Thursday, July 21, 2011

Healing Happens

The picture is of me and my sweetheart of a dog, Ella, is out on Vinal Haven where I went to visit my wonderful friend Tina this July (2011). Her hammock is an amazing place to hang in the late afternoon. The best view from this angle is up into the deep green of the huge spruce that towers over this spot with the blue sky in the background. There was a breeze this afternoon so I actually had that comforter wrapped around me for a little bit of warmth.

Oh, and then, after Tina snapped this picture, she appears with a cold flute of Prosecco for me. Any wonder why I like to go out there and visit her?!

I was there last summer at just about this time. That was only a few months after Jim had passed and I was still horribly wounded. I remember writing about packing the car up and having the horrible awareness that I was the only pilot of this trip. The experience of driving up there, navigating the ferry, my gear and Ella without having Jim along was all new to me then ... and felt so difficult. This time, I didn't even think about it until after I got home. And this realization has me feeling that healing is happening, if I pay attention.

When I take my bike out for the first ride in the early spring after not riding in the winter months, the first hill feels so difficult. I have to drop down into the lowest gear and get out of the saddle to grind up the hill as best I can. After a month or more of riding I suddenly realize I'm flying up this same hill, still in my saddle and still in a high gear. Muscles flex, strength comes and there you are a bit stronger and more capable of attacking what was once insurmountable.

This is what this healing feels like in small ways. I still get hit with missing Jim - hugely! Just yesterday I braved looking at our old Ladokh pictures of when we hiked together in the Himalayas. Jim looks so fit and handsome, so happy with his arm around all the other trekkers on the trip with us. He was so incredibly loving and fun to be with. It felt good to view his images ... and then it hit; no big tears, but just a sigh and a whisper to him of how much I miss him. How horribly sad and lonely this can all be at times.

I imagine missing him will never really end. I don't know. I'm pretty new at all this. But I did notice out on Vinal Haven I was able to go out for a run this time, go into town and poke around the shops, stay up later, rise a bit earlier. But last year all I wanted to do was be in that hammock, starring up into the bows of that massive Blue Spruce and into the infinity of blue beyond.

Healing happens. Day by day. Week by week. One full circle around the sun at a time.

Loving you all back,

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


It's light at 4:00 a.m. now. I know this because I was awake at 3:00 .. again ... and thought I could get back to sleep. But after laying there for an hour the morning light and all the troubled thoughts pounding around in my head had me feeling that I should just get up and see what I might accomplish versus laying there thinking about all this stuff.

There is much to do around this house as it's summer in Maine and I have found myself very busy with a lot of weekend mini-trips away. It's been really good, though I'm actually looking forward to having a weekend at home soon. Last weekend I went to my youngest sisters camp which is an hour out of Bangor along Route 9. I loved her directions - "after the funky little Airline Snack Bar and rest stop look for the weird radio tower and the NEXT double passing lane look for our camp road on the right, East Gish Road, the one with mailboxes and For Sale signs. I think it's East Gish Road ... anyway you can't miss it. " As my brother once said "whenever they say 'you can't miss it' you know you're in trouble!"

Route 9 actually runs from New Hampshire to Canada. The leg in Maine from Bangor to Calais is known as the "Airline Route" and was named long before any airlines actually existed. It's a dangerous and lonely stretch of road in the winter and the main route for logging trucks - which barrel down this road at startling speed. There is a two mile stretch in Hancock County that is called the "Whale's Back". I'm not really sure how it got this name but I do remember how my dad would drive along this section of road that had rolling hills; he would speed the car up so we climbed the hills with some momentum and then he would lift his foot off the accelerator just as we crested the top of the hill and your stomach would flip-flop, like it does on a roller coaster. Mom would yell at dad for doing this reminding him that "Mary is going to get sick", while the three older kids in the back would egg dad on. Inevitably we would have to stop so I could leap from the car and throw-up. Fun was over at this point, much to my siblings grumbling and my mothers "I told you so Jay" statements.

Jim use to drive this section of the road the same way come to think of it. I would tell him if I had to throw up I wasn't going to give any warning and he'd be in charge of clean-up. Sometimes this would get him to stop, but mostly we would both just get laughing.

Oh, I laughed so much with that man. I worry I'm already forgetting what his laugh sounded like, what his voice sounded like. How certain memories slip away from us because we just can't hold onto them ....

.... and other memories wake us at 3:00 a.m. and leave us sleepless.

Loving you all back,