Ever read those “My Guardian Angel” stories in magazines? The ones where someone asks for a sign from a departed loved one and lo and behold they start finding shiny dimes everywhere, birds serenade their every move and butterflies flit about their heads in weird synchronized formation? Have you ever asked for a sign? Or thought you had gotten an unsolicited one? I can remember seeing a huge black and white butterfly the day Comet passed. I had never seen one quite like it before or since. I’m sure it was a weird coincidence though, because if he was able to come back it would mostly likely be something a little more chaotic than a butterfly. Probably a chupacabra or something.
I was sitting on the deck yesterday thinking about my husband and sister and other family members who passed in the summer. I looked at the butterfly bush we planted as a memorial and said out loud “where is my damn sign?” and then went back to my book. A little later I was scouting around the house and deck looking for my little indoor cat who had decided to make a break for it when I let the dog out. I passed a large honeysuckle bush below my living room window and noticed a wind chime was missing. I have a lot of them in the trees around the house but I had just bought this one and hung it where I would see it every day. It had a wine cork, silver feather and some plastic yellow bead for weight. I liked having it close to the window because it had nice tone.. not too loud. I looked everywhere and started to feel a little put out that someone would take it, then a little nervous. I don’t exactly live on the street and this was pretty close to my back door. I even looked in all the other trees where I might hang wind chimes just in case I had taken up sleep walking and nocturnal redecorating. It was nowhere. This morning when I went out to get my morning paper I did another scan. Nothing. When I was passing by a lilac bush on the way back to the house it. was. right. there. Hanging in plain sight, over a large planter I had watered the night before. It was hanging from a branch just out of my reach. I can see it from several vantage points, both inside and out. It would be hard to miss. So why couldn’t I see it yesterday and how did it get there? Oh, and the yellow bead? It’s a butterfly. I had never noticed.
Every time things settle down there is always that one person who has to reintroduce chaos and unease into the mix and just on cue, this week of all weeks, it’s looking like another shit storm on the horizon. I am feeling unsettled and unnerved. Maybe I moved the damned wind chime and can’t remember, or the guy mowing the lawn got tired of hitting his head. Or maybe it is a sign that I’m not alone in this.
Either way, it made me laugh out loud there in my driveway at 7:30 a.m. in my nightgown with a windbreaker over it and a serious case of bed head. Like the neighbors don’t already wonder…..
June 1st would have been my 33rd wedding anniversary and June 6 was the 5 year anniversary of his death. 5 years. It doesn’t seem possible. It’s a blink and a lifetime. In 5 years I have found new employment, made new friendships and rediscovered old friends. I have had to take on a bigger role in family members’ care – took a crash course or two to that end. Have proudly watched both of my daughters buy their first homes – completely on their own. We recently visited my nephew in London where he is following his dreams and making his mama proud.
I am slowly building a life of my own and no longer feeling guilt for enjoying it. I’m getting closer to making a decision about my home. I trust that when the time is right the decision will make itself.
Last year I had to say goodbye to the world’s worse dog and I miss him terribly. He lived almost three years to the day from the time I wrote about his cancer. Comet And it was a good three years.
Speaking of cancer and anniversaries, I am still cancer free and only have to see the oncologist once a year. Still on medication for another ?8 years and probably longer since they keep moving the goal posts. My diagnosis was 6 years ago and end of (the tough) treatment 5 years. There’s that number again. I’d play the lottery but I used up all my luck in high school.
Whenever I’m absent from the blog for any length of time I feel guilty for not keeping up with all of the wonderful bloggers I follow. I’m going to sign off for now and do some catching up. I hope I find you all well .
I am approaching the dreaded block of time in June and July that drives home all I have lost. June 1st would have been our 31st wedding anniversary, June 6 is the 3rd anniversary of his death and July 10th the 4th anniversary of my sister’s death. My “cancerversary” is not until November when I will be 5 years cancer free. My doctors tell me the clock actually started ticking after I finished treatment and I don’t get the official “cured” for some time yet. I believe that I was cancer free when I left the OR. All the rest was just insurance. That’s my story, anyway, and I’m sticking to it.
This year has brought more losses, not through death, but in some ways more painful and certainly personal. It’s also brought some amazing and positive changes. I have a new career working with the homeless community, helping them to achieve permanent, stable housing. It is the most frustrating and rewarding work I have ever done and I love every minute of it. I still have my business, volunteer work, family and good friends to keep me busy and grounded, not to mention my animals. Comet has survived two bouts of cancer and will be 14 soon. He has a new pep in his step. Clover is nearly 10 and lame with bad hips. She struggles to walk but is content laying in a sunny spot or just hanging with me. Sage, my stolen rescue kitty is still entertaining and loving.
I am approaching my formerly referred to “helliversary” with a lighter heart than I have the past few years. I have set those who have passed, and those who have chosen to remove themselves from my life, free with love and gratitude.
I am also grateful for my readership who has seen me through cancer, highs and lows, loss and more loss and appreciated my cynical and often irreverent view on it all. Seeing the humor in things is much easier and a lot less messy than opening a vein and blogging about it all is certainly a lot cheaper than therapy.
And “you” know who you are. I’ve known you since I was 18, my husband since he was 5. You were in my wedding. We have many friends in common. When my husband died I heard nothing from you. Nada. Nor did his children, the oldest, btw, who you knew since birth. You were still stinging, apparently, from a class reunion during which he mentioned your high school nickname. A nickname that everyone knew. He may have gone overboard with a riff worthy of Robin Williams – may he rest in peace – (and believe me, he heard about it when we got home), but you and I both know he didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He was mortified that you were hurt and tried over and over to make amends. You, on the other hand, have always been on the spiteful side. As anyone who has ever worked for or dated you can attest.
A few months ago I was helping my good friend with her catering business and I happened to work the Chamber luncheon. You walked in, took one look at me, and walked away. I was the invisible help. Whatever.
Tonight you tried to ignore me again and it worked until you were on your way past us a second time and my mom spoke up. You couldn’t ignore her. Then, you looked me in the face, feigned surprise and said “oh yeah. Sue”. Really? wtf was that? oh yeah? STILL not a mention of my loss, no inquiry of the children, my mother in law? me? You did see fit to share that you are “happy” and “actually had a good round of golf today”, to which I did not reply “fuck you”. So. I am the better man.