Sometimes it is very important to just turn the page.
Starting before Christmas when awaking in the middle of the night I would walk out to the living room and look at the answering machine to see if it was blinking. If blinking I knew there was something wrong up home with my Dad. I have hated to hear phone rings since my years at the statehouse where every line seemed to be lit all the time. So when I left that job I swore no phone would ever ring in my home again. There had to be a better way to get a call. James agrees with my no-ring philosophy, and so we check the messages with some regularity.
Since there was no way that I could affect change from Madison for an emergency with Dad in the first place I found the messages to work for me.
But it was those middle of the night moments when I dreaded walking to the phone that became a routine. I found that even after my dad died that I was still doing the late-night walk.
This week it ended. It was time to turn the page.
After several months of dealing with sadness and death both in the immediate and extended family there comes a time when a change needs to take place. A page turned. In large part, many might argue, it is only a mental ‘gimmick’ in order to adjust and cope for all that has occurred. That is true, and yet most useful for moving forward and healing.
At times ‘turning the page’ is nothing more than just returning to old routines, and other times it requires that we step out and start new ways of doing what might otherwise be ordinary daily events. In either case the hurt, and loss remains and is never far away, but it is not the only thing to view. The loss is part of a new construct.
While Wisconsin weather had prevented early tomato planting this year, the fact is I just did not feel like dealing with the matter. It was hard to focus at times, and tomatoes seemed the last thing to worry about. But this past week James and I decided we needed to restart spring, and so headed to a local store and picked up eleven plants of all different varieties. The sun had eluded the month of April, along with warm temperatures. This past week, however, warm weather allowed for the desire to start a hopefully bumper-sized crop of tomatoes.
Until this past week I have always eaten breakfast inside the house each morning. While always thinking that it would be nice to start the day outside I found myself just pulling out a chair at the kitchen table with the newspaper. What was I waiting for? So the past mornings have found me with an early shave and shower and then breakfast outside with the birds and rabbits. Extra Vitamin D is never bad, and there is a solace from Mother Nature for the soul that is as real, as it is hard to explain.
I find there is no way not to be jolted by the bitter-sweetness of life. In addition, there is no way I would not want to feel those moments when they hit.
All my childhood there was a routine back home in Hancock when the grass was needing to be cut. While my dad mowed, my mom would trim and move this flower to that space, prune that shrub, and spruce up that flower bed. Like a page from the past it all came back as James and I worked to complete our Madison lawn before sundown Thursday night. It struck me again how much life is a cycle. I was mowing, James was transplanting volunteer lilies, and raking some grass. I could see my dad in his ever-present hat that he wore, with a perspiration stain around the brim. And just like my parents had somehow always done decades before, our lawn work was completed as the last rays of the sun had lowered under the horizon.
We turn the page to move on with life. We do not do it to forget. We do it to heal.