Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lot 125- Grave #11

September 23, 2008
The days couldn’t be any more different.

Today is an early fall crisp day, full of sun and skies with no clouds in sight. It’s the kind of day that could mark any birth, beginning or just a kick start to a fresh era.

The cool autumn air weaves in and out of the strategically spaced and planted low rising white birch trees. Some feel that to stand here is to be aligned between heaven and earth. The landscape is groomed, orderly and unblemished not only for the inhabitants, but more for the loved ones who come here either frequently or myself, who never come here at all.

Dr. Lubin is standing by my side. Her gentle hand is on my shoulder. I am not alone. Dr. Lubin has reined in the stray pieces to the puzzle of my life and together we have rebuilt the scenes. It's a challenging puzzle. Most of the pieces were missing.
But Dr. Lubin is a master and gifted healer who believes in delving straight into your soul and discovers with you, the buried treasures that have been hidden. They surface and we celebrate together. This journey could not exist without her.

The last time I was here, 20 years ago, was a cold, bitter day in December. The wind whipped it’s fury through the sparse trees, taking with it the last vestiges of the already deadened leaves. The trees as I remember, were so much smaller then.
I tried on that day not to think of you. I tried to find any distraction that would tear my mind from the thoughts of you. We had caused each other so much pain. I don’t think we knew then even why.

So many differences between now and then, so many conflicts, and so many unanswered questions.

I was angry then. I am sad now.

I had questions then. I have answers now.

It’s sad you could not have been part of the dialog of working things out.

That I had to do on my own, like everything else.

You lived angry and died sadly. I disappointed you even in death, while trying to make you happy in life. Our lives were a study in extreme contrasts, from the moment of my conception, to the instant of your death.

I believe, in my Polly Anna world, that I wanted to be born. You, in your brutal honesty, never wanted to give birth to me. You have always made that clear.

What is done is done.

I am not here to accuse, blame or denigrate you.
I am here to thank you. From your mistakes and flaws, I learned how to steer clear of making the same ones.

I don’t know if you would like me any better today. I tend to think not.

Everything you stood for, I was against, and vice versa. I am sure you saw me in later years as cruel and unloving, the same I had seen in you when I was a child. At what point did we merge and become each other?

Strangely enough I Iearned more from you than anyone else. I took whatever you didn’t give me and looked in other places for it and most of the time found it.

From your closed heart, I searched for others with open hearts and learned to open mine.

From your unhappiness I searched how to fill my life with joy and passion.

From your dishonesty and untruths, I learned how to be true and honest.

From your narrow focus on life, I learned now to broaden my vision.

From your black and white world, I learned that there are so many gray areas to be accounted for.

From your silence and disapproval I learned how to speak with kindness.

From your lack of nuturing and love, I am finally learning how to take care of myself and love myself.
We were sent to each other for many reasons. Our journeys so different, our lives so very different. I am still on my journey.
Your journey’s answers remain with you.
I blame you for nothing. You told me in later years you didn’t think I loved you. I told you I did and still do.
How I wish I had heard those words from you.
I am sorry it has taken me 20 years to place this marker on your grave. But nothing would have made you happy.

This marker represents my last endeavor for your love.

Please accept it.

I truly hope you can rest in peace.

I know that now I can let you rest in peace and I can live in peace.

Maybe this is the first and last time we agree on anything.

As I turn to leave, I place a large plant of purple mums on her grave marker.

Next to the mums, I place the photo of my dad.

I want it to feel like a family, my family. And for a fleeting moment it does.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Ocean of Mercy

Suddenly, like magic, thoughts about work, life, writing and everyday turmoil, thrashing about in my head, come to an abrupt end. It's as if a retaining wall were put in place inside my brain to hold back the flood of thoughts, ideas, beliefs and opinions. Everything comes to a grinding halt.

In its place, from this room, the gentle sound of waves slap quietly against the shore and immediately grab my attention. I look up and out the window, well outside of myself and see nothing but ocean. The light is soft and even on this semi fall day. The ocean is calm and glimmers with reflected light. Peace and serenity surround me.

It is that time of year when summer begs to hang on, but autumn begins to display its change. Leaves begin their transformation ever so slightly and summer days waffle back and forth from warm to cool.

A gigantic pine tree burrows its old and weathered roots into the grassy area twenty yards from the ocean. It is far from a perfect shape, much like myself, but a shape that has been and continues to be be formed and twisted by the wind, and defined by the elements of its surroundings. In spite of its weathered life it remains strong, healthy and deeply rooted. Don't be mistaken into thinking this tree hasn't seen its share of hurricanes, tornadoes or ice storms. The bare patches and missing pieces on this tree, say otherwise. Storms take their toll, yet the tree stands proudly, boldly and even slopes towards the ocean, as if to challenge even more oncoming rages from Mother Nature. The tree can take it.

A woman walks along the shoreline, head down, hands clasped behind her back. Several paces behind a sea gull follows her trail and almost mimics the woman's walk. The woman seems to be looking for something, answers, ideas, or maybe just plain peace. The sea gull's head pokes down every now and then foraging for food.

I sit in my room gazing at the three living species in front of me. I too join them in their quest and challenges.

I came here to try and finish three specific writing pieces. I'm not a nature writer by any stretch of the imagination.
None of that seems to matter now. It's lost in the clutter of my mind that was silenced when I got here. All that's here right now is peace, solitude, and silence, save for the sounds of the ocean. No radio, no tv. no people.
The world has mercifully stopped for a bit.

But I am not alone. I brought someone with me who I have not seen in 60 years.
My dad.

A long lost first cousin called me 10 years ago to tell me he had a photo of my dad when he was in the army. I've never heard from him since- until Monday.

He emailed me the photo of my dad, and it is leaning against the old lamp I am using at this writing desk.

The sepia toned photo shows a young handsome man. I look so much like him, it's scary, but exciting.

Finally a face, my father's face, to put to a name, Dad. A man I have never met but have never stopped romanticizing or fantasizing over.

I have him now.

This room, this time, this view,and his face are all that matters.

Mercy Center
Madison CT.