Monday walking the dog

Here are few characters Finn and I met up with this morning.

Don’t ask why, but every once in a while I like to walk a stretch of Route 9. During a normal season, I let the roar of traffic pass through me and it is somehow energizing. Today, of course, there were very few cars.

Happy Monday all! Already had a busy busy few hours in spite of a terrible night’s sleep, so now I’ll sit for awhile with some breakfast and a notebook.

(Speaking of notebooks, I rounded up the pages from the time period I was vested with my sister’s care. There is some thought that pulling out things I wrote about her and the situation and assembling them might bring more closure. For now, I’m just gonna look at the notebooks).

30 thoughts on “Monday walking the dog

  1. Joanne

    Wow….that’s a lot of pages of thoughts. I am enjoying Pantry Soup with the addition of carrot. And making another loaf of No Knead Bread but weighing the flour this time for accuracy. I found a daily diary from the days we lived in Chicago and one note that made me laugh…the newspaper where I worked was changing over from a pencil and paper system to computer for the advertising. I was going to be doing all the inputting into the system, the note was “Phyliis greatly overestimated the system today…..and all 52 ads have disappeared.” That must have been a wonderful day at work. Eventually- they locked me in a room alone with the system and it all worked out. what happened after I left is a mystery. I’m sure…many, many wonderful days!!!.

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      They always weigh the flour on The Great British Baking Show.

      I worked as a copywriter and traffic coordinator at a the radio station as it went from paper, typed logs (typed by me on an IBM Selectric with correcting tape) to computer generated logs. I was the first to do it that way. A little Mac, I think.

      Reply
  2. Jennifer Underwood

    I think your idea of pulling some things out and assembling them is great. I had to do something similar for a grief counseling class I attended. Perhaps your writing in the background with some of her/your great digital images collaged over the top. And make it whatever size you feel it needs to be. Hang it up and destroy the remainder of the notebooks. (I hear burning is cathartic and healing.) You’ll have what you need and closure also. I’m sure you’ve already thought of the many ways to work this out. If you find looking at all of the notebooks begins to feel heavy, be sure to address that, even if it means putting them back out of sight for a while.

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      What a thoughtful reply, Jennifer. Thank you. I haven’t yet thought of the ways I might do this and your ideas are evocative, helpful. Especially the part about combining with images. And your caution about being attentive to the WEIGHT of these pages is a point well taken.

      Reply
      1. Nancy

        Everyone here has such good grief offerings. Marti, you always have depth to add.
        I will add that for me grief is not a linear path. It circles, it cycles, it comes in waves. You can feel as if you are ‘fine’ and then a reminder comes rushing in and just wipes you out. Grief is never completely gone, at least for me.
        I will also add that my current frame of mind is that of disposing of anything with old or current grief ties…so lots of shredding of papers, photos and so on and lots of email deleting. Just erase and move on. I have no idea if this will work, be better or worse. I just know I’m over the weight of it all.
        Also, this article was shared with me years ago and while it is focused on children, I feel it applies to adults as well. We all just have to move through our grief, or any feelings really, in the best way we can.
        https://www.scarymommy.com/train-analogy-in-parenting/
        Take good care of you as you process, decide and tunnel through.
        You have a large, loving circle around you. xo

        Reply
        1. deemallon Post author

          Your determined and fierce purging is inspirational. I know I’ll get there.

  3. Marti

    When my sister died a few years ago, we had had a loving but very fraught relationship for many years, the grief that came was so unexpected in its ferocity…I howled and then wandered around for a few days, holding my arm, as if it had been severed, as if she, who had not been a part of my life for so many years, now was a part of me that was missing.

    I spent a weekend with her the year before she died, she and her partner Pat and gradually, I worked though my grief by: taking a photo that Pat had taken of the both of us, my sister and me, gathering every bit of dyed blue and blue patterned cloth from one of my husbands old work shirts,because blue was her favorite color and the color of her eyes, stitching all of these pieces of cloth, like a mad woman, no rhyme or reason but ending up with a scroll length of cloth. To this “scroll” I stitched our photo, gathered and made a bundle of rosemary, some still with the little blue flowers, anchored the bundle to the cloth with a few stitches, placed it on the ground for a day to get sun, then rolled the whole thing up, tied it with a blue satin ribbon and buried the cloth near the Spanish broom plant in the center of our garden.

    We need rituals of grief that go beyond the rosaries, the funeral mass, the burial or holding of the urn. We need the ritual of letting go, in whatever form comes to us, we need to understand and accept that there are those blood relationships that are both a trial and a joy…I think my sister is getting a kick out of the fact that I placed my grief cloth under a Spanish broom plant- she was forever berating me for not being “Spanish” enough; for loving Ireland more than Spain; for not using what she would say was our familyheritage of curandera ability, yada yada yada…in the end, it comes down to holding memory, holding love and letting go…

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      I am not surprised that you found such a beautiful ritual to mark your sister’s passing and your relationship. You have such good instincts. Such a feel for creating beauty with the natural and found elements. How does the Broom grow, I wonder?

      Would the review of nine years and setting it down in its true proportion be healing? I’m really not sure. But it might be because there was a way that my sister’s compounding impairments and her bottomless need created a kind of indescribable situation. No one really got it except my brother and husband.

      We shall see.

      Reply
      1. Marti

        It grows spectacularly, and I will say, since 2015, the year of her death, produces even more blooms since my ritual but it could be my imagination…

        As to whether or not your nine year review would be healing, the fact that you are considering it tells me that it should be attempted. What I sense is that in trying to understand these past nine years, to define the indescribable situation, lifts it from a depth of the unknown to a place of clarity and cleansing…if it tends to drag and bring out more pain than solace, then you will know when to end it…it’s different for each of us Dee but I have always believed in taking on these situations and facing them, no matter how painful…I don’t know if this helps you in any way but I’ve always felt that you meet life head-on, with courage and instinctive good sense.

        Reply
  4. Cheryl Fillion

    Wow – to that extensive collection of notebooks. And wow – to rituals offered up by others. I think I need to figure out something meaningful to honor my little brother who died over three years ago. Your blog often offers up something provocative/evocative.

    Reply
  5. Mo Crow

    (((Dee))) so good to see Spring is happening up there, loving the quietness and clean air here in Sydney with so few cars on the road and almost no planes in the sky!

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      How you deserve some clean air! Is it getting cool? Today was a really pretty spring day with a cool gentle breeze and trees starting to pop.

      Reply
  6. Hazel

    First of all, thank you for the silly car photo.
    I’ve found myself back in some the weight of grief this week. I wish I could write about it.
    I’m wondering if you have ever thought of writing a book based on the story you had with your sister?

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      Well yes that kinda underlies this look back. I can really see a slender little volume. I found NINE more notebooks from the time period, though. Good god! Just glancing at 2009 was enough to tank my afternoon. There were really difficult things going on with the boys as well in those years. I think I have to figure out how to be a little More detached as I read back or to have rituals around starting and finishing so the feelings don’t bleed into and ruin my entire day. What
      Inspires me to keep going is that the little writing I did today as a beginning effort came very easily. Like it was waiting to be said.

      Were you referring to my the loss of your father?

      Reply
      1. Hazel

        Yep, grieving what our relationship was & wasn’t more than his death, but I guess death was the loss of possibilities. I admire your ability at finding the words.

        Reply
        1. deemallon Post author

          Oh I’m certain you’d find the words, too, if you decided to do so.

  7. Liz A

    This post reminded me of Judy Martin’s journal wrapping project … which begins with this post: https://judys-journal.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-truth-is-not-story.html and then continues in the “wrapping” links that follow

    At the time I first read this, I decided to go through the letters written between me and my folks over the years, but for every sweet moment I rediscovered, there were many more that triggered unhappy memories. It wasn’t worth it. I put them on the burn pile and never regretted it.

    Reply
      1. Deborah Lacativa

        That photo drove me mad that I didn’t have a stick to poke the mud out of those clogged up holes!

        Reply
        1. deemallon Post author

          You could make a career out of clearing storm drains around here! I only bother with the two whose clogging potentially affects our basement.

    1. deemallon Post author

      Thank you for the link to Judy’s post about her journals. Wrapping them with thread after a read through is a lovely ritual. Says something about finality. A notebook becoming something else.

      Reply
  8. ravenandsparrow

    What a thought provoking thread you have triggered here! I am reminded of a time about ten years after the lengthy decline and very painful suicide of my sister-in-law. For all those years I was tossed by waves of anger and guilt and sorrow, without any way to articulate what I was feeling, as no one else in the family was prepared to discuss it. Finally I reached a calmer space inside myself and decided to make a conscious effort to let go. I found a favorite gold necklace of hers that had come to me and tucked it into a little boat that I made from cardboard. I took it down to a local creek, set it on fire and pushed it out into the current. My Viking pyre only lasted a minute, and then it was gone. I thought I could see the gold glinting in the sand beneath the clear water, and that seemed like the burial that never happened. It was good.

    Your daunting pile of notebooks reminds me of the maelstrom of feelings that family members like your sister and my sister-in-law can generate…. helplessness, rage, love, duty, emptiness, sadness…..I wish you luck and lots of self-love as you deal with this legacy over time. What you need, when you are ready.

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      I am so captivated by the ritual that you devised. It does indeed sound like a very painful legacy that you were left with. Fortunately I have been able to talk about things with both my husband (who knew her for 58 years) and my brother. The pages were not my only solace.

      Reply
  9. Joanne

    After my father died I was emptying his files and was expecting only Medicare papers etc but found instead the wills of my brother etc and the really ugly things he had to say about me and my children with the direction that it be read aloud. I had no idea he hated me that much. He didn’t want me to have even a speck of dust that belonged to him. I had once said if he came to live with us and got in trouble we would not bail him out of jail. He took offense I guess. I was just being kind. Didn’t want him to expect to get out of jail. But to read that. Such hatred. I shoved it into the shredder with every thing else and we’ll I remember but not with the shock of reading it for that first moment.

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      This really stunned me Joanne. I’ve read it many times and it doesn’t get easier. Thank you for sharing such a painful part of your history.

      Reply

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