Sunday, July 06, 2008

Feathering My Nest


Yup, I'm nesting. I finally figured that out. I knew I'd been here before - literally incapable of doing anything that didn't center around my husband and children. Knowing that there were some commitments and plans I'd made that I should follow up on, but not having even the slightest inclination to explore anything outside the realm of my own backyard.

No, I'm not pregnant. Trust me - there would be some serious 'splaining to do (both on the part of Mother Nature and myself). For some reason, my father's death has thrown me in to this particular orbit and here I sit, if somewhat uncomfortably.

We spent the last week at my in-laws' farm, eating three enormous home-cooked meals a day, reading on the back porch, floating the river, riding the ATV, and teaching the kids to fish. Despite the fact that I've been visiting this farm in some capacity for the last sixteen years, I am generally somewhat reserved - quick to offer my help and make sure the girls are well-behaved, not offering my opinions on anything more controversial than the weather report, and waking early to start the coffee pot.

This time, I got out of bed around 8:00 on most days, let the girls squabble with each other and ask for seconds of dessert every single night. I managed to read three books in four days and felt more relaxed than I ever have there. Talking to my newly-married and newly-pregnant sister-in-law, I found myself filling up my own skin and liking it. Walking around in my minivan-driving, stretch-mark-having, perimenopausal, fifteen-year-married body felt good. Watching the girls splash each other on hot days and toss a football with their uncle, making a latte for Bubba as I hear him step out of the shower upstairs, and not planning to do anything more rigorous than walking to the river came without admonition or guilt.

Thursday we interred my father's ashes in a sunny room overlooking a pond at the cemetery. My stepmother, two of my stepsisters and my brother came and we added photos and some special items to the urn inside the box. I wasn't feeling it. I wanted to be there for my stepmother, but for me, that isn't where Dad is. I had found him earlier on my own - at a local garden shop he used to frequent. As I wandered among the trellises and fountains I realized why I'm nesting. My father's favorite place was his backyard. From the koi pond he dug by hand to the gazebo and blueberry bushes, the greenhouse and multitude of bird houses and shaded benches, he loved nothing more than planting and weeding and mowing on the weekends and then sitting down in a cool spot visiting with a neighbor in the afternoon.

Last night I tossed and turned, haunted by dreams where I followed my stepmother around as she searched for places to "put" my father. I couldn't fully explain why, but everywhere she suggested was just wrong. Each time I encouraged her to keep looking, Dad would appear to me as a ghost and thank me.

"You're right," he'd say. "That's not the right place." But before I could ask him where, he would go away again.

Yesterday I went back to his house for the first time since he died there in my arms. I couldn't look at the spot where his hospital bed had been. I spent most of my time in the backyard, visiting with neighbors and family members who had gathered for a barbecue. When it was time to go I knew I couldn't leave without sitting in Dad's office for a little while. I told him I'd find the right place. He told me he knows that I've already found the right place.

I'm feathering this nest. This one I've already got. This one that is rich with love and respect, grace and humor and possibility. This one that I share with my girls and Bubba. This is where we will hold Dad. Once I am done reveling in my good fortune, I'll be ready to expand my horizons again. For now, this is where I belong.

8 comments:

Jerri said...

So glad to see you here again. Feather away. We'll continue to hold you in our hearts until your horizons bring you back to cyberspace.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Love, love and more love, Kario, as you feather, nest and acclimate to the new way of being.

Eileen said...

Take all the time you need, nesting is a good place to be. Trust your dreams and what you know to be true in your heart. Sending you love.

Suzy said...

Your dad is in your heart and he will be with you everywhere you go.

Love you,

Suzy

Jill of All Trades said...

Continue the healing. It takes time but will get better. It's been two years for me and it is better, still sad but better.

Deb said...

You are a woman of great wisdom. I'm so glad you're honoring both your father and yourself in this earthly way. It's from the nest that new wings find the sky. All in good time. Love you.

Jess said...

Lovely lovely post. So glad you are able to listen and hear and trust. My experience of losing a parent is so different from yours, but I do think it's an ongoing practice in listening.

Miss Devylish said...

This is exactly what I meant about taking care of you. I'm glad you're doing it.. xo

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