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The nothing and the everything of life

I don't know why this is so pressing. It all started with a dinner conversation. It all started with the day that presented itself like a gift that I did not want to open. Such is life. Such is something that crops up without expecting it. Without preparation.

Dinner time is a good time to open up. Food does that.

Dinner time relaxes the mind and the body and joins the family in a common bond.

Memories surface. Where do they come from? And why? And for what purpose?

......I am driving down a leafy street in late Ocotober. My mother has been dead since August the 16th. My journey is rough and full of grief and the Autumn  leaves make the road look beautiful yet immeasurably sad. And there is nothing before me but blacktop and white lines to ensure that I obey the rules. Follow the boundaries 

I drive on and come to a junction. Two cars ahead of me. A bus turns onto the road and drives in the opposite direction and there sitting by the window in one of the seats is my father. A pause. A recognition. A frantic wave. More waves. I wave back. We are both connecting. And he, the lone passenger in a bus heading home to a house where nothing only ghosts will greet him and empty rooms to remind him of what once was.  And our waves signify nothing and everything and that is what bothers me now. 

I think I should have turned around. Followed the bus until my father came to his stop. Picked him up and taken him somewhere. Told him my soul. Told him that I loved him. Told him that life is full of nothings and everythings. But I did not. I kept on driving. To what I don't know. To a meeting for coffee perhaps. Or a store to buy a new tablecloth. A pair of socks. A stupid face cream. Whatever. I should have turned back.  I should have. I see him now. Delighted with the chance encounter. The mere footsteps of our souls meeting on a road. The very chance of it. It bothers me. It haunts me. It will never leave me.

And now when I drive by that very place I see him. I see the bus and the face and the grief. I see the glass. The wave. The sadness of people on buses. The way we all collide into one final fall. The life that kept him going. The ending. The desperate lonely wave and the way I kept on driving into nothing but a false dream.

 

Comments
17 Comment count
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Should Haves

Mary,

You are a sensitive soul. I don't know who said regrets are futile but some of us don't know how to let go of the moments when we think we caused pain and sadness for our loved ones.

I have no doubt you gave your father much happiness. Too bad we can't unsear some of the self-flagellating memories seared into our brains.

Jules

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Thanks for reading Jules. I

Thanks for reading Jules. I have no sense of self-flagellation though and sorry if that came across as so. I was exploring how transitory our lives can be and how something can be significant or not. I see my father on the bus and me in my jeep and going in the opposite direction as the fact that we are all born alone and basically live alone. Our ultimate journey is dealing with ourselves and how we travel the path. I did give my father happiness and he in turn gave it to me but in the end we have to cope with our own destiny and our own sense of why we live. That is the harsh reality and out of that harshness comes the grief. best, m

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Self-flagellation

Mary,

I'm the one who should apologize and I am. I transferred my sympbolic crop of self-flagellated feelings to you without your permission. (Hate it when I do that.) Your prose is poetic, making it more subjective to me.

Wow, was that an easy out or what. I'm tossing the shovel out of this hole now.

Jules

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Ha Ha Jules! Nice one! You

Ha Ha Jules! Nice one! You can dig holes into my writing any time you wish!!! m

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Autumn Leaves

The sad story you told above was beautiful in its creation of the mix of love, loss, regret, and memories that bless us with their sudden unexpectedness and the memories that haunt us with regret.  I also liked what Jules said.  She was so on target with her understanding.

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Yes Sue, regret, memories and

Yes Sue, regret, memories and love and loss and life and death and the finality of it all and if I had regret I do not really believe it is true because I think regret drains your energy. I know |I should have turned back the car that day but I did not for a reason I suppose. What if my Dad wanted to be alone? What if I needed space? I am sure that in the following days he had come to my home for dinner. Maybe not. Maybe I imagine it all. Maybe we are all mere mortals. All I know is that the sight of him on a bus alone will stay with me forever. And that alone could be my own projection. mx

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Once again, Mary, you give us

Once again, Mary, you give us a glimpse into not only your life and the losses therein, but also our own lives and the losses and the pain of grief we all share.  As you said to me, "very poignant and very universal."  The same is true of the nothing and everything of life...you give us all pause; thanks for sharing this difficult memory. nan

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Thank you nan as always you

Thank you nan as always you look in with sincerity and insight but maybe that comes from all the books you devour! As I said, I see life as a bus journey - a fleeting glimpse into the windows of the souls of people I encounter. This was my glimpse into what was a difficult and lonely time and for all I know my father was thinking the same of me as I  did of him. A lonely woman behind a glass window in a jeep heading into nowhere land. mx

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A different kind of visionary.

Mary, how I salivate with your words. I think as we pass through our  moments, we begin to see diferently.  I think I value more, chance encounters, sweet minutes of recognition...even a serendipitous find.

Life and all of it's gems, some cut and polished, some rough and raw...mean so much.  How I've learned to appreciate children, husband family, friends, gardens, food, wine, music, dance, books...and words...oh my, Mary, your precious insightful and luscious words.

My best to you this week.

Sharon

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Flattery will get you

Flattery will get you everywhere Sharon! Thank you. And I happen to love serendipity. Where would we be without it? mx

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Turning To Our Affairs

Mary,

Very introspective and honest (almost confessional), soul-revealing analysis! I think we all need to "confess" occasionally, even if only in a secular way.  It helps to release inner conflicts and tensions building up to an explosive point, like steam in a pressure cooker. [My pioneer mother used to use the pressure cooker a lot; in my urban lifestyle, I never see or hear of them anymore.]

Yes, a beautiful scene  is sometimes "interrupted" with a memory of a lost loved one, like a wind gust suddenly  rippling  the waters of a mirror-smooth lake surface.  I had such an experience just today as I drove under a canopy of overhanging trees blazing their fall colors; then a vivid mental image of a lost loved one darkened the bright scene.

Robert Frost ends one of poems  with the observation that after loss,  we human beings "turn to our affairs" and Emily Dickinson similarly has a poem about "busying ourselves" with routine, meaningless tasks after a death in the family. [I may have gotten the quotes slightly wrong.] I guess we all have to go on, but as another poet wrote on this subject,  "I forget just why."  [ Isn't it Edna St. Vincent Millay at the end of "Patterns"? Remember her other famous line, "Christ, what are patterns for?"]

Thanks so much for your movingly written blog.

Brenden

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Brenden I love your

Brenden I love your quotations! Marvellous and always fitting. Thanks for reading my erstwhile thoughts. m

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still, your words are so full

still, your words are so full of passion. i've missed you & your writings, m. glad you're still here when i make one of my few red room visits.

~ d

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Second the motion

David,

I'll "piggy-back" on your comment.  This was one of Mary s better postings, inspiring me to add my thoughts.

Brenden

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Second the motion

David,

I'll "piggy-back" on your comment.  This was one of Mary s better postings, inspiring me to add my thoughts.

Brenden

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Second the motion

David,

I'll "piggy-back" on your comment.  This was one of Mary s best postings, inspiring me to add my thoughts.

Brenden

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~ d - i often think of you

~ d - i often think of you and wonder how the writing is going...nice to see an old friend standing at the door ~m