“There are days we live as if death were nowhere in the background; from joy to joy to joy, from wing to wing, from blossom to blossom to impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.”
Parker Palmer posted these lines From Blossoms, by Li-Young Lee.
The words break me open. I could almost feel the crack and see the light shining through. I have lived for so so long as if death paid calls and demanded I serve him tea, as if death watercolored the garden backdrop and asked for a critique. I have grown comfortable with his presence, or at least, I have stopped fighting or fleeing from his penumbra.
I have grown use to the absence of joy that comes from inside me. I have manufactured joy, have siphoned off just a little joy from those engulfed in it. It is second hand and yet, I have been grateful for the taste of it. I have needed to chase and catch it if I was to feel any of it at all.
And then, all of a sudden, my heart is in my throat, I am prepared to tremble in anticipation, I am singing all day.
“from joy to joy to joy, from wing to wing, from blossom to blossom to impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.”
Finally today, I have caught my breath. From the long holiday weekend and the catch up week that followed. I still have an overdue phone call to my advocate at Healthcare For All and another call to MassHealth. I’m saving that which I know will be frustrating until Monday.
It was a good weekend.
Justin’s mother and I threw a baby shower for our children and their impending baby boy. It was a bigger shower than it would have been had there been had there been the planned-for wedding. We invited more people and people from further away than we might have. Still, there were those from too far away who were missing.
10:00 a.am. I get a email from Julia’s inclusion facilitator that Julia is upset that she left her wallet at home. I am more or less ready to do some errands, so I jump in the car and bring the wallet over to the program. I want Julia to have as good a day as she can. She has had some very good days this week . . . talk about that later.
I read a blog post (and I can’t find it now to link it) about a mom who has a child with autism who had reached middle or high school and was more independent than he had been a few years prior. The mother felt some room open up, some possibility of freedom for herself, and asked a trusted therapist if she thought that the mom could enter the regular work force again. She had cobbled together part-time work through the years but missed a full-time job and building a career. The therapist, who knew her kiddo, told the mom that if she “needed” to work, she should, but that kids with the best outcomes have full-time moms.
We are in a diner on E. Houston. Julia eating eggs and sausage and I with a bowl of oatmeal. Why is oatmeal always, at least in my experience, better than it is at home. When I visited Chicago often, I had a favorite breakfast spot, a chain, that had the best oatmeal. What I am having this morning is pretty close. I have opined in the past that it is because they make a very large batch in an old thin metal pot. Commercially oatmeal is made with water and they skimp some on the oats. Or not. It is delicious.
As we eat, a young couple come in with a little girl, I’d say about 18 months old. They are all taller and better looking than we were, except for the little girl, and it is the woman not the man who wears glasses. They remind me of David and Cheshire and I when she was about that young. The little girl walks around as they wait for their breakfast. Dad follows her. The wait staff greet the Dad and girl. We are close to our old neighborhood. We too had a breakfast spot that we frequented—Kiev, which closed a long time ago—and the wait staff—mostly middle aged Ukrainian ladies—entertained Cheshire.
This is a journey of remembering. Not surprising—I have not stayed in Manhattan often since we left when Cheshire was 3.5, and Julia and I have not been to NYC since we moved. This kind of memory walk was a challenge to me years ago—our travels in Italy when there seemed to be a memory and a pain around every corner. Now, there are just memories, and taking back the city a street and restaurant at a time will smooth the wrinkles of that very old life.