When Anne Morrow Lindbergh's older sister Elisabeth died young, Anne wrote: A long long week, so strange and unreal and artificial now, and suddenly dropped into the past. A week of false hopes and false dreams: all kinds of plans and schemes that now seem irrelevant—because Elisabeth died.
Last week was our long long week because Dale died.
And now we are moving on. Life goes on, a fact that my brother Dale understood as well as anyone. Even while he was busy dying, he was vitally interested in what we were all doing and remind us that those other things—the rest of life—were also important. Chemo sessions, laundry, the World Series--all the stuff of daily life keeps flowing no matter what the Big Event is.
I am writing this Tuesday night although I won't get it posted it until Wednesday evening. Earlier tonight I was reading Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest by Wade Davis. It is an excellent history and a good book for long chemo sessions. But I have set it aside to browse through The Tightwad Gazette III, the last of the Amy Dacyczyn collections.
Sometimes I just take comfort from reading about the frugal efforts of others, and tonight is one of those nights.
When I was in Oregon in September (was it only six weeks ago?), I came back with four pairs of new never-been-worn running shoes, all free. This was thanks to the kindness of a woman, now a friend, who I've known for almost 40 years--the last love (and one of the earliest loves) of my first husband, who died so suddenly a year and a half ago. Jennifer works for a small company that tests running shoes and she showered me with shoes. I at first felt silly with that many shoes, but I now smile realizing I will likely never have to buy sports shoes again. From a frugality standpoint, it's a win situation and my feet, racked by neuropathy as they are, appreciate the variety.
Monday I came home from work early, put on one of my pairs of shoes, and walked to a nearby park. The park runs along the Olentangy River, a childhood playground for me and my brothers. The sky was an impossible blue and the maples and other deciduous trees were aflame. I walked the mile loop slowly, reveling in the fall spectacle. I thought of my dead brother and the hours we spent at the river; I snapped a photo of the river and texted it to my youngest brother, to let him know where I was.
A walk is one of the best ways I know to pull together loose ends: mental, physical, emotional, chronological. This walk was no exception, which is good because I had a lot of loose ends. By the time I made it back home, I was drenched in autumn, and anchored once again by life moving on.