ON MY 74TH BIRTHDAY…
I allowed myself a total meltdown. I mean as in a complete shuddering shaking mess.
No delicate sniffling. No unobtrusive wiping of a teardrop from the corner of my eye. No gentle pressing of a Kleenex to my quivering lips.
Oh no. This was the real thing and a long time coming.
Grief is a funny thing. You’re sailing along merrily, content with life as it is. But it’s there. Lurking in your subconscious. Waiting to pounce. Rubbing its horrid little hands in anticipation. Waiting for the trigger that will bring you to your knees.
The Friday before my birthday started as normal except for a friend request on Facebook from an unfamiliar name. Then another, asking for my phone number.
And then the news. My beautiful “other” daughter had this time gone too far down the rabbit hole and did not find her way back.
I took the dogs and went for a long walk. I cried. I talked to her father and cried with him.
I went down to the beach. The spirits of two little girls scampered around my feet. Ventured into the water. Heeded my warning about going in too deep and scrambled out and up the sand dune. Dirty. Happy. Laughing. Playing. Running ahead, hand in hand.
It brought back yesteryear.
I stopped and stared out over the water. Willed time and memory to stop in that moment so many years ago.
But I pulled up my big girl panties and went back to socialize. After all, we were with a group of friends for a fun weekend. The famous Shuck and Suck Festival in Cape Charles VA.
But Grief was lurking. Waiting for a trigger. And it came in the stupidest of ways.
THE CAPTAIN FORGOT MY BIRTHDAY!
At any other time it would’ve been a source of hilarity. In fact, writing about it is cathartic. I already see the humor. Good heavens, the man doesn’t even know what day it is from one to the next.
But that morning it threw my teeter-totter way off balance. It was the trigger Grief had been waiting for. An overcast sky, with pale grey clouds spitting light rain, didn’t help.
I took my kayak and went as far away from shore and humanity as I could.
And there, in the middle of the creek, I rested my paddle on my knees and allowed Grief to do its thing.
I shook the proverbial fist at the heavens.
I lifted my head and screamed at God.
I ranted about the unfairness of it all.
I cried and cried. The kind of crying that leaves you shuddering and gulping for air.
I hugged my knees tightly into my chest. Hoping the pressure would release the physical pain lodged there.
It hurt so badly. So terribly badly.
My heron friend flew overhead, screeching in counterpoint. Huge wings flapped, then folded as it landed in a nearby tree. It tilted its head to one side and stared at me.
Somewhat calmer I allowed myself a “no-no.”
I dug up my list of “what ifs” and “if only.” The list goes way way back.
I went over it, allowing all the regrets to surface. And when done, I fold the list. Tucked it away.
I told Grief to take a hike. Till next time. There will be a next time. I know.
And the message came clear.
“My grace is sufficient for you.”
I picked up my paddle and returned to the marina and friends and laughter.
The rain had stopped. We ordered pizza. Silly jokes and reminisces abounded. One friend produced a tiny one person chocolate cake cooked in a cup in the microwave.
Her husband produced a lighter which I had to blow out in lieu of a candle.
We said goodbye. Till the next time.
Life is good.
Cyber hugs and Blessings All.
Woorde: JAN F.E. CELLIERS
Musiek: JOHANNES BRAHMS; Op. 49 nr. 4
Slaap, my kindjie, slaap sag, onder rose vannag.
Eers die armpies om my nek en dan warmpies toegedek.
Môre vroeg, as God wil, word my kindjie gewek;
môre vroeg, as God wil, word my kindjie gewek.
Slaap, my kindjie, slaap sag, onder eng’le se wag;
hulle toon jou in ‘n droom kindjie Jesus se boom.
Slaap nou soet, hulle wys jou ‘n droomparadys,
Slaap nou soet, hulle wys jou ‘n droomparadys.
Sleep, my child, sleep softly, covered by roses tonight.
Place your little arms around my neck, all warmly bundled up.
Early tomorrow, if God wills, my child will awake;
Early tomorrow, if God wills, my child will awake.
Sleep my child, sleep softly, guarded by angels;
They show you in a dream, my child, Jesus’ tree.
Sweet sleep now, they show you a dream paradise,
Sweet sleep now, they show you a dream paradise..