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Cultivating Memories

April 21, 2017

              PD_0030  It’s a sunny day out this morning.  The sky is blue and from the sound of the birds in the yard, all is well.  In some ways, I suppose it is; in other ways, not so much.  My sister, Melissa, has called for the third time in as many weeks with news from home.  It hasn’t been good news.  About ten days ago, my grandmother’s brother, Arthur, passed away.  He was 86 and a longtime resident of Ohio; he had spent much of his working career as a truck driver hauling freight.  His wife, Nancy, had called Sherwood, my step-grandfather, to let us know.  Nancy and Sherwood are both 81 themselves.  Today, Melissa called to let me know that shortly after midnight, Grammy Sweet, Arthur’s older sister and my grandmother, had ended her struggle as well.  She had just turned 88 on the twelfth.

                Grammy had been ailing for the last number of years.  A nick in her vocal cords during a surgery a number of years back left her impaired.  Breathing was challenging, swallowing impossible.  Conversation with her has been limited in that time.  She has had, much to anyone’s delight at a time like this, a faithful and compassionate set of caregivers.  Sherwood, who she had married in 1982, has been by her side each and every day.  He is heartbroken this morning; his new role as a widower is not one he is likely to accept easily.  His brother, Merrill, in a similar situation, will undoubtedly help him through this; I doubt though that it will be easy.  Chris McCorrison, Gram’s devoted neighbor, has done so much.  There is no way to thank someone for that kind of generosity.  Melissa, too, has dedicated much of her energy in the past few years to keeping Gram company, and helping out when Sherwood needed to be absent from the home for a period of hours.  She is to be commended for the friendship she brought to that little home on the Hudson Road where my grandparents had retired from farming.

                (Melissa has not been having an easy time of it, and so if you have a few extra thoughts and healing energy to share, you are welcome to send some her way.  On top of all of this, she lost her cat, Piglet, this week.  Piggie, as he was affectionately called, was named for a habit.  Piggie loved to eat.  In a stroke of irony, he passed away, from an apparent heart attack, sprawled out right there in front of his food dish.  There was a bare spot at the bottom of the bowl.  That was probably too much for him to bear.  We are delighted though that he went doing what he loved the most.  Isn’t that something we all want?)

                Grammy’s cousin, Robert, who is 93 now, is the last of his generation.  His younger brother, Phil, has been gone some 24 years now.  Grammy’s younger brother, Ashley, was lost to a tragic accident some years back, and with the passing of Arthur and Marie both this Spring, Robert is all that remains of that generation which survived the Great Depression on rural farms in Maine.  We pray for his continued good health, and for that of his lovely wife, Bev.

It’s a sunny day out this morning.  The sky is blue and from the sound of the birds in the yard, all is well.  We have plans to help Gregory’s aunt rehabilitate a flower bed this afternoon.  We may stop at one of the gardening centers and buy some gladiola bulbs, my grandmother’s favorites, to plant and enjoy later this summer in her memory.  I love the alter-cloth purple Maine lupine; Gregory is most fond of the blue morning glory.  My Mother enjoyed the red rosa rugosa that surrounds so many of Maine’s lighthouses and her Dad, who would have been 101 this year had he survived, enjoyed the pink and white bleeding heart the most.  My great grandmother Rowe, named Marion like Mom had been, had lemon lilies in her flower patch, and her father treasured the white Dutchman’s breeches.  I’ve some of each of these in my yard.  While the neighbors all think we are competing with the local botanical garden, we’re really cultivating memories.  Perfectly renewable and restorative nostalgia.  Join me, if you will, in planting something beautiful today.  Do it in memory of someone you’ve been missing.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2017 3:59 pm

    Reblogged this on CAFFEINATED POLITICS and commented:
    Here is the post from my James this morning. Touching and gentle.

  2. Sue Parsons permalink
    April 21, 2017 9:01 pm

    Oh, James, so sorry for these losses. Please accept my condolences. What long lives we Parsons/Guppy/Chisholm folk lead! I’m grateful for that. Holding you close at this time. Sue

  3. April 24, 2017 5:39 am

    Oh James, so sorry for the loss of your family members! Please accept our condolences. Hugs and kisses to you and Gregory on this beautiful, memorable morning.

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