Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Home from the City by the Bay

Now that my mother can no longer drive, I take an airporter bus from the San Francisco Airport to Yountville. In earlier times, my folks had two places one on the Penninsula and the wine country house - they split their time between the two. That meant, when I came home, I was able to spend time in the City. San Francisco is a beautiful city - here are pictures I snapped from the bus on the way across the Bay Bridge.

MMMMMMM it is really nice to be home - got home late last night after a delayed flight. So delicious to burrow down in my own bed. I slept until 11 this morning. OMG, how lazy. I awoke to a foggy, rainy day - still warm but the cold is on the way. Snow is forecasted tomorrow. Happy girl, home and warm with soup stock simmering on the stove. Sounds like potato leek soup is on the menu for tomorrow.

Monday, November 27, 2006

On My Way Home

Preparing to leave Yountville today and fly home to St. Paul. It has been an interesting time here with my mother. Aging is difficult - seeing one's parent in the throes of denial about aging is really difficult. More about this when I am home.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I am thankful for

So I just visited one of my sisters in spirit - the most wonderful Pentha - her blog message today - what is the one thing you are thankful for -- Pentha, I am thankful for you. The other - I am thankful for life. Love and hugs to all - now keep it going.

Stag's Leap

Incredible clouds yesterday - imprinting shadows on the hills. Here is Stag's Leap - autumn in the wine country.

What a delight to be in this beautiful place.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Autumn in the Wine Country

One of the most wonderful things about coming home -- I took these pictures around the corner from the house. Stag's Leap in the mist - vineyards decked out in the Autumn colors.

We ate Dungeness Crab for supper & whole wheat sour dough bread with excellent extra virgin olive oil - lemons picked right off the tree in the side yard. Steely cold Chardonnay - heaven right here on earth.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


I have traveled home to Yountville - I will be here until November 27th. Beautiful Autumn in the wine country. Pictures are forthcoming.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Tree #5

Here are the bare bones of this incredible tree. Autumn sun. Winter can wait for now.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Great American Smoke Out 2006

Enough said.....................I am so happy to report and feel healthy on this day.

206 days, 21 hours, 35 minutes and 9 seconds smoke free.

3103 cigarettes not smoked.
$698.62 and 23 days, 16 hours of your life saved.

Your quit date: 4/23/2006 9:35:00 PM

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Attitude of Gratitude

I have been solitary this past four days. Yesterday, I read the journal I kept every day for the first six months after Tom died. It is scary, the pain leaps from the page and sears the skin off my face. It is only the second time I have read it - the first being last year on November 14th.

So much pain, so much loss and then so much gratitude. Gratitude for having Tom. Gratitude for unconditional love. Gratitude for memories to last my lifetime. Gratitude for children and grandchildren. Gratitude for friends. Gratitude for the angels that cared for Tom and I during those dark days and nights from November 11 through the 14th. The nurses of Woodwinds ICU are an amazing group of women. I will never forget their kindness, their care and their love.

Tom died with dignity and respect. In the last 24 hours of his life, it was less a medical intervention than a solemn farewell - hours sitting in the dark holding his hand. Hours spent lying in bed talking with him in the middle of the night. Friends and family coming to spend time with him. The music he loved, softly playing on CD.

And always - the nurses, there to provide the steady, loving presence to the very end. I am grateful today for each of them. I am grateful today for the angels in my life who continue to hold me as I build a new life, including so many of my blog sisters. I am grateful that I know love in so many forms. In the end of the day, love is all that matters.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Forever in My Heart

Thomas William Murray

April 23, 1935 - November 14, 2004

Our Strength and Our Guide

Notes from the Other Side

I divested myself of despair
and fear when I came here.

Now there is no more catching
one's own eye in the mirror,

there are no bad books, no plastic,
no insurance premiums, and of course

no illness. Contrition
does not exist, nor gnashing

of teeth. No one howls as the first
clod of earth hits the casket.

The poor we no longer have with us.
Our calm hearts strike only the hour,

and God, as promised, proves
to be mercy clothed in light.

Jane Kenyon

Monday, November 13, 2006

Seasons Change - Love is Constant

My dear friend and neighbor, V and I, put the front "garden" to bed. That's right, the incredible container garden that lives in the front of our unit - is safely stored away in our garages to sleep until the spring - when life is called forth anew.

I cooked dinner for my women friends on Saturday night and now am just spending my quiet reflective time as I mark this anniversary and the change of seasons. I am here lost in memories - pain and joy in equal measure. Hope and love are the opportunities at the heart of loss. Namaste.

Making Meaning

It is the middle of night and I have been reading and walking around the house; thinking of the events of two years ago. November 11, 12, 13, 14, 2004. Last year, I was just too numb. I cannot remember what I did except to cook dinner for the 15 angels in my life. Those friends who held me together during year one. The rest of those days, as I look back, are just a blur.

Today is the two year mark of the day I had to make the decision to remove the life supports - the toughest decision I have ever had to make.

Here it is dark outside at nearly 4 am - I can't help but remember holding the warm hand of my husband - unable to comprehend what lay ahead. I am home for the next two days - just to reflect, to make meaning, to look ahead - to honor, to grieve and to cherish the love between us.

Death ends a life not a relationship.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Chicago, Chicago

Yes - I am here for the last time to complete the leadership transition for our client. I am so glad to pass the baton to the next leader. This has been an incredible experience - one that will take a great deal of time to reflect on the lessons learned.

I do like Chicago - I want to come back and be a regular visitor -- go to the theater, eat in the great restaurants and see my friends.

I will be home on Thursday - be well.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Clock Moves Forward

Slowly now towards November 14th and the second anniversary of Tom's death. November is here and I can touch back to life as I knew it; to life as we were living it.

The second year is crazed. You are "better" because life moves on and you move too. You are raw and open to the pain - not like the first year. That first year when you cry without warning a million times a day.

The second year, when your tears fill your silent time, soak your pillow at night - hovering in the background as you rebuild life one step at a time. The time moves slowly forward and you learn to laugh again and feel the joy of life - and yet it is always there, floating just beyond your eyesight - that utter sadness and loss.

Last night I wept long into the night; something I have not done for so long. I miss my life and am totally confused because what is my life? Is it this new life I am forging and then - what of the life I loved, the dreams we shared, the warmth of your body in bed at night, the strength of your laugher echoing from the other room, the dancing in the kitchen, the apple fritters, hugs from behind while washing dishes. Growing old together is not to be. Oh weeping shadows on the wall - guide me as I reflect and continue to make meaning of this transformative journey.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Almost Done

I have been home since last Thursday and just working to transition this transition to a new Interim Director. Blessings abound. The new director starts on Monday and he is fabulous. I will be leaving for Chicago on Sunday afternoon for the last trip on this transition.

This project has been all consuming. I believe that their new person, Dr. K is the right leader for the time. He is ready to take them on the next steps of this journey. I think he is the leader for the long haul. What does success look like in doing this messy and crazy work? In a year, the organization stands on the hill in the sunshine - Mission Matters.

Some of the tough stuff is - I am approaching the second anniversary of Tom's spirit passing. I am meeting my obligations. I have moments that tear at my heart. I suppose being busy is what it is - I did give myself much time to grieve in the first year. Grieving now so different, not gone that's for sure.

I have reflections on the closure of the second year - but not now. Reflections in a day or two. Now I have to go and visit all my darling blog buddies. My heart to yours - across the miles.