictures. Would never be again.

Yet again I remembered the thing I never forget.

It is a strange thing, how memory and life mingle, intertwine, and ultimately can become indistinguishable. So much of who we are, what we do, is indivisible from the memory of what we were, what we did. It is as though we exist simultaneously in the then and the now, and those who were with us then are simply out of sight, as they were in those times when they were somewhere else--but only for an hour, a work day, a weekend. They are not gone, they are only absent. Their smile, their laughter, their gentle touch something for which we only need wait a little while, and then we will have them again, building more images of now, that will be a thing, which, in turn, creates the who we are.

At times that illusion is a blessing, creating a foundation, a peace, that allows us to put one step in front of the other, to plan, to hope, to dream.

At others, it is a cruelty, like one of the dreams in which they still live. Then we wake to a world where yet again they are gone, and we lose them. Again.
meirwen_1988: (Strong)
It is May Day. Lady Day. Beltain. All good things. I am wearing spring green. I am smiling. On the outside.

Coming back from Wampsville this morning (whew--one thing checked off the stress list) I noticed the trilliums are in bloom along the highway. Good things.

Tonight I go with Duchezz and the Wonderful Jane to a Grand Matron's visit, wearing the new gown I got on sale (SIZE 6!!) and Duchezz will be wearing the gown I found for her, that she loves. Happy Anniversary, a little early, sweetheart.

Tomorrow we come home, get the dogs, and with luck, I will be able to watch the Derby. Not wearing silk taffeta, as I did 18 years ago, the first Saturday in May.

Not wearing a crown of flowers.

Not surrounded by friends, and joy, and hope.

But the jockey's granddaughter will watch the Derby, with a Duchezz, and pugs, and kitties, and bourbon.

Lots of bourbon, perhaps.

And still, there is love.

"And the greatest of these is love."
meirwen_1988: (Grow)
So, we had a plan, agreed upon Thursday, confirmed Friday. After an OES rehearsal this morning we were going to either El Canelo or The Balkan for lunch, go to Lowe's and/or Home Depot to acquire needed items. And then, most importantly, heading to the theatre to watch The Fast and the Furious: New Model, Original Parts.

But, well, the dogs. Were the cute.

When we took them out this morning Ping was reluctant to come back inside, rolled on his back exposing his little pink tummy to the sun...

So, we went to rehearsal. And lunch--El Canelo in Utica (I was much less happy with this one than the one in Oneida). And Lowe's and Home Depot (we even replaced the wheelbarrow Massachusettes squire destroyed in September). And we stopped at the evil liquor emporium and I acquired a truly self-indulgent bottle of Bordeaux.

And then we came home so that the little four leggeds could run around in the sunshine. Duchezz used the new wheelbarrow to collect the astonishing number of shingles that fell into the yard this winter. Everyone is back inside, the NFL Draft is on, and all is well.

It's a plan of salad for dinner, then wine and cheese later in the evening. An early night, early Mass, and then getting ready for the reception for RW Jane, Grand Representative to Oklahoma.

Two weeks and one day left in the semester have the students in a panic, but we'll be fine.

At home, there is pain, there is loss, but the sun came up this morning, the four leggeds love us, and we have wonderful friends.

One step at a time, one foot in front of the other.
meirwen_1988: (Strive)
The monsters of grief and loneliness are scratching at the door, but I'm resolutely keeping the door shut. I don't have time right now to let them in, deal with them, in the face of everything else that must get done, attended to, finished.

Dropped the car off at the glass place to get the windshield replaced. Damn gravel trucks.
Glass place is near the body shop where the Buick currently is sitting, sans grill and right front panel. It looks sad.

Duchezz finished her new shield per Crown list requirements. This has been very hard on her--he always made her shields. Fixed her armor. Coaxed, bullied, cajoled her into taking care of her kit. She is doing it herself now, and it is hard, so very hard. He was hers from the time she was 19. She is being strong, and brave, and putting on a smiling face. More than half her life fell from that roof and, in a moment, was gone. She's astonishing in her strength, but no one should mistake her bravery for ease.

Having trouble focusing. I know why. But knowing doesn't mean allowing the spiral to grab me by the throat and pull me down. I can't. I won't.

To work--of many kinds.
meirwen_1988: (bitter)
I wish my mind could move off the hamster wheel that has me looking through Liam Neeson's eyes at his wife's death certificate. I think I know exactly what it says.

My heart breaks for them all.
meirwen_1988: (writing)
So I woke up in a fairly good mood--all three times. Got up and had tea and muffin, indulging in sweet butter instead of something less calorie laden.

Choosing between making shamrock-shaped sugar cookies and soda bread, I opted for the much less labor intensive tea bread. It is in the oven now, baking away, and will join some Irish cheddar and tea at 3, first in a cup and on a plate, then in my tummy.

It was, however, while the soda bread was being made that my mood crashed.

I thought about the bread baking, the house filling with the scent of it, and flashed back to all the times he'd come home to the smell of the house and smiling after a long day. I remember the joy he took in eating, and the joy I took in feeding him. The way he seemed to embrace the warmth of baked goods, and butter, and rare beef.

How, I wondered, do the widowed do it? Those without children, especially children at home? Those without a Duchezz? Those women and men, devoted partners, suddenly left alone with no one but themselves. Where do they find the energy to do more than open a McDonalds wrapper, or a Lean Cuisine? Where did I find the energy before him? I lived alone from the time I was 19 until I moved in with him at 31. I cooked--well. I baked cookies, and pies. I made cake. And I wasn't the size of a house. I made roasts, and stir fry, and pasta.

Then I was able to find pleasure in the simple act of cooking, in tasting the fruits of my labor. In arranging a room, in color and texture. It didn't matter that I was suiting myself alone. I didn't buy, or cook, or even really think about an "other" in the future I could share it with. It was about the moment, and the joy of just being alive in the moment. It was about flavor and hunger, color and comfort. Mine. And worrying about me was enough. And if there were lonely moments, they weren't about the hunger, they weren't about the comfort.

And now there is a hollowness in both those things. Yes, sometimes there is the Duchezz to cook for, but not always. Sometimes it is about the Duchezz comfort, but not always. Sometimes, like on Tuesdays, there is no Duchezz to care for. Then it is like those days when she was at work, and it would be only his step on the porch. Only him at the table with me. And then I wonder--where do those women and men find the strength to live, not merely exist? Because if the days were all like this, I don't know if I could. I really don't.
meirwen_1988: (Duchess)
We went. We are home safe.

It was hard. A different hard than Harvest Raids.
Actually harder than Twelfth Night. In its own way, much harder.

[livejournal.com profile] drd_pyrat  made me cry, for all the right reasons, when she showed me the hood she's been making. She made sure I saw it in a "controled setting," and even brought a box of tissues. Morguhn won it for me in a raffle at the same event two years ago. He was so proud of himself. So sweet. It was a wonderful event, and a treasured memory, now commemorated in a beautiful piece of artistry.

[livejournal.com profile] blairya , [livejournal.com profile] wyz_azz , [livejournal.com profile] teresagabriela , and [livejournal.com profile] baronessekat were blessedly "there," and [livejournal.com profile] baronsteffan , [livejournal.com profile] chamfron , [livejournal.com profile] hora_somni , and [livejournal.com profile] apidae all made the day lighter. I waved at [livejournal.com profile] chez_mathilde , who seemed always to be in a class (go fig--you'd think it was a schola or something), [livejournal.com profile] 2bluefish made me smile, and I had long lovely chats with good friends. And I got warm loving hugs from T and his mom [livejournal.com profile] visrose . Duchezz's class went well, the pugs got a trip, and the drive both ways was uneventful. We had dinner at TGI Friday's just outside of Victor, and listened to good music on the way home, including my new Sharleen Spiteri CD, a buy inspired by an episode of The Graham Norton Show (okay, her outfit is totally horrid, and the story she tells is not behavior I generally endorse, but, in context, seems somehow...defensible).  However, it was her performance of "All the Times I Cried" which really made me drop the coin. The CD is wonderful, even endorsed by Duchezz, whose musical taste rarely coincides with mine. It helped.

I am wrung dry, and shaking with suppressed pain and tears. If this was this hard, next weekend will require some level of coping skills I'm not sure I have.

Heading to bed.
meirwen_1988: (Torn)
...just when you think you're doing okay, and you have a purring kitty in your arms, you look up, and see for the first time, a two-hand sword behind the coat tree, with craved arms in green and gold on the leather sheath.

And you hear someone keen, and realize it's you.
And you find yourself looking at the world as though through antique glass, waving in glistening sheets.

And you lose him again.

Trying

Feb. 18th, 2009 10:33 am
meirwen_1988: (Strive)
Trying to get through the day.
Trying to accomplish tasks.
Trying to....

...but everyone would say I shouldn't try not to cry.

Trying to get through the day.
Trying to accomplish tasks.

Trying to get thr...

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