Thursday, February 5, 2009

Random Tidbit

Discovered in a book, from the Gaelic, addressed to a guardian angel; I found it very moving.

Be thou a bright flame before me,
Be thou a guiding star above me,
Be thou a smooth path below me,
And be ever a kindly shepherd beside me,
Today, tomorrow and forever.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Letter in the Mail

I got a letter in the mail on Saturday, a letter from my grandson. He's five, and very sweet. Included with it is a letter from his Mama, my daughter D. Getting that letter made my day. Reading that letter made my week.

Now I just have to get my act together and write back.

I think I am one of the worst correspondents in existence. My first husband was definitely worse than I am, so I will not claim to be world's worst. Nope. I'm not the worst. But not the best, either. I am somewhere in between, but closer, much, much closer to the worse end of the scale.

When I was in high school, I had a pen pal. She lived in Japan. When she received a letter from me, she wrote back. When I received a letter from her, I thought about it, and then wrote back. The transit time was such that the exchange rate was about one letter a month. Then the exchange stopped. I am not sure, but I think I got a last letter and didn't write back. It might have been the other way round, but I don't think so. You see, I'm the bad correspondent.

I forget birthdays, and if I don't remember you are having a birthday, I don't send a card. Simple? Maybe. Margret was the one who always remembered who had birthdays, and when they had them. She reminded me.

Margret liked to get cards, and to send them. Birthday cards, definitely, but any sort of card was fine with her. I would help her looking up addresses, but she addressed the envelope in her own hand. She liked to choose cards to give, to send, and planned on trips to the card shop when birthdays were coming up. I kept a collection of cards for many occasions, and she liked to go through and pick just the right one. Sometimes my collection didn't have just what she wanted, and she had to settle for second best, or create a card. I can't think of when she made up the last original card, but I'm sure it wasn't in the past year or so.

Margret kept many of the cards she received. Some she had in a stack in a drawer in her dresser. One year her sister helped her put some of the cards she had received into a frame. There are Christmas cards, birthday cards, lots of valentines, some 'thinking of you' cards and a Halloween card. She hung it on her bedroom door, where, over the years, some of the card shifted toward the bottom of the frame. I would sometimes watch her studying the cards, and wonder what she was thinking. I never asked. Permit me to imagine her thinking "I got this card from D, it's very pretty. This one came from B, she has great taste. My friend W gave me this one with violets. I'm glad I have friends and family."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How Do I Miss Thee? Let Me Count the Ways. IV

I miss your comings and goings.

I miss the hustle in the morning making sure you're up on time, have your morning meds and your breakfast, and that your lunch is packed. I miss watching you decide which jacket or coat to wear to suit the weather. Sometimes you consulted me, and asked which I thought would be better, but mostly you peeked out the door, and decided for yourself. I miss helping you wrap your scarf to cover your nose in winter.

I miss waiting by the door with you for your ride. I miss the last hug before you go out the door. I miss the aides who picked you up on Monday and Friday, and the Metro van that came the other three days. I even miss the times that your van didn't show up as expected, when I would call the van service and let you tell the dispatcher your concerns. You were unfailingly polite to the dispatcher, and always said, "Thank you, have a nice day," to end your conversation. Sometimes I gave you a ride when the van would have been extremely late, because you liked to be on time. If you were late on Meals on Wheels day, you'd miss most of it, and have to sit at the center waiting for the rest of your group to get back for lunch.

I miss when you come in, returning from your busy day and call, "Hi Mom!" and hang up your coat, and stow your gear, and rummage for a snack in the kitchen. I miss Yoga day, when your teacher brought you home. She set up the mats while you changed into your yoga clothes and ate a yogurt. After class, you would do your shivasana, the last, meditating pose, in bed while your teacher read to you from one of her books or magazines. You'd go from yoga meditation into a nap, which was fine, in bed because it was more comfortable for a nap than the floor.

At first I found myself watching the door at return time, half expecting you'd be coming in at your normal times but I knew it wouldn't happen. A surreal feeling, that.

The rubbermaid step you used for climbing into tall vehicles is still in the closet by the front door, along with your umbrella. An oxygen wrench still hangs on the peg by the keys, and the wooden keyfob, your name in three dimensions. I remember when you got that, the wood crafter made it special for you because he didn't have any already made up. Right next to that is the lanyard with your volunteer photo ID. You took that with you on Fridays, and reminded me to pack no lunch then, because volunteers got lunch at the hospital cafeteria.