Friday, January 28, 2011

Making Room

We're having unseasonably warm and beautiful weather in Parker this week. The temperature has been north of 60 the past two days, with clear blue skies sporting some of those wispy clouds that remind me more of April than January [Note: updated forecast is for a high of minus 3 degrees on Tuesday, 1 Feb!]. The sunrises have been breathtaking, but have been totally outdone by the heart-stopping sunsets. The views of the snow-capped Rockies against this beautiful it brings tears to my eyes. It's the kind of weather that gets me outside and moving forward again, even if it is only to walk the dogs.

Today I did some cleaning in the garage. Josh has been working on our big bad blue Bronco, and it was time to make some room to safely walk through to the freezer! While I was out there, I was finally able to gird my loins and load up some of the medical equipment left from caring for Bill. Felix, Bill's prosthesis which we named after Felix Ungar since Bill was like Oscar Madison of The Odd Couple, went to a  company (Hanger Orthopedics) that sends teams to Haiti to fit victims of the earthquake with prosthetics. I know Bill would have been happy to see it go to such a good cause. Bill would have been happy just to see it go. His wheelchair and other adaptive equipment went to Goodwill Industries.

We have more space in the garage as a result, but it was strangely hard to let go of these things. I found myself tearing up as I handed Felix over. These were objects that had held and supported Bill; now they will hold and support someone else. I know in my heart that moving these things out was a positive thing to do, but still feel the loss as if they weren't just things. They were as much a part of our daily life as was the bed we shared. As much as I had cursed that wheelchair and the bruises it gave me, I so miss seeing him in it that I somehow didn't want to let it go -- as if keeping it around could keep him around a little longer.

How much of the stuff in our lives is there to fill the void of people and events that are long gone? How much of it, like Bill's wheelchair, is taking up space that would be a welcome spot for the people and possibilities coming into our lives if we would only make room for them?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Poetry From Long Ago

I have been tearing the house apart looking for Bill's DD-214. It is making me crazy for a couple of reasons. First, I know it is here somewhere; it's not something you lose, because it is way too important. The other reason it is making me crazy is that I have to be looking for it at all. The VA is asking me to produce it; even though they have a complete file on Bill that is over 25 years old. So, I have sent a prayer up to Saint Tony (who always comes through for me) and given up the search for the night.

In the meantime, while looking for the 214, I came across a bundle of poetry I saved from decades ago when I still wrote poetry now and then. Here is one I wrote for Bill for our first Valentine's Day as a couple in 1982:

The Vase

Do you have any idea
How many years it's been
Since last I noticed that
Valentine's Day
was anything other than a day
for children to exchange paper hearts?
I would pass by card counters
and look the other way.
The heart-shaped boxes wrapped 
in pink and red cellophane
held no special appeal for me.
But, of course, you know this year
 is and has been
I looked through card after card;
And I realized that no other person
could write for me
the feeling I have
for you.
if I give you my love,
would you give me your heart
to put it in?

The following two, written in September 1981, have a familiar ring to it given my current situation:

Chewing Gum and Baling Wire

Do your life kiddo
that's the important thing
Do your life
because people depend on you
big people 
LITTLE people
 and if you don't do
your life
their lives
So paste the pieces
back together
Nobody is really interested
in pain stories
or pain poetry
for that matter.
So get on with it
and do your life.


"You know he's right," she said,
"we really should back up a bit.
After all, we're both adults here, 
and there really is no reason
why we can't handle our lives
in a
And then she drifted down the road
and sighed
and smiled
and went back to paying bills
writing letters
sorting papers --
doing all those things that
singularly responsible adults do --
it would never be the same
but not knowing 
what it
It's still not easy being a grown-up
sometimes it isn't much fun either.
When I was little
and got scared
and needed a hug,
there was always a big person
to push the monsters away.
I'm not supposed to believe 
in monsters anymore,
But there is something dark
and cold
outside my window now.
The kids are sleeping
the dog is sleeping
and you are home
being singularly responsible
and adult.
And this is 
than I thought it would be
Could I crawl into your lap
for a little while?
Just until the monsters go away?