Age is an issue of mind over matter, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.Mark Twain
By Christina Rossetti
My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water’d shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.
Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.
My Mother would have turned 89 this week. Despite having lived to an age beyond what her parents and sisters experienced, it feels like she died young at 83 for a person who was as vibrant as her right up until the end. Her death combined with COVID has changed my fall and winter routines. Normally October is the beginning of theater season, with both her or I having secured tickets to ballets, and plays and concerts to look forward to throughout the fall and winter season and to help carry us through the coldest months to spring. It seems like a foreign concept right now, the idea of attending live events. The Rolling Stones tour came to Minneapolis last night and by all accounts put on a good show. Its funny to think that Mick Jagger is closer in age to my Mother than to me. But my Mother was a rock star in her own right.
I am not sure if I am getting better with dealing with loss with age but I seem more resigned to it these days. A new puppy arrived at our farm over the weekend. A 7 1/2 week old golden retriever puppy that if all goes as planned will become a breeding female for a service dog program in the future. I haven’t had a puppy in my life for 20 years, so it is feeling like we have a new born infant in the house again. It is also a reminder on how fast our lives move by. This puppy will carry me into my 70’s. For now it is a confident ball of fluff that has the entire household on its tip toes, her 12 year old golden retriever brother genuinely enjoying showing the puppy the ropes, but also a little jealous at all the attention going the puppies direction. Tasha the cat is a bit grumpy but will come around. I have never seen a puppy this confident, a puppy so quick to adapt to its new environment. Her name is Vida – life! And she is just what our household needed this fall.
What I Learned From My Mother
By Julia Kasdorf
I learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants
still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars
large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole
grieving household, to cube home-canned pears
and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skins
and flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point.
I learned to attend viewings even if I didn’t know
the deceased, to press the moist hands
of the living, to look in their eyes and offer
sympathy, as though I understood loss even then.
I learned that whatever we say means nothing,
what anyone will remember is that we came.
I learned to believe I had the power to ease
awful pains materially like an angel.
Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another’s suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
To every house you enter, you must offer
healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.