Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jimmy Time

I could write a book about the last month, but I won't. I will tell you it's been the best month in some time, for several reasons.

Kathryn and Will spent two weeks at remote camps, and both had amazing experiences. Kathryn made many new friends, and immersed herself in mostly new activities like horseback riding, swimming, canoeing and guitar. Will loved camp, too. He likes fishing now, just like his dad! They will take these memories with them forever. I'm so happy for them.

Their time away allowed me to reclaim some of my identity, as I told my friend Warren. After five years of dealing with the impact of cancer, care-giving and gradual recovery, I realized I had some catching up to do. I embarked on a trail run, a four-hour bike ride, and ate out by myself several times. My sister Anne and mother sent me the nicest Father's Day cards, with the former telling me to enjoy some "Jimmy time." And that I did. I cooked, went to hear music, stayed out late one night, and just laughed more.

Before I picked up the kids Monday morning, I spent two days at Charit Creek, a remote, rustic lodge in the Big South Fork, to chill and hike with friends. I didn't hear an unnatural sound for two days! On the way to Hidden Passage Trail in Pickett State Forest, we surprised a healthy black bear, who bolted into the woods. We saw turkey, box turtles, snakes, lizards and other critters. At night, we heard a proud whipporwhill, wild boar and other animals outside our cabins. We gazed at the stars in the middle of nowhere. So wonderful.

I am reclaiming a social life, bit by bit. I am meeting and spending time with old friends and wonderful new people.

June wasn't easy, especially earlier this month, but it was a blessing in so many ways.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


And I see losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you're blown apart
Everybody feels the wind blow

Paul Simon, Graceland

During a six-mile run yesterday afternoon, that classic song popped up in my iPod. When those words were sung, my heart raced faster than the 140 beats per minute they were producing. Is this how people see me now? Probably, because sometimes it's how I feel, when I really miss her. Sometimes I don't feel this way, as if she's nudging me on, encouraging me not to become a bitter, desolate shell of myself.

A few days ago, it stormed, much like my week was a storm. At dinner time, the weather cleared and I took Pepper for a short walk. Through the trees, I caught a glimpse of an unbelievable rainbow that would stop your heart. I wondered if it was a full rainbow, so I walked to a clearing. It was perfect, a brilliant half ring.

I'm blogging today because I know what's coming. One year ago this Thursday, I lost my wife to cancer. The children lost their mother. My sister-in-law lost her sisterly soulmate. Many wonderful people lost their best friend.

I seem to find some meaning at every church service. Sometimes, like this morning, it's like taking an ice-cold shower. The opening hymn was "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty," the gathering hymn I chose for Dori's funeral. When I sang the words "merciful and mighty," it shook me to the core. My faith has been rocked, no question. I'm hanging in there. I do not harbor ill will at God. Thy will be done, just like Dori told me and the kids. My time is coming. So is yours, and so is everyone else's. I have to accept that June 7, 2011, was Dori's time to meet the Father. Still not easy.

I watch my children, at church and elsewhere, struggling with their own faith. They are dealing with much more than me, I think, because they've had less time for growth of their faith. It is rotten that some children learn at an early age that life is terribly unfair. They also have it easier than me, in a way. They have their whole lives in front of them, Lord willing, to find some of the answers that are eluding them today. I pray they seek comfort and knowledge in their mother's wisdom, which they will find in the book she penned before she died. It is a gift from God, Miracle Grow for their souls.

Paul Simon ends Graceland with hope, that redemption will be forthcoming.

Maybe I've a reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland

Dori found hers in the loving arms of her God.