Joy and Bandit.
Joy, a purebred German Shepherd, rescued from a materialistic breeder, and Bandit, a Mother’s Day gift from my son. These two were so close I think when Joy died at the ripe old age of 16, Bandit, only 11, was lost without her and he passed just a few weeks later.
Their deaths were such a powerful thing in my life. Their passings would have been huge for me anyway as I loved these two beyond reason. But they died in the middle of the longest stretch of losses I have ever experienced.
During that 17 month period we lost 11 people in or very close to our family, in unrelated deaths…one after another after another.
We absolutely could not catch our breaths! No breaks. Just constant grief! And so many funerals.
And then our other cat, Surprise, was run over by our housemate in our own garage. “Surprise”, the miracle cat, named because she was the runt of her litter and born almost 2 hours after the others. We were constantly surprised that she survived. Surprise was 26 years old!
When I tell you the dates of this stretch, I will accept any empathy (or sympathy) you have to offer as I still reel from these memories at times and will appreciate any support.
July, 2000 through December 2001.
911 happened right in the middle of all of this loss, and though I did not personally know anyone who died that day, in my raw emotional condition I took that tragedy deep into my heart and soul. In my private therapy practice I had 15 clients who did lose friends because they worked for companies whose home offices were in one of the Towers. They had each been there before. We all grieved together for a very long time.
The direction of this post has taken me by surprise…no place for me to put my usual humor or well intentioned sarcasm.
But hey, this is what the word “Partners” brought up for me. And since, so far these topics have been so stimulating and thought provoking, tomorrow, I’m sure, will likely be a different story….loaded with irony, provocation and my brand of humor.
Thanks for reading.
I really am obsessed with this word “Curve”, and I guess I am not alone. There are so many entries this week! I thought I was done yesterday but I kept remembering other CURVES I really adore! So here are some more!
But my real favorite Curve in the shell world is the ingenious Operculum. Defined in nature as a lid, a cover, or, get this, a trap door, it is a beautiful, smoothed by the elements, curved chunk of shell used by all sizes of Hermit Crabs as their protective “front door”.
Definitely NOT one-size-fits-all!
In Fiji, the locals would keep special ones in their hands, kind of like a “worry stone”, constantly rubbing and smoothing it until the combination of friction and skin oil had it gleaming like a “cat’s eye”
They were also called the Shiva Eye, and they made them into jewelry.
“It is the third eye in the middle of the forehead of the Hindu God Shiva. Representing wisdom, it is thought to have the ability to look beyond the obvious. It symbolizes the flow of life, the constant change of the universe, spiritual knowledge and creative visualization.”
This is the other side, exactly how they end up on the beach, worn down to “door” size for a variety of crabs and snails.
If you could slice the tips of these shells off and then sand and polish the nub down to a button shape, you would have an operculum. And, on the flat side, you would see the swirl of the shell’s life and growth, sort of like the rings of a large tree.
OK, that’s really it for me and my Curve fixation. I’m done now.
No more curves………..
well, maybe just this very last example of Curves that “inspire” me…just for the Yoga part of it though. Honest.
This is my daughter-in-law’s big brother,
posing for a Yoga and Meditation Calendar a few years ago.
Pretty inspiring Curves, don’t cha think?
They are all so different….so beautiful. I took these pictures in a hurry so not that crisp but the Curves are endless.
I just realized this isn’t even my favorite shell.
And I already said this was the last post for Curve……uh oh.
What a lovely thing to be on the lookout for!!!
(disclaimer: I have posted a couple of these before, maybe for Circle?)
Driving from Spokane to Seattle yesterday, the sky put on a dramatic show for most of the trip! Stunning. With equipment other than my phone (Samsung Galaxy S4) and my trusty little Nikon, I could have had some amazing photos.
Oh, and if I had not been driving 70 MPH!
Along with the Sun Halo were these cloud rainbows! I have never seen anything like this before!
It was like the Northern Lights in the middle of the day!!
I really must wash my windshield!
“You can’t trust kids; they’ll grow up while your back is turned.” Teresa Bloomingdale
Ever witness something so beautiful, it hurts. Ever come across a scene that freezes you in your tracks and makes you wish fervently that you had a camera with you, or the talent of a poet so you could really convey what you are seeing to others.
Ever see or hear something you are desperate to share with others only to realize that it might actually be happening just for you.
Ever feel that tidal wave of gratitude when you realize you are finally being rewarded for your endless, sometimes heartbreaking work all those years as a parent?
After my precious two year old grandson, JuJu, had been terribly sick for days, his parents asked me if I could come and sit with him while they went to an afternoon movie for a much needed break.
I spit out an unqualified YES before they finished verbalizing the request.
My grandson Julius and I are seriously bonded. I would do anything for him. I am fueled by a shameless, unconditional love over which I am completely powerless. I consider my life exceptional in the sheer number of opportunities I have been given to love deeply but no one could have prepared me for the quality and quantity of this affection and protection I feel toward him.
I am not that grandparent who enjoys spoiling the grand kids but am relieved to send them home. (This might be a little bit about being a mom who had to raise a son alone, riddled with guilt while working three jobs and going to school, but getting a second chance to “do it right” with her grandsons.)
Because of proximity, I have been given the profound honor of participating in the lives of my grandsons daily. Like an old-fashioned extended family tradition, (at the time of this writing) they live directly across the street.
Reactions to our family’s living circumstance range from dismay at the imagined expectation of responsibility, to blatant and petulant jealousy at my fortunate nearness to my grandchildren….this latter being primarily (and naturally) from Julius and Luca’s other grandparents.
For us, it just plain works. We all seem to love it and benefit from it. I was raised myself, without any extended family in the picture, but in what might be described as the forerunner to the 1960’s commune type of life. Created Family. My Mom adopted stray kids right and left like others adopt cats. And, after some of my teens and early twenties were spent in actual communes, I continued a form of that tradition with my son, always sharing our uniquely configured house, with at least two or three people, often other single parents struggling to raise children of various ages. Over the years, we would start out calling them “renters” but before long each new group became like family.
I have always believed “It takes a Village”….
Anyway, on this particular day, an extremely ill JuJu had awakened from his third or fourth nap of the day, but this time he was pulled from the relief of sleep because he had one of those sick-kid, diarrhea blowouts that required not only a diaper change but an entire load of laundry to clean up. After taking him into the shower to remove his clothes and to, in essence, hose him down, Michael had dressed Julius in fresh PJs and was drying his hair with a towel. Julius had been the kind of sick that has you achy all over, writhing and stretching for some kind, any kind of relief. Poor baby had not been able to lie still or stop whimpering for days, except during his frequent, fevered naps.
So, unnoticed by either of them I enter the bedroom and see the following scene. Michael and Julius are on the bed with Juju’s tiny limp legs draped over his father’s so that they are two overlapping bodies. This Dad is leaning close to his boy and whispering something over and over that I can’t make out. All the while Dad is ever so slowly and gently rubbing, fluffing and massaging Julius’s long and curly wet hair with a big fluffy towel. He does this well after JuJu’s hair is dry. It is obvious that Michael is continuing because Julius is finally quiet, so relaxed, completely mesmerized by this gentle, nurturing gesture from his “DaDa”.
Julius, already a gorgeous child, has the lovely, peaceful face of an angel. He never takes his eyes from his Daddy’s.
I can remember the exact sensation of a dangerously hot-faced little boy’s cheek next to my own. I know, in the muscle-memory of my arms, if I were to pick up this tiny boy right now he would be a noodle…like sleeping-baby dead weight. He is so tranquil and blissfully pain free for the first time in days.
This father/son love scene continues for a very, very long time…..until Julius drifts off to sleep again. I take over so his Mom and Dad can get out for a bit. It’s been a long week.
Skip ahead to later that evening. I go back across the street to check on Michael and the patient. Juju’s fever has broken and he is on the mend.
As I am leaving, though I don’t want to intrude or embarrass my son, I tell him what I saw earlier in the day. I tell him how beautiful it was to spy on such profound father/son love. I apologize to him for my part in his never having had a father to do this for him when he was a child. I thank Michael for being the Dad I always knew he would be but that no one else would have ever believed.
He gently took me by the shoulders, looked into my eyes and said (with that slightly impatient tone of his that says duhhh), “Mom. I’m just doing for my boy exactly what you used to do for me.”
(excerpt from a chapter of my book)
*A minor disclaimer about the top photo. Those are not scars on Michael’s face or holes in his t-shirt. My scanner was down so I had to photograph an old photo that was wrinkled and full of pinholes.
My bugs love curves to climb on…..
Cathedral turned Basilica in Natchez, Mississippi