Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Here We Are. Still.

I didn't wake up until nine this morning and in checking my e-mail, discovered that an old friend of mine had stayed the night with his wife right down the road and so I called him and they came over for a visit. This man was the brother of my best friend since the eighth grade, a woman whom I still am very much in touch with. Whom I will always love dearly. I sort of grew up in her house as a kid, spent a lot of time there, and knew her brother well. Of course he was a friend of Brian's, my friend who just died, and also a friend of my ex's. Musicians, all.
Jeff, this friend, was in the first band I ever saw. The Titans, they were called. I remember that well. It was a birthday of Mary Lane's, my friend, and her parents threw her a big ol' party and there was the band and there was dancing and I wore a pink dress that had a bow at the neck and I did dance with some boys including one named (I am not making this up) Gregory Peck. But it was the band that I fell in love with.
The beginning of a lifelong love affair with musicians.

Anyway, they came by and I showed them our house and the yard and the trees and the chickens and we sat on the porch and talked awhile. Jeff's had too many deaths in his family lately and now, Brian, and we were all a bit shellshocked, sixty-year old people sitting on a porch on a gorgeous spring morning talking about death, how it can come slow and excruciatingly or fast and sudden.
Talking about how you can't just always take it for granted that you can pick up the phone and call an old friend and say, "Let's get together," and know it'll happen.
One thing I've learned lately is that no matter how many deaths you go through, you have to grieve each one in a completely different way depending on who that person was in your life. There is no fucking check-list of stages. Each person held a different part of you in their hearts and the opposite is true too. The part that held you is gone and will never be replaced no matter how long the part you hold lives.

You can quote me on that one, baby.

No matter what sort of grieving comes, though, one true thing for me is that it makes my body hurt. I have no idea why. But it does.

So my friends have headed back on to New Orleans where they live. They're on their way back from South Florida where his mama was living when his brother died. They were helping her get her things together so that she could move up to Maryland to live near his sister, my dear friend. The mama is 93 and in pretty good health and I think of her, two of her children gone, her husband too. Most of her family, all of her old friends.

Yes. I feel a bit desolate today.

I tell you what though- I woke up to clean bathrooms! Owen decided yesterday to be the Best Boy in the world and to try and make me happier. He knew my friend had died and his mama had told him and his brother to be very sweet to Mer Mer and so he was. He wanted to clean so I gave him a spray bottle with water and vinegar and a few drops of Fabuloso in it and he went crazy. My sinks gleam and the outsides of the toilets too. He straightened up everything on the piano

and cleaned the keys and he polished mirrors too.

He tidied up the Glen Den and put toys away and then (and this melted my heart right in two) he set up his grandfather's Lazy Boy with the foot rest out and blankets and pillows on it and set the fan right in front of it and led me to it and said, "This is your relaxing place."
He even brought me a stick to hit against the wall for me to call him if I needed anything, because I don't have a bell to ring.

I kept saying, "Honey, you need to take a break. Are you hungry? Do you want something to drink? You don't have to do all of this."
And he'd say, "Nope! Gotta clean!" and he did and he did and he did.

And Gibson crawled up into the relaxing chair with me ("I need you") and we cuddled and I felt like the luckiest grandmother in the world.
I paid Owen three dollars when they left which is a fortune for him but to be honest- was a bargain for me. I mean, he really did do a good job.

The rest of today I am going to move slowly and with mindfulness. I might spend some time reading. I am going to cook my favorite food, beans with the rest of the ham bone. I might go outside and do some work or I might be content to sit on the porch and watch the outside as if were a movie.

Speaking of movies, I just saw a rough, short video of another dear friend from the olden days (and yes, another friend I knew because of Brian) jamming last night with Stevie Wonder onstage in Nashville. If I can get a youtube link I'll post it here.

Life is funny. Life is hard. Life is glorious. Life is sucking, fucking horrible sometimes.
But there is always music and our loves and the roses are blooming. And this.

Cha-Cha and Camellia in the oxalis.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. What a sweet boy he is! When my Mom passed away almost six years ago, my then 12-year-old granddaughter asked if I needed her to come stay with me. Then she said, 'you know, in case you want to cry or something.' I told her I'd be OK, and she said I shouldn't be alone. That dear child's other grandma passed away last week, and I was at her visitation last night. She was my hubby's ex wife, and, though we had issues when the kids were little, we got past that a long time ago. My heart aches for my kids and grandkids, but what pains my soul is that she died all alone.

  2. Owen is just an extraordinary and loving and industrious child. I credit his parents and grandparents. And Gibson is taking notes from his big brother, who sets such a wonderful example.

  3. Sweet children ... I love the idea of a stick to hit the wall - what a thinking child.

  4. That Owen couldn't be any sweeter, Gibson too. Looks like he did a good job cleaning also. Gail

  5. I so agree with you about any check-list of stages.

    Owen--what a giving, caring boy.

    And I didn't know oxalis came in
    bright magenta. I wonder if I could make that happen here next spring, mixed with all the yellow.

  6. I laughed at the stick solution as well! Kids are the best

  7. What a great post Mrs M. It is so touching to see how those kids care for their grandma and that love shines out.. what a smasher to have done so much for you.. no wonder really, as watching them growing and seeing your love that surrounds them, can see that they are just turning out so beautifully... as that new baby soon joining you all, will do too.. Death is rearing his head here too, more and more. I have had three friends die over the last year, and another is making her end of days preparations.. I was hoping to see her tomorrow, but she is too involved with the care givers, so it is unlikely that I shall manage to get to see her before she ends her journey and it so distresses me. You are right too in saying each time we grieve differently, but it hurts so much all the same. Music is endless and lasts forever and a day, and when they say Music is the food of Love, it is, but it is also a soother for the soul .. Thanks for sharing your post and I hope you have had a good evening. and a lovely day tomorrow... xx

  8. Oh, what a wonderful child. He's a cure.

    The thumping stick... I would exploit that to the max, if I were you.

    hugs, Mary. I think every new death is made that bit more painful by the lesions left by the ones before.

  9. You are helping to raise wonderful boys who will be wonderful men.

    I'm resting in a pile of pillows on my couch right now as I type this. I hope you are resting some more. Grief is so terribly physical. Like being beaten. Like having a weight on your chest. For me, anyway.

  10. No way pain is ever only psychological or physical. Sadness hurts everywhere, and infections make for stubborn depressions. I'm glad your wonderful boys are comforting you. x

  11. Catrina- The older we get, the softer our hearts get, if we are loving people. The things that mattered once don't mean a damn thing- the angers, the resentments.
    And the things that DO mean something- the love of our grandchildren, for instance, becomes that much more important. Encompassing.

    Angella- He is an amazing child and thinks so very deeply. I am so proud to be the grandmother of these two boys, the mother of their mother.

    jenny_o- I know! That brain of his!

    Gail- I'm serious. He did some good cleaning.

    A- I have no idea! It just grows that way here. The flowers are sour-tasting and the children love to eat them.

    Kate- No bell? No problem.

    Janzi- I appreciate every bit of that. Every word. Thank you. As to your friend- just cherish the memories you do have of your times together. I am not telling you anything you don't know. But do. Remember those. Be grateful.

    Jo- I agree. And I think I thumped the stick once to ask him if he wasn't yet ready for a break...

    Denise- My whole body does weird things. Aches and hurts and gets pains which I know are "psychosomatic" and yet, are real as real. There are new theories that inflammation of the body can cause depression but I think it may just be the opposite.

  12. The soothing nature of nest building, a technique my boys had that as well. I use the wall, well the door frame really, thumping method to call my guys as the house is tiny so they wear headphones to listen to their music. That shot of the chicken and the pink flowers is so pretty!

  13. Those boys -- those boys -- those boys.

  14. Go Owen! He's terrific. That bit about the chair is priceless.

  15. Big Mamabird- Good technique!

    Elizabeth- I know. They knock me out.

    Steve Reed- Can't you just see him doing that?

  16. You are so right about how each death affects us in a different got me thinking about all the loved ones, including pets, I have lost...beautiful memories, yet still a deep sadness inside of me for each of them I miss so dearly.

    Owen is a gem; both of your boys are just so precious. I love how they love you!

  17. I think what Anne Lamott wrote about death is true--"...the person will live fully again in your heart, at some point, and make you smile at the MOST inappropriate times. But their absence will also be a lifelong nightmare of homesickness for you." Yes, I know that to be true.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.