Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gratitude 11/13/07

I noticed the sad smiles of the nurses and the way they left us finally alone with him; the discarded socks; the empty lobby; the absence of any doctors.

I heard the silence of the useless machines; Sinatra singing about easy street; sirens wailing somewhere off in the darkness; the phone ringing too early, my brother apologizing for the hour, but "Come" he said; the rush of hot water on my heavy head.

I admired his grace and final acceptance; making it easy for us, for me, by not coming home to die; his concern always for someone else, someone worse off than he.

I was astonished by the snow in mid-November; by my brothers surprised faces that I should take my time in getting there; astonished that our last real talking had been about that damned car just a week earlier; that we would end this day scrutinizing his tuxedo and its cigarette burns.

I'd like to see that sunrise again, over the ocean, with the snow falling outside the window; him at the coffee pot or brooding over his computer; that light he kept in his eyes for me; his feet stamping and anger that used to frighten me so.

Most tender was Brian holding his hand and our laughter with the funeral director that afternoon writing his obituary; my friend Cathy standing off in the back, uncomfortable.

His quiet sleep was most wonderful, most deserved; seeing the men from his lodge that came out for him, so many that do this as routine; an end to the pills and eating cardboard; an end to the slow deterioration and loss of him.

I thought it was another setback, not the end. Really, I should have seen what was happening; his tears the day he left here; his fear at being alone in the world; his confusion of my life with another's; his quietness; his surrender.

Mary Oliver fans probably recognize the format of her poem, "Gratitude", borrowed here without any poetry. I had wanted to write something for my dad yesterday and couldn't, but this poem helped me today to examine my memories of the day he died. Last year I had a little more fun remembering.


Ruth said...

Beautiful written, tender memories of a difficult time.

Susan Gets Native said...

When the 3rd anniversary of my Dad's death came along last month, I couldn't write about it. I remember him at odd moments during "ordinary" days.
Thinking of ya today, Laura.

Dave said...

Very moving. Thanks. I hope not to go through this for many more years.

bunnygirl said...

A lovely and thoughtful post about how strands of the mundane weave through grief, reducing to a scale that we can manage, even as we wonder why we should want to.

Liza Lee Miller said...

Lovely way to remember.

dguzman said...

A nice tribute, friend. I hope I don't have to go through it any time soon, but each year it gets closer and I get more afraid. That's when I call him.

KGMom said...

Ah--Laura--I remember last year's post on your dad.
This is very poignant. One expects missing that parent to get easier--it doesn't always.

Dan Trabue said...

Wow. How tender and lovely.

NatureWoman said...

Wow, how touching, and how close to home it hits, Laura. I'm thinking about you.

Jean said...

Beautiful post,Laura. You are in my thoughts.

LauraHinNJ said...

Ruth: Thanks.

Susan: Thanks for that. You should write it out.

Dave: Thanks for saying so and I hope not either.

Bunnygirl: Exactly! Focusing on the mundane and just images helped me to remember some interesting things that would've been lost otherwise.

Liza: Thanks, though I don't know just how lovely it is.

Delia: Yeah - do call!

KGMom: I think it is easier for me, in that I like to remember now.

Dan: Hi and thanks for stopping by to comment.

Naturewoman: I know. Hope you're hanging in there.

Jean: Thanks for that.

z-silverlight said...

I know how it is.

Mary said...

Laura, thank you for sharing these beautiful words. My, how my emotions are high now.


LauraHinNJ said...

z: Yeah, I know you do.

Mary: Thanks for the hugs.