After whining that my week was tough I got the call that my cousin’s battle with colon cancer ended early Monday morning when he slipped quietly away into the arms of the angels. I spent the next hours racing around to find a substitute for my class on Friday and making travel plans and boarding my dog. Yet more leave from work, but family always trumps work.
The silver lining of my weekend was spending four days with daughter. She picked me up Wednesday and we drove north to mom’s. Thursday morning we had the funeral. It was both lovely and heart-breaking. My aunt and uncle are nearly catatonic and but I could tell my uncle was very pleased when my brother in law flew back from LA on the red-eye to make the funeral. My sister flew in from North Carolina and my long lost cousin also came in. It was both terrible and wonderful to be surrounded by family. And my darling girl was with me…….I showed her off proudly and her presence was a comfort to me and my mom and she spent the weekend talking with her aunts and cousins and Maam. After the funeral and luncheon in the church hall- the same church I used to attend as a little girl when I visited my grandparents. It was both familiar and comfortable…….we all went back to my sister’s house and just sat around talking and visiting. My daughter wanted New York pizza (second only to Italy) so that was dinner.
Six of the eight remaining cousins. Peter was the lone boy cousin. The first of my generation to die.
On Friday my mother had suggested we do the walk across the Hudson River. Several years ago there was a railroad trestle bridge that was going to be demolished. Until it was discovered that the demolition was more costly than refurbishing it and making it into a park. We walked across and back- about 3 miles round trip…….It was a perfectly perfect day……sunny and clear and we took turns walking in pairs and threes and the five of us had a magnificent time. After that we had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the Hudson and laughed and giggled (there were about 40 nuns in habits at the tables behind us!).
On the way back from lunch we got turned around in downtown Poughkeepsie and I suddenly called out and said stop the car. I saw out of the corner of my eye the memorial mural that had been painted and installed in an outfield at a Little League ball field. The mural was dedicated to my cousin’s late husband who died of cancer back in 2008. He and my cousin were very close and he is painted into the mural along with my aunt and uncle and others. None of us had ever seen the mural in person but we had seen pictures. As we got out of the car my sister looked down and found a golf ball in the grass-at a baseball field. My cousin was a golf pro and assistant manager at the local country club…….coincidence? or a sign?
Saturday was another day of fun with my sisters and family. We went over to my youngest sister’s house for a delicious BBQ and sat around talking and reminiscing and celebrating Mother’s Day a day early.
So although it was for a crappy reason, as Peter was only 55 and much too young to die, we had a wonderful time with my nieces, sisters and my mom and daughter. She is a wonderful girl and she loves me. I am much blessed. I have my mom and my sisters……..no more whining. I have so much abundance in my life. God is so good to me.
So this month’s attempt at daily poetry writing was a complete bust. Sidetracked by illness and other events I had nothing in me. Last week I had a kidney stone removed via surgery (no passage for me) and that was after several weeks of pain and increasing unpleasantness. I stayed home from work for 4 days and even then yesterday was marred by stent pain. Add to that some travel and ennui and bam nothing…….not even a lousy haiku. Roll on May………
juggling my thoughts and keeping them in the air
leaves me without much time
to think of what might have been, had I stayed.
It would be easy to think that none of this mess
would have happened. But then none of the good
could have come. And I would still be a caged bird
unable to sing, or fly or live out loud……
it was never a question of if just when.
my only regret is that I left too late
and all that remains are the ashes of
burned bridges and rivers of tears.
waking up is much more of a unexpected surprise
even as the restless nights seem more often; and
days filled with appointments and scans and blood draws
being eyed by children with white coats and pony tails
when did the ramp to 55 become a downward spiral
why do I suddenly feel so old?
At night, with leash in hand, I walk in the darkness
thinking about Romeo. Not THE Romeo but my own
Romeo, true heart of mine that died over a thousand starry nights ago.
The dog is unaware of my deep thoughts as he noses along the path.
Tiger suits him, yet I recall the memory of wanting
to name him Shakespeare. The children prevailed. And fourteen years
later they are gone, and Tiger and I walk late at night still thinking about Romeo.
Last year I tried the Poem a Day Challenge and did okay. I’m not typically a demand poet and my muse has been distracted by my so called real life. Still, I want to try again.
not a couple
not a pair
not just friends
with nothing said