last birthday before at nautilus teachings

there is was.
on a bright, cool,
sunny morning
at the end of april
in one small instant
while i sipped on
my morning coffee
the waterfall in the pool
serenaded me
the soft, shadowed memory
of you
hit me.
unexpected as it was
i let it encompass me
i grabbed my computer
lit a candle
sat at your table
and asked God
and all the angels
in heaven
on earth
and all around us
to welcome you
home.
i breathed in
the memory of your smile
the soft fragrance of
what was you
i looked into your deep
chocolate chip cookie eyes
and
just
fell.
Memories…
we cannot control them,
nor do we want to.
at moments notice
we can summon them
through old photos,
we can still ourselves
in our favorite spot
and begin the
unwinding
of their reel,
let the tethering movement
of the gentle ticking
of time
lead us down the path
of what was
at one time
you
and
me.


yet, for the most part
when someone we love dies
we tend to let go of
release
cast out to sea
the binding tie
this person had
upon our heart.
we do this,
not to forget
but to ease
the tight, suffocating,
fogging our brain,
cannot find the energy
hold
their memory
has upon normalcy
routine
and getting back
into our lives.
i gaze around my home
the yellow walls
remind me of
the soft, shag carpet
i had in my room as a child.
the various shades of turquoise
reflect the memory
of you
standing by this table
work skirt on
with a black sleeveless top
smile upon your face
slicing into what would be
your last birthday
before…
my mind shifts to
the stark white paper
i type upon
the bleak stale empty
canvas peering at me
from across the room
the flickering glow
cast from the flame
of my candle
which summons you
to the forefront of my mind.
All of these are shades
of that day.
My dark oak
contrasting floors
to the color which surrounds them
lie hard, stiff and worn
like the stethoscope
surrounding his neck
as he spoke
those words
in the room of every shade
of white one could imagine
with the glow of the sun
streaming in through the window
reflecting off the shiny silver medallion
hanging around his neck
which listened to your heartbeat
over and over.
you have leukemia.


today
this is not a death sentence.
today
when these words are given
it symbolizes the clanging bell
of reality…
you will be in for the fight of your life
but
you
will
win.
30 years ago,
it
was
death.
i am in my car
windows and sunroof open
slowly driving down A1A
the air is crisp for
the end of april
the music lulling me
into calm peace.
the light turns red
my breaks remove the movement
of power
as i sit glancing
all around my sleepy town.
there is nary a car on the road
and it is 9:45a.m.
just two weeks ago
life here on this road
was maddening.
i smile as the light turns green
slowly accelerate
when from behind
in a soft blue car
with the sun almost glazing
her cheeks
as her short white hair
ruffles with the breeze
i see her…
she smiles
as if she knows
she is my gift
from God
she is the don’t blink now
or i will be gone message
that nudge from God
that she’s still here.


memories
they hit us at the weirdest times
in the most unlikely places
when we are least expecting it.
a few years ago i caught
her scent on my morning jog
i’ve caught her image
in line at the grocery store
heard her voice
from across the sanctuary
at church…
those we love,
though their physicality
may have left as
their ashes have been set
adrift at sea
or they lie in a
nailed shut box
behind a granite wall
in a bleak, stale,
to quiet for comfort
mausoleum
still surround us
this is what love is.
the connection
of one heart to another
that can never be broken
even
in
death.
mother’s day
is nearly here
so i am not surprised
by this returning
of you.
i walk briskly by the
huge selection of cards and flowers
at every store
i scroll by the many happy photos
gatherings
celebrations
of everyone and their moms
on social media
and i wonder
what do my children
hold most in memory
about me?
the boys are asleep
at my feet
empty boxes
waiting to be painted
beckon me
images of
you
penetrate
my soul
as i turn towards life
kiss my favorite
photograph of you
in your silver bomb
with the red leather interior
top down
huge smile upon your face
Taylor Swifts song best day
pops into my head,
“I didn’t know if you knew
So I’m taking this chance to say
That I had the best day with you today.”