Monday, June 15, 2009

Basil Fingers

It's been awhile since I've posted, so this will be a bit of a mish mash because I have a little to say on a few topics.

The container garden is growing. I just picked basil and we are having it with our tomato and mozzo, called a caprese salad, I believe. It's very tasty. Yesterday, the first cucumber got picked and eaten, and it was sooo good. Tonight I cut some suckers from the tomato plants in hopes that they'll bloom more tomatoes. Right now, I have two: one marble sized, one golf sized, and one that I don't consider a tomato just yet because it's still mainly a flower.

Over the weekend, Wiley and I went to Louisville, where we met up with family and went to Churchill Downs. We won two races - right before we left. It's amazing. For only $2 and some odd change, you can bet on a horse. Or a box. And you can do this all day long. It was really fun!!! We also went to the casino, where we lost our winnings on roulette and a slot machine. I don't like the $10 minimum bet tables - you lose too much too quickly, and it's no fun. My strategy is to stand next to Wiley and tell him red or black. We found the $2.50 electronic version of roulette, where we did much better, but in the end, we still lost.

And speaking of losses, a very close friend of mine lost someone very important to her (most of you will know who I'm talking about, but that's all I'll divulge). I've been trying to be there mentally for her due to the fact that I'm so far away, but the truth is, we all grieve differently. My mother was taken from me very quickly without warning; my friend's loss was something that was foreseen awhile ago, but that doesn't make it any less painful. And the fact is, while I am empathetic, I don't know how she's feeling. So I tell her how I felt when I had to deal with this and ask if it's somewhat similar. The first year after my mom died, I felt electric, like everything was in technicolor. She passed away in February of 1994, and the cold Iowa winter was just brutal. Nothing but grey and cold. I don't remember the weather clearing up for quite some time. But I remember one day driving down Main Street and stopping for a minute to look at the sky in the spring. It was the clearest, bluesky sky I'd ever seen, and I thought with a bittersweet smile, This is the first clear day of sunshine without my mother. And that's how it went the entire first year. First prom without Mom. She'll never get to hear about my dates or fights with the steady. First spring without Mom. This is the first year that Mom won't be able to plant a garden. First concert without Mom. She's not here to hear me practice. No more swimming and laughing at Mom when she gingerly sticks a foot in the pool and decides I'm nuts for going in at 78 degrees. (Now I get it, Mom; it's too damn cold!) No senior pictures to be taken in the summer where Mom gets to say, "I like that one best" or "Your smile was too fake in that one". First fall without Mom. No funny little paper pumpkin decoration that you paperclipped together and stuck on a table. I called that period the Year of Firsts, and every time I thought about going through something without my mom in this world, it was a shock to my soul.

So for my friend who is reeling without her rudder to steady her, the only advice I can offer is that time does heal. You never really get over the grief; you make room for it in your life, and eventually, you notice that the grief gets smaller and smaller, though it will never go away completely, and it may be that 10 years down the road, you'll remember something in the middle of the grocery store that makes you start crying buckets right then and there, while people look at you like you're crazy (and not just because you have 21 items in the express lane). I was very raw for quite some time, though I held it together, missing just a week of school but still going to orchestra rehearsal everyday because that's what you do: you go on. You already know your life is changed. You can't go back to the Life Before. But that's ok because that's what happens, and is supposed to happen. Right now is just about getting through the logistics, and when you're home, it will sink in even more. And that, my friend, is when you call me and cry your little heart out because that's what I'm here for. And I'll cry right along with you because it's really hard, and though I don't know exactly what you're going through, loss, plain and simple, really, really hurts.