Table for one

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coffee storm

The single coffee cup made me sense my solitude even more.  Everything around me faded into the background, much like I knew I had been doing.  The cloud over my morning solace taunted me, trying to will me to tears.  But I simply sat on that stool and waited for the rainbow.

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It doesn’t really get easier with time

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I read a post on Facebook today from a friend of mine who is at the one year anniversary of his father’s passing.  I would like to tell him that it gets easier with time, but I can’t.  So many people offer those words as an attempt to comfort those who have lost a loved one.  Since I have lost both of my parents, and many other loved ones for that matter, I am well versed at saying ‘thank you, I hope so’ when those words were spoken to me.

But I have learned a great truth about loss.  It doesn’t get easier.  The pain of loss is never really assuaged by time.  The polite phrase spoken by so many holds a great sentiment but very little truth.

What I have learned, however, is that the pain is slowly muted by the memories.  That pain still burns like a lingering flame, concealed far below the surface, and it can be turned into a raging inferno with a single spark.  But that pain is much less visceral than it once was and shouldering their absence seems much more bearable.

With each passing year I recognize a growing trend in my patterns.  Habits that I picked up subconsciously from those loved ones who are gone seem to emerge inexplicably but they are familiar and comforting traits.  Idioms used by my dad tumble out of my mouth before I even have a chance to realize what I am saying.  My arm in the window of my car as I drive, elbow on the bottom and only two fingers hooked in the top, is exactly how my mother used to position herself driving up to the cottage when we were young.

It doesn’t make the loss any easier but it is those little things that make us know that their life lives on through our lives.  We get to keep some of the best parts of them alive because mimicking their characteristics keeps their spirit close.  The pain will always reside in us as proof that the love we had for them was fierce.  It doesn’t get easier,  it just gets manageable.

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The sense of sensibility

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The Reverie posted an interesting challenge in honor of Jane Austen.  We are given 11 words (in true Austen style) and asked to write a poem with at least 7 of them.  It got in 10.   Check out the challenge and give it a try.

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To acknowledge a want,

to trust in a wish,

evokes a certain wonder.

What good fortune it would be,

to wear our pride without prejudice,

to yearn, not for possessions

but for the good in man.

A single hope,

a solemn wish

to bring peace

to the world.

~~

(image credit)

Comes a time

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Everything in our lives has a time and a place.  Whether we understand the correlation or not, the introduction of certain things into our realities is done with a purpose.  The novel ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ is one of those things that had a time and place in my life – and that time and place was now.

Had I read this book when it was first published, the messages would have never hit their target.  But now, almost twenty years after its publication date, this book has burrowed its way under my skin and caused numerous moments of reflection and awareness.

I began reading this book late on a Saturday night, although I wish I could say I dove into it on a Tuesday.  My appetite for the story made me pick it up again on Sunday afternoon and finish it early Sunday night.  I recognized many moments of my life through the book and I paused many times to wipe tears from my eyes so I could continue reading.

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(Mitch Albom and Morrie Schwartz)

I watched both of my parents wither from a disease, although not ALS, that stole their ability to function as healthy adults.  I felt a strong connection to Mitch as he tried to make life as normal for Morrie as he could.  But what I was most affected by from this novel is Morrie teaching Mitch how to live while he, in turn, was dying.

Life is not about our limitations, it is about our strengths.   Life is not about our possessions but about our character.  It is about being a part of a community and giving to those who are less fortunate.  Life is about having no regrets when we pass because the energy that we shared with others lives on through them.

Mitch and Morrie reiterated the philosophy behind a mantra I have, for many years, uttered under my breath.  “Life is not about what you have.  Life is about what you give.”   And since this novel has securely fastened itself into my memory, I will strive to give more so I can live far beyond this lifetime.

#heartgrew3sizes

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My early Christmas memories consist of an overflowing Christmas tree with presents that never seemed to end.  As as child, I thought that was normal.  I lived with the belief that every voice in the world was hoarse from saying thank you after each gift had been torn open.   I assumed every house was just like mine and every child was lost in a sea of wrapping paper, ribbons and tags after the last gift had been opened.

But that mound of brightly decorated paper blinded me from the reality I would come to know as I got older.  My Christmas was not the normal image of the holiday celebration.  The large roasted turkey and all the accompanying dishes that adorned our table did not magically appear in every other house on Christmas day.  When I learned that fact, my happiness was changed.

I had been oblivious to reality until I was in my last years of public school.  I honestly don’t even remember if there were food and toy drives when I was that age.  I just recall the anticipation of Christmas morning, not even realizing that there were kids I went to school with that may not see anything under their tree on December 25th.

Over the last three years, the Christmas tree that has become most important to me is the one in our hotel lobby.  It has become a temporary home for gifts that we have collected or purchased with the generous donations of our many supporters.   This tree overflows, much like the one I remember from my youth, but it will bring smiles to many more kids than just the two children who stumbled upon our family Christmas tree on that much-anticipated morning every year.

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This tree holds the hope that so many more children will be able to open a gift on Christmas morning.  This tree embodies the true essence of Christmas because the gifts that lay under its branches come from people who will not get the gift of seeing a child’s smile as they open their presents on Christmas day.  This tree truly represents the spirit of giving.

I can only hope that my future Christmas celebrations will embody the generosity I have seen over the last three years.  And my Christmas wish is that everyone takes a moment to remember those less fortunate, especially during the holidays.  The season is about giving to everyone…..not just the ones on your list.

 

 

Give a little, get a lot

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I was asked by our local Public Library to donate some goodies for their holiday get-together today.  The local singing group ‘The Minettones’ will be performing and many locals will be in attendance.  I gladly agreed as it combined two of my favorite things – cake decorating and books.

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If you read my post yesterday you would know I have been filling out applications to volunteer at some local establishments.  Since the lodge is officially closed for the winter, I will have more spare time and I feel strongly about giving my time to those who could use the help.

Between the Toy Drive at the lodge and the time spent creating these goodies for the Library, I feel good about the decision to give back since I feel I have so much already.  I may not be rich in terms of my bank balance but life has treated me well in many other ways and now it is time to ‘share the wealth’.