Spring Day

I opened the windows today – the fresh air rushing in like a cat that’s been waiting all day to get inside.  The scent reminded me of what’s good about Springtime, and I forgot my woes for a while.

I vacuumed the floors and washed a few windows before I had to head off to work.  I even spent some time helping to weed a friend’s garden, even though my stuff still needs tending.  I don’t know what my priorities are lately.  I’ve been flitting around in the vast wilds of my mind, trying to keep abreast of my grief, but I remain unsuccessful.

My son writes an email, asking for a nice picture of the both of us he can frame for Mother’s Day, and I tear up reading the note.  ‘No, honey, we have no recent pictures.  I’ll have to come visit you and we can have one taken then.’  The reply seems to echo through a thousand years.  That’s how long it feels like we’ve been apart.  It’s not about time, it’s about distance.  You won’t make it home this weekend, and don’t know when you’ll be able to visit.

You’re further away from me than the moon, I think – the moon which occupies nearly the same space in the sky, and moves in predictable cycles.  Remember how I used to say “I love you to the moon and back”, and you’d repeat it in your sweet, tender child’s voice?  You’ve long lost that high-pitched timbre.  You’re a man now.  You’re a man who’s on your way in this world, and my job is done.  The rest is ‘icing on the cake’, I’ve heard said, but I still love you more than pumpkin pie, and I hope you still love me more than chocolate.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

John Lennon, Remembered

Imagine
Imagine

When I was a kid, my older brothers had the Beatles‘ records and I wanted to listen to them all the time, probably more because my brothers didn’t want me playing them.  The Beatles had broken up as a band, and were well into their solo careers by the time I was really interested in them.  I thought Paul was the cutest, John was handsome, but had an edge to him that I liked, but also intimidated me.  George was the cool, aloof one, and I had a big crush on Ringo.  Ringo was the most accessible member of The Beatles to me.  Maybe it was because of the songs he was featured on, or maybe it was because he was more in the background than the others, it seemed to me, and he had an unconventional puppy-dog attractiveness.

It was John I remained most drawn to through the years, although I still liked the other former Beatles’ music as well.  Maybe it was John’s personal struggles and vilification that made me like him so much, but his peace activism awoke my sense of justice and I became a peace activist as well.

I’m tearing up just remembering how deeply his music and life affected me, and I still feel that his death came much too soon.  I felt so bad for his young son, but glad they had so much time together before John was gunned down that cold Manhattan evening.  I felt sad for Julian, who looked and sounded so much like his father, and I wondered if they had had a good relationship.  I felt sad for Yoko too, but I think I mostly felt sad for myself, that John would never make any more amazing music I could listen to, and I would never get a chance to meet him.

I nearly spoke with him on the phone once, but I thought I was being punked by the guy who told me I could say hello to John Lennon, so I declined to take the phone when it was offered to me.  I was maybe eleven or twelve at the time, and just a few years ago, I was reading the obituary of the guy who held out that phone for me to speak with John Lennon, and the write-up included how he had been friends with John Lennon.  I think I actually yelled when I read that.  He hadn’t tried to prank me after all, and I missed a chance to speak with one of my favorite musicians, and icons of the 20th century.

On the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s assassination in 2010, Brian Williams introduces the last interview John Lennon gave in 1980:

http://www.videosurf.com/video/nightly-news-rolling-stone-releases-lennon-interview-1247381948

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Pearl Harbor Day

It was seventy years ago that Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese, leading us into World War II.  I visited the U.S.S. Arizona when I was in Hawaii nearly twenty years ago.  I feel the same deep sadness about the attack on Pearl Harbor as I feel about the attacks on September 11, 2001.  No fore-knowledge of either event affects me the most.  I think that if you know something’s going to happen, you can at least mentally prepare, even if you can’t cushion the blow, or stop it from occurring.  I know others would rather deal with after-effects than have to anticipate horror.  I understand that surprise is what gives assailants an advantage, but I have a naive desire for fairness, even in war.

I’ve heard that both Pearl Harbor and the September 11th attacks were known as possibilities, or actually allowed to happen, to push through agendas that would otherwise fail in Congress.  Maybe that’s true, or maybe it’s not, but I’ll never know.

I grieve for those that lost their lives so tragically, and for those that remained, traumatized and having to cope with the aftermath.  Life throws us curve balls all the time: maybe it’s disease, or famine, earthquakes and tsunamis, or hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods.  We are constantly barraged by life’s changes, but stability seems to prevail more often than not.  I suppose we couldn’t exist if there weren’t times of relative calm and ease.

Acts of war and terrorism affect me more deeply because there was a choice involved.  An individual, or a group, decided to cause harm, and the more suffering, the better for their cause.  A few of them (groups or individuals) even think their actions were/are sanctioned by God – a mysterious, amorphous, unknowable being or force, and yet, they act as though they can know or understand what they can actually only guess at – when it is their own selfish desire to make the world, or parts of the world, be as they want it.

Maybe they’re right.  Perhaps ‘God’ wants us all homogenized, rather than creative, evolving beings.  Or maybe, ‘God’, if It exists, wants us to find, or create, our own tribes, and peacefully co-exist.  If that ever happens, I hope memorials will be built to commemorate that.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Sad Day

My uncle, Louis Prunier, passed away on November 4th.  He was born in 1920, and was married to one of my mother’s sisters, my Aunt Olive, for 68 years, passing away on their anniversary.  He really lived his life, as well as being an extraordinary man.  I remember him as kind and interesting.  Although I didn’t get to spend much time with their family through the years, I’ve always really liked them and looked forward to time spent with them.

Today is my uncle Lou’s funeral, and his wake was last night, but I couldn’t attend.  It’s appropriate that it’s a gloomy day today.  Heavy rain is forecast, so I hope traveling won’t be too bad.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Six and Four

That’s how old the boys are that I provide child care for occasionally, and spent my day with at a lake yesterday.  I used to watch them regularly but changed jobs last year.  The older boy was just two months old when I started the job.

My son was in full-blown adolescence then so it was perfect work for me to watch a child who needed and wanted me as my child was pulling away.  The difference between my son as a baby and the baby I was caring for was so stark.  I didn’t know a child could be so easy to care for.  My son’s pediatrician told me that my son was a ‘high need’ baby as I sat in his office back then, crying from lack of sleep and feeling so inadequate as a parent, and indeed, I was nursing him every two hours, which continued for seven months before he stopped nursing so voraciously, and he was colicky as well.  My mother came to help me during that time, while my son’s father was two states away at his job, coming back on weekends.  My son’s father and I weren’t happy as it was, and having a child only put more stress on our relationship.  We broke up and I moved out when our son turned a year old.

When my friend’s second boy was born, I began watching him at two weeks old, and he was an easy baby as well.  I loved caring for those boys.  It was so good for me because I wasn’t watching a whole group of children as I did when I worked at a daycare center, and I didn’t have twenty-four hour responsibility for them.

I still had parenting duties with my son, even though it wasn’t very joyful anymore, but I had enough positive experiences that dealing with my son’s adolescent angst and unpredictability was more manageable than it might have been.

I would give my son hugs and tell him that I loved him every day, as he stood there, arms by his side, at least allowing me to hug him briefly.  I would say that although he was rapidly changing, I was not, so it was going to take me far longer to adjust.  It was so painful for me to go from living with a boy who wanted to be with me, who called out to me several times a day that he loved me, who enjoyed spending time with me, to the stranger who I now occupied the same physical space with, but could hardly be further from emotionally.  Oh, and did I mention I was living with treatment-resistant depression, and I was a single parent?

I might have screwed up far more than I did with my son if it hadn’t been for my childcare job.  As the boys got older, they were somewhat in awe of my son, especially the older boy I watched.  When my son was there the older boy wanted to follow him around and it was sometimes a challenge to help my son have private space when the boys were with me.  I would usually see if my son could spend time with one of his friends during school vacations or days when I had the boys and my son was around.

I took those boys on many adventures during our days together, but our favorite pastime was finding cows.  I’d drive them to farms and we’d visit with cows and read books about cows, and while other animals were included, cows ruled.

I don’t think I could love those kids anymore if they were my own, and I’m so grateful when I get to watch them now.  The last few times I spent with them, the older boy has been questioning me about why they don’t see me that much.  I explained that I had another job, and they have school now, and days that I could see them their schedule and mine didn’t work that often.  He looked at me and said, “Well, we just don’t see you enough.”

So, I can’t get adult relationships right in my life, but I have a six year-old who knows how to work a room!  Yesterday before I left he hugged me and said “I just don’t want to let go.”  I said, “I know, me either!”  The younger boy and I have a happy, loving, and super fun connection too, but the older boy knows how to articulate what he’s feeling, and isn’t shy about telling me.

I have to figure out how to spend more time with them because they’re going to be seven and five in a few months, and the opportunities to spend significant time with them grows slimmer with each year.  While I so enjoy working with children, it can also be heart-wrenching.

I’ll be bringing my son back to college in a week, and he’ll be back home for Thanksgiving and his winter vacation, but he won’t be back next summer.  We know we love one another, and our bond is solid, but he’s a man now – no matter how much I wished to keep him a boy – and I feel the grief about losing him rising up all over again.  I don’t need to be consoled through platitudes or pity – not that anyone is trying to – but I do need a new purpose and I don’t know where to go or what to do yet.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Long Ago Summer Night

Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, by, Meatloaf, is playing on a humid July night. I’m reading Pardon Me, You’re Stepping On My Eyeball, by Paul Zindel, on the hood of a friend’s Chevy Cavalier, waiting for a few of my other friends to show up and decide what we’re going to do with the rest of the night.

It’s quiet on the Avenue, but I hear the strains of Meatloaf out of the jukebox coming from the bar next door, and I look up from my reading to watch the moths and other night bugs swirl around, looking like aberrant snowflakes in the street light above the car I’m perched on.

My shorts and top cling to me in the sticky humidity, and I hope we decide to go swimming in the Green River, or at the Leyden Glen.  We had been removed from there by police officers the week before, but they couldn’t be there all the time, so we took our chances going back on hot, humid nights.

I had worked at, Zapmia Pizza (baby), earlier that evening, and was glad to be done with my shift on such a hot day. I was anxious to meet up with my friends, and hoped they would show up soon.  Debbie was the first to arrive. I was so absorbed in my book that I didn’t notice her until she hopped up onto the car hood, causing it to buckle a little as she plunked down, but the hood popped back up as she shifted her weight toward the center next to me.

We exchanged greetings and then chatted about the book for a few minutes, and finally other friends started arriving so we made our evening plans.

I remembered this so strongly tonight that I could feel the night air around me as I did back then, and hear how the music sounded muffled until a patron went in or out of the bar and the music would blast out from the entrance for a few moments until the door was shut once again.

While I don’t miss that time of my life, and especially what was happening to me, I dearly miss my friends and the closeness we shared.  A part of my soul is back there with them – maybe it’s even trapped in some odd space/time continuum – or perhaps less trapped than enshrined.  I get to visit the museum exhibit in my mind, but it’s an empty picture of the vibrant life that was actually there.

They were the people who knew and understood me on a level that no one else will ever come close to, but they live on in my heart and soul, and I hope I live on in theirs.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Doggone Memory

When I was eleven, two girls moved into the commune with their mother, and brought their dog, Suzi, with them.  Suzi was a cute, short-haired mutt with a sweet personality, and she made life so much more bearable.

Today is Suzi’s birthday, and my memory of her is bittersweet.  Even though she was the other girls’ dog, she liked me and I was always playing with her – her owners being more occupied with their peers than I was (or than I was privileged to be, but that’s another story).

Us younger commune kids weren’t involved in the larger world around us that often, so it was exciting when we got to go anywhere, especially an event like the Memorial Day parade.  One of the adults decided to take a group of us kids to the parade in a town we had not been to before.  Our chaperone let me take Suzi, and she usually minded well, so I didn’t worry that she would wander off.

She had no leash, but did have a collar with her name on the tag, but no number to call if she was lost.  Even if there were a number, it would have been from New York where Suzi had been registered.

It was an overcast day, with a steady drizzle by the time we got to the town and were walking from the lot we parked in to a spot where we could watch the parade.  As we walked, I had to keep waiting for Suzi, who wanted to sniff everything, and I was soon falling behind the group I was with and feared losing them.

There were so many people and I was so scared when I looked up the street after waiting for Suzi and could no longer see anyone from my group.  I called Suzi one last time and then ran to catch up, thinking that Suzi would find us by following my scent.  She didn’t.

We spent about an hour after the parade searching and calling for Suzi, but couldn’t find her.  We called the police and described Suzi, and because we lived in the commune where someone always needed the vehicles, we didn’t take any trips back to continue the search for her.  No one even helped me put up posters, or made any real attempts to get her back.

The girls were understandably furious with me, and I was devastated.  I considered her my dog as well because I spent so much time with her and I loved her.

Writing this from my adult perspective, I felt the grief of losing her all over again, and I’m still angry that no one earnestly tried to help me find Suzi.  I was this powerless girl in a sea of adults who couldn’t be bothered.  It might not be worthy of a Charles Dickens novel, but it was pretty close.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.