Friday, May 23, 2014

The Shoe on the Road

How does that happen? You are driving down the road and there it is. A shoe. Can someone please tell me how the heck shoes end up on the roads? Did someone’s sister or brother throw it out the window as the family station wagon cruised down the interstate? But these aren’t kid’s shoes, they are almost always full sizers.

A week ago I spotted a black high top shoe (a sneaker, a gym shoe, what are they calling them these days?). It was in the westbound lane of Grand River Ave, just before the railroad tracks. It looked like a nice shoe. The next day, Shoe was a few feet closer to the tracks. Fast forward to today, and Shoe has crossed the tracks and made it all the way to the stoplight nearly 500 feet away.

Shoe is heading west.

Perhaps Shoe got fed up with its partner. Perhaps it has dementia and is lost. What is really sad is that people keep running over it. No one stops to help Shoe, or ask if it needs a ride, or takes it to Goodwill. Nope, they just drive over it like they do the neighborhood squirrels, raccoons, and opossums. I bet they don’t even notice it.

But I do.

I have changed my route to work so that I can follow Shoe and see where it ends up. If it gets too close to the curb the street sweeper will suck it up. Perhaps it knows this fact and that is why Shoe stays in the middle of the road. I don’t know. But I look for it every morning.

Shoe must travel another 1500 feet or so to reach the Grand River. By my calculations, at the current rate of travel of 70 feet per day, factoring a delay of 48 hours getting bounced around at each of two very busy intersections, Shoe should arrive at the River in about three weeks, give or take. That would be around June 13th. Then, shoe will have to find a dog to grab it and toss it over the bridge so it can begin its big summer adventure down the Grand. Thrilling.

My only fear for Shoe is that it gets where it's going before it loses its...sole.

Sorry couldn't help myself.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Umbilical Chord is Never Cut

Today my Mother has gone home to live alone for the first time in her life. With the urn containing what is left of my Step-dad's physical self strapped firmly into the passenger seat next to her, Mom drove away from my little Sister's house where she has been staying since Jim passed away on May 1st.

I would say I can't imagine what was going through Mom's mind as she left the busy city and headed out into the countryside to face a new life without her husband by her side. But I can imagine. She is my Mother. The umbilicial chord is never cut.

Even though she is over a thousand miles away, my heart hurts today because I can feel her pain. I know, on a much smaller scale, what it feels like to lose the one you love. I know that utter sense of isolation and loneliness when you awaken at three o'clock in the morning without your beloved next to you. The whole world is asleep and you are the last living soul on the planet. It is just you and your thoughts and a deep, dark stillness.

Then morning comes and there is no escaping the fact that you are utterly and completely alone. No one there to say "Good Morning!". No one taking up the bathroom. No one to give you a kiss and a hug or pour you a cup of coffee. It is just utter emptiness. Your Soul feels like a bottomless well and your are falling falling falling. You will never hit bottom nor will you ever will return to life. It is the great void, the absence of all that is love.

There are no words of comfort that can take away the pain of a loss such as this. It is something we humans all must go through if we dare to love. The only medicine is time.

My heart is with her today, trying to send all the love I can muster through that everlasting chord that bonds Mother and Child. I will be sending her a big teddy bear so she has something to hold onto when she feels like she can't go on. It doesn't matter how old you are, nothing can comfort like a teddy bear. It breaks my heart I can't be with her, to hold her and hug her and wipe her tears, to fix her supper and tuck her in. My Mother is strong, but even strong people need tender loving care sometimes.

You know, it seems to me that even though we really need each other during the bad times, we need each other more in the "every day" times. If we nourish and strengthen each other with love and caring when we are not in crisis, we can more easily endure those times when we face life's greatest challenges. So go out and love someone well today, you will be helping them more than you know.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Mystery of Death

I had a dog named Idgie and one day a contractor left the door open to the house I was living in and Idgie bolted. For three days I searched for her, put up fliers, called all the local veterinarians, and reluctantly surveyed all the busy roads for her body. Time stopped. Everything was surreal. I tried to tune in to my psychic self, tried to connect to her via the heart connection we shared. I was bewildered. I just could not find my footing, I needed to know where she was. I was full of anguish and panic. Where was she? The not knowing tormented me.

I think there are three great mysteries in life. Birth, Love, and Death. With Birth, I ask "Where did you come from?"  With Death, I ask "Where did you go?"

With Birth, in one second no one is there, and in the next a Spirit has appeared in the form of a body. Just like that. But that does not put me in a state of bewilderment or anguish.

It is the time after a person's Spirit leaves their body that I panic. "Where are you?"

I can't find them. Just like my beloved dog Idgie. And for some reason that creates a deep tension in me.

I am a Spiritual person and I believe a recently departed Spirit is on their journey to the place of the Ancestors. But that doesn't help alleviate that sense of confusion I feel when they are gone. I remember when my Grandmother passed. As funny as it sounds, there was a part of me that was confused by the fact she left all her things behind. They only had life when they were connected to her life. In her absence, the were lost and lonely, and no longer had a purpose. They became stuff to get rid of.

Last Thursday at supper time, my step dad left this world after struggling with cancer and other health issues. He and my mother live in Texas. Well he used to. Or maybe he still does I don't know. I have lost him. I don't know where he is, I do know I can't call him to ask a question about house paint or wood or mushrooms. In fact, I can never call again. I have lost him and I don't know where to find him. I am bewildered.

Jim learned to carve wood in his later years and he made some beautiful creations. I can only imagine if he would have learned as a boy, he would have been a Master. He was an incredible organic garden since before organic was mainstream, and he loved morel mushrooms and fishing. Every spring I try to send he and my mother a mess of morels. I told him I would sent them again this year, and have my little sister cook them up and take them to the hospital so he could enjoy them. But neither spring nor Jim cooperated with my intentions. Spring came too slow and Jim left too soon.

After three days I finally received a call that someone had a little white dog curled up on their front porch, a very dirty white dog that was absolutely exhausted. I drove as fast as I could to that house and scooped her up in my arms. A sense of relief washed over me and I cried. I had found my friend.

I'll never find Jim on a front porch. But in time, the feeling of Jim being lost somewhere will pass, and I will know that he is right where he belongs. Until then, I will keep on putting posters up on telephone poles asking "Have you seen this man?"

May you rest in peace Pops.