Thursday, November 12, 2009

An Anniversary and a Poem

One year ago today my mother-in-law died of breast cancer.  

There are so many things that come to mind when I type that sentence:  Saying that out loud feels strange, and typing it feels even stranger.  Cancer sucks. Loosing a parent completely shakes your foundation.  Bad things happen to good people.  I am so thankful that she got to see us get married and continue our lives together.  I loved her so much.  I can't believe how much she's missed.  

It's very strange to me to think about my life and how it's changed, or not changed, over the past year.  Just as I mentioned in this post where I wrote about the meals I cooked to soothe myself, I'm still thinking about food being a part of my professional life, but I now feel closer than ever.

It's hard to comment on how things have changed without resorting to meaningless tautologies like, "so much has changed, yet so much stays the same".  That said, things have most certainly changed.

This baby who comforted me a year ago

has grown into a beautiful little lady

and this doggie, who was brand new to me at the time

has been brightening up my life ever since.  He makes me laugh daily.

And today, I'm trying to take it all in and look forward.  There are great things coming, and I'm ready.  I'd like to leave you with one of my all time favorite poems which seems appropriate for this post.  I highly recommend listening to a moving reading in an interview about poetry with the author here, late in his long and full life.  

The Layers
Stanley Kunitz

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned campsites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.


Craig said...

Sweet thoughts ... sad time. Do your best!

Linda said...

Who is the little lady?

Alicia said...

That little lady is a coworkers daughter who gives me baby time whenever I need it. A very sweet little girl :)

Maggie said...

I can't believe I'm only commenting on this now! I'm inspired by the strength you've found in the things around you. It's true - we have lots to be very thankful for in our lives and so much to enjoy! Thanks for bringing a little something beautiful and thoughtful into the world with your writing and your cooking. And the poem is just plain gorgeous.

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