Monday, November 29, 2010

The Urn

Hey there-

I love to dust the dining room. One would never know by the inch thick layer of dust found on the window sills and book shelves in this room, but I do. The shelves above the built in dresser behind the dining room table are my favorite to work on. These shelves are home to dozens of family pictures, my grandma's depression glass, a few framed poems, silver candle stick holders, and various other knick knacks collected from special people or special travels over time. I enjoy taking each item off the shelf and dusting it, thinking about the memory each one holds, before placing it back in its appointed place.

I am not very creative with the placement of these items. Everything goes back to approximately the same spot each time. I rarely change things up other than updating the 8x10 McHoganStein family photo annually.

These are the shelves that hold Bob's urn.

For the better part of six years the urn has held court in the center of the bottom shelf surrounded by a picture of Bob's family on one of their many camping trips, and a framed card that Bob gave me with the quote "The fabric of you is so familiar, it's as if we are woven of the same thread"....or something like that.

Yesterday I dusted the dining room after a visit from out of town friends made the dust too glaringly obvious to ignore another minute. Tonight the seven of us were eating dinner, consisting of a yummy Mexican spaghetti casserole and Pillsbury rolls. The usual dinner chaos was ensuing involving debates about cell phone usage and theories on relativity. Arthur (7) added his own lovely show that consisted of rolling on the living room rug and screaming for water because the spaghetti was too spicy.

As for myself, I was attempting to remain calm amidst the chaos with varying amounts of success. I sat breathing in and out and admired the nice clean shelves behind the bobbing blond head of a wound up Henry. Then I noticed that Bob's urn was no longer in the center of the shelf, it was in the back left corner surrounded by different photos than the usual.

Interesting. I have no conscious awareness of making that decision.

For someone who over thinks most things and actually kept a can of Irish oatmeal that Bob had bought in the kitchen cabinet for about five years before I would even let Mike look at the can let alone think about cooking the oatmeal I am rather amazed at the casualness of finding the urn in a less prominent spot on the shelf.

I don't know what it means exactly, but I'm thinking its gotta be good.

Thanks for checking in-


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Hey there,

"When I finished the book I felt envious of the experience you had gone through."

One of my readers said this to me.


I get it.

It sounds a bit odd, maybe, but I totally get it.

That live in the moment, don't sweat the small stuff, seize the day mentality that comes with great loss.

The clarity.

Amidst the disorientation of grief I also found great purpose. I knew what my priorities were. I knew what was important.

I was peeled to the core.

Now, six years later, I find myself sweating the small stuff sometimes, my priorities seem less clear, I fret about issues that are not all that important in the grand scheme of things.

At times I am grateful that I have the luxury to worry about issues like the refrigerator sounding funny or if I signed up to bring napkins or cupcakes for the school party.

Other times I miss that intense buzzing feeling of LIVING I had following Bob's death, as if the world went from black and white to color. When I am around people who are closer to a loss I can feel the energy around them, I see the clarity in their eyes and hear it in their voice, and I am envious.

So I get it when my reader tells me she is envious of me and my experience with Bob's illness and death. Stripped of my layers back then I felt lighter and lean, but I also felt brittle and bit airy.

Now I have built up layers of living around my core. These layers make me feel a bit heavier, maybe thicker, slower, but also a bit more solid.

Layers of living. The key word being living.

Thanks for checking in-


PS...for those who might not have seen the newspaper article I have enclosed the link below.