Where are you, now?

Ostara and the Moon of Mourning

Sunday gratefuls: Kate cooking in Andover. Canning. Sewing. Quilting. Kate talking at mussar. The flower petals she scattered for my birthday two years ago. Taxes. Rigel against me last night. Watching Mortal Kombat with Joe and Seoah. Death. Cancer.

Sparks of Joy: United Flight 1802 to Honolulu. Emily, the pet-sitter.

Love is Enough counted cross stitch. done. 2016.


Death and taxes. As I await Kate’s death certificates and her remains, I’m wrestling with tax preparation for the first time in 30 years. Kate paid the bills, did the taxes. She liked it. Now. Well.

We have an accountant though I’m not sure we need one anymore. When you use an accountant, they send you a tax organizer. Many questions, 5 pages worth. Then boxes for numbers from many forms: W-2’s, W-4s, 1099s, 1098s, so on. Other boxes for other numbers. Boxes, numbers, questions.

I love taxes. No libertarian, moi. We each contribute in subtle and gross ways to each others lives through them. They are a concrete expression of love and justice when applied well. I do not love tax preparation. Big picture guy, me. Details. You. Or somebody else.

Slogging, with Joseph’s help, through the details of my life after Kate’s death. So many. So many unrealized. Like changing the Verizon account into my name. Like changing the titles to house and car. Same. Details, all of them. Important, yes, in a way. But only in a worldly way. All the boxes and numbers on the tax forms.

Oddly they help me. I stay in the present. Where’s that 1099? How do I change the bank account? What thank-yous do I need to write? Will the dog sitters work out like I hope?

“In grief, we are reminded to seek…comfort in this here-and-now place. Fixation in the past or in the future is more likely to exacerbate isolation. When we are present, we are more connected to one another, to our essence in awareness, to the One. Before charting a new course, or racing off to the next thing, ask yourself, “Where am I, now?”” Rabbi Jamie Arnold

Where am I, now? On Shadow Mountain, seeing Black Mountain and the Blue Sky above, the Lodgepoles and Aspen that cover both of them. Eduardo and Holly across the street. Joe and Seoah asleep upstairs. Rigel and Kep, fed, resting in the house.

Where am I, now? At the computer, writing ancientrails. Letting my mind and heart meld as I hit the keys, hunting for the next word, or finding it already there, sometimes even before my fingers hit the keys.

Where am I, now? A survey taker caught me way off guard yesterday. At the end, asking some demographic questions, she said: “Are you married?” “No,” I said, “widowed.” Oh. My. God. Yes, widower. Me. Feels like a black veil thrown over me by society. True, but so very strange.

Today, here and now. Feeding the dogs. Writing ancientrails. Eating breakfast while reading the newspaper. Taking Rigel and Kep in for grooming at Petsmart.

A zoom call this evening with my Johnson sisters and Jon. I told Sarah, Annie, and BJ the last night they were here that they now had a brother. They seem to have taken that to heart. I’m glad. Blended families.

Still much to do before taking off for Oahu. Part of me, the part shaped by the last three years, travels reluctantly. What if someone here needs me? What if the pet sitter turns out other than I expect? What if I spend too much money?

Bah, humbug to all that. That’s from the man who loves to travel, who knows he has to trust in order to live, who knows Kate is dead. She looked forward to my breaking free from her care though neither of us wanted it to happen now. Or, ever, for that matter.

I found this poem from Reform Judaism’s prayer book for mourners, posted it on Facebook a couple of month’s ago, and discovered it today, reposted by a friend who thought of me. Worth reading.


*Epitaph – By Merrit Malloy

When I die
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.
I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.
Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes
And not your mind.
You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.
Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,
Give me away.

This entry was posted in Dogs, Family, Feelings, Judaism, Memories, Our Land and Home, Politics, Shadow Mountain, Third Phase, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.