I somehow got it into my head that sunrise was at 6:50 yesterday, so I wasn’t rushing as I drove to Sea Street Beach. It was obvious that the sky was full of color as I drove, but I still wasn’t thinking. It was the first morning without Ozzie, it wasn’t a normal morning at all. And I had been up at 3 AM, even that is a little earlier than my normal early rising. And I had had the thought that I wouldn’t have to rush for the sunrise, but I lost some time writing and thinking of Ozzie. So for whatever reason when I arrived this is what I foundI think that the shape standing on the closest rocks might be trash cans. I told myself I’d lop them out of the photo in editing. But when I saw the photos I saw them as a heart shape, and it was Valentines Day after all, so I left it as is. Funny how Mother Nature can perform for you even when you aren’t exactly on top of things. But later on I got my first ever phone call from Cupid, and the day got a little brighter after that.
When I was still in Florida and anticipating all the fun things I’d take pictures of when I headed north, snowy landscapes were tops on the list. Snowier and more majestic in my mind than this is, but this is the most snow I’ve seen in years so I can’t really complain.
And when I was still in Florida I was worried about Ozzie. He had been having elderly dog issues for a while, and when I heard that he was the last of his litter still alive I knew that his days were numbered. But what you know in your head doesn’t always mean that your heart is ready to face facts. He was the perfect dog to help me with all the changes in my life in the last few years. Loveably there, but undemanding. I really wasn’t alone, there was someone to take care of, two someones really with Zoe, but we lost her in April. In a sense they reeled me in. I could enjoy imagining myself having all sorts of adventures, going places, doing things, and I’d tell myself that it would be so wonderful, but I need to be home for the dogs. And before that it was the husband, the kids, the business, and I think I patted myself on the back for taking care of them, for putting them first. But the time had come to face facts. Ozzie’s ability to get around got the best of him the other day, and I’m sad to say that he is no longer with me. I hope I can find my way without him…
While you’ve been concentrating on all the people you love, the ones that you are heading north to see, there are people here that you love and are leaving behind. There will be heartfelt goodbyes to say here. Neighbors who I’ve been blessed to know, and who have helped me feel secure in this first ever time of my life in which I’ve lived alone. But not as alone as I might have felt if not for them. And my photography friends, I will see their adventures in photography online, and look forward to being out shooting with them again before too long. And then there are my coworkers, who were my sounding board as I went through this biggest challenge of my life. I thought of myself as alone these past four years, but I see now that I haven’t really been alone at all.
I sent a note to a friend’s mother to apologize after sneaking away without saying goodbye. I told her how much I have always hated saying goodbye. She sent back a note and said that in her family they say Auf Weidersehen, ‘until we meet again’. Yes, that’s it exactly, it’s only goodbye for now, until we meet again.
Not a question but a song. A song that I had found myself singing several days in a row as I searched for my missing hairbrush. That it disappeared in the chaos which is my life at the moment isn’t surprising, but I found myself surprised to be singing that song at all. It was so familiar, but I couldn’t place where it was from. But after I thought about it for a bit I realized, Veggie Tales! And now I sing it frequently, substituting the name of the missing item du jour. And something is always missing. Eventually the last puzzle piece will fall into place, and I’d be willing to bet that I won’t realize it for a second. That that was it, it’s time to go. Lately I find myself wishing for life to get back to normal. I wonder how long it will take me to recognize my new normal, whatever that turns out to be…
I took myself out for a quesadilla burger last night. I’d been thinking about them for a week or two, and since burgers are the Monday special at Appleby’s, and I had stayed home and cleaned the house most of the day, and all the pots, pans, dishes, and silverware are at the mobile, it seemed like the thing to do.
The parking lot was quite full, so I hoped there would be a seat available at the bar, and there was. It was empty actually, I was surprised. And as I sat there enjoying my burger a mother and daughter came in and sat a little bit away from me at the bar. I couldn’t help but hear their conversation and it became obvious that the daughter was there to support the mother who had just lost her husband. It was a brand new situation for them, should she ‘have something’ here, or was it okay to just do it ‘back home’ was a topic. The Mom and Dad had apparently frequented Appleby’s. Mom said that if her Michael had seen that they had ordered breadsticks with Alfredo sauce he’d have shaken his head. She told the bartender that she didn’t know if she could bring herself to come there without him, but she decided that she could do it while her daughter was with her this first time. I related to them so much, to the two or three days that my son stayed with me in the aftermath of Charley’s death, until I kicked him out, sort of. I felt connected to them, though they had no clue and we hadn’t spoken a word to each other.
And then it was time to leave. I had switched to a bigger purse because I’m carrying more with me back and forth, and I love that purse but I can never find anything in it. Like my wallet, but it simply wasn’t there. This had never happened to me before and I wondered why I wasn’t in a total panic, but I wasn’t, and I quietly (I thought) told the young gal who was bartending that I was embarrassed, and asked if I could give her a check. She said no, it’s fine, just stop by another time and take care of it. As I asked for the check I heard the mother say, “We’ll take care of it.” I looked over and she was in tears. She thanked me. She said that her husband would have loved this, it was perfect, it was just the thing he loved to do. And while this wasn’t my finest moment I felt so calm as I saw what this moment was for her. I thanked them, hugged them, and told them that my son and I had spent this same time together four years ago. And Mom thanked me again, said her husband would be so pleased with this, and asked that the next time I go out and have a drink, to please raise my glass to Michael and say, “Dilly dilly.” And I will…
When I was newly divorced, give or take 40 years ago, I drove my ex-husband and his then girlfriend now wife, crazy. I called him. A lot. No, not to fix a plumbing leak or anything. I called because I found the day-to-day responsibility of raising the kids to be a bit overwhelming. We were a Navy family, living far away from all family, and having few friends. No one else knew my kids well besides him. And what if I dropped dead? He would have to take the kids on immediately and I wanted him to know where they were ‘at’. I needed to feel that he was up to speed with them. So when an issue had come up and I had handled it I would call him, tell him what had happened and how I had handled it, and he would always tell me I had handled it just right and he wouldn’t have changed anything. If a divorce can be a good thing then we had a good divorce. I needed validation.
Which all came to mind this morning when my soft-boiled eggs turned out perfectly. I must still be seeking validation because I get quite pleased with myself when that happens, and I feel like the universe has given me a little pat on the back. And then I won my very first game of solitaire this morning. I have a solitaire-playing friend who suggested that my shuffling skills aren’t the greatest, but I choose to be encouraged that my life-changes that are underway have me on the right track. In spades! I’ll take validation any way I can get it.