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Archive for the category “saying goodbye”

Remains of Life

In the weird cubby-hole by the fireplace there is a decorative box. In the box are the ashes. The ashes are just a bit of the remains of my mother and father.

These remains don’t trigger any memories or nostalgia. They really are just ashes and don’t do much as far as representing Mom and Dad. But there are other things that bring vivid pictures or feelings to mind:

  • Mom’s silver that she counted after every use and kept in impeccable condition
  • Reels and reels of 8mm film that brings to mind my father holding the camera with that damn blinding light
  • Drafting tools that Dad had in college long before computers
  • Books from my childhood

These remains are museum pieces of quiet, gentle and peaceful lives. They leave behind pain and struggle. It’s not a lie. After all the sifting, the gold is left in the pan.



Farewell to Mystic

Fourteen years ago I was volunteering at the Berkshire animal shelter when a litter of 10 large balls of fur were brought in and put up for adoption. I called my sister and said they weren’t Labs, which is what they were looking for, but that they might want to take a look at these puppies.

A few days later a shepherd/ husky/what-have-you mix became my sister’s family’s dog. Her daughter Arielle named him Mystic.

From a giant ball of fur he grew into a speeding, fun, gentle giant. And he grew some more.

When I looked after Arielle, once she was in bed, Mystic and I would sit in the kitchen contemplating life. Me on the floor and him with his back braced against my legs so I could scratch him good.

Whenever I visited, he would bark and wag his body, waiting for me to get out of the car as he was held back by the electric fence. He would nuzzle my hand and then run wildly, feet pounding like a race horse.

Mystic passed away this morning. His death was quite sudden, caused by an bleeding mass that had probably been a minor irritation for some time. He was a good hearted dog, wanting nothing more than to be with his humans and to run in the yard.

The Journey Continues

Photo by Valette

The memorial service for Mom is planned for April. My sister has really run with the event and has things well under control. I feel badly because she really doesn’t have to do everything but she seems energized by the process and excited to see people who will be joining us from near and far.

I’m looking forward to seeing John. Living apart has been a traumatic experience. If the timing had been different the affects of the separation might be softer but not by much. Six weeks will have passed when we see each other in Boston at Logan Airport in April. We have a history with airports.

When people ask where we met, I tell them Chicago O’Hare. That’s the truth, really. We had been corresponding via e-mail, chat and phone for five months before we met in person. After that we took our relationship to the highways and airways traveling between Pittsfield, MA and Louisville, KY.

For five months we traversed I90 and, Albany, Manchester and Louisville airports. We may have given some others a test run. At that time, being together had an urgency and being apart had a yearning both of which obstructed moving on with life as it had been known.

Now that we’ve been together 10 years, being apart is more pained and knowing we’ll see each other in a couple of weeks provides a comfort along with a sense of adhesion that, if I was a romantic. I’d call completeness.

I’m making this part of the journey with some apprehension. Concerned that my separation from John is usurping my grieving process over Mom’s death, I wonder if the timing of these events will haunt me once our living situation has settled and we reach a sense of normalcy. I wonder but when I ask myself what that means, I can’t say that I know. But I don’t think it will be my doom.

So I’ll focus on the joy of seeing John and try not to be rude to others who seek our time and attention. I might even let John talk to other people.

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