The Three Sisters, Oregon
I’m lucky to have many decades-long relationships with women from Michigan to California. Wishing you many sisters-of-choice – soul-sisters – those you share your heart-felt intimacies with. Relationships sustained with a seemingly endless supply of love and support.
Grief and Grace
So much is changing in my later 60’s,
Thankfully, not a heart attack, nor a stroke.
My body has simply revved-up
the once glacial pace of dying.
Dawned over decades,
Broke through denial
That it would ever happen
Until I looked in the mirror
one morning and saw
Mom’s eyes as she aged.
A steady drip of endings,
An increasingly perceptible chiseling away,
Living into diminishing returns,
One day a measure for the next.
The step-stopping pain
in a small toe
starts the morning after
A massage ritual required
to overcome little piggy’s reluctance
to rejoin the foot in basic function.
Didn’t used to be that way.
I lost my waist.
Have you seen it?
Counting steps, side-bends,
fasting intervals …
Apparently, that waist
belonged to a younger woman.
And she kept it.
In the rear-view mirror.
What did you say? Seems noisy in here.
Did you know …
There’s a magnifying app
on your phone
to help with menus and price tags?
I need a search engine to find a noun.
Keep brain health supplements
out on the counter –
so I won’t forget to take them.
Start the list,
Repeating to myself.
Check, double-check: Shoot!
I remembered everything but the spinach.
What’s happening to me?
Don’t bother with those palpitations
at the end of a hill climb.
Stop the coffee.
Eat more beets.
Push to strengthen
those guaranteed-to-last titanium hips
picked up from the orthopedic surgeon
At least that pain’s gone.
of seamlessly multi-tasking,
Raising children, running a business,
Job completed. Kids now thriving adults.
Fear I’m more tired than I should be.
wondering into a room
only to ask myself,
“What did I come in here for?”
Keeps me guessing.
Lots of unexpected moments.
A little comical, a smidge uneasy.
my new best friend,
comes with a world that is
spinning around, so much faster.
Or perhaps I’m just slowing down.
Prepared as I can muster
I’m likely to go tumbling off
Grief and Grace
attend most support group meetings
of friends my age.
Laughter may arrive late, but always comes.
We carefully float out signs
of our most recent visits from Loss.
They land in a knowing silence.
We reassure each other.
We’ve grown far too familiar
with stories of cancer, Alzheimer’s,
brittle bones and broken hearts.
A parent’s passing, a child’s relapse.
We joke about our rocking chairs
waiting on some old-person’s porch somewhere.
And the best fitting diapers,
how to reclaim fading eyebrows.
The fact that we’re “not alone”
is the best we’ve got to offer.
But it’s not helpful in the night
when rats scrounge through memories.
Each of us feels terribly alone, at times,
in the evening of life’s wind down.
Thankful for Grief and Grace.
There are new dance steps
we learn with each other.
Like chair yoga – less stretch, more gentleness,
tailored for this time, this body.
While dabbling with retirement
you write your first children’s book
you start golfing more, playing tennis again.
I’m off searching for words.
Until our next weekend visit
my sisters, my friends –
witnesses to so much loss,
midwives to our unexpected beginnings.
This story is all too familiar to me!
TY for reading, Susan. Yes, familiar changes… and still so many opportunities undiscovered!!!