Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Grace and Gratitude

 Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in America.  It has always been my favorite holiday.  Before our parents died Rick and I celebrated Thanksgiving in a very traditional way, eating with family and usually helping his mom put up her Christmas decorations and then coming home to eat leftovers.

After our parents died, for a couple of years we served food at shelters.  We began to see that we had friends who had  no place to go  or anyone to be with, and we would hear nieces and nephews talk of people they knew who were in the same position.  I began to cook big Thanksgiving meals and we opened our doors to friends, co-workers and any family who wanted to come.  There was no judgment at the Watson house, race, sexual preference, religion, etc, none of that mattered.  We offered a table full of food and a house full of grace and gratitude.  There were usually so many here in this small cottage that there were people eating in every room but the bathroom.  Kids played in the field behind the house and adults walked the woods after stuffing themselves.  It seemed no one ever wanted to leave.

That's when I began to realize just how much I truly loved Thanksgiving.  For me it became a day to acknowledge and share,  a day of grace and gratitude.

Tomorrow will be the first time in my life that I have spent Thanksgiving alone.  I will cook myself a small meal and share the small turkey breast with the dogs.  I have been invited to eat with others, but Covid is rampant in our community.  This morning I can think of at least 15 people I know who are sick.

So I choose to sacrifice with the hope that next year we can gather with love, food and celebration.

It is still my favorite holiday, the one that I believe should be filled with grace and gratitude.  It is my first Thanksgiving without Rick and as my friend Christine so eloquently put it yesterday, this loss brings awareness of why the Victorians chose to wear black in that year of mourning.  

My prayer for this holiday tomorrow, is that we will all be here next year.  I will cook and open my doors with hopes that once again the house is filled with grace and gratitude and the table is filled with food.

May all of you experience kindness, health, grace and gratitude. For all of those like me, whose year has been one of loss, hang on, don't lose sight of that tiny stream of light/hope, you are not alone.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Golden Light

 Webster defines:

Alone - without any other person

Grief - intense emotional suffering caused by loss

Isolation - apart from others

These words are how I feel without Rick.  People check on me, I receive wonderful calls, texts, notes, gifts and they lift my spirits and I feel the love.  But,  and it is a big but, most of my time I am alone, with my grief and because of the raging of Covid 19, isolated.

Alone is how I drink my morning coffee.  It is how I eat my meals.   It is how I sleep.  It is how I walk around this farm and do my daily chores. Alone is my conversation with Rick's memory on our deck, sitting on our thinking bench, and often walking these woods.

I realize solitude has become my life.  It is a tragic gift, but one that pushes me.  It pushes me to renew my creativity, to maintain friendships and to show as much love and kindness as I possibly can. In many ways now I appreciate my life alone.  I cherish the memory of hugs and laughter with friends and family. I cherish the gigs we played, the places we visited, the friendships we made, the songs we created. 

The solitude has created an urgency in me to live my life to its fullest, even when I am alone. 

The dogs are getting use to my tears, to my conversations with Rick, even to my reading aloud to them. They understand my moods and have a strange, knowing respect for them.

I know there will come a time when Covid is not so menacing and solitude no longer cradles me. But the grief will always be a part of me, just like the love for Rick will be.

If you are alone, for whatever reason, reach out.  It's important to hear the sound of voices, to read words of encouragement and to know that others are living similar stories.

Today's picture is our thinking bench view bathed in golden light.  I beg of you today, be kind to yourself and others.  Wear your mask, wash your hands and live to see your own golden light.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020


 Time, I can remember a time when I refused to wear a watch, when I thought I had all the time in the world.  That was in the spring of my youth.  Now I am in the winter of my life and the way I think about time is different.

In the daily pounding of my grief, everyone keeps telling me time will make it better, time will heal. There was a time I believed that but not anymore.  I think the business of daily living helps you to focus on something other than your grief, but the pain of a heart ripped opened is just as intense today as it was four months ago.  I think that pain will be just as intense if I am alive four years from now.

My dad's parents lived a life that payed very little attention to time as we know it.  They went to bed when the sun went down, got up when it's first rays brightened their world.  They worked and sweated seven days a week.  Sundays gave them some respite but not always.  They were two of the happiest kindest people I have ever known. 

I wake up every morning and see the leaves of honey gold, burnt brown and sunset red swirling by my windows.  It doesn't really matter what day it is anymore, the dogs and the chickens don't care.  They do understand that daylight is shorter, the temps are cooler and the one who feeds feeds them cries.

I make lists in my day planner to remind me that life continues, bills to be paid, feed to be bought and calls to people I love.   Rick bought me that planner twenty five years ago for my birthday and for the second part of the present sent me to a "What Matters Most"  time management seminar.  I always told him it was the best gift he ever bought me.  In some ways it still is, but time and its "management" has changed definition.

Time for me now, the opportunity to let those in my life know how much they mean to me, to try to regain my creative energies and to let go of all that is no longer important.

Today I wish for the time that is left for any of us, that we spend it wisely.  Once it is spent, you never get it back.  So please don't wast it on hate and anger and bitterness.