Who Will Catch Me When I Fall?

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Today is one of those horrible anniversaries of a BAD November day, a day that was most likely the worst day of my life.  I have been thinking a lot about that fact this past week in anticipation of this hated date.  It truly was the worst day of my life, and that makes me feel bad.  It makes me feel guilty.  I have lost loved ones through death, but not on this date.  On this date, my horrible experience was something worse than that of losing someone through death.  That makes me feel bad and guilty, so I have been trying to examine what happened and what went wrong.  Unfortunately, all the fingers point to me.  I have no one to blame but myself for getting to a point in my life where I was truly alone in my pain and grief.

While the experience of losing a child, or my dad, or when Andrew had his terrible accident were all gut-wrenchingly horrible to live through, I didn’t blame myself.  Those things were “just life” or bad luck.  During those terrible times, I felt surrounded by love.  I had a safety net.  I had people there to catch me when I fell and to soften the blow.  On this WORST November day, I was utterly alone.  I was crushed by ugliness, lies, and betrayal, but no one knew.  No one cared.  I had destroyed my safety net.  Those good people who had once been there for me where no longer around.  My dad was gone.  My friends had long since washed their hands of my troubles.  My family was clueless.  I had taught them through my actions to simply “leave me alone,” so they did.

I had made a mess of my life, but I thought I could handle it.  I thought everything would be OK.  That was not the case, though, not on that dark November night.  On that night, the very flimsy ground that was my foundation crumbled out from under me.  No one cared.  I had misplaced my trust.  Those I thought cared, did not.  Those who did care, had no clue.  I was truly alone for the first time in my life.  I wanted to die.  Truly, literally, I wanted to end my own life.  It scares me now to remember that BAD November day.  It scares me that those whom I thought would care, did not.  It scares me that those who did care, had no clue.  It has been a long struggle back from that dark place.  Many times, I have wished for a quick magical cure, but there is no magical cure to the pain life sometimes brings.

Last night, I thought about the times in my life that have been seasons of grief.  I thought about those other, more rational times of grief, and I realized how things have changed in my life in the past several years.  My Dad, my friend and father, he TALKED to me.  He and I talked about anything and everything.  During some of the most horrible times in my life, I could always count on Dad’s daily phone call.  On days when all I wanted was to pull the covers over my head, Dad would call, and I always answered.  We would talk about politics, religion, local news, or current events.  He always had a story.  He always made me smile.   He pulled me through some of the toughest times in my life.  He has been gone now for almost two years.  Without a doubt, those two years have been the worst years of my life, not because my dad has been gone, but because my life was a mess (and only got worse) at the time of his death.  Oh, how different these past two years would have been if my dad had been there as a steady, loving part of my life.

These past two years have been terrible.  I have learned some valuable lessons the hard way.  We are all responsible for our own actions.  I will repeat that one, because it is important.  WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR OWN ACTIONS.  No I didn’t deserve to go through such a hellish experience, but as I said, when I look back at the circumstances, all fingers point at me.  If my trust was misplaced, who placed it wrongly?  Me.  If I went through a terrible experience, and no one was around for me to lean on, whose fault was that?  Mine.  I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR MY OWN ACTIONS.

Slowly, I am rebuilding the foundation of my life.  Many of the people who were once part of my support system are gone, but I am learning to reach out again to the good people in my life.  More importantly, I am trying my best to be good to others and to be there for those good people in my life.

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Excuses and Enabling

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Enabling behavior is born out of our instinct for love.   It’s only natural to want to help someone we love, but when it comes to certain problems — helping is like throwing a match on a pool of gas.

 

I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  Addiction runs in my family.  It runs in my husband’s family as well.  While my own father’s drinking problem did not begin until after I was out of the house and married, I was still profoundly affected by his alcoholism.  My late father in law was also an alcoholic.  Our mothers constantly made up excuses for them.  None of us believed the excuses, but our politeness required us to play along.  We enabled the enablers.

It got bad.  Both of our father’s hit their all-time high (or low, depending on how you look at it) when our daughter Grace was in the hospital.  Imagine a drunken grandpa carrying a rocking chair through a large university hospital and arguing with a nurse at the door of the neonatal intensive care unit when he was not allowed to present it to his new granddaughter.  The stress of our dying daughter pushed both of our fathers to the edge.  Our mothers, instead of keeping them away from our already horrible situation, plastered smiles on their faces, rolled their eyes, made excuses, and pretended that our fathers were not sloshed.

Of course, I have forgiven my dad.  That was years ago, and Dad is gone now, too.  He died on the anniversary of little Grace’s death.  I often think of them together now.  I was able to forgive my dad, because he recovered.  He made amends.  He allowed me to vent.  During my dad’s six-weeks of inpatient treatment, almost 20 years ago now, I confronted him about the many ways his drinking had harmed me.  I had refused to attended family therapy with he and my mother.  I had divorced myself from their problems.  I was pregnant and taking care of two little boys at the time.  I wanted/needed to concentrate on my own family, not my parents’ continuing issues.  I didn’t participate in their counselling sessions.  Instead, I wrote my dad a letter and gave it to his therapist.  The therapist didn’t think my dad would recover.  His words:  “Your dad is full of bullshit.  He thinks that he’s more intelligent than everyone here.  He thinks he can bullshit his way through recovery, get back out, and go back to hiding his problem.”  As I have gone through my dad’s belongings, I have expected to find that letter.  So far, though, it has not surfaced.

Thankfully, that therapist was wrong.  My dad did recover.  He helped many, many others find their way to sobriety, too.   One of the happiest-saddest-most profound-most comforting moments of my life was at my dad’s funeral.  As I stood at the head of his casket greeting those who had come to pay their respects, one person after another whispered in my ear, “I knew your dad from Tuesday nights.”  Some of them knew him from his Thursday night meetings.  Some of them showed me their AA coins discreetly as they passed by.  They loved him.  Some said, “Your dad saved my life.”  T and I were moved and overwhelmed as the back two pews of the church filled up with my father’s AA family.   In the midst of my grief, I was so very proud of my dad.  His pain, his addiction, and his recovery had profoundly and positively affected so many people.  I was proud to be proud of my dad.

As for T’s father.  He never recovered.  He has been dead now for over a decade.  I don’t think T has ever forgiven him.  There is much about T’s father that I don’t know.  It was bad.  I do know that much, but it’s something that T won’t discuss.  Even though T was hurt and damaged by his experience of growing up with an alcoholic father, what he took away from those experiences was how NOT to behave.

We are products of our environment.  I am part addict and part enabler.  I have struggled with both sides of my personality.  I have skated too close to the edge of behavior that was not healthy.  I have excused the behavior of others, even when there was no forgivable excuse.  At the root of it all is ENABLING.

When we behave in a way that we know is not healthy, we excuse ourselves.  We enable ourselves.  When we allow those in our lives to “get away” with bad, hurtful, or self-destructive behavior, we are not helping them.  We are hurt them.   We are hurting ourselves.

What if we all called a spade, a spade?  What if T and I had said, “Dad, you’re drunk.  Leave.  Our daughter is dying.  This is inexcusable.”  What would the results of those words have been?

That incident in the hospital so many years ago is my first real memory of being an enabler. I knew that I was hurting myself.  I knew I was perpetuating a lie.  I knew that I was saying, “Oh, it’s OK.  Go ahead and act like an ass.  Go ahead and hurt me.  I’ll pretend not to notice.”  Did I really think I was “being polite” to no confront my father, mother, and in-laws?  I’m not sure how we all justified that hiding their alcoholism was more important than making special the last moments spent with our dying daughter.  It’s sad and sick to think about.  That is what enabling is:  Sad and Sick.

While that incident was my first memory of enabling, it taught me nothing.  My enabling manifested itself in many shapes and many forms in the following years.  Worse than addiction, which is selfish and self-serving, enabling empties us of ourselves.  Enabling takes pieces, bit by bit, until we lose pieces of our own value.

Yes, this is a heavy subject tonight, but I am not feeling heavy as I write this.  Instead, I am feeling a weight lift.  This is a GOOD step.  Identifying a problem is the only way to begin addressing it!  I have a new filter, or I am going to learn to use a new filter.  Is this person being considerate?  Are they acting in my best interest?  Am I ignoring warning signs and red flags?  Tonight, I am feeling invigorated and optimistic.

Revisiting

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The old family church

 

I didn’t go alone.  Why would I have even wanted to go alone?  Last night, Emily asked me why I would do this.  She offered to go along with me.  That meant Lola would also have to go along.  There wouldn’t be anyone home to stay with her.  Lo was a little apprehensive, but I assured her that this wouldn’t be a trip filled with sadness.  PLUS…she would get to see The Other Lola’s grave.

The day started off well.  I woke up very early, too early to wake the girls.  I checked emails, then I took a nice, long bath.  Eventually, I went in to the girls’ room to wake them up.  “Hey, girls!  Wake up!  It’s cemetery day!!!”  They were both bleary.  Just like their mother, neither of them are morning people.  I didn’t hurry them.  I had no schedule to keep.  We had planned on toaster strudel for breakfast.  That’s something I don’t normally buy with 6 people in the house, but today was special.  We were having a day of relaxation and togetherness.  The day was off to a great start.

Of course, there were messages from work, a call from the hospital, but I was determined not to let outside influences ruin the day.  I know, it sounds strange considering the fact that we were on our way to a cemetery, but the day felt festive.  Then Andrew called.  He was stranded.  He had a tire blow out.  He changed the tire, and then the spare had blown, too!  I was still in my robe, but hopped in the car to rescue him.   ( OK, I am not a car guru, so don’t laugh.  If I have some of the facts wrong, I am just reporting what I remember)  We later found out that the front struts were shot and were rubbing on the tires.  That’s what caused the blow-outs.  $1,100 later, the car is back in business.  OUCH!

We hit the road before noon.  The drive was beautiful.  We remarked over and over at the beauty of the things we saw on our drive.  We twisted and turned through the countryside.  We sang.  We laughed.  We talked.  Emily said that she had no idea we would be having so much fun on our trip to the cemetery.  I was so happy.  This is just as it should be.  What would this drive have been like had I chosen to go alone?  So often, I have chosen what is not good for me.  I have chosen not to rely on those around me.  I wonder why?  I hope these are lessons that I take to heart.

I was happily excited as we rounded the corner of the family farm.  There was Aunt Lillian’s little house nestled in the bottom ground.  I knew that around the next corner, I would see the cemetery up on the hill.  The taller stones would reflect in the sun to guide us the rest of the way.

We rounded the corner, and there was the little country church.  Next door was Aunt Bertha’s house.  Once widowed, she had lived there with her brother, Uncle Jesse.  They are all long gone now, but their memories remain.  I remember Aunt Bertha with her cord of  garlic tied around her neck.  Uncle Jesse claimed that he was the oldest man in the county.  My grandparents were quick to tell me the truth once we were alone, but I loved hearing Uncle Jesse’s tall tales.  Uncle Jesse and Aunt Bertha were my great grandpa’s siblings.  He lived in the big, stone farmhouse next door where they had all grown up.

The big house has fallen into dire disrepair, but I remember it in better times.  I remember Great Grandma and Great Grandpa, and collecting eggs, deliciously famous chocolate cake, and a pump handle at the kitchen sink with a tin cup for drinks of well water.

Floods of good memories washed over me as I turned down the old country road.  I felt the spirits of memory all around me.  I stopped the car and waited for a moment to let them settle down.  I sat and looked up the hill.  Dad was there.  They were all there:  my babies Adam and Grace, my brother, my grandparents, great grandparents, great-great, great-great-great.  On and on…

I took a deep breath and headed up the hill not knowing how I would feel to be there among the dead, the dead that I loved so fiercely.

Walking up the hill to Sand Hill Cemetery

 

The picture below is where my dad’s body was laid to rest.  I felt a quiet sadness, but this is important, I did not feel him there.  Yes, I had memories of being in this place WITH my dad, but I did not feel his spirit in this place.  I have felt him in other places, but not here in this place where earthly remains are interred.  That in itself was a huge comfort to me.  No, I did not have to drive for over an hour to be near my dad.  He is right here with me in my heart…always.

He would have liked this journey of mine today.  He would have been proud.  He would be happy that I am honoring these memories and passing them along to my daughters.  The trip was worth it. I felt peace.  I remembered those people who have shaped and touched my life.  What I passed on to my daughters today was that sense of peace.  Someday when they stand by my grave, they will be comforted by the love I have for this place and this land.  Just as I am comforted by the knowledge of the love my dad had for this place, they will know that this place is where my heart will be happy and at rest.

 

Resting Place ~ The grassy area in the foreground is mine!

 

Our little Lola is named after my great grandpa’s sister who died in 1893 at age nine from scarlet fever.  We have her little wooden pencil box.  If you slide the lid back, there are still graphite pencils inside the box.  Her name is written in child’s handwriting on the bottom of the box.  After Our Lola was born, my dad was on a mission to find a picture of his great aunt Lola.  One summer day at a family reunion, he was successful.  He found a picture of Lola.  We have it framed and sitting on a special shelf next to the pencil box.  Today was the first time Our Lola has visited the grave of her namesake.  It was really sweet to see.  Hard to explain, but very, very sweet.  Below is her picture sitting on the stone.

 

Lola at Sand Hill

 

This may be a journey or a day spent in a way that doesn’t make sense to some, or to most, people.  It wasn’t morbid.  It wasn’t sad.  It was strengthening.  I felt years of love, family, care, and happiness wrapped around me.  I felt grounded.  I felt a sense of purpose as I shared this day with the girls. We all came away changed.  Maybe changed just a tiny little bit, but it was a good bit of change.  Below are a few more pics from our day.

 

 

View of the farm from the top of Sand Hill

 

 

Where I learned to fish

 

 

 

 

Missing Most of Me

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This weekend sucked.  Pure and simple, it was not good.  I won’t go into the minutia of all that is going on.  By this afternoon, I was counting the hours until Monday morning.  Work may be stressful, but it’s not thankless.  Often, work seems to be the only part of my life that I seem to do well.  It’s stressful, but most of the time, it is logical.  The rest of my life is like a roller coaster.  I feel like the ball inside of a pinball machine.  I am bouncing around all over the place.  When I land in one spot, I am flung across to the other side.

Added to the mix of a career, four kids, and a husband is my responsibility for my very ill mother.  I am all she has.  Please don’t ever be envious of anyone who is an only child.  I have yet to see ANY benefits to that situation.  I miss having siblings.  I always have, especially now.  My mom has end-stage kidney disease.  Since my father’s death, we have situated her in an assisted living facility, although she has been often in and out of the hospital for an endless variety of complications.  She was admitted to the hospital again last night/this morning.

The fact that the responsibility of my mother has 100% fallen to me has been fascinating.  Well, mostly it has been horrifying.  I haven’t lived in my parents’ home in almost 30 years, yet the moment my father died, I was “given” sole charge of my mother.  It has been hellish to navigate.  Hellish!  I won’t go into all of that right now, it has been almost two years of incidents.  Last night was another.  At almost 2:00 a.m., my phone rang.  My mom had been taken from her apartment, which is connected to the hospital, to the emergency room.  She was vomiting.  Sadly, this is not an unusual ocurance.  Of course, I would expect them to call me to let me know.  What I wasn’t expecting was for them to basically demand that I drive there immediately with a list of her meds.  WTH?  My mom takes over a dozen different medications on a daily basis.  I have arranged for them to be bubble packed.  She gets them each week.  There is a card with AM MEDS, one with PM MEDS, and another with BEDTIME MEDS.  The pharmacy she uses is IN THE FRICKEN HOSPITAL.  Her assisted living facility is ATTACHED to the same hospital.  I live of a hour hour’s drive away.  Plus, and most importantly , as I told the nurse who had awakened me, “I don’t have a list of her meds.”

“Well, you should,” was her answer.  Sure, yeah, I know.  There are a lot of things I “Should” do.  I will add this one to the list.  To think that I had been patting myself on the back for making all of the arrangements for her meds to be bubble-packed for her.  Frankly, I was pissed off.  It seems that no matter what I do, or how hard I try, there is always someone waiting around each corner to tell me that I hadn’t done something right.  I went back to sleep after being reassured that my mother was now resting comfortably.

A few short hours later  at 7:00 a.m., and I assume a bitchy-nurse shift change, I was once again awakened by a phone call.  “Yes, I am calling about your mother.  I need you to bring us a list of her meds.”  Jesus!  Wouldn’t you think that it would make more sense to call the pharmacy (located IN the hospital) or maybe even pick up the phone and call her doctor?  Yes, I did suggest these things.  Turns out the pharmacy is closed.  Closed?  Yes…closed, because it was Sunday.  As for the doctor, they didn’t want to call him.  He would be in later when he made his rounds.

When I made it to the hospital this morning, the first thing my mother said to me was, “Pam, they said you needed to bring a list of my meds.  Did you bring it?”

“Mom, I don’t have a list of your meds.  I didn’t know that I needed a list.  I thought the pharmacy and your doctor had a list.”

“Well,” she sniffed and said disapprovingly, “your Dad always kept a list of my meds.”  Too bad no one ever told me!

The rest of my day didn’t go much better.  I came home from the hospital to a messy kitchen and a yard that needed to be mowed.  T was grouchy, because he had wanted to spend the day painting the garage, not standing around a hospital with me.  There was so much that I needed to do, because company was coming for dinner.  Andrew had invited a girl over for dinner and to meet the family.  Others would be there, too.  That is just a normal Sunday in our home.

Dinner wasn’t the problem.  We were having a simple meal, just burgers on the grill.  The problem was, once again, trying to please everyone.  I don’t seem to be doing a very good job of it lately.  Instead of digging in and cleaning things up, I wandered back to the patio.  I sat there staring and trying to figure out why my life doesn’t seem to fit me very well sometimes.

T came back to find me and sat down to talk.  I looked at him, just looked at him.  Where was that guy I knew so long ago, the one I married?  I asked him that.  I looked at him “real hard” as he would say, and I said, “Hey….are you still in there?”  How in the hell did our lives get so unenjoyable?  Why are we responsible for so much and enjoy so little?  While he agreed with me, neither one of us really had an answer.

Our moment together on the patio didn’t last long.  Soon, we were joined by a kid or two.  We delegated the work.  The burgers went on the grill, corn on the cob was put on to boil,  a fire was built on the patio.  Other friends stopped by to visit.  We made s’mores.  We had a few drinks.  The mood lifted and lightened.  I felt peace for a few moments.  I felt love and friendship and caring.  It is hard work to keep the ship afloat.  All of these people relying on sameness, stability, security.  I’m not sure if they realize the hard work that goes into making our lives as a family simply a routine.

I need my dad.  I miss my dad.  What I miss most is the stability that he provided in my life.  He loved me.  He listened to me.  He understood me, and I trusted him.  Mostly, what I miss most is the unconditional love he gave me every moment of my life. There was never a moment when I didn’t feel it.  I feel it still.

I haven’t been to visit my dad’s grave since the day he was buried.  It’s time.  The grave stone is up, and I want to see that, too.  I need to be near my dad again and feel the strength  of his unconditional love once again .

My dad called the cemetery Sand Hill.  I’m not sure if he was the only one to use that name, but I doubt it.  The land is part of the old family farm.  My great, great grandpa donated a portion of his farm ground for a church and family burial grounds.  It’s a tiny cemetery with only a couple hundred graves.  I know, or know of, most of the people who are buried in that cemetery.  I walked on Sand Hill with my great-grandpa, my grandpa, my dad, and my kids.  Sand Hill has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and Sand Hill will be a part of me even when I am long gone from this world.

My babies and my brother are buried at Sand Hill.  T and I have our spots all reserved.  All we had to do was mark it on a map.  I have actually laid in the spot where I will be buried.  I still remember that sunny day.  I laid there laughing and rolled over in the grass, “Hey, look at me rolling in my grave!”  My dad was there that day, too, and I remember his smile.  Sand Hill is not a place of sadness.  It’s a place where I played as a child.  I took many walks with Great-Grandpa over from his big, stone farmhouse to Sand Hill while he told me stories of people long past.  Sand Hill is a place of love and family.  It is where my history rests, and where I will rest.

I have decided to make the trip to Sand Hill to visit my dad.  I’m going to go alone later this week.  There are so many things weighing heavily on my mind.  It would take me an hour to drive there from my home if I took the interstate, but I won’t.  Instead, I will meander over the two-lane country roads I know and love so well.  I will revisit the places that I hold dear in my heart, and I will remember.  No doubt, this won’t be an easy visit.  For sure, I will cry, but I will also talk.  I have so much to say to my dad, so much that has been stored up this past year and a half.

Dad? Is That You?

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As I mentioned over the weekend, our little town has “Garage Sale Day” each year in June.  As if that’s not fun enough, the following week is Village Clean-Up.  Seriously, I love Village Clean-Up.   For the past three years or so, my head has so far far up my ass that I didn’t savor this wonderful week as fully as I could/should have.  This year, I have plenty to set out in my trash….literally and figuratively (which gives me even more great ideas!)

Last night was Cheeseburger Sunday, so we had a houseful of strapping young people to help us haul our junk to the curb.  We fairly emptied out the back shed of its accumulation of years and years worth of kids’ toys.  The crib went out to the curb, too, along with the kiddie pool, and a variety of bikes.  After we had a significant pile in front of our house, we decided to head over to my parents’ vacant house to haul a few of the heavier, non-auction items to the curb.

Those of you who stuck it out with me on my other blog are familiar with how difficult I have found it to let go of my childhood home.  This time last year, T and I were considering a massive addition/renovation to the house.  Once we realized that we would have been putting more money into the house than we would have ever be able to get out of it if we ever sold, we nixed the project altogether.  The house has continued to sit in limbo.  Its a bit forlorn, and except for the occasional “Mom and Dad need a place to be alone,” no one spends any time there at all.

Well, Mom and Dad have been needing to “be alone” quite often recently, and with the summer lawn care, T and I have been spending more time over there lately.  The conversations have begun again.  “Should we move here?”  We have been batting around a new plan.  If we sold our house first, then we would be debt-free.  We would also have a significant profit to work with for a less-major remodeling project.  We would be downsizing, but that makes sense at this point.  Hey, maybe one (or two) of the kids will eventually move out, and then we wouldn’t need so much space!  As we have discussed, the possibilities for a more modest renovation, we have both been getting kind of excited about a change.  The neighborhood and yard are wonderful.  It’s a cute brick bungalow.  As much history as we have in our current house, there is so much more in my parents’ home.  We both remember my great-grandparents and grandparents visiting there.  Our babies grew into young adults while their own grandparents lived in that home.  I grew up there.  Our wedding reception was in the backyard.  T and my dad built the brick patio especially for that event.  T and I have a huge shared history in that house.  It’s so hard to imagine letting that repository of our memories go.

There’s a downside, though.  Finding my father dead in the living room that horrible December night is memory that none of us have been able to get past.  We are wary each time we open the door of that house.  Lola won’t let go of my hand for at least ten minutes each time we go over there.  None of us can walk into the living room without our eyes darting to that spot on the floor where grandpa left us.  We are trying to forget.  All of us are trying.  It’s beginning to lift.  I feel it.  The old house is beginning to feel more normal.  We are going to take it a step further by removing the carpets soon and refinishing the hardwood floors.  A fresh coat of paint will help lift the house’s spirits, too.

Last night, we were took things to the curb (which was very difficult!) at my parents’ home, and we searched from room to room to see what else could go.  The old couch from the TV room, ah…lots of memories there!  My parents must have had that couch for over 30 years, and the two ugly velvet chairs.  We had a nice pile, which by the way, the “Pickers” were there like vultures waiting for each load we hauled outside.  That’s my favorite thing about Village Clean-Up.  I love the scruffy guys in beat up pickup trucks driving slowly around town looking for their treasures.

Lola and I headed into the living room to look out the window at the pile.  I purposely took her through to the sun room.  She told me that she felt like she was stepping on Grandpa.  I agreed with her.  I always feel the same thing.  She and I stood there for a moment looking at an old floor lamp.  As ugly as it was, I always loved that lamp when I was a little girl.  Andrew came in and asked me if I wanted to get rid of it.  I flipped on one of the three lights on the lamp.  It worked.  I said I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to get rid of it.  It was so retro.  Maybe I’ll keep it.  He agreed.  He said he had always loved that lamp, too.  Then he said, “What in the hell is this?  Is this a bird?”

Lola and I saw the dark shape through the amber glass.  It looked like the shape of a bird!  I immediately thought of the fake birds I remembered from flower arrangements and wreaths as a child.  That’s probably what it was!  I told Andrew to lift up the amber globe, and we all took a step back.  My God!  It WAS a DEAD BIRD!  It was in the skinny clear glass around the bulb.  Head first, the bird was shoved down the tube.  Its claws were curved into grotesque fists and a streak of bird shit was smeared on one side of the glass.  We were stunned and speechless.  We yelled for T to come see.  Yeah, and we all grabbed our phones and started taking pictures.  Any thoughts of keeping the lamp were GONE.  Andrew carried it out to the curb.

Today I had lunch with T.  I asked him if he thought the bird was a sign?  “Jesus….” he said.  Well, that’s the extent of that conversation.  T takes no stock in such things, but I have thought about it frequently today.  One thing I do know for sure is that my dad would have absolutely loved it!  It was just the kind of random, weird happening that would have kept him entertained and in conversation for days.  He would have loved telling that story.  He would have loved seeing our faces.  I hope he did see it all, because I know he would still be laughing.

Tonight as I was hoeing the garden, Emily came out to help me.  As we worked, she asked me if I though the bird was an omen.  “AH……I KNOW!!”  I practically yelled at her.  I told her that I had told Dad.  Her reaction was “phffft…..  Why did you do that?”  She knows that he wouldn’t see anything as an omen, even a black bird shoved down into a lamp in the same room where a man died.  Uh huh.

I have mulled it over.  I’ve tried to gather the message or the meaning.  As creepy and strange as it all seems, I am not afraid of the dead bird.  It doesn’t feel bad or evil, but it does feel important.  I feel like I am supposed to dig and search for a deeper meaning, or a sign, from this experience.  That’s what I have been exploring in my head all evening.  What does it mean?

Why doesn’t it seem like a gloomy or a dooming omen?  I am surprised that I don’t feel a sense of foreboding.  I should, but I don’t.  Instead, a thought is beginning to take shape.  “Let it go.  Let it die.  It’s simple and easy.”  Now, that also seems gloomy and foreboding, but once again, that isn’t the feeling I have as I think those thoughts.  Instead, I am thinking that the sadness needs to die.  Holding onto negative, self-defeating thoughts have to die.  I have to let go of the BAD.  I have to let the BAD die, and like that lamp (which I loved)  and the dead bird (which was gross!) I have to take MY OWN BAD out to the curb.  I have to let go of the bad and kick it to the curb.