I don’t actually have a macro lens yet (I’m saving my pennies) so I have to use my 200mm telephoto, then enlarge and crop. (The image would have been clearer if I had a macro lens.) As a result, I didn’t even know I had captured this beauty. I thought I was just taking a picture of a beautiful flower that I could enlarge to show the detail. As I was looking at this photo in my iPhoto library, I noticed something was sitting on the bottom portion of the flower. I wasn’t even sure what it was at first because I was just browsing thumbnails. I clicked on the photo to see what I could do with it – whether or not I could edit it into a usable photo and voilà! C’est merveilleux! And an unexpected grace.
*This, by the way, is a butterfly, not a moth. You can tell by looking at three things.
Here in the States it is Mother’s Day. But I want to expand the definition of what it is to be a mother. You fulfill a mothering role if
I want to especially wish a Happy Mother’s Day to those whose
I want also to acknowledge mothers whose children are critically ill.
And I want to add to this list perhaps the most forgotten category
I want to honor each of you, wish you the best, and offer a collage of virtual bouquets.
All Images were taken at our wonderful local flower shop on Grand Avenue in Oakland, California. It is an oasis of calm, and has the comforting feel of a French flower shop.
For the first few months after my husband’s death, I could think of nothing other than the loss of him. It invaded both my waking and my sleeping and was intensified by the bone deep exhaustion that permeated every cell of my body. But gradually, over the months, I started to notice that there began to be room for other things. I began to be able to eat with friends and stay still long enough to observe the fog slowly retreating up the hills in the mornings. It’s not that I hadn’t seen the color of the world in the early months of grieving, it’s that the color and beauty were merely observed rather than taken in. Somewhere around the seventh month since the fall that took the essence of him away, which was also the fifth month after his death, I began to notice that every once in awhile I would feel a flash of joy. I didn’t quite know what to do with that. Should I feel guilty that I was beginning to feel comfortable in the world again or be grateful for it?
I know I said I would just post photos for at least a week, but I want to tell you the history of this kettle.
The predecessor to this kettle was given to me by husband about 15 years ago. I had fallen in love with it through a store window up in Mendocino, California while I was visiting my mom. Let me remind you that my husband was the cook of the family, so it was his kitchen. He didn’t want to replace our large Revere Ware kettle with anything else because the Revere kettle could hold enough water to make enough drip coffee for guests all in one go. And there was nothing wrong with it. I couldn’t argue with that, but eventually the little plastic bit that enabled you to lift the small lid and pour, broke, as plastic bits are prone to do. Revere no longer made those extra large kettles, so he agreed to get me one of these wonderful pure copper English kettles for my birthday.
We used that one happily for about 12 years. But alas, we had originally bought the design that could only be used on a gas stove. Our retirement community only has electric stoves, so we needed a replacement. But in the intervening years, the price for these kettles had shot up a whopping 300%. That is not a typo. The original copper works factory that had been making these kettles for over 100 years found it too expensive to continue to operate and had closed down. These kettles had gone overnight from being ubiquitous in England and passed down from mother to daughter, to trendy and rare. Only the quantity that remained in the warehouse existed. I told him how much they now cost. He paled a little, but then said, “Sweet Love, I know how much you have loved using this kind of kettle. No matter the price, I will still get you a new one for your birthday. He did, and I think of him every morning as I fill the pot with water and turn on the electric stove.
I am fortunate that some of our family is Jewish and some of our family is Christian. If you have been celebrating Easter today, Happy Easter, and if you are in the midst of celebrating Passover, Chag Sameach. If you celebrate neither, I hope you have had a lovely weekend.
What do you see? Maybe all three?
Please weigh in with your comments below.
Almost 7 months to the day since my husband died, I am finding that a sense of peace often settles over me. I’m not saying that there is not still grief, or that I don’t still miss him. There is, and I still do. But I am finding that as time goes by, I am remembering more and more often our many decades together when he was not sick, and remembering less the awfulness of the illnesses that preceded his dying.
Last night I went with two friends to a small concert venue to hear an evening of music written by Schubert. As an Austrian composer of the late 18th and early 19th century, he was unusual in that he not only composed music for small and large orchestra, but also wrote transcendently beautiful art songs for voice. Saturday was an evening of both.
I am fortunate. Much of music speaks directly to my soul. It bypasses my analytical brain and goes straight to my heart and fills me with a sense of peace and beauty. Sometimes it feels as if the music inhabits me and I sense little boundary between me and it.
Such was last night, and I realized, not for the first time, that the intense grief of my husband’s death has continued to lessen, giving me space to exist in the world. Such is the grace of time, I think, and love. As I sat there fully present in the music, I realized that this is exactly what he would want for me. He would not want me to stop living after his death, but rather fully embrace life for the both of us.