i've been so negligent here. please, all, forgive the gaps, the silence, the empty space. i find it hard to separate a small pocket of minutes to sit here and attempt to sort my feelings out in front of all of you. but to sit down and write about what seems trivial - spring flowers, birds' nests, a new pair of glasses (after eight years of the same ones i am thrilled, i will say) - seems forced right now. i feel like time has both sped up and slowed down to a crawl - like there is no accurate measurement of the hours, the minutes, the days. time seems to be a vague concept, nothing else. i know this makes no sense. life makes no sense. does anything? 'm beginning to think nothing does, anymore. what a grand ride it is, though - roller coaster and all. i've been down in alabama for going on three weeks - was home after artfest for all of two brief days before leaving the budding green spring of firefly road and driving down to the deeper south, where spring had fully exploded. i missed seeing it come out across my beautiful mountains bit by bit, along the edge of the river, and that makes me sad. a lot of things make me sad right now, but a lot of things make me feel enlightened and wiser and upbeat as well. i feel aware. that can't be a bad thing at all. ever.so much good has come of this time i've had with treasured family - with daddy who fades (and fades and fades), with my sister and mother by my side all day and every evening. we've rallied together, this little clan of mine, and in the middle of loss and grief, the sort that comes so slowly with a loved one dying bit by bit every day, in the middle of that loss come quiet gifts as well. embrace this time, i remind myself; try not to resent, to be frustrated, overwhelmed. it is a balancing act, one i continue to work on every single day. it is difficult to live with myself on the best of days; i can only imagine what it is like to have me as a daughter, a sister, who is venting and stumbling and expressing every emotion that comes this way. but, i am here, and i express my love, and i smile and try to sit quietly in the close presence of my mother, of my father. i walk the dogs, muster sandwiches for our lunch. daddy does not eat. he is eating nothing by now, barely drinking two sips of this or that. on friday morning, three am, my sister and mother and i all rose, quiet as mice, and turned on the tv to watch the royal wedding of a handsome prince unfold. it was dark, so dark, outside the french doors, and it felt decadent to be setting out ellen's waterford champagne goblets, the scalloped cucumber sandwiches mama had made, the scones with strawberries and double cream. pots of english breakfast tea were brewed, tiaras out, a veil draped across the top of the tv. what a girly party it was, the three of us in pajamas, eating english tea party fare at four and five am.
straws were drawn to see who would wear the veil when champagne was poured for the royal kiss (picture ellen and me, still in pajamas and barefooted, standing out in the driveway as the day opened up, struggling to pop the cork at 630 am); guess who was the lucky girl? she insisted on passing on the privilege for a moment to a very patient isaac, bless his heart.it was a wonderful thing to sit there with my mother and sister, leaning forward for a closer view in that middle of the night dark, watching as the day slowly dawned, dewy and clean, hopeful and bright. it felt good to witness something magical and good, full of promise as it happened across the ocean, there on the tv in our living room. and, from the bottle's wire top, a chair. a tiny royal keepsake chair.
i'm sure by now that you've all heard about the horrendous tornados that ripped through the south, and hovered over parts of alabama. we weathered the heavy winds and rain, secured the wildly swinging hanging flower baskets, the tender new vines of confederate jasmine growing on twine that my mother has laced along the side of the french doors leading to the patio. it was a long afternoon, evening, and even longer night of watching live videos of massive black twisters tearing through what was once a neighborhood in the heart of tuscaloosa, north and west of here. whole towns are gone; the death toll continues to quickly rise. my heart aches for those who suffered loss; my heart aches for so many. so many. i want to run an auction for a necklace with proceeds to go to the appropriate places - red cross? - and when there's time i'll share that here with you. i have a necklace i made a month ago, into which i hammered the word "survivor". that seems appropriate, now. if i can ever get things together - when?! - i will.
one final message here of goodness, and hope. my beautiful son roy graduates may 14 from the university of north carolina in wilmington's film department, on the coast of beautiful north carolina, and i will be there, come hell or high water. and hopefully, so will my wonderful sister. a prouder mother of two fine young men, there has never ever been. xo photos by a friend of roy's in wilmington