Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Monday, May 2, 2011

Endings and Beginnings

Saturday night we had a sell out crowd, an engaged crowd, a happy and laughing crowd and they got their money's worth.  It was the kind of performance you hope to get by the second weekend, but this cast and crew gave it opening Saturday and I could not be more proud of them.  They did this with a short rehearsal schedule, with work schedules that cut that even shorter.  All on a tiny postage stamp stage.  This was the first play with the Stage Company for three of them and a fourth had done 2 radio plays, but not a play where he had to memorize lines.  There was action, murder, mystery and mayhem and they were funny and entertaining and it was a joy to be a part of this.  And we will get to do it again for 2 more weekends.  I can't believe they let us do this.

Sunday was Beltane, May Day, my favorite day of the year.  Even as a small child I have memories of May Poles and flowers and picnics and celebrating spring and woman.  Most holidays seemed to me to be about men, and even before I could understand fertility and sex and birthing I understood that this day was about what woman brought to the world versus men.  Men were war, protectors of the weak.  I appreciated that, although I didn't understand why all the holidays seemed to be about war.  This day, this single day as a child was about being a girl.  Wearing flowers in my hair, dancing and singing and having picnics.  Stories of Camelot and Queen Guenevere were told, long bright ribbons were braided into intricate designs.  A May queen was picked and she wore a crown of scented flowers and herbs on her head.  It was about everything I loved.

I have so many memories of May Day, from childhood, from college with Linda and Susan laughing and running through the night picking flowers, from my adult life.  In Key West one May Day about 20 of us ran naked through the streets laughing and singing, ah youth!  And I have kept many of the same traditions year after year, although now mostly celebrated alone.  I am no longer the young and nubile woman that I was.  Now I am the crone, and I welcome the change from producer of children to babysitter.  Accepting and celebrating the seasons of a woman's life seem to be more and more a part of this most favorite of days for me.  At the heart of this day it is about spring and sex and fertility and a celebration of the earth and all the many gifts that come from her, this glorious planet to the gifts that come from men and woman of all species to reproduce and keep the species alive.  It is about birth and the changing of seasons of the planet from the barren winter to the fertile spring.    It is about new beginnings.

And I celebrated the day here on my little piece of earth with my children and reveled in the glories of a perfect spring day.  Then I put the top down on the toy and drove to the Moon's for the first of the May birthdays.  This was also special because it was the weekend of Jessie Moon's graduation.  The winner of the cathedral award.  The celebration of her 22nd birthday, her and Vergil's love, her completion of her BS, her RN pinning, her granny's birthday.  And it was perfect.  Simple, together, loving, an extended family gathered up in the arms of Mary and Glen's home.  Spilling out to the back yard with tables covered with bright cloths and flowers and food and spirits and the most beautiful and delicious coconut cake I have ever eaten.  And tears. Yes, there were tears knowing that soon Jessie Moon will spread her long beautiful wings and fly  off to Asheville to start her life with Vergil.  A man who has won all of our hearts.  A man we did not really want to love because we knew it would mean that they will leave at some point.  They will come back.  I know that Asheville may be their home, but Jessie will bring her babies back to her Momma and Daddy.  

Her Momma and Daddy and brother and sisters and granny and extended adopted family like myself.  Who blink back tears when we think of her leaving.  But we know she is happy and that Vergil loves her as we would wish for her.  And that she will never be too far away, this beautiful daughter with the sweet voice and smile.  A smile that just breaks your heart open and fills it with love.

It was a perfect May Day.

And now Beltane, the in between winter and spring has passed and I can no longer avoid finishing Larry's obituary.  But it is so hard to type when you are sobbing.  When tears cloud your vision and blur your mind.  This man. This man that I fell in love with the moment that I first saw him.  He walked up the steps to his little stilt house in a pair of white shorts and a navy blue shirt with a pair of flip flops on and eyes so blue.  A soft sweet voice that said, "hello."  That was all it took.  And here I sit now, knowing that I have to go to sleep.  That I have to get up tomorrow and go to work and be able to think and function.  To go to our pick up rehearsal tomorrow night and be present, helpful, supportive.  Not tired and cranky.  But I can not sleep.  I don't want to sleep.  I don't want to cry any more and that is when it comes so often.  When I am driving and when I am falling asleep.  The memories of this man fill my head and my eyes with tears and choke my voice.  I divorced him.  I tried to anyway.  It just didn't take.  And it did not accomplish what we both needed.  But it did save this house.  

His addiction was out of control.  Now I realize that it was not only alcohol and cocaine, but brain cancer.  He had no off switch any longer.  And the divorce ended up being the right thing to do financially, but it just never took emotionally.  He never moved on.  I tried to move on.  But I was not ready.  I am still not ready.  I am lonely though.  Not for that first love.  That exciting passionate love.  No, I remember that kind of love, and that is not what I am lonely for.  I am lonely for that love that comes from time, from living through good times and bad.   From sharing survival stories as well as joyful stories.  The kind of love that allows two people to spend 2 weeks and 5000 miles, yes, 5000 miles on a  BMW cross country Paris to Dakar motorcycle and not kill each other.  The kind of love, where you cry together at Publix commercials and are not embarrassed but laugh at each other about it until the next commercial.  The kind of love where you are so completely exhausted from spending 20 hours on a motorcycle in a place as foreign as any we had ever been and as familiar as the home I grew up in.  A place that never got dark, so you never knew to stop riding. There was always something else around the next corner.  

And years later, as Larry was in Hospice, his life rapidly coming to an end.  No way to stop that.  Only deal with the pain of 5 tumors spreading and growing and eating him alive.  Just weeks ago.  We sat there together on his bed and I told him the old stories.  I retold the story of Windy, of Spray.  The story of Maggie the day he brought her home and he put her in my arms.  Of the birth of Harry and Lily.  Of our little house on the water.  Of the days fishing in a 16 foot boat catching tarpon almost as big as the boat.  Of taking trips to the Keys by water, by car, by motor cycle.   Of our adventures three times to Alaska, twice on a motorcycle.  Of our trip to Honduras to see his family there.  Of car trips to the Canadian Maratimes, to Seattle where we missed the turn and ended up in Canada.  Of our cross country tours where we stopped even if just for a matter of minutes and a photo in 48 states.  Of driving in a parade on Route 66.  I am not sure to this day how we ended up in it, but it was fun.  Of the time we got blown off the back end of bear brute outside of Sturgis.  Of all the places we visited.  I think one of his favorite spots was the petrified forest.  We also went to Utah to see the wall paintings and the dinosaur foot prints.  We spent vacations in mountains and in the Bahamas, in deserts and forests.  We saw the tallest, biggest trees together and looked upon both the Pacific and the Atlantic.  We slept on ferry boats almost in Russian waters and watched the sunset in Key West.  We had a full life together.  We were together 25 years.  Twenty two of them as husband and wife.  We traveled well together.  We enjoyed a rich and full life.  A life full of adventure and love and ......well, it was complicated in the end.  

And we both ended up with cancer.  He died of brain cancer.  I live with lung cancer.  He did not understand why we got cancer.  I accept the gift of this disease as an opportunity.  He was not able to wrap his mind around his cancer, let alone mine.  But I know that much of that inability to understand was because of the cancer.  It was complicated, but he loved me.  He loved me through his last breath.  And as much as I still try and act like I was not hurt by all that happened in those last few years, I love him still.  And I miss that love.  That old love that you share with someone you have shared life with.  And I have tried to move on.  I thought I was over him and could move on.  Now, I see that I have not.  I will.  Eventually.  It does not mean that I will stop loving him, but it will mean that my broken heart has room again to love.  

New beginnings happen every moment.  You just have to be open to them.  If a new beginning, a new opportunity to find old love comes to me again, I will be ready for it.  Will I take the time it takes to grow in that love, or will I just jump in feet first grabbing out for all that I can grab?  Knowing me, I will be the jumper.  I have always been.  I have never wanted to miss a moment, an opportunity.  And still to this day, when my heart has been beat up so badly, I am still ready to jump.  But we will have to see if there are arms to catch me.  And if not?  I have so many arms now wrapped around me, loving me.  If I ever doubted that, all I had to do was go to a birthday party at the Moon's.  Or direct a play at the Opera House with Judy and Denise and beloved friends.  Or go to work and look up at the face coming in the door.  I am so lucky for all the beginnings I have had. 

Endings?  I hope that I can feel some of that at the Memorial Service for Larry on May 21, at 1:00pm.  Osgood Point, Clam Bayou, Gulfport, Florida.  Pinellas County.  Where Larry was born.  Where his family legacy lives on.   Where his remains mixed with rose petals will lift up into the air and then settle into the water.  Water that empties into the warm and fertile Gulf of Mexico.  The water that has been a part of each of our lives, our entire lives.  And soon he will become a part of that water, of the fertility, a breeding place for life.  Not all of him, a small part of him will go to his cousin in Colorado.  A small part of him will be sprinkled over his beloved Maggie and Lily.  A small part of a big life that was lived well, despite his addictions, or maybe because of them.   And one day my remains will be spread across my property here.  Some of those ashes will join his.   And together we will have our ending......and maybe a new beginning.


  1. So very touching to me. A life shared with someone with so many memories. I think on the life that I have shared with my wife and am filled with a flood of memories. Most of them have been good and that is what I focus on.