Monday, December 31, 2012

Poeming: Asking a favor of grief.

Dewy Miley.

all I ask of grief is this

that when I lose my fragile hold

on missing you

and sadness overtakes

I would look a bit more like

a Hollywood starlet, glowing,

tragic and dewy

and less like me, snotting,

wrinkly and red

and that it would not come

to visit at inopportune times,

like when I’m preparing for

jle 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Poeming: Winter.

Poetry Prompt: For this week’s prompt, I was inspired by the recent HeatherBell interview: Take a true event (whether in your life or another’s) and fictionalize it. You can determine how far to take the fictionalization, but try to push the envelope a little and make people question how much is real and how is fake–and hopefully, have trouble leaving your poem even when they’re not reading it.
Because it seemed right that she should be sitting
on a shelf in Nebraska waiting for the Spring thaw
(ashes to ashes)
having been a hard woman from the beginning
having beaten me motionless with her words
(dust to dust)
I’ll admit to a smile stealing slowly across my face
because at the last, the frozen ground proved colder
(to ashes)
than her bitter words scrawled on the photo’s back,
my face X’ed out in red Sharpie, splitting my smiling lips
(to dust)
as a shard of her icy heart pierces mine.
(ashes, ashes, we all fall
jle 2012
Skimmer's recap: while "bitter" is a tempting place to go, it can take over your soul. Don't do it! "Grace" has better weather.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Good Grief observes the holidays.

I had read at one point in my grief research (yes, that is me, don't just HAVE it, read MORE about it!) where someone said that month 8 often saw a resurgence of grief for a loved one. So I kept a squiggy eye out for it around November, the beginning of the Season of Overeating.

Of course holidays carry their own special sting with the loss of a loved one, and Thanksgiving was no different. I charged cheerfully into the meal preparation, determined to enjoy the process and drag joy out of even the grocery shopping. Dammit, I'm gonna have me some JOY!

And I did. I talked to strangers in the grocery stores, one time offering a listening ear to a man with the "deer in the headlights" look mumbling to himself and whoever was nearby, "Can I defrost a turkey in a day? Should I just buy a fresh one?" I love these moments, because I am not a cook, but I can appear as a Martha Stewart Angel to a stranger. For a moment, (a moment I hold closely to my heart,) I can APPEAR to be an all-knowing goddess. After I told him how much more I had spent on a fresh, brined turkey at Trader Joe's the day before, he decided to buy the fresh instead of frozen one. (Though it may have been the less Martha Stewart part of me and more the *real* me saying, "I dunno, mine is always still partly frozen" that won him over....)

Anyway, shopping came and went, and the chopping and peeling commenced. I remained calm and somewhat joyful. But once the major things were prepped and I went off to shower and get out of my baggy sweatpants and into something more guest appropriate, it hit me.

Even if I didn't talk to my sister every Thanksgiving, even if it was more of a pre or post "What did you have? Who was there?" conversation from our separate states of California and Oregon, I COULDN'T.
Not even if I wanted to.
Fortunately, this disolving julie has awesome children who actually and weirdly LIKE to cook, and they took over and finished up dinner while I used cold water and makeup to cover up the sudden grief that had overtaken me. Did I mention they're awesome?
And now, going into Christmas, I've decorated a Patti Tree, clothing it in her colors of purple, green, and blue. And when I see it I smile. And I hear her saying, "I wish I could be with you guys for Christmas, you're so much fun!" And I think of Patti, and I miss Patti, but I have a sense of her with me, surrounding me.
My "Patti tree" complete with Penny the cat.
Just the way she would have liked it.
I'll try to hold onto that happy feeling when it's time to wash the Christmas dishes.
Skimmer's Recap: Grief is normal, grief is good. Pass the turkey.

Poeming: In the company of my sister.

the Elder's Christmas tree 2012, a kinder,
gentler tree than the usual julie-riot of reds.


I choose her favorites:
blue, green, purple,
for ornaments,
a blue star
for the top.
My tree is alive with
her colors
and I am in
the company of my sister
once again.
jle 2012
Written for Poetic Asides Wednesday Poetry Prompt of "In the company of _____"


Monday, December 03, 2012

Belle and Anne Lamott.

I was once terribly insulted when a co-worker called me "provincial." After all, even Belle in "Beauty and the Beast" uses that like a bad word. Remember? She's singing about her village, and "provincial" goes along with "every day like the day before" and "small." I had enough knowledge of the word to feel offended, but I had to look it up to be sure. The Free Dictionary says things like "not fashionable or sophisticated." Heyyyy, I resemble that remark! I am not a city girl. I've never been a city girl. But I don't HAVE to be a city girl--it's not the boss of me!

The co-worker, a single, better traveled, more independent and worldly soul than I, seemed to be saying "Your life is so much smaller than mine." Okay, so I live in the suburbs, I have a husband and children and dogs, and I don't go traveling by myself and am honestly a cowardly person who fears being irretrievably lost if I pass the border of my neighboring handful of towns, true.

And I do so admire those women who have the confidence to just get on planes and go to foreign places like France or Chicago, I really do. I'm just more of a tag-along kinda girl. Is that so bad?

Saturday night I went to hear Anne Lamott speak in Napa, California with a group of women. I can feel "less than" so easily when I hear of the adventures of Others. Because I'm measuring myself always against Others. And there are so many people who are Thinner/Prettier/Better Traveled/More Together/have Nicer Houses/are Braver than me. And I let myself feel small.

Anne speaks about what everyone is dealing with: aging, accepting yourself, parenting. She says she's pretty much settled with the fact that she has the body she's going to have. This makes me sigh. She's a year younger than me, and I had "hopes."

So who did God make me? I may not be like Anne Lamott with humor drier than a piece of English toast sitting in a rack, but my humor comes from my beginnings, and the things I've lived through and how I see them. And my love of people comes from the same. And there will always be someone thinner than me because I'm built for luxury and not for speed.

And so again I end up facing the question of who am I before my Creator, before Others? And the really cool thing is that even at 59 I am still learning the answers, and I'm still changing and becoming, even at this age where I had hopes for knowing more and being more already so I could maybe just sit down and have a coffee.

So, observing Anne, I'd say I need to embrace the who and where of me, and take good notes. "If you're a writer, always have a pen, or God will give me your ideas."--Anne Lamott. 

Skimmer's recap: It's true what God says, that He made me. So why do I spend so much time arguing with Him about it? OH--and, read Anne Lamott! I'm pretty sure she makes God laugh.