Gratitude

On Monday I started the 11 Day Anxiety Challenge. Wednesday’s task was to find five things you are grateful for. Here are my five things:

  1. My family – My husband and sons mean everything to me.
  2. My house – I am so happy I am able to afford my home. I have worked very hard over the years to make it a lovely place to live.
  3. Exercise – I am very glad I am physically able to exercise since I have interstitial cystitis which is so debilitating for so many people.
  4. Ice skating – The reasons for being grateful for exercise hold true for ice skating with the additional thought of  being able to do it at my age.
  5.  Birds – Wednesday morning I heard them chirping and it was a beautiful sound.

The black-capped chickadee is the state bird of Massachusetts.

What are some things you are grateful for? Please tell me below in the comments.

 

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Death

There was recently a death in my family. Several other people I know have also lost members of their families recently. In honor of all these losses, I offer two poems that I have found comforting and meaningful at times of sorrow. I read this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay at my brother’s memorial service several years ago. She is one of my favorite poets. 

Dirge without Music
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the
love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not
approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the
world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

I saw the following poem on a subway in New York City. I find it very moving.

Heaven
by Patrick Phillips

It will be the past
and we’ll live there together.

Not as it was to live
but as it is remembered.

It will be the past.
We’ll all go back together.

Everyone we ever loved,
and lost, and must remember.

It will be the past.
And it will last forever.

“Heaven” by Patrick Phillips, from Boy. © The University of Georgia Press, 2008. Reprinted with permission.

Not Remembering

I am sorry that I didn’t blog yesterday as scheduled. I was dealing with a family emergency in Virginia and just got home on Thursday. My father-in-law died there last Saturday at the age of 95.

Losing a parent is a very difficult thing to experience. When both are gone, you feel like an orphan, no matter how old you are.

My father died following heart surgery when he was 65.  I was 29. My mother developed Alzheimer’s when she was 68 and died ten years later.  When you mourn for your parents you are partly mourning for the lost opportunities and experiences. My father never saw my children which is one of my greatest regrets.

My mother having Alzheimer’s has left me with a fear that I will also get the disease. This is a poem I wrote about that fear several years ago:

Not Remembering

Not remembering frightens me.
Not remembering the spelling of a word is scary.
Not remembering what happened fills me with dread.

When someone is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s
They look in the mirror and do not recognize themselves.

I am afraid of not remembering.
Not remembering is painful.

I do remember my mother when she was whole,
When she spoke, laughed, cried.
She was beautiful and strong.

Then she stopped speaking, laughing, crying,
But she followed the baby on the bed with her eyes.
Was she still there?
Did she still know?

When I don’t remember
Remembering her is what makes me afraid.

 

 

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