Friday, August 28, 2015

Forgiveness Heals.

New Road. Different Bumps.

Feel free not to answer
he said
but do you mind me asking
would you ever get married again?

We're dear friends.
the best ever.
Have been for years.
We've rolled up and down
plenty of lifes hills
on parallel roads.

Would you?
After all those years
and after all these years alone
knowing what you know now
would you?

Oh heck yeah.
I didn't even have to think
about my answer.


My sweet daughter
who is also a dear friend
and of the 
sworn-never-to-marry mind
expressed incredulity
when I told her the same thing?

You would?
Even after going through a divorce
and all the tough stuff 
you've been through?
People change, mom.
You know you can't ever predict
how people change.
You'd do it again?

And then she thought about it for a minute.
Her older and wiser thought process
kicking into gear.

Or is it because you feel like
you've learned some things
along the way.

That's it.

And yeah
to my lifelong buddy
the one who is less-than-happy
and occasionally envies me just a bit
in my aloneness
even as I occasionally
envy him a bit
in his marriedness.

I'd do it again.
In a heart beat.
Because I've learned some things.

About me.
About life.
About others.

I'm older.
I've learned a few lessons.
Tough ones.

My ex-husband and I
were together for over 25 years.
We remain great friends.
He's been happily remarried
for many years.

I liked being married.
I'm ok single.

But everything is just better
when you share it with someone
you love.

Oh yes.
In a heartbeat.

The Coveted Medallion

The meticulous and oft-tedious nature
of sorting through a lifetime of another persons stuff
will grey the hair and melt the shoes right off
the most determined
most organized
most prepared.


Perhaps your parents
unlike ours
realized they would not live forever.
Perhaps they sorted through their own
and lightened up their lives
so you wouldn't have to do it after they were gone.

Not mine.
No, the only way I can make sense of the 
flotsam and lifetime of accumulation my parents left
to be addressed by my sisters and myself
is to believe they just figured
they were never going to die.

In which case
someday, yes
they would have possibly needed those 85 baby food jars again.

They'd wear the faded, threadbare short-sleeve shirts again;
or the flannel ones with the elbows worn through;
the ones still brilliant in color on one pocket
because the vinyl pocket-protector
exactly that.
Orange plaid is still
after all those years
and just on that one pocket,
orange plaid. 

If your parents were pack rats
and mine were among the pack rattiest of them all
(so I know something of which I speak)
you will find beyond the grief of their passing
which will
at various times

If you're anything like me
the wonder and mystery of
diving into the closets and drawers
and garage attics
of people you thought you knew so well
will very quickly find you calling your local
dumpster guy
and having him deliver 
the biggest empty box 
he can fit into the driveway.

And you'll fill it.
Three times, maybe.
You'll fill it
with all that wonder
and mystery
and those fabric napkins, too..
(the ones with the big cherries on them)

still in their plastic packages
from when your mom purchased them
in 19-something-or-other
for a special occasion
that apparently never happened.

It'll all be piled there under the old lamps with rotted cords
the sixty-three pairs of black socks
all alike
and woven picnic baskets
non-working vaporizers
and half-used jars of Icy Hot.

If old issues of
Good Housekeeping and 
Readers Digest and
Family Circle and
the Farmers Almanac
were worth a nickel
on EBay
you'd be planning an exotic vacation.

But they're not.
So you'll likely just be dreaming
of the day the dumpster is filled
for the last time
and vacation will simply be
never having to look at any of the stuff

When it's finished
it's a big day.
A very big day.

Ice cream
or your particular vice of choice
will be
on this day
entirely appropriate.

Then comes the paperwork.
If you're lucky
like me
you'll have a sister
who dives in
elbows deep
and takes responsibility
to make sure all the
i's are dotted
and t's are crossed.

She'll call you
and tell you 
we must all meet at the bank
and we must all sign papers.
Important papers.

They'll tell you
papers of this sort require
more than a notary.
They require something
a medallion guarantee.

We've never heard of this before
but visions of such important
medallion kind of things
will dance in our heads.

A medallion, huh? 

Sort of Presidential.
Ohhh, we'll feel so important!!!!

Great Job! In Gold!
Well heck yeah,
plowing through 60 years of accumulated stuff??
I'd call that a GREAT JOB!!!!
We've EARNED the medallion!!!

Sounds fancy!
Frankly, we couldn't wait to see it.
It seemed sort of appropriate
the piles of paperwork
endless phone calls
dotting ALL those i's
and crossing ALL those t's
would end up being the
yellow brick road
that led us to our reward,
this elusive medallion.

You can imagine
our collective disappointment when
all lined up
like dutiful little chipmunks
across the desk
The Important Bank Person
that she pulls from her desk
a little ink stamp
like something your
might have used to check out books
back in the day.

No gold.
No glitter.
Green ink.
Not shiny.
Not even
a little hurrah.

The Medallion Guarantee
turns out to be
a very important exercise
but very

Kind of like
the fourth week
of hauling your folks
hoarded mysteries
to the dumpster.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Life Events Stress

It's been stressful. Mildly.
You know how it is.
Life happens.
Sometimes it happens fun and sometimes it happens not-so-fun.
But my house didn't collapse under a mudslide after an earthquake.
Neither did my family disappear in the brilliant explosion of a terrorist bomb.
My business wasn't looted by thugs during an uprising.
I'm not worried about being dragged from my home in the night by rebels.
I've never had reason for a chemo needle.

Life is
by most of the worlds standards
very good.

I have access to clean water.
I've never gone hungry for lack of food.
I can carry my Bible and read it anywhere, any time I please.
I take walks along safe sidewalks around pretty parks and lakes.
My kids are all healthy, happy and gainfully employed.
My grandchildren are brilliant sparks of possibilities, kindness and talent.
There is music.
There are good books.
And I have a long list of friends
who reach out to me when I need them.

So it is with clear perspective I even agreed to take the Life Events stress test 
suggested to me by a friend.

"You've been through some stuff...."
"Well who hasn't. I'm fine."
"I know you're fine. You're always fine. But I'm worried about you anyway."

So I took the test.
Because I love my friends and I know they love me.
The test is a run down of a whole bunch of life events....not necessarily negative events, either....but events which are purported to have an effect on the level of stress a person is bearing....and how that level of stress may be correlated to the possibility of serious illness.
It is by no means an indication of surety
rather one of those little tools
which can be effectively used
as Oprah would say
for perhaps
an Ahhh-Haaa moment.

I have no health insurance.
That's one heck of an ahhh-haaa right there.
I guess, if for no other reason, I should at least see whether the 
statisticians think I'm going to stroke before Christmas.
It's the debilitating genetic gift of choice.
My people end up in hospitals
with half their face not working.
We're still quite loveable.
We just don't talk well at the end.
Which, if you know me
is going to be a serious problem.

So I took the test.
There are just a little under a zillion life events listed.
Loss of Spouse?
Fired From Job?
Serious Illness?
Time Spent in Jail?

And to each life event is attributed a point value.
I skated through on the events hovering around drug addiction and incarceration.
Feeling pretty confident, having never been fired from a job.
But then I hit MY life events
and my points started to add up.

Rather than detail it all out 
in all it's yawn-worthy glory
I'll just say my test
looks a little something like this.

I'm not that brunette anymore
other than in my memories
and old photos.
But those are sort of my shoulders.
And just a few of my life events.

Here's how it all adds up.

There you have it.
Apparently I've got one foot down in the ground
for a dirt nap.

Stay tuned.
If my posts all of a sudden stop.
And you see a sickly-sweet smelling
bouquet of gladiolas appear in the 
header of my page.
And you hear my kids arguing about
who gets my Buzz Lightyear lamp.

I guess I'd suggest you
take the test
and figure out how to get rid of all the stress.

Or I'll save a seat for ya up there
and we can finally relax and just sit back and chat about it all.
I'll be the one with a bottle of Baileys
a glass of ice
and a straw.

And I'll be laughing and grinning
thinking back
and telling everyone
I wouldn't have changed a thing.