I drove home yesterday. I had done all that I could. I had been quiet. I did laundry, washed sheets, made sure that all his clothes were washed. I did a little light cleaning around the house. I fixed meals. I picked up take out. I fed Sammi and walked her. I hugged on her, and stood next to Spat with my hand on his shoulder. I gave him a hair cut, I was quietly there when he woke with upsetting dreams. We talked, I tried to prepare him for things that were coming. I was there so the house was not so big and empty and lonely.
But he was stronger. He is recovering from his back surgery just fine. He is out of shock over the loss of Colleen. So after picking up a Cuban for him and talking over lunch. He fell asleep watching the Bucs game. I got him into bed and gave him a hug and said my good byes and I slipped from this sanctuary on Long lake road with the pond and the sandhill cranes, from the quiet of Spat and Colleen's home, put the top down on the toy and headed north on 19. It was gray and cold. A dreary day, just like my mood. I was happy to be going home. I was already worried about Spat. I am looking forward to getting into the Christmas fray and make soap and mail packages. I am leaving behind a peace and quiet, a sanctuary away from the real world where Spat and I hid for the last many days and weeks.
The drive home took me up 19 past stretches of trees that the rain has washed all of the leaves from. The green of the pines, the gray of the rain soaked barren branches. A spot here and there of the little red, orange and gold pools of leaves that tenaciously still hang on. While carpets of dead leaves pack down into the understory. It was quiet and I listened to Christmas carols. I made it to north of Chiefland before the humidity forced the top back up on the toy.
I pulled into my drive and the dogs and cats all came running. They are not used to being treated as animals instead of children and they wanted Mom to come home and take them back into the house and let them be kids again. Safe and warm in the house in their beds and chairs, asleep on the couch. Maybe Mom would fix their regular dinner then the one that I had asked Carolyn to make for them. I asked her to just give them dry food, and to let them "camp" out in the pasture. It did not hurt them. Maybe it helped. Ednarose is being such a good girl. She grew up a lot this week. I checked on my chickens. When I had left Zora Neal looked very rough. She is an older chicken. I have no idea exactly how old, but Larry had given her and Jefferson to me for Christmas one year. They were older then. She was a good hen. She was the alpha hen. She was the one who looked over all the other chickens as a stern mother superior. And now she is gone. She was laying in the safe box having died a couple of days ago. She was the most patient sitter of all the chickens I have had these past 25 years. Bless you sweet Zora Neal, you will be missed.
Then this morning I woke ready to post, ready to close this past couple of weeks. To say good bye to Colleen and to get back to my life. Get back into Christmas. But instead there was an email from Jan Girvin.
It was simple and straight forward, Pete died last night at 9:10 pm, comfortably in his chair.
Pete is gone?
He did not think he would make it to the end of the year. He wasn't sure he would make it to December 1st.
He made it to December 11.
And now he is gone.
My heart breaks under this load of loss.
But this loss like Zora's was not unexpected
This loss like Colleen, is not about me, but about Spat
And this loss of Pete is about Jan.
Jan said she is OK
I am sure she is OK,
but I do not think she is fine.
I am not fine.
Please, no more
no more loss
I do not say that well known saying, "God never gives you more then you can handle"
Please don't say that to me.
I have done everything I can,
but I am not sure that I am strong enough for anymore
I know I can handle it
but that does not mean that it is not tearing me up inside.
I loved these people.
I loved my chicken
I loved Colleen dearly, she was so full of life and energy and excitement. She was such a people person
I loved Pete dearly. He started as a friend of a friend, but his sweet smile and his precious wife made me fall in love with them completely. And he and I shared so much together with this disease. We both had lung cancer. Different types of lung cancer, but we experienced so many similar side effects and problems.
In such a short time I gave my heart fully to this dear dear sweet couple.
A couple that shared so much life together. They share a son that has grown into a man they are proud of. They share a lovely piece of land together. It has gardens, a lovely home and a beautiful chicken yard and coop. With such simple and useful systems to clean the coop. He was a brilliant man, he worked hard for his family for the state.
He was a good man.
Farewell dear friend
I need to call Jan.
I need to make soap.
I need to be quiet
I need a little time to take care of Zora
I need a little time to see what Jan needs
I need to give Spat a little space, but will check back with him Tuesday night to see how he did at the Mass. I wish I could be there with him at the mass. But it is time to let his other friends be there for him.
I need to take care of me.
I will go pick up my mail and packages at the post office a little later today. Maybe there will be a letter from the doctor with my schedule to look at my liver.
I need to breathe.
I need to just be and let all of this loss settle in and see if I can make any sense of this.
What sense is there to make?
so do chickens
We get new chickens
We remember them, but we are able to go out and get a new one
There is no new Pete
There is no new Colleen
They are gone and I miss them.
I miss them.
They were good people
They each touched so many others
and today the world feels a little heavier with out their light.