Monday, October 26, 2015

Rainy October Night
Wind shakes windows, roars and
croaks against illusions of protection.
Walls resist intrusion, push banging back.
Water pounds roof, knocking insistently
reminding me death will knock too soon.

OK, this isn't my poetry blog and won't usually have poetry, but I found out today that my cousin Gail died about the time I was writing this poem.  I look over at Bob writing in his chair and use an act of will to push out of my mind the knowing that death comes knocking when and how she will.  Not here in my house tonight please.  i am not afraid of death but I'm greedy for life.

I've been thinking about Gail all day.  She was a bit younger and  we never lived in the same state as girls, so we weren't really close.  I remember how distressed my mother was when Gail was diagnosed with diabetes at four.  Her mother was a nurse and did a wonderful job of helping her learn to live with her disease. I remember feeling shy when she and her siblings came to visit at our house in Houston.  I was an only child and didn't really know how to play with slightly younger, active kids.  I think I may have hidden in my room with a book.  I've done that too much in my life.  Gail and I lived most of our adult lives in the Austin area and both of us got busy on separate tracks, especially after the death of her grandmother, my beloved Aunt Tonie. I remember holiday meals together, her wedding shower, her parents' funerals, a sweet smile and warm hugs from her.  I know she loved the Longhorns just as her parents had and that her last post on Facebook was one of delight about the team winning the OU game.  There is so much I don't know though.  And yet the two of us shared some of the same laps growing up, played on the same back porch, have the same kolache recipe.

I feel sad that I didn't know Gail better, that I didn't try harder.  I want to try harder with other friends and family members, but I probably won't manage as much closeness as I'd like.  Closeness takes time and energy and both are limited.  Its such a delicate balance between " you can only do what you can do." and "if not now, when?"   

I'm going to cut myself a break tonight and feel delight in the intense silver moon light and the fact that I came up with a dinner (tiny lamb patties and pearled couscous and carrots) that worked for the whole family and in which Liam expressed delight.  Tonight is one of those nights when I need to focus on what works and know that in the morning I can work on the things that can work better.    
My cousin Gail as I  first remember her
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Mary said...

It is sad that in the midst of our lives there are those that we know but do not connect with often. Sometimes we just kind of let the drift occur, thinking there is tomorrow. Sometimes we just lose the caring that we once had as other people enter our lives. But when a death occurs sometimes we think back and wonder what we could have done, what we could have known, how we could have connected, if we had tried a bit harder, if we........... But life isn't easy, and sometimes it is hard to know how to prioritize. Sometimes we fail to see what or who is important until....... But then again, we are human and must accept that about ourselves. I do like the idea of focusing on what works, Victoria! That really is the best we can do as we think about what will work better.. I am glad you are blogging again!

Victoria said...

Thank you Mary, for commenting. I was thinking as I came to consciousness this morning that part of my connection to Gail and other family members and old friends is that we share a connection to beloved family members long dead. In this case there are parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles we both loved dearly that fewer and fewer living people knew. Besides the personal loss, to the extent that we live on in the memories of those who loved us, each loss of a family member of my generation makes the loss of preevious generations a little more complete and that compounds the sadness.