Your River

May 31st. The end of the month. I’ve made it this far; not all well, not all good moments and ones that I’m proud of, but I’m here. Closer to where I want to be.

Your river.

This isn’t it. Not yet. But it is Ervine Creek. My feet in its waters. Tentative. We came here 2017. Brought your canoe down the long stone rough steps. Some peace in remembering.

I feel closer to God, closer to you, closer to myself. I want to walk in the waters until they take all my tears. I want to lower my body into the waves, more than my feet. All of me. Hear the ripples caress me. But it’s too close to last year when I’d follow you down. I’ll get there. Determined. I’ll get there. I will.

Grief has it’s burdens and living is one. I doubted my strength, that I’d see my way through. Every day has been a decision. I balance and weigh. Choosing to walk places of memory. It hurts. I won’t deny it.

I can smell the little white flowers I passed on the path. Bushes or shrubs. I never remember the name. I stopped to take it in. A second and third breath.

Cardinals sang and flew a bit closer before flying away. A seagull took one long pass down the river and another back up. A morning not wasted doing nothing but listening to the heart of the river, the creatures and myself.

At the top of the steps I met a woman and dog. We spoke for a moment of the reasons I came. Faith and belief. She’s Anglican. Smiled when I told her I talk to the light. It’s him she is certain. I thanked her for that. If I understood Morse code would I know what he said? Is it better not knowing?

How often I leave my thoughts to dangle. Mellow in the sun. June was a month of hurdles. Still thinking on those.

Home sick, a whole week. This is new.

July 15, 2022

Honest Hope

It’s been too quiet here. I’ve been sitting with my thoughts.

This is the anniversary of the day I lost my partner, my lover, my life. Gone and not gone. My heart still holds the music of our love. Hopes and joy, the memories that twine and untwine like grasses in the wind.

I miss Jack. He listened and asked questions, drawing out my inner thoughts and words with care. “Remember, I am your safe place.” He was. He is. His words comfort still, bring smile and laughter.

It’s been a long year. I got through another loss recently. My mother, after a long run with cancer, died the first week of May. May been a difficult month the past few years. Sad memories. Learning to allow them, to listen to the wind and the breeze, weaving then intertwining the memories they find.

Still working on memoir, I move between then and now, realizing I am a different person and can let myself be. The narrator of things past, the protagonist, a woman, wife, a mother too strong to give up, too weak to leave. Faith and doubt blocking the way. Curiosity and questions always seeking, yet afraid to find. Eventually seeing. Choosing to fall, saying the words, to God and counselor, “I’m done. I’m ready to have the conversation. I need to leave. What do I do?”

One lawyer, the year before I left, said I was in a tough place. I knew that; my ex told me in our early years he would always be self employed. If I ever put him through divorce, I’d get nothing but trouble. I tend to believe people, mostly family and friends. But people in general tell you who they are if you listen. Words and silences speak their truth. I stayed too long in that marriage, even knowing the danger. Until finally, I couldn’t. Leaving was hard. I felt broken, unlovable. And then there was Jack. Healing and hope.

I took all these thoughts of pain and loss, of love and healing, north to my mother’s funeral, expecting to write. I even brought laptop and books, thinking time may allow memories. I wrote nothing or little at best. I was there for my mother’s funeral, a long year and sudden painful demise. Cancer. I spent every moment with my sisters and my sons. Grieving loss, building new friendships and bonds. Sharing laughter. It comes in oddest moments, to meanings it may or may not explain. Then laughing at it again.

In every loss, there is so much to think about, saying to myself, “don’t over think.” All week, I said it, “dint over think. ” I’m not ready for more, not ready for Jack’s memorial, and no more time to prepare. “Pick clothes, lay them out, don’t worry if they’re right. Go to work, come home and rest.”

Tomorrow will come and be what it will be. Today, the memorial. Remember Jack and see his sons. “We got through some tough stuff and built a strong relationship.” It’s what he said, making plans for things to come. It’s what I’ll say this year and the ones after, building a future with his sons, with my own, with my sisters, my family. It’s what we do. It’s how I smile, how I laugh.

It’s how the words, these and others, come. Unexpected. Unexplained. In the quiet of acceptance and the moments of readiness, so hard to allow. And yet I do. When I don’t realize I can, because I’m weak, because I’m strong. Building strength I may not see until I’m further beyond. Until I’m told what others see. Until I need strength again, and fear my weakness, but go not knowing if I can.

Life is strange. It’s like the light best seen in darkness, the breaking of day, the finding of hope, an artist’s eye seeing what moves from palette to paint surface. Light by dark colours working magic. Brighter not by denying the dark, but allowing light to see beauty where it did not see before.

My life has that feeling. Beauty. Fear. Awe. A wonder at the magic of allowing what will come. Honesty beyond words.

That’s how I was with Jack. Open to pain and honesty. Long silences. Not many words capture that place. Words are just snapshots in time too full to empty all its joy and sorrow. Honesty allows. The wind blows. Time intertwines.

I pick up a stone. One memory to hold. One visit to Jack’s grave. My books in tow I sit and write, I read to him, I chatter and laugh, looking again at his last photo to me, the day before he died. Burrs by the river, “Thought of you.” “I love you. Now stop bugging me. I’m trying to write.” My laughter. Another recent post as he worked on his book. Unfinished like our life. One day I want to read it all, and over again.

Hope. Honest hope. I leave my stone, and wonder what will come.