Tuesday, May 15, 2018
"How Sweet it... was!"
Allie and Joan hand feeding the Chickadees at The Cataraqui Conservation Sugar bush Festival on April 4th, 2015.
Navigating the First Anniversary of Allison's Passing - April 26th, 2018
Strange... how that thief mourning bears down on and overtakes one with little or no prior warning.
We just passed through the much-dreaded first anniversary on April 26th and seemed to have weathered that dreaded day.
We created a diversion to bypass that sad marker by creating a festive dinner party for twenty of Allison's Family members... closest friends and Queen's University peers. The Olivera Ristorante in Kingston was chosen because (according to Allison)... "It was the only @#$*ing place in Kingston that knew how to make pasta... the Italian way."
And as the event played out... she was right. Everything... including the weather was perfect and the setting on Market Square was beautifully and tastefully decorated to match the wonderful food and friendly, efficient service. The room was filled with laughter and Allie's presence could certainly be felt everywhere around the table. The "Curator of Friendship" worked her magic... so that each of us attending left the restaurant feeling uplifted. The laughter and smiling said it all!
Navigating... exactly describes our intent to mark this important last moment in Allison's beautiful earthly existence. The word bittersweet comes immediately to mind, but to me the word has always extended the opportunity for personal choice. Choosing to accentuate the sweet more closely fits the timbre that Allie herself would demand of us.
As I looked around the long table... watching and listening, my mind (as always) injects art and symbolism. It struck me... how much like da Vinci's famous "Last Supper" painting that this gathering resembled that event. The interaction at our event was hardly choreographed... and at times sounded rather chaotic. But the presence of various conversations... around a central figure made me smile... "The Curator of Friendship"... was certainly centrally present!
Love did indeed point the way... away from pain towards Joy!... which meant celebrating Mother's Day in a slightly different way. I did indeed make my annual visit to my Mom and Dad's final resting place in Brockville on Saturday evening to spend time and place flowers of remembrance and gratitude.
On Sunday, Deb and I had agreed to drive to Kingston and to share our own personal Mother's Day with Joan. We treated Joan to an early brunch at a downtown eatery, Peter's Place and then drove to Allison's commemorative ginkgo tree to hang decs and to place a beautiful cluster of bright pink gerbera daisies.
This year, celebrating meant enjoining our separate celebrations to become one and I believe that like our anniversary acknowledgement in April... "being together"... made the sense of loss less heavy when three hearts shared the burden and added uplifting laughter and happy notes of remembrance.
"Preserving Spring..." - oil on panel 12 x 10 inches
When the children were very young we shared magical moments and interludes with Mr. (Fred) Rogers. While many thought his program "too childish" and without the excitement and drama of the popular action figures of the period... Allison and Andrew... and I revelled in the precious moments of safety and wisdom that we recognized as "special"... even then.
Trolley, King Friday, Lady Evelyn and Mr. McFeely taught us things about ourselves and others that have shaped our actions and guided our hearts right into adulthood. Joan has graciously shared two "Fred" books that she had gifted Allison with in recent years. The magic of those early years remains... in every page that I read.
I would like to share one passage from the smallish book "The World According to Mister Rogers - Important Things to Remember" with you in concluding today's post. It seems so relevant.
"I believe it's a fact of life that what we have is less important than what we make out of what we have. The same holds true for families: It's not how many people there are in a family that counts, but rather the feelings among the people who are there."
During the course of family life, each of us comes face-to-face with the loss of family members. Those losses can be devastating to an individual member... and even to the health and well-being of the entire group.
If we can but remember... that each of us accepts and integrates loss in our own unique way... and that if we can keep our hands joined in love and supportive understanding....
Love will indeed... point the way
Safely through the grief and darkness
And back into the Light.
I am deeply blessed...