Tag: love (Page 1 of 2)

Twenty Years Is Both a Long Time and No Time At All

“In the language of the deaf, the sign for ‘remember’ begins with the sign for ‘know’: the fingertips of the right hand touch the forehead. But merely to know is not enough, so the sign for ‘remain’ follows: the thumbs of each hand touch and, in this joined position, move steadily forward into the future. Thus a knowing that remains, never lost, forever: memory.”
~~~ Myron Uhlberg in Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love

Twenty years.

My daddy died died twenty years ago today, and I still ache with griefcrave one more hug, long to hear him call me Doll just one more time. Every December 2 I become a cauldron of grief – sorrow, anger, pensiveness, no sense of direction.  I usually spend the day doing soft, soulful things like writing, remembering, walking, but with the recent fullness of my life, I had no time to pre-plan. My waking thought was to read something written by someone else remembering and grieving for their daddy, and while that felt like a winner of an idea, what, exactly, I would read remained a question mark. Then, as Magic would have it, I went to the bookshelves in my studio this morning in search of another book for another reason, when the book aforementioned book  leapt off the shelf and into my hands.

Remembering.
It’s what I do.
It’s who I am.
Stories of remembering are my oxygen.

In August 2000, two weeks after delivering the book I wrote about my father-in-law to each of his children and grandchildren, Bones woke me up whispering, “Write a book about your daddy, and do it now.”

“Are you kidding me?” I countered. “I am exhausted, depleted, worn slap out.” (I kept the father-in-law book a secret even from Andy, which meant much writing at night) The Voice of my Bones was not amused or swayed, and I’ve learned (the hard way) not to argue with Bones, so the following week I began gathering stories, photos, newspaper articles, interviews, whatever I could get my ears and hands on, about my daddy. I wrote. I scanned. I wrote some more, and the Monday before Thanksgiving, off it went  to the printer and binder. Everybody in the family would receive a leather-bound copy of this 400+ page book of memories about Daddy.

Four days later – the day after Thanksgiving – Daddy fell, hitting his head. Hard.

The Monday after Thanksgiving, I called Karen, the book binder. “I hear voices, you see, and well, Daddy fell last Friday and the voices I call My Bones tell me I need to get those books back asap. Can you help?” Without a single audible sign of exasperation, Karen said, “I can have one book to you on Saturday and the rest next Monday.”

First-Book-Arrives-Saturday started with all Daddy’s bells and whistles going off, his machine creating a cacophony of alert. I called family members. “If you want to see Daddy alive, you need to get here before noon,” I told them. They came trickling in. Friends followed. Finally, husband Andy and son Kipp walked in, brown package in hand.

In a rather bold move for a Southern girl raised to respect hospitality above (almost) all else, I asked the friends to  leave, gathered family around Daddy’s bed, and opened the package. I began reading at 1:05 p.m. A nurse stayed well past her shift’s end, keeping the machines shushed by holding her finger on the quiet button.

We took turns reading, arriving at “The End” at 4:50 p.m.

Daddy took his last breath at 4:55.

Though he never said a word, I know Daddy could hear his life review because from my position to the left of his pillow, I watched tears make their way down his face throughout the afternoon.

Take from this post whatever you will, just please promise me this:
~ If, God forbid, anybody you love should ever be in a coma or otherwise unable to communicate, take it upon yourself to make sure that only positive loving kindness is spoken within those four walls because I know – know to my very core – that they hear everything, and we all know that words are powerful.
~ You’ll take the time to capture your family’s stories. Start today. Record, write, ask, clip, copy, scan – gather and preserve those stories by whatever means available. You can shape them into narrative later, step one is to capture, and let’s face it: we never know. Preserving these stories will change your life (among other things, you will learn a lot about yourself) and future generations will call you good things and be forever grateful. Count on it.

47 Years Ago Today

Me, 10 days before meeting The Engineer

47 years ago today, The Engineer asked me to spend the rest of my life with  him. I’d been invited to a wedding shower and was voicing my reluctant enthusiasm about the prospect of attending. He tapped my nose with one finger and said, “You know, when we get married, you’ll have to go to wedding showers.”

“But you haven’t asked me,” I managed to blurt despite the somersaults of my heart.

Silence, 2, 3, 4 . . . then  “Well, will you?”

”Will I what?” I said, turning to look him squarely face-to-face. “If you want me to marry you, you’ll have to be clear in your proposal. I request and require clarity so there’s no misunderstanding.”

He slid off the sofa, took to one knee, held my hands while looking me straight in the irises and asked, ”Will you marry me?”

”I sure will!” I said on my way to planting a big fat kiss on his mouth.

Before he left that night, we sat outside in the swing, quietly reflecting on what happened earlier. “Let’s not tell anybody just yet,” he suggested – an idea with which I fully agreed. We both wanted to sleep on it, it turns out, to be quite sure in the light of day, and besides, it was April Fool’s Day, after all.

We met on Saturday, January 27, 1973
became engaged on April 1, 1973
said “You bet I will” (a.k.a. got married_ on July 31, 1973 – six months after we met.

It all happened quite fast, our togetherness, and I haven’t regretted my decision once (although if I knew then what I know today on Day 21 of The Great Sheltering-in-Place Adventure, I’d’ve asked him to study hairdressing on the side).

If


If the Hong Kong flu hadn’t taken hold in the US,
If I hadn’t already spent my week in sick bay, wrestling the virus into the ground,
If they hadn’t closed the college because there was no more room to quarantine,
If I hadn’t been bored enough to go to the high school basketball game,
if my high school friend hadn’t been bored enough to go to the basketball game,
If we hadn’t gotten bored at the basketball game and decided to take our leave and head to  Underground Atlanta,
If a would-be boyfriend hadn’t passed out gone to sleep early and rendering him unable to follow through on his promise to call my daddy if I wasn’t back by midnight,
If we’d had enough money between us for one drink and two straws,
If she hadn’t remembered this guy she met the weekend before who was wearing a brown, floppy-brimmed leather hat and worked in Muhlenbrink’s Saloon,
If I hadn’t been thirsty enough to shove aside my intense crowd anxiety and join her to push our way to the bar through the throngs of drunk people listening to Rosebud,
If the guy drawing beers hadn’t borrowed the brown, floppy-brimmed leather hat from the guy mixing drinks at the other end of the bar,
If she hadn’t argued with the cute-as-all-get-out beer-drawing guy when he said he’d never seen her before in his life,
If she had listened to me and we had left right then,
If he hadn’t asked us to go to a party at the bouncer’s apartment when the bar closed,
If she hadn’t said “Yes” so quickly and enthusiastically,
If we hadn’t taken her car, leaving me no choice but to go along,
If the Sweet Spirit of Surprise hadn’t put the roommate in the car with her and me in the car with the beer guy,
If he hadn’t been so cute and charming and caused all kinds of climate conditions to change with the kaleidoscope of butterfly wings he set to flapping wildly when he kissed me . . .
I never would’ve met the guy who has never – not even once – had to call on his engineer training to turn my life’s lights on.

44 year ago today, my life changed forever when I met and instantly fell head-over-heels in deep, unwavering love with The Engineer.  Look at my long list called The Best Day Ever, and you’ll find January 27, 1973 at the very top.

the three PR’s

Photo 1

the attorney’s father was a probate judge who never did his own will. with six children and no will, there’s trouble. hurt feelings. old hurts and memories and grudges rise quickly to the surface. they are not speaking, the children, and everybody including us, wonders why a man who dealt with wills for a living wouldn’t take the time to draw up his own. the shoemaker’s children go barefooted, and the probate judge’s children feud.

Photo 4

not a fun way to spend a morning – even with the story and the walk the engineer and i treated ourselves to afterwards (the source of these photos) – but a necessary expenditure of time.

here’s the thing: drawing up a will, creating a living will and powers of attorney (healthcare and property) doesn’t bring on your death. it simply means you are smart enough to know that you will die one day and that you love enough to face that irrefutable fact and show love in a way you never thought about before.

do you love yourself enough to draw up a living will so that your very existence doesn’t fall into the hands of a medical staff who don’t even make eye contact?

do you love your heirs enough to draw up a will so that all you’ve worked for and created doesn’t get divvied up and disposed of by the government?

do you love your support people, be they family or friends, enough to draw up powers-of-attorney so that they can tend to things for you without resistance and interference from strangers?

Photo 3

we have a God Forbid book, i tell the attorney to stop him as he launches into Creating A Will 101. i tell him about how i see this as love – living love, leaving love. i tell him about how as a personal historian and an end-of-life doula i know that people just flat out refuse to put themselves in touch with their own mortality. even the smartest among us, i’m talking about.

i tell him about the God Forbid (as in God Forbid you ever need this information) book i created eons ago for the children telling them everything they need to know – bank accounts, memberships, software, who to call lists, medical info, location of keys and important papers, and well, you get the idea. i tell the attorney how we keep it updated and have annual meetings with our children every thanksgiving (as in we’re so thankful we’re here to tell you about it again this year). he is suitably impressed and we are able to skip ahead to the changes we want made. it’s not that we have much, it’s just that i want our children to have time to grieve. yes, really.

it’s not just the heirs who have all sorts of bric-a-brac float to the surface when dealing with wills. i find myself thinking about who’s been most attentive, who makes an effort to stay in touch, who’s responsible. do i want to use a will to reward? do i want to take the easy and nice way out and just divide everything equally (which feels an awful lot like socialism to me)? some things are obvious and require no angst decision making. the child who always baked the cakes gets the bowl and spoon my grandmother used to make cakes with. the child who laid in the floor laughing as we read bedtime stories gets the books. i’m not saying it’s the right or wrong approach, i just think it’s good to be clear and clean about these things, about the motivation, even if only on the inside. or, if you want to be like me, right out in the open on your blog for the whole galaxy to see. when preparing these important documents, it’s important to bring the right amount of emotion and good sense, to be sure that decisions aren’t made solely on emotions or logic.

a note, though: probably not a good idea to give the child in prison power of attorney, and that’s not a character assault, it’s a matter of needing to have someone who can show up in a jiffy. just saying.

Photo 2

years ago, i began to ask the children what, in particular, they wanted when we die. even though it might be tinged with anticipation, i’m hopeful that the items will be imbued with even more meaning, memory, sentimental value knowing that they will own it one day and i’m now using it regularly.

i make a list and write letters of explanation, just in case.

this year i’ll ask if either of my chiclets want my journals or any of my hymns of cloth. it’s a question i dread asking because i don’t want them to feel obligated to say “yes” even though i deeply and desperately hope to year a quick and hearty “yes”. if you want to know the truth, i want them to argue and fight over the journals and cloths. at least a wee little bit.

will they want pieces from In Our Own Language 1? or 2? or 3? will the Rinse Cycle series prick their interest with tales of pivotal epiphanies in a woman’s life?

Photo 1 1

will they want pieces from the My Kitchen Table series in which i create cloths for each person who’s nourished my life in some way? like this plate for my maternal grandmother. biscuits from scratch, cake contests, quilts, piano, flowers growing everywhere, feather bed, the irregular whir of the treadle sewing machine, gardens, canning, clothes hung on the line to dry, hand lotion that smelled of rose water. she never drove a car, but she had her very own riding lawn mower, and let me tell you what: she enjoyed using it, always wearing her straw hat, both hands kept on the wheel at all times. i don’t ever remember seeing her wearing pants. she taught me music and sunshine and planning for the future.

preparing for the future.
preserving the past.
not a bad way to spend the present.

tears (as in drops from the eyes) and tears (as in rips of the heart)

AdaHewellBabyJeanne001 copy

you met my mother here and here and here, now i know good and well that it’s mother’s day, but it’s not my mother i want to tell you about today.

BetseyAndAlthorism

and it’s not my niece who had her baby boy last night at 10:49, even though you can bet your sweet patootie you’ll be hearing about him soon. isn’t he a beautiful baby?

MaryAdaJeanne2008

today it’s my cousin mary (the one who always makes sure we take plenty of pictures at every family gathering) i want to tell you about. that’s her there on the left. (then there’s my mother in the center. then there’s me on the right.)

MaryChristmas1998annotated

if you pay attention to my facebook feed, you know that 14 months ago mary’s oldest boy (that’s him – billy – there with the blue oval around his handsome face and that’s mary there on the left with the pink oval around her) was diagnosed with cancer. you know that he endured everything science has in its arsenal to throw at cancer, and you know that it wasn’t enough. mary buried her oldest son today – on mother’s day.

at first i thought that was an awful, horrendous, unimaginable thing to do – i initially felt physically sick for mary. but as i talked with her over the past few days, i tell you what: i’ve never loved her more or been more proud of her. that cousin o’mine really knows how to throw a good funeral.

she didn’t opt to have billy’s funeral on mother’s day to cast herself as a martyr. she didn’t want pity or attention or people fawning over her. you see, this wasn’t about mary at all. this funeral was a tribute to billy, and mary made sure of it in every way large and small.

friends were important to billy, so mary and her husband danny decided to have the funeral today because they knew a lot of billy’s friends would be in town visiting their mothers and could attend the funeral.

during the visitation that preceded the funeral when mary spied somebody she didn’t know, she walked right up to them and introduced herself and thanked them for coming then listened to their stories about billy.

she was right there every minute. she was so present.

she made sure people had plenty to eat. she asked if they had moved their car to the line that would go to the cemetery. she thanked people. she fed people. she hugged people. she listened to people. you might think she was distracting herself with busy work, and you’d be wrong. mary was there, she didn’t shy away from the reality of the occasion, she cried – she cried plenty – she just never lost sight of the fact that today was about honoring and memorializing billy.

when danny (billy’s daddy) cried, mary put her arm around him and patted him. when the preacher came to clarify what song would be sung, she directed him to danny because danny had selected the song. when the pall bearers (some of billy’s friends from college) arrived, she took them all into her house, and when they got upset, she comforted them.

she told the preacher story after story after story to make sure it was a fitting, story-filled tribute to the multi-faceted, multi-talented young man billy is . . . was (it’s hard to use past tense). in the past few weeks and especially today, mary exhibited every trait and characteristic that made billy the fine and good young man we know him to be.

MarysBD2008

(that’s billy there with the orange oval with his hand on mary’s shoulder.)

as an actor and a managing director of a theatre, i see my fair share of drama queens, and as a woman of that certain age, i’ve dealt with a lot of women who desperately want to be seen, and i want to tell you one very important thing: mary focused that spotlight on her son billy, and she made sure it didn’t stray, not one little bit. and in her unfaltering selfless mother love, i saw her more clearly than i’ve ever seen her before.

i love her so much.

It really is all we need, you know.

DahliaStruts

One

Alison’s recovery is nothing short of remarkable.
Yesterday, her surgeon came into room 713
and sat on the bed with Alison to remove the drainage tube.
Dr. Shaw: Now sing me an “eeeeeeee”.
Alison sang an “eeeee”.
Dr. Shaw, with a big smile on her face: “That was beautiful.”
Alison: “But it was only a G.”

Art and science collide.

Dr. Shaw,
the surgeon who loves science,
speaks in terms of the particular sound
that will allow her to gauge the performance of Alison’s vocal cords.
Alison,
the professional singer with perfect pitch,
and for whom music is oxygen,
hears and responds in terms of musical notes.

~~~~~~~

Two

~~~~~~~

Three

This is a love story written by a friend and former coworker of my son, Kipp.

A Perennial Special Day

KippAugust2013

Today is my son’s birthday. If you’re lucky enough to know Kipp, you might celebrate different things about him – not because he transforms himself into someone different with everyone he meets in hopes of gaining some invisible stamp of approval, but because he is such a delightfully complex and multi-faceted person who is interested in and excels at so many different things.

I celebrate his willingness to take risks – not stupid risks, but educated risks. He digs in, researches, asks questions, and learns before he leaps. Most of the time, anyway. There was the StartUp Weekend in Boulder when he’d gone to scope it out in preparation for presenting one of his three good ideas the following year. But at the last minute – and I do mean very last minute – he stood up, presented one of his ideas, formed his team, developed the prototype company over the weekend, and 48 hours later, he’d won the big prize. (So it all worked out.) There’s also the fact that while he was still sleeping on the floor of some friend’s uncle, he learned his way around Los Angeles by delivering food. And there’s the skydiving, which is pretty daring, if you ask me. (He’s also a certified skydiving instructor, too, if you’re interested.)

Speaking of skydiving, I’d like to take this opportunity to say how much I celebrate the caring and consideration he shows by calling me on the way to any jump then calling me again on his way home from the jump.

I celebrate his willingness to say “I don’t know” right out loud.

I celebrate his knowing that you can learn more about humans and their relationships from poetry, music, art, and literature than from any psychology class or textbook.

I celebrate his creativity that erupts in the poetry, songs, and essays he writes; in the acting he does on film and on stage; in the open mic events I hope he’ll find his way back to.

I celebrate that he is a wildly creative young man who also balances his checkbook.

I celebrate his dependability – if Kipp tells you he’ll do something, you can move on to something else knowing he will do what he promised. And he holds himself accountable, never accepting the blame for others but not shoving blame on others, either.

I celebrate his unwillingness to take a bunch of crap (which is to say his willingness to stand up for himself). On his first day at the new, private middle school, a big fat kid looked at the short, small Kipp, got right up in Kipp’s personal space, starred down into Kipp’s retinas, and barked “You ought to go back to kindergarten” to which Kipp said without missing a beat, “And you ought to go back to Weight Watchers.”

I celebrate his whipsmart and varied intelligences that spring from all parts of his brain.

Alkipp

I celebrate his gentleness and his love of traditions. Kipp got his first stitches when he was in first grade, and we went for ice cream afterwards to make this a celebratory Milestone Life Event. Years later when Alison got her first stitches, Kipp called me in the ER to say that he wanted to pay for her celebratory ice cream.

I celebrate his sense of place . . . when the last box left the house he’d grown up in, Kipp and I spent a few minutes sitting on the front stoop, laughing and crying as we told stories as our way of thanking the house for sheltering us while transitioning into new shelter. It was a tender moment that I’ll remember long after I’ve forgotten his name.

I celebrate his thoughtfulness, his empathetic nature, his bend towards self-reliance.

I celebrate his self-awareness . . . Though he was slow to warm to swimming lessons (I don’t mean swimming lessons in general, but slow to warm to each and every weekly swimming lesson), afterwards he sat in the backseat shivering partly from the chill of a wearing a wet swimsuit in an air conditioned car and partly from the excitement of going straight to his grandmother’s swimming pool for more swimming. The day he went off the diving board at swimming lessons, he went straight to YeaYea’s diving board, walked resolutely to the end of the board, and stood there shivering, his little hands clasped in front of him as he looked down at the water, eventually turning to me and saying, “Mom, I guess you’re just gonna’ have to push me.”

I celebrate his attention to detail and his strive for the remarkable, though he is overly hard on himself sometimes . . . like the time he was learning to ride his bike. He got to the end of the driveway, and as he attempted to turn onto the road, he fell. He took a minute to look at his scraped knee, then picked himself and the bike up, walked it back up to the top of the driveway, and started over, falling again. This time he boo-hooed (and I mean loudly). “Are you okay?” his dad asked rushing over to check on him. “Yeah,” Kipp said, “I’m fine, but I FELL IN THE SAME SPOT.”

I celebrate Kipp’s sense of hospitality, his sense of humor, his precociousness. When I asked our pediatrician why baby Kipp wouldn’t stop crying, she said it’s because he was a 40 years old man trapped in a baby’s body. This woman of science told me that, and she was absolutely right.

I celebrate Kipp’s willingness to be vulnerable and his ability to let other people be vulnerable without rushing to make it better or fix anything. I celebrate his sensitivity, his desire to be his ow man, and how he lives with diabetes, taking good care of himself without whining and complaining of all the extra steps that involves for him.

I celebrate my lucky stars and swimmers and eggs that all came together to place Kipp in my arms, in my heart, in my life. As he said that one Christmas, rubbing the sleep from his eyes as he looked down on what Santa had left under the tree: “I didn’t know I be’ed this good.” Whatever I did i a former life, it had to be pretty darn special.

I call him Slug because he is the hottest coal that keeps my fires burning. Happy birthday, Kipp. I love you more than my pocketbooks.

Goodhugger

There’s Wicking in Socks and There’s Wicking in Candles

DSC01261

Tonight my niece Betsey, along with her mom, dad, sister, and brother-in-law, will participate in the Out of Darkness Walk, an event sponsored by American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Beginning at sunset, they will walk 18 miles or so through the streets of Washington, D. C., crossing the finish line about the time the sun rises tomorrow.

. . . The sun rises tomorrow. If I had a magic wand, I’d make sure every single soul has at least that much hope . . .

In November 2010, Betsey got home from work to find that her boyfriend Nick had committed suicide. Mourning for Nick was woven in with concern for Betsey, of course, and how she would go forward. Of course she’ll never be the same – survivors never are. But you’ll be happy to hear that she’s good and getting on with her own life. She continues to accept the support of her family and friends, practice good and unapologetic self care, and now gives support by sharing her experience and knowledge with other survivors. She is amazing, my niece, absolutely amazing, and I love her more than I can count.

I am with them in spirit tonight, members of the Chambers, D’Angelo, Okuliar Team (I’ve already volunteered to come up with next year’s team name) and all the other (perhaps more creatively named) teams. I won’t be walking through the (hopefully well lit) streets of D. C. tonight, but I’m here, with my journal and my needle and thread, lighting a candle in memory of those who could conceive of no other way to deal with the situations, problems, demons, thoughts, people that tormented them relentlessly.

And in honor of the loved ones who are left wondering and wounded by a grief that never goes completely away. Those who curl into fetal positions and weep, sometimes raising fists to the sky, and always, always, always wondering what they could have done to assure their loved ones that nothing is ever that awful or that insurmountable, to convince the loved ones that there’s nothing they can’t get through together. For survivors, the “how” is often immediately obvious, it’s the “why” that plagues them without end. Even if there’s a note, even if there have been indications, even if, even if, even if . . . they never find The Answer that makes sense, that would leave them incredibly sad but understanding. I honor those whose lives are forever changed.

My candle also burns in honor of someone I deeply, hugely, gloriously love who once saw only darkness, who took steps to end that darkness, and who didn’t “succeed”. I honor my loved one and all the others, for that matter, who are brave enough – and hear me on this: it takes a tremendous amount of stamina, determination, and flat-out courage to ask for an ear or a shoulder or whatever else they need to get through any given day. If you’re reading this, I want to thank you for staying, even though I know it’s not an easy thing some days. I know it’s not about me, and I admit my selfishness when I say that despite the fact that you still have the power to drive me crazy with frustration and concern, you also have the power to delight and tickle me . . . and creative as I am, I can’t imagine stepping out into a single day that didn’t have you in it. Thank you for for reaching out when you need to, for making the effort, and for allowing yourself to feel laughter and lightness on occasion, even when the darkness is more familiar.

While others lace their shoes and walk, I sit here in my bare feet beside the candle that’s already burning in memory of those who saw no other way, in support of those who love and survive them, and in honor of those who continue to find just enough light to hold onto.

As we find our way around this big rock called Earth, as we ride on the magic carpet ride called Life, may we all be more gentle with each other than fussy; may we replace the arrogance and condescension with acceptance and (at least an attempt at) understanding. When we find ourselves feeling scared or lost or confused or desperately sad or hopelessly depressed, may we dig deep and find enough strength (a.k.a. dregs of self love) in our vulnerability to ask for help, and if we’re the ones asked, may we check judgment and disgust and to do list at the door and respond with tenderness and patience. May we listen more than we speak, hold hands when the words won’t come, and may our loving concern seep and shine through every pore. Amen.

14,600 Days or 350,400 Hours or The Blink of an Eye – It’s All the Same to Me

JeanneAndyFormal1974

Forty years ago today, I walked into a bar in Underground Atlanta with a girlfriend and walked out several hours later with the man who would, in a mere six months, become my husband. Our forty years of togetherness have been marked by much change. We’ve birthed two amazing people, and we’ve buried too many to count. We’ve laughed and cried . . . and eventually laughed again. We’ve pursued our own interests and always come back home to tell each other all about it. We’ve shared interests, cheered each other on in individual pursuits, and worked side-by-side on all sorts of things.

An engineer by training, he views, interprets, and goes through the world in a more linear way than this quirky Aquarian. He is patient, I lean towards impulsive. He is literal, I see and hear metaphors everywhere. He is formulaic, I live like like a pot of soup, pulling sparklies in from every whichaway. He is quite thorough, I want immediate results and have a tendency to get bored and move on. We are good for each other.

It’s not always been easy, but it’s always been the two of us together, and that sure helps. I am not the same woman I was forty years ago, and he is not the same man who mixed me that Tom Collins. But laughter, space in our togetherness, listening, and holding hands continue to define our way of loving each other.

As he says, I’m the best he could do with the car he was driving at the time. And as I say, he’s the best I could do with the boobs I had at the time. Here’s to at least another forty, Andy.

Clink.

Cheers.

JeanneAndy1980sRes

133

We work hand-in-hand. Nancy draws:

5 133 1 erased

Then I stitch:

133

When You Come to Love
by Ann Fisher-Wirth

When you come to love,
bring all you have.

Bring the milk in the jug,
the checked cloth on the table—
the conch that sang the sea
when you were small,
and your moonstone rings,
your dream of wolves,
your woven bracelets.

For the key to love is in the fire’s nest,
and the riddle of love is the hawk’s dropped feather.

Bring every bowl and ewer,
every cup and chalice, jar,
for love will fill them all-

And, dazzled with the day,
fold the sunlight in your sheets,
fold the smell of salt and leaves,
of summer, sweat, and roses,
to shake them out when you need them most,

For love is strong as death.

Tickled to be here today. Thank you, Ashley.

~~~~~~~~~

She is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning.

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