Posted in Lanscape of Loss, Pure Love

God does not spill milk…

Years ago I came across a stunning piece of writing by a woman married to a State Trooper in Maine. She looked at death unflinchingly and wrote about it exquisitely and I was jealous and moved which is why I decided to buy her book, Here If You Need Me, when I stumbled upon it  at the second hand store, and then chose to bring it along on an unexpected trip to Plum Island, to the house of a friend, who offered her home, while she was away in Maine, without her husband, because he too had been killed in car accident, just over a year ago, when he was in the state that I call home.

Gail & I had been friends since college, long before husbands and children and the New England chapter of our lives, back when she could quit her job at the the last minute and surprise me at the airport and we could take off to Europe with backpacks and no reservations.

She messaged me about her empty house because she knows I need the ocean and new places and maybe because I am a writer–writing about an accident that punctured my life long, long ago.

“God does not spill milk,” Kate Braestrom writes. “God did not bash the truck into your father’s car. No where in scripture does it say, ‘God is a car accident’ or ‘God is death.’ God is justice and kindness, mercy, and always–always–love. So if you want to know where God is in this or in anything, look for love.”

I hated God when I was 14. I never forgave that God. But I found lots of love with a capital L in other places. I found God in the music. In becoming Mother. In loosing my mother. In loving the Earth.

Kate’s words also stirred in me a renewed reverence for the bed I’ve shared with one man for the past 30 years, and something else, unexpected–a deeper sense of the heart and days of those who serve as officers of the law.

Drew’s professional life had an intimate physical aspect. He had to do brave and loving things to and with the bodies of others. Take, for example, those he arrested, particularly those who fought back, the ones he would have to wrestle with, the weight of his body pressing them into the ground, his mouth against an ear, shouting instructions (“Give it up! Give it up!”) as he groped beneath a sweaty belly for hands and weapons… Once he took the tiny hand of an abused four-year old girl who led him out back, behind her house, to show him where her father had chopped her puppy to pieces with an ax. Drew held the shape of that small hand in his palm for weeks. There were the bodies of those, on receiving official police notification of a loved one’s death, collapsed against his Kevlar-stiffened chest and wept…

When I was considering careers, my uncle offered to get me a job at DuPont in the event that I didn’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer, but much to the dismay of my extended family, I chose teaching. Now I think of his second wife, just four years ahead of me at the same university, who has worked for DuPont ever since, most recently leading the global Kevlar team, and I feel pride, even if it didn’t save Kate’s husband from the truck that slammed into his cruiser on a bridge in Maine.

Kate ends her book with an email to her brother, the one who can’t believe that she has decided to become a Chaplain (for the Maine Warden’s Service) after her husband’s death.

I think one reason I like working with crisis and death is that all the complicated and complicating tools of our natal tribe–the intellect, rational analysis, the all-pervasive irony–all these are useless. It doesn’t matter how educated, moneyed, or smart you are: when your child’s footprints end at the river’s edge, when the one you love has gone into the woods with a bleak outlook and a loaded gun, when the Chaplain is walking toward you with bad news in her mouth…

Before departing my friend’s place (the one she recently rented after the sale of their home of 20 years)–still filled with unopened boxes and pictures waiting to be hung–my husband went to the hardware store and picked up some wall hangers and filled in the empty spaces on her walls, while my son filled up the tires of the bicycles on the deck, and I filled a note with all my favorite memories of her and me, and left beside it a pint of maple syrup and raspberry jam from our road.

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Posted in Lanscape of Loss, Pure Love

Love & politics

The Women’s March, the inauguration of a misogynist and the death of a dear friend who supported his candidacy are woven into the fabric of this weekend for me.

My husband joined the march in Montpelier last year, without me, too consumed was I in grief to leave our home.

The irony is that my friend died the night before #45 was inaugurated.

We fought about him intensely on Facebook, while in private messages we connected around her health and our sons, and in person we doted on one another with love.

On the day after the election, Laura was so present to my grief that despite her joy, she ached with compassion, messaging me encouragement about how pushback on #45 might give rise to even greater women’s empowerment.

Laura loved animals and was fierce in protection of them. She was a strong woman. Outspoken. Big-hearted. Even when we were girls.

Although we came of age in the same shore towns and danced at each other’s weddings, we both moved away, and the distance between us magnified with time and the all-consuming responsibility of parenthood, until a funeral brought us together, and she said,

“Let’s don’t wait so long,”

And we didn’t.

We were together at the shore on her last birthday and before that in the mountains on my 50th, and we had plans to be together on the weekend before the Inauguration, but Laura ended up in the hospital again where she remained until I received these three words from our mutual bestie on the morning Trump would become President:

Posted in Pure Love

Love never ends

Friday the 13th was the birthday of my first love.

It was a very imperfect love–one that hurt us both deeply–and spit us out, 7 years later, but also one that saved me when I was young and so needing love.

A decade ago, twenty years after we went our separate ways, I wrote him a thank you of sorts. I recently came across it. (Now edited for privacy & punctuation.) I wrote it to him on Valentines Day, aided by what someone said to me after the death of a beloved:

Love Never Ends.

Good Morning xxxxx, Happy Valentines Day!

…The kids are still asleep. It’s still dark out, and we’re having our
first ‘real’ snow of the season (maybe even a couple feet.)

Casey has moved the cars off the driveway and up against the woodshed so that Jimmy can have a clear plow when he comes.

His out of town trip was called off so he’s gone back to bed with the boys; while I wake with a greater understanding of love.

I dreamt of you.

Whenever I do, I’m filled with a warm enveloping feeling-
which my spirit “gets,”but my mind always puzzles over.

Today I’m clearer.

I understand that “Whenever two of you are gathered in my name, there is Love.”

I understand that as such young ones, of good heart, and pure love, we were tapping right into Spirit.

It’s the same current that runs deeply beneath my day to day life with Casey, and one which we access to renew our love again and again.

It’s the same current that runs through all of life and supports
all relationships–though “form” often gets in the way of accessing it.

The love itself is never polluted, only our ability to tap it. Sometimes we need to move away and dig a new well. I’m sure we both know lots of friends who have done that; marriages ending.

Funny, that when you appear to me in my dreams, like other lovers, but perhaps stronger with you–that feeling of bliss–the dream gets more and more complicated as it goes on. Just like we did.

Perhaps the chemistry between two people, between you and me, is a portal–to the Divine, and perhaps certain twosomes create a larger portal.

That might explain why despite our different lives, despite our happy marriages, despite time and loss of connection, whenever I see you—at my mother’s funeral and at xxx brother’s, I feel such a strong hit, a pull.

Perhaps that’s what pulled my eyes to you on the stage at {our highschool} where you made me laugh with your
curtain trick.

Perhaps that’s what pulled you across the cafeteria to
my table to ask me out.

Perhaps that’s what pulls all of us–connection
to the Divine.

I know there are other attractions, in form, but I’ve
heard it said that the romantic paradigm is an archetype for the ecstasy of knowing God.

For this I must thank you.

You gave such good love, that I knew what to look for…

In a husband,
in life.

I knew how I wanted to feel.

Not all that messy stuff between us in form, but that pure love you gave, or that we gave rise to together.

And I now know what God is even more.

Happy Valentines xxxx xxxx xxxx xxx.
With deep appreciation of the love you shared with me,
and prayers for that love (the Divine stuff) to flood your life as it
does mine with Casey and my boys .

xxx and xxx and xxx and xxx are lucky!

You mother is on my heart right now. She gave good love too.

Actually your whole family was a wellspring of love in my life.

I’m forever grateful.

Kelly