Do You Believe? Life after Death

image001Do You Believe?

Death.  The final exit?  A gateway to a different existence?   Heaven/hell?  Choices.  How do we come to our beliefs?

  A STORY

A tragic accident.  A couple in their prime of life caught in a traffic jam, waiting.  A large truck slams into their car driving them into a truck ahead which rebounds backwards. Their car crushed from front and rear.  Instant death.  A young son recently married, future grandchildren unborn.  Fate?  We mourn.

Our relationship was not perfect.  Disagreements, times of avoidance yet there was this energy between us.  She was young enough to be my daughter, was a dynamo of energy raising funds for needy children, veterans, planning parties, cooking dinners, learning Bridge.  A world traveler from the jungles of Guatemala, France on a bike, cross country skiing in the Alps.  Made friends around the world.

He was a man of the world, An advertising giant.  A sportsman in golf, tennis…you name it.  Handsome, of course, joined her in matrimony and helped her raise a young boy from a previous union.  He retired early, became a child’s advocate and joined her on the Board of the Children’s’ Academy.  Dead?  Can’t be.

Here, and then gone.  Their friends gather.  We all look around expecting to see them in their varied activities.

“I need a sign!”  Her close friend cries, “To know you are OK.  Feathers!” We both collected feathers she explained. “It’s gotta be big for me to believe!”  The days went by.  A trip on their boat away from the happening.

“You won’t believe.”  Her awe still a whisper in disbelief.   “We docked, climbed down from the deck walking through a park area.  I stopped, caught my breath, disbelieving.  There in a large circle were feathers…lots and lots of feathers all stuck into the ground.  My husband couldn’t believe it either.”

Pink SpoonbillAnother friend.  “I’ve been looking for a pink feather from our native Spoonbills.  After two years, no luck.  Today, I found two beautiful pink feathers.”

My particular sharing with this friend was heart-shaped stones.  I would find them along the river bed or digging in the garden and would put them aside awaiting my return to our southern community to give them to her.

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It was the day of her community memorial service.  A busy day, no time to take my usual stroll along the boardwalk into the community salt flats.  I hurried along the boulevard and the next thing I knew I had turned onto the boardwalk.  It was early morning, the sun filtering through the pines.  My heart slowed taking in the leaves glistening with due, the mangrove roots poking their way through the mud and then I stopped, breath paused in disbelief.  There, caught in a spider web were several long needles from the pines above…their design? A perfect heart lit by a slanting sun ray, the web heart swaying gently in the breeze.  I believe.

 

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Life Interrupted

Were they laughing and talking?
Planning or arguing
When death snatched them from this world?

Denial echoes within me.
No! No! It cannot be.  A mistake.  We
Can not accept this deed of fate.                                                                                                                                                                This young couple gone?  Wrong!  Wrong?

Too young.  Too young, so much to do.
Children from the Academy, her shadow fading.
His brother breathing deep.  Disbelief…Life?

Don’t go!  Don’t go! I cry.
We have fences to mend, words to deny,
Hugs to be given, but…why?  Why?

Pickled beets on my shelf
Cards  unshuffled on the table.
I’ve heard Death is our shadow
The moment we’re born.

Fate is a hunter, we pause, we mourn
But give thanks for our very brief
Moment in time
When our love entwined.
Divine?
 

 

 

Thanksgiving “Family Affair”

]                                                              SUNRISE

HAPPY  THANKSGIVING  TO MY AWESOME GRANDCHILDREN

It is a beautiful world we live in.  When I get “dumpy” I take a deep breath and look around.  My favorite is the green of spring, the warmth of the summer, the color of leaves in the fall, winter snow, the noise of the world hushed, holding its breath anticipating the first tracks of life across the unbroken perfect covering of white hiding all the imperfections we create.

I think of family and know that I am blessed even tho we have snarly relationships at times.  Communication seems to be the flaw in creation or perhaps it offers  the challenge of looking within ourselves, and learning to build the bridges to understanding.

Forgiveness” is a gift we give ourselves, yet forgiving ourselves seems to be the most difficult.  Accepting our own imperfections and knowing that we are all doing the best we can removes much of the pain from our lives yet ,”EXPECTATIONS”  our own and those around us, become our tools of torture.

Perhaps,“These are the times that try men’s souls,” uttered by Thomas Paine politically, in a more subtle way,  describes every generation of parent and child. You  will face many of the same challenges as those who came before you.  We all experience the desire for love, acceptance, success in our endeavors.  Along with our blessings  you will experience  some failures, loneliness, and rejection.  Although, seemingly, your wold is different, man’s basic desires remain the same.

Parents struggle to protect their children from the pain of life’s gauntlet but it is that very pain that strengthens them.  Even physical pain should be recognized as a blessing for it is our warning signal that something is wrong and should be addressed, not dulled with drugs that allows us to ignore it. Emotional pain sends its signals through depression and tears. Escaping into the artificial world of drugs which leads to the horrors of addiction becomes hell on earth.

Know and believe that you are loved. That the good Lord’s blessing flow abundantly awaiting your partaking in the feast of life.

Love Always,      Grandma

 

Being a grandparent certainly offers its challenges.  Each of us approach this role in a different manner.  In the beginning we are often needed to baby sit and we think we will use the opportunity to change our mode of “parenting” promising ourselves that we have a second chance to correct some “errors” we made the first time around.  That ain’t easy!  We see disapproval in our children’s eyes when we apply the same disciplinary rules we used with them.  I’ve been told, “We don’t hurt feelings in this house…” which leaves me at a bit of a loss as to what exactly is my role here.

I envy the warm, fuzzy folks who can just “be there,”  hold the child in love and let go of any ideas of  “training.”  But we don’t change, we are who we are.  As the children grow and you dutifully attend their stage performances (if you are lucky enough to live close) or you don’t.  If you can accept the disapproving frowns of your children for words spoken and still enter wholeheartedly into the “grandparent” role, you are successful.

And  they grow– you find the grandchildren engaged in their activities,  your children busy with life’s demands and you fade onto the sidelines becoming shadowy figures on the stage of life.  To be expected, but it leaves a vague, uneasy feeling.  Calls become less frequent, visits, “obligatory” holiday sharing.  I remember my mother-in-law’s rather sharp words about this happening.  We shrugged it off then, but now,  with time, we begin to understand.  To understand does not necessarily change your feelings.  Expectations need to change.  I must learn to enjoy “observing,”  move off  center stage, offer advice only when it is asked,  and bow to the new role of gossamer support.  I can do that!!!

The Art of Potting

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      The Art of Potting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beautiful Pots

I have always equated gardening, to a “Poor Man’s Psychiatrist” and, when square, dirty nails come into vogue, I’m way ahead of my time.

POTS: It has taken me years to learn the value of plants in pots. It was my friend Bev who inspired me.  She created works of art seemingly so easily, placed them invitingly by her front door, or on her deck or near her small pond.  They were like original paintings giving her landscape an artist touch.

I could do that I thought.  You just buy some pots, pick out some plants and…well.  Work of arts they were not.  My first attempts looked more like the weed patch out back.  Tall, wimpy plants that stopped blooming, lopped over the edges like limp noodles with a wild mixture of colors that looked like my children’s first splattered paintings.  Finally I broke down, admitted to Bev that I coveted her pots and would she teach me.  And she did.

 

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Things of importance:

  1. Drainage          Holes in the bottom of the pot or a layer of stones/shells.
  2.  Soil                     If the pot is large, I use some regular garden soil topped with potting soil or an “insert” pot.
  3. Light                  Light exposure is prime.  Full sun, part sun/shade to full shade.
  4. Plants                Texture, color, plant habit ( height, mounding, trailing) maintenance.

I am a lazy gardener and chose plants that thrive on their own with little trimming. I like to keep watering and fertilizing to a minimum.  Watering is dependent on temperature and natural moisture.  I find rains, even rather hard rains, are not enough to keep the soil moist.  Fertilizing approximately every two to three weeks is sufficient.

Over the years my pots have evolved into my own style of art.  Some years they are more spectacular than others.  I have learned to take pictures and always vow to document my selections which I never do.  Hence, each year has an element of surprise.

My first thoughts regarding “pots” were that they would be more work.  Perhaps, but an early morning watering gives me a quiet time when the silence of the night is being fluffed off with birds and breezes.   Another benefit is the mobility of your garden.  If the lighting is not quite right, move the pot.  If a friend is having a wedding or a party, lend her your pots (only on the condition that she is the “mover”.)

My personal selections of plants lean toward the “never-die”, little-care specimens.  Asparagus fern, Spikes, Dusty Miller, sweet potato plant (green-burgundy) these are great moisture gauges along with New Guinea Impatiens,    often referred to as the “resurrection” plant because it can become totally wilted, pour on water and it returns to life. I always add  Bacopa (pink/white), geraniums (all colors) variegated Vinca vine for trailing purposes.  Petunias are nice, but require “dead heading” (plucking off) spent blossoms.  There are the trailing petunias and miniature specimens that are more care-free.  Colors?  Do your thing.  If you are structured you will find varied plants of the same color to satisfy your pallet.  If you like the wild and wonderful look, go for it.  I try to vary the height of my choices with upright and mounding species mixed with some trailing varieties.

Why not just plant in the ground?  I do that also, but for some reason the pots always turn out more spectacular.
Start with one or two…who knows, you might like it.

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