True’s bed is now a tent in the living room. It’s been there for about a month. I drag her out of her sanctuary at 6:10AM on weekdays to drop Tadg at his shuttle for school. She rides on my back to the truck, one part queen, one part wet noodle. She sleeps during drop off, then gets another lift back to her tent for a second sleep before she has to think about getting ready for school. Somehow the second sleep always seems deeper by the sound of her breath. It’s the sleep of someone comforted by a trust that nourishes her at the core.
After dropping her at school I might rest for a few minutes before beginning work. That second sleep always feels deeper, meatier to me as well. The first load of wood has been carried and stacked for the day, time for a rest.
I’ve been reading all my old blog posts from when Terry was sick, and the aftermath as well. It’s so strange how this is the time for returning to them. It wouldn’t have been right even a day earlier, but I’m ready to remember those feelings now. This three year anniversary of her passing has felt like the final heavy steps to a place of rest after a long hard journey. You know sanctuary is there, right in front of you, and the long stretch of hard road is behind you. There is sadness but peace as well.
I was surprised to read that there were high points. I’d forgotten how her first trip to the clinic in Mexico had raised her spirits and alleviated many symptoms. There was joy in our home from time to time. Family surrounded us. It wasn’t all a hellish slog, only most of it.
Back then the kids still had their dragonfly wings, they needed to be held just so.
I can feel the tenderness of the kids in each passage. They were so much a part of everything, floating between their magical world and Mommas struggle. I remembered the weeks apart from her with the kids hanging on every call, aching for her to come home, and Terry’s tears at hearing their voices. That dance infused our days.
Tadg has outgrown that stage of his life, this year he entered fully into the teenage stage of “you’re too old to spend time with and you’re to young too talk to.” Covid intensified his feelings, thankfully that has all eased as summer approaches. He has his pack of friends and he’s ready to paint an epic summer with them. Now when he talks to me his sweet joy can still be heard even as his boys voice deepens to a mans voice.
He no longer calls me Daddy, now its Dad. I didn’t expect that to feel so comforting.
Two people from the time of Terry’s illness died recently. Erin Jessica’s cancer finally took her, after she danced away from it for five years at the clinic where she met Terry. Dougie Stardust, who held Truly so much and cobbed with Terry all those months passed from cancer as well. They live in me as part of Lavender Hill, that magical place and time that Terry and I brought into being. They are citizens in my private Brigadoon, a timeless place to return to in dreams.
From a post Delicate shortly after Terry’s death
We’re not ready to move on,
we’re ready to move in,
The cauldron of our family
will remake us again,
not seperate from Momma,
but with her on the Other Side.
She visits as the clip-buzzing of dragonflies,
in the heft of the Great Herons wings that visited us
three times on her memorial weekend,
and as the drunken honeysuckle
that suddenly smothers us,
when we water the garden.
I still reach out to Terry for help and inspiration from time to time. Our years together are more and more available to me as comfort food. That Christmas was so good, and the time she wore that wreath and we spent the day at the beach. Thankfully I can feel it as the past, a reference point to visit but not a place to live.
My body is returning to its old strength. My slow steady progress has paid off, removing wine from the dinner table helped me turn the corner. I did share a split of champagne with Terry on her birthday, it was always her favorite drink. Besides, champagne doesn’t count as anything other than magic, so no loss there.
I’m able to think more about the future more. I may return to some kind of teaching late in 2021. I’m close to completing a costume to honor a spirit I’ve been working with for intensively for the last few months. Moving outside by the rivers here feels more promising than ever. I am able to drift easily into the flowering of spring. The vitality of life is still my companion.
In some weird way I feel like quarantine has helped in this process, pressing hard on us to come together in our family of three, release the past but savour the bond its given us. Sort of like being stuck in stalemate after a traumatic battle. Wounds have time to heal, we learn to live with what we have to live with. Now its time to let go and move on.
I’m actually excited to see what the next few years are like for our little family.
Blessings to you and yours during this time of great change.