9/11/2008

No Magic in Colorful Boots



when
you wear
colorful boots
to slog through muck

its still
muck

grief
comes in waves
out of no where
washing over me

remember the joy
of splashing
in puddles

slapping slapping slapping

small feet
stirring up
noisy waves

big feet
should make huge waves

but the water is too heavy

it won't move

even colorful boots
can't
move
it

they
are
stuck

I collect images of shoes. This morning I played with this picture of boots thinking I would post a happy image and give my grieving a rest. Out popped this poem. Nutty as it is - my connecting things - its what I do and it helps me.

The boots are a photo I took yesterday when I went to Pyramid Atlantic to meet with Adjoa about our new class. I love Gretchen's collection of boots that the artists wear when they are making paper and sloshing across the wet floors in the paper mill. It was a good time. I felt happy - looking forward to the class - its challenging and we expect to work with a highly motivated group of middle school students twice a week until December. All is good.

On the way home I called Robin. She was at lunch with her friend Kay so we could not talk. I know. I know. I should not be driving and talking on the phone. Old habits die hard.

Holding the phone - my new burgundy cell phone - I thought of Mama. I often called her from the car - a quick hello on the way home. And it swept over me.

I can't call Mama.

My primary contact with my mother for the past 53 years has been the telephone. I can't call her. Missing her washed over me. I started crying - not a great thing in Washington, DC rush hour traffic.

To heck with it. I called Betsy in PA. She answered.


"Betsy, I can't call Mama."

" Oh, God, you're there!"

" What will I do?"

" Feel it. That's what you need to do. It will pass off - for now."

We talked. It got a bit better. For now.

" I am glad you called me, Ellouise."

I wrote to someone recently - friends are the glue that holds us together.

3 comments:

Kate Dudding said...

Dear Ellouise,

Your blog reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend last year. Her brother had died unexpectedly in his 40s.

She asked me how to handle her grief. I said, "There is no way around it. You have to go through it. If it's too much, you can postpone dealing with it. But you'll have to go through it eventually." She later said that knowing that had helped.

For me, my grief over my parents' deaths diminished over time. That is, there are fewer episodes of grief and they are much shorter than initially.

Kitty Carlisle Hart said of her grief over her husband's death, "It doesn't get better. You just get used to it."

I found that if I could identify WHY I was feeling crappy, the crappy feeling would diminish. For example, several weeks after my best friend died, I felt bad, almost frantic. I finally realized that I wanted to talk to my father or my mother or my best friend, but I couldn't. Somehow naming the pain helped. I knew my life would never be the same. Perhaps in naming the pain I was acknowledging the new landscape of my life.

Of course, you can also count your blessings for having known those who have died. Not when you are grieving, but at other times.

I hope some of this is helpful.

Many hugs,
Kate

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