Thursday, February 25, 2010

Words, and pictures, though not necessarily connected

We've all been hearing for a while now about how chicken soup has real medicinal qualities, that eating a piping hot bowl really will help cure your cold.

I now also firmly believe in the emotional healing power of baking chocolate chip cookies, and eating some while they are still warm out of the oven. Taking the time to bake with Dean was big; I just haven't been able to rally for much of anything lately, haven't been cooking much, haven't been very hungry. But we had a snow day yesterday and I knew we needed the project together, AND the cookies. Wow. What a world of difference.

Here's an interesting place I've just arrived in mourning the loss of my mom. I have regrets -- many regrets. And that has been crushing me, the weight of those regrets. But then, I suddenly realized, she had regrets, too. We both had things we would have done over differently. So now that we can't -- neither of us can without both of us here -- I can move ahead knowing that simply we still loved each other deeply. That even with our imperfections, what stood up over time was love. That's what I need to focus on. What lasted and remained true, regardless.

(Try clicking on this one to see it larger -- "Outbound to Wonderland" -- my favorite sign in the entire Boston public transportation system.)

I'm thinking about my relationship with Dean very much in all of this experience.

We were both born in the Year of the Tiger (1962 and 1998) in the Chinese calendar, and this is the Year of the Tiger (2010). I'm trying to think about how to celebrate that, what we can make of it. Seems like an opportunity worth seizing, somehow.

And speaking of having been born in 1962, it was just my birthday last week. Natalie sent me flowers -- wasn't that a wonderful thing for her to do? They are still a breath of spring, brightening the whole kitchen.

In the overall birthday department though it was pretty crappy, given the timing. And, how can I put this -- I'm wondering why it is that both my parents had to pass away right before my birthday.

I used to truly love February. It featured my birthday, which I always used to adore, it has Valentine's Day, it's the time of winter when you do start to see signs of spring -- even if only the lengthening of the day. Oh sure, most people find it hard to say nice things about February, but I was a staunch supporter. Now.... Not so much. I find myself dreading my birthday, and not because of the aging thing (that's never bothered me a whit). I don't want to have to face February every year and these two sad anniversaries. Oy.

There are 11 other months of the year, I have 3 siblings all born in various months -- couldn't the grief have gotten spread around a little bit? It has been hard for the past 11 years to work my way past the anniversary of my dad's death in order to feeling up for anything by my birthday, and now I just can't even imagine. Oh well. Maybe it was time to grow up about it.

One good thing that happened on my birthday is that after Dean and I finished his observation of seahorses at the aquarium (for a school report), Ken came to meet us and after lunch,

we went to see Ultimate Wave Tahiti in Imax 3D. If this film plays near you (especially in 3D) I highly recommend you go see it. I don't imagine that I'll ever get to Tahiti in my lifetime, but this film gave me such an incredibly real sense of the place. I wouldn't say that I have an interest in surfing, but the film made it fascinating. It very much highlights the spiritual culture and beauty of Tahiti. I'm still waiting for my birthday margarita, for my birthday dinner at a Mexican restaurant, and my birthday cake. Hopes are not high.

I'm tired. Are you tired? I am deeply, could-fall-asleep-at-any-minute tired.

Dave, with whom I work at school, is the skip of his curling team. How cool is that? He brought in his rock and broom and shoes (and even his special pants and his special jacket with his name on it and his championship patch). Trying to imagine how we're going to handle Olympic withdrawal.


Natalie said...

Dear friend, please do not "grow up..." not about your birthday. You have been my inspiration to hold on to youthful light, the ungrown-up kind of self-appreciation that makes birthdays special. Have you ever met a grown-up that is happy, fun to be around? I have always found that the people I most admire are in one aspect or another decidedly not grown-up.
I am sorry about the timing, about the regrets and the ache of loss and sorrow. I am sorry I cannot be there to make your favorite dishes, whip up a Margarita. I would love to be the friend that steps in occasionally, until you can sort everything out, find a new way.
(((((hugs)))) Even from this distance, I want to help you.

Julie said...

(I left an earlier comment, apparently deleting instead of posting it.)

When I read this post, I felt as if I were sitting across from you at your kitchen table, listening intently to what's on your heart; on your mind. It seems terribly unfair that you should have to experience yet another great loss so near your birthday, of all times--the day that should be reserved only for you.

It's too terribly soon now, but I pray with time, the creativity you're so clearly gifted with will find a way to make your birthday special again--something to look forward to with joy. Not sure what that will "look like", but I believe you'll find a way.

Reaching across the table now to put my hand on yours, sweet friend...

Laura Jane said...

Can I add my hand across the table too?

I picture one of those hands in the middle of a circle of teammates, then raising them to boost the spirits before going off to conquer a Herculean task. Like...continuing with one's life, and finding a way to not make February suck.

You are completely within your rights to feel a bit put upon about the timing of these anniversaries. Dammit. But it can't be undone.

I like how you have rationalised the regrets between you and your Mum (and, may I add, between every human on the planet).

Perhaps you could declare another Memorial day.

What was their wedding anniversary date? Perhaps commemorate them together then. (Don't tell was Feb?)

Thinking of you Jennifer, across the table, across the world.

Kym said...

I've not been plugged-in too much lately, so I've only just popped in and discovered your sad news. You have my deepest sympathy.

I'm not good with upsetting events. Be it close to home and heart, or at a distance. I just don't know what to say. I cried when I read your words. But how could anything I say possibly make it better? This latest post makes me think that time, family and friends are starting to heal the wound. I hope this is true. My thoughts are with you.

Garnered Stitches said...

My Grandad died 16th December 1992, we found it incredibly difficult to even contemplate Christmas for a number of years. My Mum would not decorate the house until 17th Dec. Even when I married each Christmas I wouldn't decorate or buy decorations until the 17th. Just last 18 years later I decided time had moved on and decorated earlier. It felt like I had his blessing, it felt right.