Spring and Kate’s Yahrzeit Moon
Tuesday gratefuls: Diane. Joe and Seoah. Kep. Marilyn. Heat. Snow. Blue Sunshiny Day. What a long strange trip it’s been. The Denver Airport. Blucifer. I-70 under deconstruction. Family. The new kitchen. The common room. Ode at work on his trip memories. The Ancient Brothers. Chamber music.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Joe and Seoah
Picked up Diane at the Federal Government RDT light rail stop. She came over and knocked on the car window, woke me up. The stop is right by Ortho Colorado, the hospital where Kate got her shoulder replaced and I got my knee done. To the right, I said, was the office of my audiologist. Sort of a medical tour Diane said.
Diane is a year younger than me and a first cousin, daughter of my mother’s brother, Uncle Riley. We’ve known each other a really long time. She stood up for me when I married Kate as my Best Person. Felt right to me then and now.
She’s lived in San Francisco for a long time, now in the Mission District with Samoan and Latino and other diverse neighbors. We look sort of like male and female versions of each other. Keaton stock, Mom’s side, breeding true.
When we were at Natural Grocers yesterday, we were in the dairy case and she named all the cows represented on cartons of yogurt. A farm girl at heart even though now a big city gal.
A real treat to see her. It’s been a while. Covid and other things. Time.
Left the house today at 8 AM for DIA. Joe and Seoah got here after a two part flight with a six hour night time layover in San Francisco. Bus man’s holiday for Joe. He flew to the Philippines twice in the last four weeks, overseeing military exercises first, then attending the four-star in charge of U.S. forces in the Pacific on his trip there a week later. Turned around, got on a plane and flew here.
Murdoch’s boarding facility at their vets no longer boards on Sundays. They had to leave later Monday and get back before Saturday afternoon. Short visit. But oh my god. So good to see him. And her.
Joe’s pondering two great career opportunities right now. Both move would move his future, but in different directions. He’s thinking. He makes his decisions as much with his heart as his head. Sound.
Learned about gray zone activities today. They are, he said, anything short of war triggering hostile acts. Like blockading Philippine fishing boats. Cyber warfare. Over flights of vessels in the South China Sea. He’s trying to help the Philippine Air Force with work countering them.
When he gets back, he goes to his desk job for two weeks, then heads to Singapore once, then back to Hawai’i, then back to Singapore a week later. Talk about a jet setter.
He’s handling the Philippine and Singapore desks right now until he starts different work in June as an ex-o. Go, Joe.
I’ve been lucky in these months this year since Kate’s death. Much love from so many people. I wrote to Seoah over text that I was happy living alone. She wrote back: You’re not alone. You have your son and an adorable daughter-in-law. And Murdoch! True enough.
Continuance and remembrance. Grief dances between these two, both pulling, twisting, reshaping the present moment. Those still alive, continuing, have to attend to reality. Yet while doing that memories rush back in pulling backwards, sideways, down. At first they’re overwhelming making continuance more a sad battle than life. The death. The memories from times immediately before the death. Matters perhaps unresolved from further back. And, happy memories, too. Coming in, searing life in their joy that cannot, will not be repeated, enriched.
The twin yahrzeit candles, Kate and our marriage. Their flames burning through the year since that call: She’s gone. The sudden shock of it all. Ruth staying with me. Then, Seoah coming, attending all the mourning rituals. Those first nights here after sitting shiva was over. Seoah gone home. Just Rigel, Kep and me. Still numb.
A gradual loosening of the hold the shock induced. Still many tears as I cleaned out Kate’s stuff, rearranged things. A caesura of sorts when I went to Hawai’i for a month, being there, not being there. Coming back to the house with Rigel and Kep. Deciding to remodel the kitchen, remake the common room, stain the house, put in the mini-splits. Forward moving things. Continuance.
Still. Remembrance often overwhelmed continuance. That note I found from our mussar class, a gratitude journal that Kate had begun. Its first entry, “Charlie’s wonderful care.” Seeing her jacket on the coat rack, blanching inside until I realized Ruth had worn it up here. Things like that.
The mussar class conversation that veered, I forget why, into being with people at the moment of their death. How beautiful, how spiritual. And I was asleep at home. Tears then. Even so happy I had a place where I felt safe to cry in public. That wound, self-inflicted, gradually healing.
A loosing of the tension between continuance and remembrance. Gradual. Slow. Forward. Back. Repeat. Longer intervals. The yahrzeit. The year marker. A sense of continuance now seasoned with remembrance rather than overwhelmed by it. A blessing, her memory. When the same memories arise, smiles more often that tears.
Continuance and remembrance. A dance.