Sunday, November 27, 2011
Five hundred days ago, I made a resolution
To start to ponder with prose not elocution,
A way to deal with a change
That made my world new and strange
But will awaken me to find a way make a contribution.
Six times the seasons have turned
As I reflected on what I have learned
The ticking clock has spun 600 times
While I search for the depths using appropriate rhymes
In an effort to discover what my heart has yearned.
It will take a focus on heart. body and soul
To fully tap into what makes me whole
So I move forward with new zeal, after a fashion
Seeking to discover what is really my passion
As multi-faceted health is my goal
I write these words in the midst of the holiday season as I look back on the last 17 months and marvel how different my perception of the world is. There are times in life like the first year before and after college, the first months of a relationship, or the birth of a child that immerses you in a swirling mixture of emotions. Excitement, anticipation, wonder, and even some fear and confusion jostle for attention as the path to the future heads in unexpected directions. when the path ahead crumbles away due to a loss and we stare into the abyss, it becomes even more important to stay awake and aware to where life wants you to go. As a result, in the weeks and months ahead, look for signs that my vision for my future begins to come into focus (I've already got a new pair of glasses on order...) I have no idea what this will look like yet, but I've been alluding to an emphasis on all aspects of health since more energy and enthusiasm will always be helpful.
I leave in a week for eight days with John and Sally on Kauai walking in familar places with memories of Dianna in my heart. I will bring her and leave her at Waimea Canyon, Hanalei Bay, our sunrise/sunset point at Poipu, Kiluea Lighthouse and other places around the island where we spent precious time, especially with Merlin & Mary. I can think of no better place to rediscover my passion than in a land that is constantly creating - although all that volcanic items will remain on the big island and just be a useful metaphor.
During this time of Thansgiving, I am grateful beyond measure for the support of friends and family during this "Voyage of Discovery". Their patience and encouragement as I launched into my extended stoytelling/reminscing mode and their interest in joining me in whatever adventures I dreamed up have been invaluable to my mental health. My intent is to speak more softly (and less frequently) and carry less of a big Schtick.
The pictures above are the last I took of Dianna, a little more than 3 weeks before her passing. The ocean was always her favorite spot as she always connected with her spirit there. I look forward to doing the same in Hawaii as I move from mourning to enlightenement.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
To say my world recently has been rocked
Doesn’t begin to describe the path I have walked
Both ample helpings of Euphoria and Sorrow
Reach back from Yesterday to Tomorrow
And to process, I’ve both listened and talked.
A year of “seconds” isn’t supposed to mean
Another experience to try and glean
As my world has whirled around and around
Even back on land I feel like I'm still on shaky ground
As we grasp at something that’s remains unseen
All is not dark as some successes appear
Both far away and some rather quite near
The Cardinals and Cardinal find ways to win
And self-discovery appears when looking within
So clear thinking and cheer trump the tears and the fear.
When I last wrote, I was anticipating wonderful week with the Lesher family as we celebrating Loren & Veneta’s 60th wedding anniversary a little early and I would sail home on Dianna’s birthday ready to embark on a new chapter which I called the “Year of the Seconds”, assuming a fresh view as the second time around for birthdays and other significant events would be easier to put into my “new” perspective. I got the first part right as we had a great time on our Alaska cruise and had some amazing adventures including being in a canoe within a few hundred yards of a caving Mendenhall Glacier! This wasn’t in the brochures! All aspects of the cruise with Carnival were great including food and I’m sure I will be a repeat cruiser. I was grateful to be able to part of the Lesher “gang” and it was appropriate company to acknowledge Dianna’s birthday. We returned to Portland and had a Three Square dinner celebration for her and then I enjoyed Labor Day weekend and got ready to dive into the fall. Life took another zig when Wayne called me Tuesday morning with the news that Dianna’s dad, Merlin had taken his life in the same manner as Dianna. Brenda & Wayne and Merry and Eamonn had spent the weekend in Medford since Mary had expressed concern over Merlin’s increased depression and “awfulizing” of events. He had forgotten Dianna’s birthday and that stirred up a lot of emotion. Understandably, the next few weeks were a blur as B&W and M&E headed south while I stayed up here as I was trying to remember how overwhelmed I was last year and didn’t want to add to the mix. The first annual Hillsdale Paella dinner for 300 was on September 10th so Theresa went with me and we enjoyed the realization of one of Ted’s many socially acceptable dreams as Hillsdale was buzzing. We celebrated Loren’s 82nd on Sept 15th and the first annual Pacificorp United Way Golf tournament was successful. I headed south immediately afterward for Merlin’s celebration of life. My unfortunate choice of words, “Year of Seconds” wasn’t meant to include a second experience which remains just as unfathomable. Mary wanted the service to be a celebration of Merlin’s life not just an acknowledgement of his passing which of course made his loss even more poignant.
In the midst of all of this Merry and Eamonn were trying to gather themselves for their cross country road trip to Florida via New Orleans and they left on the Autumnal Equinox for points East. I took advantage of a nice early fall weekend to retrace some of my Ramona Falls steps with Deb & Deb and shaved 3 hours off my July trek. Merry & Eamonn made it to NOLA in time for the joint birthdays and stayed in the French Quarter thanks to a nice gift of lodging from Brenda and Wayne before safely arriving in Florida. Ted’s almost true memoir “The Varmits” about his time in Ohio during graduate school when he embraced his Appalachian Outlaw side arrived and sent thrills through the Hillsdale community and beyond. I drew the shades and finished it in a couple of sittings and realized some people lead way more exciting lives than I do…
On October 15th we once again participated in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention "Out of the Darkness" walk and were joined by Roy & Sheryll as well as Mary coming up from Medford. Obviously the poignancy of this walk was felt by all, coming just 5 weeks after Merlin's passing but it was uplifting to have a group with which to share.
I am trying to be socially active with plays and concerts so I went to see and hear Basia, Colbie Calliat Daniel Nahmod, Mark Hanson & Greta Pederson, Michael Allen Harrison, and Tracy Grammer and take in plays at Portland Center Stage, Artist’s Rep, and a comedy show at Helium Club featuring Tim Lee, a scientist turned comedian. Just last night I was able to join Donna and Theresa for dinner and Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol” which was clever and fun. Daniel Nahmod is a songwriter from LA that I got to know from his visits to LEC and since he remembered Dianna, he played a song in her honor called “Last Song” from his “Water” album that he created during a solitary 3 months in Moab, Utah. I’ve been continually listening to his album since it perfectly matches my round trip commute and is much better than listening to the news. A portion of Last Song is as follows:
“If this is my last song,/If this is my final day
If tomorrow I’ll be gone/What do I want to say
If this is my last song/If it’s my time to go
If my body has moved on/What will I have to show…
Have I given hope to the hopeless/Has a hungry soul been fed
Has a child stood a little taller ‘cause of something I said
Have I left a little kindness/Have I eased a little pain
If so, then I’m glad I came/For that, I’m glad I came…”
Sports has been a bright spot as Stanford football has been very exciting except for a stubble against Oregon and for awhile gave hope to a visit to Evan for the National Championship in NOLA where Evan is working as a part-time candy maker for the Southern Candymakers of New Orleans on Decatur Street in the French Quarter. Alas the Fiesta Bowl might be the final destination but I have no problem hosting a viewing part like I did for the Stanford Oregon. The company was great, there was plenty of food, and that night the best team won. The St Louis Cardinals kept finding a way to be the best team most nights as they finished an improbable run to the World Series Championship. The penultimate game will go down as one of the most exciting every played as they twice came back from a 2 out, 2 strike, 2 run deficit in the 9th and 10th innings and won on hometown hero David Freese’s leadoff HR in the 11th. It felt like my dad must have had something to do with the drama!
I’ve also had a chance to get some exercise with some hiking and golf and though the weather may not be as conducive in the months ahead, I’ll pick my spots since I’ll have good company since Rick and Cheiko and Theresa are usually up for an outing. I’ve got incentive and some encouragement from my fellow spiritual traveler Deb as we have agreed to root for each other as we find our separate passions and purposes, so I look forward to what lies ahead.
I end this entry after celebrating Thanksgiving with Dianna’s family , talking with Evan and Merry and having time with Sean, all of which makes me grateful for everything it took to get me to this moment , as I am reminded to let go of the past and future and spend more time Knowing the Now…