Monday, March 14

Amazing Grace and Monday

by Liz Flaherty

This past week was springy. We've had warmth, rain, wind, and--here and there but not here--fog. The birds
are everywhere, flashing flirtatious bright red wings and calling their spring congregants to order in raucous, cheerful voices. My cats, both of them reluctant outdoor residents, leave clumps of winter coat behind when they rub up against the bark of trees. Duane and I pick up hundreds of cottonwood twigs in the yard and grumble about it all the time we sniff greedily at the scent of spring and new beginnings.

I've walked the Nickel Plate a few times, building back up to where two miles won't leave me gasping and leaning forward with my hands on my knees. I didn't exercise all winter, and have yoyo-ed up 20-some pounds in the absence of motion. Does anyone else do this? It's nearly an annual thing for me, I'm not proud to admit.

Also this week, I got a little of my voice back. Silenced by the stress and grief of the illness and loss of my mother-in-law, I hadn't written a word beyond lists petitioning myself to buy eggs and milk in several weeks. This week I wrote a paragraph, then a few, then a couple of pages. I have, however, choked and stumbled over emotion. It's always one of my favorite parts of writing, but when I can't get past my own feelings to experience someone else's, I can't articulate it, either.

My grandsons are in the yard, picking up more sticks--cottonwoods are amazingly prolific with what they give up to the wind--and here is more emotion; there is little in life more fulfilling than being a grandparent. I've heard "Amazing Grace" a dozen times this week and accepted the comfort it offers, but it also opens up more feelings, releases more tears. Yesterday I wanted to call Mom and ask her when to put out the hummingbird feeders and realized I couldn't this year. That hurt.

In Anne of Avonlea, L. M. Montgomery says, “That is one good thing about this world...there are always sure to be more springs.” Along with those springs, even the false ones like this past week, comes depth of feeling that, like the reawakening of the earth, is revitalized each year. I have been this emotional in spring before, when kids and grandkids were born, when one son married, when Duane and I married, at graduations. Each year, I am amazed.

I will forget by next year how this spring has been. I will be used to Mom being gone. I won't remember how the grandboys look in the yard with the tractor. I will have to be shown again, hear again, feel and see again, the "Amazing Grace" in each day.

Soon this spring, Monday glee I learned from Holly Jacobs will be back and I won't quite remember how still and empty these past few Mondays have been, when even if the weather promised spring, winter resided dark and lonely in my heart. Eventually, when the ache lessens, I'll get more of my voice back. The grass will be greener, the sky more blue, the sticks picked up until the wind blows again. There will be kids on ballfields, tractors in fields, music on the air. We will remember that laughter is the blessed breath of life.

Amazing.

20 comments:

  1. Thank you, Liz, for the reminder of what Spring is all about. God bless you in your grief journey, and keep you amazed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Spring is here - at least for a little while - here, too. It's St. Patrick's this week, which a lot of people think only means 'time to drink green beer'! But there is a lot more to Irish culture than green beer ... this is one of my favorite prayers:

    May you see God’s light on the path ahead
    When the road you walk is dark.
    May you always hear,
    Even in your hour of sorrow,
    The gentle singing of the lark.
    When times are hard may hardness
    Never turn your heart to stone,
    May you always remember
    when the shadows fall –
    You do not walk alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for that. The Irish sure do know their way around blessings, don't they?

      Delete
  3. My condolences to you and your family. I hope spring continues to offer you renewal and strength.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a lovely post! I'm so sorry you have to go through the sorrow of loss, but it's part life at our ages, I think, and although that doesn't make the pain any less real, there is small comfort in knowing that this is the way of things. Folks grow older and their lives end even as new lives--grandchildren--are beginning. Take comfort is the glories of spring and in knowing that she's up there, keeping an eye on you and yours. <>

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is part of life now, and even though we know it and sort-of-expect it, accepting comes a little harder, doesn't it?

      Delete
  5. Oh my, Liz, I'm sending many hugs. I love the part about your grandboys and sticks. I picked up one Saturday and had a great time just carrying it around on my walk. Enjoy spring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Vicki. Watching them was one of the joys, for sure.

      Delete
  6. Simply beautiful! Love the line about laughter being the blessed breath of life. Inspired! Take care and many hugs across the miles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Margie. I so appreciate the thoughts--and the hugs!

      Delete
  7. Liz, what a beautiful post. It is one of the saddest parts of aging that we lose those we love as their lives end. I appreciate your words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Carolyn. It is sad. It's one thing to be philosophical about it in theory, quite another in practice!

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your memories. Every time Survivor comes on TV, I want to call my Mom to remind her.

      Delete
    3. Oh, yeah, I know what you mean on that one. I'm sure Mom is watching Wheel of Fortune, too.

      Delete
  8. I think this eloquent post touched a lot of souls, Liz. Blessings on you and yours as you keep moving through this moment in time. As long as we have beautiful memories, those we love are never truly gone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Terry. We do have many memories. I think part of my upset is at myself because I wasn't more patient.

      Delete
  9. What a lovely post, Liz. So sorry to hear about the loss of your mother-in-law. Hope that the passing of time mitigates your grief, leaving you with wonderful memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Reese. We have some splendid ones and, being family, some not-so-splendid ones, too.

      Delete