Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thank You for all the Birthday Wishes

Tonight's sunset

Some say that the soul leaves the body at the moment of death. That it rises up to heaven. Or that it descends to receive its eternal punishment. Others say that the soul wanders around for a while or that the spirit of the dead person can return for an earthly visit, or that death is simply the end. Having held a person in my arms at the moment of his death, I still cannot say for certain.

It was my birthday today, and how can one help but ponder death on the anniversary of one's birth? Birth and death are life's bookends. So, yes, Happy Birthday to me and someday my soul will go somewhere even if that somewhere turns out to be nowhere. Meanwhile, I'm full of joy and gratitude for this life. For love, friends, family, food, drink, music, theatre, art, my good health, beauty in all of its incarnations--clouds, birds, rocks, a finely crafted sentence, a pretty scarf, and for birthday wishes.

Yesterday I read about Einstein in the New York times. THIS INFO GRAPHIC blew my 63-year-old mind. And there was this quote: "In 1907, Albert Einstein had his “happiest thought” — people in free fall do not feel their own weight. This simple idea laid the foundation for his general theory of relativity, which Einstein presented 100 years ago this month." 

If I woke up in a box, completely weightless, I wouldn't know if I were falling or floating. Maybe that's how the soul feels.

And before the sunset's color drained from the sky, the full moon appeared from behind the clouds.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday Morning Beach Report

The ocean all froth and foam, waves booming like cannon fire, still this skua sits unperturbed.

Me? My feathers have been a bit ruffled by the incessant wind. Wind chimes clanging more than chiming, the roots of my hair hurting after a walk. It's cold in my southern California house when the wind blows. What lovely first world problems.

I had to cancel my T'ai Chi Chih class on Sunday due to wind. You can see a brief video HERE. (Scroll down to Sunday.) But maybe stop by that piece from the New York Times titled, "Brawn and Brains." That's why none of us blew over.

How's the weather where you are?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wednesday Beach Report

Yesterday I felt wrecked. My hair in tangles from the wind, my throat dry, never quite warm enough to be comfortable. The bereavement group I attended left me feeling rattled. What do I do with that box of videos on my garage shelf that may or may not contain footage of Dan? Will there be some future day when I sit on the couch with the curtains drawn, fast-forwarding through past moments when I didn't even know him? What do I do with Dan's computer? What would I search for there? Is compartmentalizing a good thing or a bad thing? How do we mourn a loved one's continued absence while acknowledging that we've moved on? How do we live inside the gratitude for that love and translate that into living each day going forward? There were answers to those questions. Just not an answer.  And what about all the grief in that room? How does each of us carry it? The box of kleenex that gets shoved from one end of the table to another seems like a metaphor, but I can't quite put it into words.

By bedtime last night, still a bit teary-eyed, I shivered under a tower of blankets, figuring I was coming down with something.

This morning I woke up feeling well. Better than well.

Not today's actual surfer--but a previous day's surfer. Just in case someone recognizes this guy and he's supposed to be at work.
The beach today was windswept today. A lone and patient surfer waited far out from shore for that perfect moment. As I walked back, he was riding in, every breath full of balance and grace. So much of every day feels like a chain of perfect moments for me right now. But I haven't really caught my wave. I'm still treading water, figuring out how to manage my freedom.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


I'm home and it looks like this:

I live in a beautiful place. I am now free to enjoy the sunsets on the sand as well as the morning. My mother continues to do well in the nursing home. I've purchased tickets for a November visit. My brain is re-booting itself as it shuts down the hyper-vigilant caregiver mode. What's next? I ask myself and then remember that I have not yet succeeded at getting my mom onto Medicaid. We're close. I hope. Meanwhile, I've sent a boatload of money off to Iowa to pay the first bill. I'm still in charge of her finances--paying her insurance premiums, her credit card, handling end-of-life arrangements, thinking ahead while looking behind and all the while blessing every present moment whether my feet are in the sand or under my desk.