Spring temps at last

The clouds slid slowly to the west. Blackbirds darted from treetop to treetop while fat jays swooped down onto sodden, yellow lawns. I wore gloves but it was in the 40’s. Finally! We passed the husky — Sasha? — who stares (and then stares some more). Finn did just fine. “See the doggie?” Treat. Treat. “See the doggie?” Treat. Move on.

I listened with one earbud to a Pod Save America episode entitled “Peak Stupid.” You can guess what it was about. I might be all out of outrage for the moment.

Once home, I lifted myself out of the chair to check caller ID. The ACLU again — for what? — the fiftieth time in a month? Instead of annoyance, there was a twinge of recognition that it will never again be my sister calling. My intrusive, demanding, unreasonable sister.

Maybe it’s time, at last, to ditch the landline. Do any of you still have one?

Today, a charity comes to Saint Peter Street in Salem to look at my sister’s furniture. I hope they take a piece or two.

Now, at least, I am waking at my more usual time of 6:30. Since March 13, I’ve been waking at the approximate time of my sister’s death: 5:30. Lying awake in the dark.

Is she “gone”? How does one gauge these things? There hasn’t really been a moment when I felt her spirit near or when I felt a notably fresh absence.

Does that make me dense, somehow ill equipped to feel these things? Or should I take my sister at her word?

Not that long ago, I might have jokingly asserted that I hoped she wasn’t going to be a pain in the ass from the other side. She retorted, “Shit! I’ll have better things to do than haunt you!”

She could be funny. So could I.

10 thoughts on “Spring temps at last

  1. Nancy

    Grief is a strange beast. We all have so many parts to us, yes? We talked of it forever, but finally got rid of the landline in the move. Don’t miss it or the telemarketers!

    1. deemallon

      I have a feeling I wouldn’t miss the landline either. Hanging on to it has been partially a protective measure: I don’t want to get calls on my cell!

  2. Joanne

    We have the land line because of times–very frequent–went we have no power. Cells don’t work when the grid is down. Here–in Maine.

    1. deemallon

      I know a lot of people site loss of power as a concern. But I thought it was due to losing the capacity to recharge a cell phone. Do you mean to tell me that if you lose electric power, you can’t place a cell call on a fully charged phone?

  3. Michelle Slater

    When 9/11 hit and the subsequent two major storms here, cell towers went down so even with a charged cell phone, no one can call. In all three of those disasters, I was the only one who could call out thanks to my old land line (not attached to any other thing – just a reliable jack I would plug into. Electricity was out but that didn’t effect my old land line.

    A relationship as long and complex as the one you and your sister shared, surely will be with you forever. I still have thoughts and memories that pop up from my past. They become more and more interesting and insightful as time goes by. You needn’t be in a hurry, nor grieve either grieving or not grieving. Your process will be YOURS alone and you are well equipped with self love enough to profit by it.

    The writer who writes so well will have much to tell. I love the humor in the last line.

    1. deemallon

      I couldn’t sleep last night and when I heard this message come in, i grabbed my glasses and opened up the phone, hoping the comment was worth rousing myself. And of course, it was. Thank you for your long view on things. It is a view i adopt better at some times than others and clearly need the reminder right now.

  4. Hazel

    Love the snippet of story about the two of you, especially that last line.
    The other day with a friend who lost her mom years ago, I started to say, “I’ll ask Dad…” and then, “How long till you remember they’re gone?”
    “A long time.”
    Yes, a landline, complete with an old rotary duct-taped together phone- for when the power goes out.

    1. deemallon

      The time element is unpredictable. But I do know the first year contains a lot of markers – first birthday without them, first Christmas, first thanksgiving…


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