Dec. 6, 2017

Once There Was "We"....

“Walking alone is not difficult...

but when we walked a mile with someone...

then coming back alone is...difficult.”

How is it possible,

How can it be,

That a lifetime of, “we,”

Overnight became, “me?”

Fifty years it was “ours,”

Which I thought was just fine,

Our children, our house, our car and our dog,

Our problems, our rough times,

Overnight became, “mine.”

The good times, the laughter, the hugs,

They were “ours.’

Now the silence, the silence,

The silence is “mine.”

So many sunny days in so many sunny places,

Beaches in Maui, in Mexico and Greece,

Champagne in plastic cups,

Unshelled peanuts, cheese and kisses,

All those good times were “ours.”

Now I wonder what I’ll do with all the things that were his,

His collection of hats, his favorite pink shirt,

The nuts and bolts and Lord knows what he’s got,

Down there in the basement, I just know it’s a lot.

Mostly I wonder what I’ll do with the rest of my life.

What about the music that was such a big part of his life?

Ceiling to floor, wall upon wall, CD’s and vinyl,

The music he loved, that his audience loved,

Thousands of radio programs, so many great songs.

Now I’m on a plane home from Texas, in a middle seat alone.

Last July it was “us,”

Sharing red wine and stale pretzels.

We laughed and we talked and planned the week to come.

And now, forevermore, it will be...just “me.”

There is no more “us.”

The winds of the last couple of days reminded me of the really horrendous windstorm that visited Southern California six years ago. We were without power for days on end, huddled in front of our gas log fire and burning candles for light, reading by flashlight and eating everything out. No power, No coffee! John figured out a way to rig up an old dial telephone, charge our phones and make my curling iron work so I wouldn’t look exactly like Broomhilda. Trees were uprooted all over town, huge trees hundreds of years old, tossed about like tinker toys. We live close to the Los Angeles County Arboretum, where 400 magnificent trees were blown over and ripped out of the ground. The Arboretum, in their wisdom, offered this rare, unique wood to artists who worked in wood and asked them to express through their art what was in the grain and hearts of these trees.

This piece, “Weeping Man” by artist Gonzalo Algarate, was carved from Eucalyptus globulus – Tasmanian Bluegum. I saw this work at the “Force of Nature II” Arboretum art showing last week and it pretty much expressed how I have felt since my beloved John took up residence in heaven last October 9th. The anatomy of this man and his posture are tremendously moving. This is a deeply moving work.

Learning how to be alone isn’t easy, but I’m doing it. I even decorated a little for Christmas and bought a bunch of Poinsettias from Trader Joe’s and put them around. Little by little, I’m doing the things one has to do and I know I’ll see him again one day. I’m grateful for family, who support me and love me, take me places, and pat me when I cry. I keep his pictures around me, I love that crooked smile.

I’ve quoted this poem by Annie Johnson Flint before and it’s never been more true for me...


God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
many a burden, many a care.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love