Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Chance Encounters of the Sacred Kind

I've started back to doing Morning Pages again. If you don't know about Morning Pages, it's a practice from Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way. Basically, you get up and write three handwritten pages every. single. morning. You just write whatever is in your head, going in a stream of consciousness style (which isn't hard for me to do). You keep your hand moving and if you can't think of what to write, you write "I can't think of what to write." It's supposed to clear your head of all the piddling things that run through it (and make room for creativity to flourish). Or something like that. Anyway, that's become part of my morning routine.

I've been thinking I'd also like to develop a meaningful evening routine, something I'd do, creatively speaking, that would be non-negotiable. I'd thought maybe I'd write a little short story about something that happened that day, or something I've noticed, in a journal. As it so happens, I have a story for tonight...

Maggie was out somewhere and ran into Brian, the guy who owned the skating rink that my kids and their friends all frequented when they were younger. They made their small talk and he asked her how Tyler was doing. She had to tell him that he had died 5 years ago. It was awkward and sad. They talked a bit about the memories. Brian went on to tell her how he always called her brother Bobcat. We all knew this, but we never really knew why he got that nickname. Today Brian told her. It was because of the way he pounced on the puck when he played roller hockey.

Quoted below is a piece of a poem by Rumi. The smell of Tyler has long been gone from his shirts. Sometimes, if I try real hard, I can remember how he smelled. Oddly enough, I was thinking sometime today of how I'd like to be able to hug him again, really just to sit and talk with him a bit. Things like the encounter Maggie had today can be sad. We are made aware again of our loss, an awareness that never really leaves us. Time doesn't heal that grief. But you can learn, through time, how to walk the changed landscape of your world. And these chance encounters where we have to deliver the news to someone who does not know can also bring joy. We have our family stories of Tyler, we talked about him on Mother's Day. My mom said, and I agree, that Tyler had an "old soul." Today we learned a new story about our Tyler. That makes me happy. It made Maggie happy. Other people's stories about the ones we grieve are a sweet gift. Today I can see Tyler pouncing on that puck.

Who gets up early to discover the moment light begins?
Who finds us here circling, bewildered, like atoms?
Who comes to a spring thirsty
and sees the moon reflected in it?
Who, like Jacob, blind with grief and age,
smells the shirt of his son and can see again?

But don't be satisfied with stories,
how things have gone with others.
Unfold your own myth,
without complicated explanation,
so everyone will understand the passage,
We have opened you. . . .

Today was our 42nd wedding anniversary. Burying a child is hard on a marriage. We've managed to walk together through our grief. I'm grateful for our continuing survival. 


  1. Grateful for this post. Beautifully written, friend.

  2. A counselor at grad school for the disabilities program told me I was one of the few people she knows of many hundreds or a thousand who is still married after becoming disabled after marriage. I think it's as bleak for loss of a child too. You and JC. It says something about your ability to keep from striking out and being open enough to bend. It's also a tribute to all of you that you sit around and talk of him every holiday or gathering. So many bury the names of their lost. Now you have a newly revived name to use - Bobcat. I love you. 😘

    1. Disabilities, the loss of a child, serious illnesses--all are tough on marriages.

      I'm grateful I have friends who don't mind hearing the stories. Thank you, love you.

  3. I love this whole post. I smiled at the new story. How sweet to add another layer. I cannot imagine how you did it....and still do it. Love you. We have opened you. I am carrying that today.

    1. Thanks, Mindy. I'm grateful. Love you.

    2. PS Your last two sentences made me a bit teary-eyed.

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  5. I can't think of what to write, so I will just say I love you and miss your face. You are an amazing woman.

    1. Thank you, girl! I love you and miss your face too. I've signed up for swimming lessons again, starting sometime in June, where I am going to miss you some more! I hope to make some progress on relaxing in the water! You're pretty amazing yourself!

  6. Don't know how I missed this earlier. I'm so proud to count you as a friend and I think JC must be pretty cool by association. :)


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