Sunday, June 24, 2012

Discarded Dreams

It was a heavy week.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm the right person for the job.  I was irritated and asked my husband if I really seemed that approachable, like the kind of person someone could just break down and bawl in front of and talk about ending their life and he said yes.  Not what I wanted to hear.  I had put in some long days that week already and wanted an easier Friday, a half day.  I wanted to go home and spend time with my kids, but first thing that morning I found myself seconds away from calling the police.  Nothing was going according to plan.

The man's tears had flowed, his despair evident and for good reason, but when words of hope and the future crept back in and talk of sin, eternal damnation and merely the desire to be anywhere but here, not really wanting to die, I put the phone back in my pocket.  Instead I rallied his family, friends, the cleaning lady dressed head to toe in white.  I told her she was an angel, and had arrived at just the right time.  I wanted to squeeze her.  I squeezed him instead and eventually walked out breathing deep, reassured he would be okay.

My 91 year-old hospice patient earlier in the week talked again about how she once had beautiful handwriting as she struggled to write her initials for me.  She had yearned to be a journalist, but married at twenty and her life changed, her position switched to that of wife and mother.  The either/or plight of women back then I hear time and again.  "When I was younger I wanted to....but then I got married and had kids...." and you know the rest of the story.  This woman wrote profusely anyway, short stories she said, all tucked away in the attic for years until one day her daughter threw them all out.  My heart sank as she told me and I saw the look of sadness in her blue eyes.

Another hospice patient, this time thirty-three was sleepy from morphine during the visit.  I was afraid of his peace and courage.

Why all of this in one week?  I've felt like giving up before, who hasn't?  The challenge is to keep motoring on, putting one foot in front of the other despite the obstacles.  I've done that.  It's crucial to remember our blessings along the way.  We're the lucky ones, some folks are out of time after only thirty-three short years.  I do get it and I try to be grateful every day.  But what has me the most anxious and unsettled is the thought of living for 91 years and leaving behind an attic full of dreams to one day be discarded, forgotten, or worse yet overlooked.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Out of reach

I'm searching for something.

It turns from me like these flowers and dissapears into the light as if to tease. 

A voice inside says, "don't give up", so I don't.

The flower shows it's yellow middle to someone else and I am jealous.

I fight with the spider at the bottom.

Or run from it.

But I leave the flower in the dust so I turn back.

And start over.

Signs of summer

I sneak past sleeping children, the remnants of last night's sleepover, and slide open the glass-paned pocket door to the office for an early morning stint at the computer.  I'm surprised that after two years the room still smells like freshly sawed lumber and new construction.

I sit with one knee drawn up to my chin and the other splayed out to the side on the window seat and watch two squirrels in the grass.  I sip from my big cup and am happy for the early morning stillness.

This is summer.  It is sleepy, late mornings and rambunctious, late nights.  Long, hot days at the pool or on the water.  It is books in the hammock, trips, camps, work, time off, vacations.  It means vegetables from the garden and fresh-picked blueberries from friends. 

Summer is all good all at once.  Brief, fleeting, happy, hot.  If it would only last.

Monday, June 11, 2012


The first mile is always the slowest.  It doesn't matter if I'm running four or eight miles, I always speed up.  I try on the longer runs to stay at a slow pace but it either doesn't work or I don't try hard enough, my body knows a pre-determined speed and I manage to hit it every time.

Summer arrived and the bedtime/wake time shift occurred along with it.  Days are long and slow for the kids and every year at this time I marvel at how endless the summer seems.  But the Fourth of July comes too soon and camp and vacation and before we all can linger long enough and enjoy what I consider the best part of the year, it is over.  Just like that.

Like my long runs I've tried to slow down, pace myself, enjoy every moment possible.  I breathe in the warm sun and soak up as much as possible like a lizard on a rock trying to get warm.  But the time goes and the summer along with it and the only solution I can muster is a move further South.  I even dreamed about it the other night.  We had purchased an idyllic cottage on the ocean that needed some work (sounds about right).  And being a dream there were the weird parts, like the hungover designer helping us pick out furniture and my mother-in-law too, and of course an underground water park and the part where I walked away in someone else's blue Tom's.  Apparently I am a thief in my dreams.  But I awoke hoping the basic storyline was true, that water would be nearer our next home, warmer days and salty air more plentiful, and maybe owning some simple white furniture on which to rest our bare feet.  No Toms.