I Have a Story (3)

(Another real life story from my sister’s life)

“On Goodbyes”

When I lived in the cold country of Colorado, I used to watch a squirrel family of five gather nuts in my front yard every morning.  One time, when I was leaving for work, I looked up and saw them crossing over to the other side of the street single file, using the branches of the trees that grew on both sides of the street with the branches intertwined over the street.

Another day, when I walked out of my duplex to get in my car, I saw a girl out in the street looking down at something lying there.  She looked up at me and said it was an injured animal.  I had an old gray sweatshirt in the car, so I gave it to her and she scooped up the animal and brought it back over to me.  Next thing I knew, she placed the bundle in my arms, and I looked down into the trusting brown, shiny eyes of a squirrel. It had been hit by a car, she said, then the girl left abruptly.

I took the injured animal into my living room and set it carefully on the floor.  I couldn’t see any blood, maybe he was just in shock.  He laid quietly on my sweatshirt, while I lightly petted him, and stared at me.  I made a quick call to the animal shelter to see what I could feed the squirrel.  As I hung up the phone, I went back over to him.  He looked at me with the most loving gaze, let out a tiny little sneeze, then died.  Blood trickled from its mouth.  It had been bleeding internally.  I very sadly placed him in a bag, set him gently in the trash bin outside, and went on to work.

I returned home from work late that night.  I shined my flash light so I could see to unlock the door.  To my surprise, I saw in the fresh snow several sets of tiny paw prints below my window and on the window sill.  My window was really low to the ground.  The squirrels must have seen me take the injured squirrel inside and they had been peering into my window trying to get a glimpse of their family member!

I never realized squirrels were that smart or family oriented.  There was no way I could tell them know their little buddy had died.  They would just have to always wonder what happened.

After that, I watched only four squirrels foraging and playing in my front yard.  I’ll never forget that I held and petted a wild squirrel as we gazed into each other’s eyes, saying silent goodbyes.

The end

But Not Here

A conglomerate of wild flowers desperately guards the normally exciting, noisy stream

Large and small flowers, bushy, grassy, single stemmed, all drown the senses with amazing colors, all lean over the stream, embracing it for themselves, choking, slowing down the lively gush

Streams must pass and that is life

Desperately hoarding the lively, babbling water or a life’s running course only creates dammed up, silent, stagnate pools fit only for unwanted things

Streams must pass and that is life

The selfish plant life must be trimmed back, allowing the happy creek to bubble and babble on its way to God knows where…but not here

The selfish refusal to let go must be trimmed back to allow an aged father, who used to be a lively, bubbly human life, to flow on to God knows where…

but not here

From a beautiful but sad morning walk August 31st, 2017… I can’t stop my loved ones from flowing around the next bend and the next, any more than they can stop me.  That’s what makes streams and creeks so beautiful to us.  Enjoy the music of life while you’re in the presence of the magnificent rush…

Year of the Fallen Leaves

The green lawn shimmers golden yellow orange red with a blanket of magnificent fallen leaves under the gray, almost wintery sky. I always look forward to this time of year to soak up the gorgeous colors of what recently was very alive, vibrant green and clustered together on trees, providing shade, shelter and nutrition for all kinds of creatures. At this time of year, they wear down brilliantly, their lives ending with a blow-out of hues that artists and photographers strive to catch.

Glory in death.

This year several glorious leaves fell from my life. Some fell earlier than others, but they all blazed brilliantly as they finished their purpose and the time came to go away. First my Aunt Betty Hunt, then long time family friend Thelma Johnson, then my mother Mary Jo Hunt Gregoire and then my cousin Danny Gregoire.

They left people behind, yearning to see them again. Their departure allows us to follow suit—serve our purpose, finish in spectacular ways, blanket other lives with our own blazing ends. The time of death is a wonderful time to do our absolute very best, to leave behind burning images of good for those who are just beginning and for those who are still strong and green.

Today, stepping carefully among the tree’s fallen leaves, tears finally flow down my face. Finally, I mourn…and it’s okay.

2016Oct8FallenLeaves1k

October 8, 2016…the morning I found the way to mourn.

Not “As Usual” Now

(I edited this from my sister’s writing on April 27th. She’s had a full month)

I watch my older family members buckle with age while

life goes on as usual for everyone else

My father weeps over my mother’s decline and he asks, “What will happen today?” while

life goes on as usual for everyone else

My aunt clings to my uncle’s hand as deadly toxins build in her blood while

life goes on as usual for everyone else

I watch my grandmother, bedridden with dementia and kidney failure while

life goes on as usual for everyone else.

Jesus understands this grief, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow, stay here and keep watch with Me,” but

life went on as usual for everyone else

My neighbors, friends and family have all faced the sorrow of losing loved ones and

life went on as usual for everyone else (sadly, including me)

I understand this, I know I’m not the only one who has ever experienced a lonely vigil and saying good-bye

But my grief still makes me feel alone, unique, and definitely not as usual

Moving Moving On

The babbling creek just across the highway creates its beautiful musical sounds because of the variety of obstacles blocking its path

large rocks; gathered pebbles; grass patches; high ground; fallen trees or limbs; curves in the land all drive the water to the right, then the left, splitting here, there, letting it join up to bump, bumble over them and fall off to crash, bubble, boil before straightening and moving

moving on

sought after musical sounds of water do not happen without obstacles

like the creek, I bubble over, around and sometimes split because of the death of loved ones or illnesses; falling off of job, career, environmental or governmental changes to crash, broil, and boil painfully until I straighten out, moving

moving on

treating these experiences as the means to bring enjoyment to others when they get close enough to hear me

(So, I say good-bye to my aunt, my mother, and an old friend as they move on ahead of me leaving behind memories of the beautiful music they made in life)