Back Outside

I always get a little melancholic around this time of year {as well as the end of summer and the September-November range}. Maybe melancholic isn’t the right word. It’s not that I go into a moody, gloomy funk, but the time of the year puts me in an introspective frame of mind … a bittersweet look inward as I bring Karen’s ashes outside to the gazebo from her winter’s perch on the fireplace mantel.

It’s bitter because it reminds me all I have left of her is her ashes, neatly tucked inside a bronze urn. And I am reminded how much I miss her, even after five and half years.

It’s sweet because it reminds me I have more than her ashes, tucked inside a bronze urn. I have our memories and I feel her spirit release in the late spring sunshine.

I actually moved her Saturday, but had a host of things to do, so the full rhythm of interacting with her in the gazebo {there are a host of blogs from the gazebo already written and logged} didn’t start until this morning.

My routine since Karen died was actually a routine I started years and years ago … when she was very much alive. I would have a cartoon sitting on the table by her coffee cup and we would — whenever possible — start the morning sipping java, usually with a groan or a giggle as she read the day’s “funny.” And each week I would place a postcard-sized placard on the refrigerator with a cartoon and, hopefully, an inspirational thought. I caught her looking at that card numerous times during the week.

cartoonI admit I slacked off this winter with the daily cartoons, but I think I’m getting back in the groove as winter’s grayness transforms to summer’s sunshine and color.

This morning, I greeted Karen outside with a fresh cup of coffee and a sweet roll in my hand. I brought down my Interpreter’s Bible to continue my wake-up time with the Lord {He’s really challenging me with Ezekiel}, read through the prescribed Reflection and turned my attention to Karen. Just like the old days.

cartoonvOf course, I have to read her the cartoon now and, since it was Sunday, the postcard. After 40-plus years of marriage, I think I know what kind of reaction she would have had and I either groan or giggle.

And then I talk to her. Well, it’s not really talking since it isn’t verbal. After all, I wouldn’t want the neighbors to think I’ve gone completely over the edge … although I’m pretty sure they suspect I’m pretty close.

But through mental communication, we started conversing about the garden, the roses, the grass and all the other backyard appearances since last November. The conversation went something like this:

Karen: “It’s good to be back outside in the fresh air.”

Me: “Yeah, I thought you would like it. It was time.”

K:  “The sun is bright. There’s still a crispness in the air, but you know Sweetie {she always called me that when there was something on her mind}, there are more weeds in the garden than flowers.”

M: “I know. They have to be pulled and cleaned up.”

K: “And the roses? What’s with the roses?”

As an update, we planted a rose bush for each of our grandchildren, and, quite frankly, we’re running out of room. I’m still one shy for a grandchild and two shy for my great-grandchildren.

M: “Well, Sweetheart {my response to Sweetie}, this was a bad winter. The roses are blooming late {and we actually lost two and all four transplants}.”

K: “Yeaaah, but, you could trim some of those dead branches.”

M: “Okay, dear, I will {and in fact did Sunday afternoon … and I have the thorn marks to prove it!}.”

K: “The grass sure is green, but maybe a little long? Especially around the rock border?”

M: “Yes, dear, I have to pick up some weed whacker string. It’s on my list. And I’m getting some paint for the grandkids’ rocks, too.” pre-empting her next comment.

K: “Thank you, dear. But, can you sweep out the gazebo, too? There’s a lot of winter’s whirlygigs all over the place. Oh, and the walkway.”

M: “I’ll get the blower out and take care of it.”

K: “Thank you, dear.”

M: “I have my to do list ready to go. You know, things will be different when we retire to Maine {that’s where we decided to go before she got sick}.”

K: “Yeaah, right. By the way, I didn’t see you write down your to do list…”

M: “Oh, look! It’s time to go to church.”

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Meaning doesn’t lie in things; meaning lies in us. When we attach value to things that aren’t love — the money, the car, the house — we’re loving things that can’t love us back. We’re searching for meaning in the meaningless, and this will always cause pain.


About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
This entry was posted in encouragement, family, love, marriage, Memories, observations, relationships and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Back Outside

  1. Very sweet. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. What a lovely, endearing post.

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