Thursday, May 28, 2009

Canyon Man

One day after Jack and I were together, he was telling me that he needed a Hum-V. Not a Hummer, but a military Hum-V complete with machine gun nest. Being the practical girl that I am, my next question was: "Why?!" Just made no sense to me. His answer went something like this: Just imagine, it's the end of the world as we know it, there's destruction all around us. I pull up in the Hum-V in a cloud of dust, leap out and say, (said in a deep voice) "Take hold of my bumper and I will pull you to freedom, for I am Canyon Man" Whereupon you hear this cartoony multi-note "ahh-ah-ahh" My response to this was that he couldn't be Canyon Man without me. I needed my own persona. Whereupon I became Canyon Girl. What I said was, "Take my hand and I will tend to your wounds and serve you coffee, for I am Canyon Girl!" Enter the cartoony "la-la-la" When we had kids, they were the Canyon Kids. He even made up the words to a song called Canyon Baby which we used to sing to Sarah when he would fly her through the air when she was small. We were the Canyon Family.

Between the time that he came up with Canyon Man and when we had kids, he got his Jeep Wrangler. He loved that car, and it was the kind of car that I imagined he would drive when I first knew him. Well, of course he named the Jeep. It became Solund, Lone Stallion of the Appocolypse. (Solund is Cherokee for wind because of the wind you hear when riding down the freeway in it.) Solund became part of the Canyon Family. The sad part of that is that I'm planning on selling the Jeep, part of the Canyon Family legacy. It's the practical side of me, but it's also sad.

Jack as Canyon Man

Solund, Lone Stallion of the Appocolypse

Beltaine Photo

Here's a photo of the girls at the Beltaine service mentioned earlier. They were just inseparable during the service.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hand of Midnight

Here's the poem that was read at both of Jack's memorial services. It was written in memory of Jack.

The Hand of Midnight

Welcome, Reveler, my Door is open,
Shed your cloak, shake off the dust of the desert roads,
For you have walked many miles to my banquet hall.

Raised in Greeting is the Hand of Midnight
Bearing vision to make all that is beautiful,
And the will to break that which would be re-made.
Open to you is the Hand of Midnight
For the giving and taking of Blessed Eternity.

A feast I set before you-
All things on my Table are beautiful and perfect:
This bread I have made, by hand, milled from the good grain;
This wine, pressed with love from the Vineyard of fifty years’ tending.
The Hero’s Portion, given of the gods of the Hunt and the charm–fletched arrow;
These Roses, cut in the name of She who pours out Beauty and Pleasure.

But it is You, honored Reveler,
Who is the greatest splendor of my Table,
Know yourself as you truly are:
A lamp of purest star-fire
Ablaze at the heart of a sensual body,
Bearing unique wisdom and the will to self-rule.
Feast and honor me with your presence,
And clasp the Hand of Midnight as True Companions.

O you great gods who gave me life, and take it as they shall,
I go forth each day to act as you:
In wisdom, power, cunning, and the brazen audacity
That penetrates all time with legend.
Take these feast-offerings from the Hand you have made,
Which ever seeks to restore your glory.

True Friend, I shall sing your praises long and loud
And give all I own to your advancement;
Daily beseeched are the Eternal Powers for your joy.
For unless a god bring pleasure
He is unworthy of mortal worship.

Enemy, I slay you with eloquence and humor
And that secret riddle which,
If you can discover its meaning,
Will turn the compass of your heart to me,
And restore your life.

Daughters, be brave in your step-
The world is yours to conquer,
And I smile at your every triumph.
Where mankind rises up in challenge,
Laughter will sustain you, Intuition guide you
And Genius deliver unto you all things.

Beloved: my Body, my Soul, and all these things
I lay before you in perfect sacrifice
As the highest offering of myself,
For as the divine emanation of feminine power
And Mirror my Desire
You are worthy of the Highest Art of Romance.

Feast then, you Bright Ones who would rise up,
And take this final offering-cup:
A vintage mixed of three powers,
Which, combined, shall raise your spirit to the highest height:
Love, Truth, and Beauty-
Three perfect gems in the same Sovereign Crown,
A Morality higher than Law,
The Wine of Life, impeccably brewed,
From the Vineyard of Midnight’s Hand.

-Dan Alvin

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Lawn

When Jack and I moved to Washington, we wound up living in houses with a lawn. Pretty typical suburban life, ya' know. For those who have been to our current house, you've seen the grass here. The front yard is on a bit of a slope, and the back yard is huge by current subdivision standards. Most of our yards are lawn which needs to be mowed . . . While the landlady has someone come in monthly to do the front lawn, maintaining the back is totally up to us. Well, the lawn mowing has always been Jack's job. Since he's died, it kind of leaves the lawn mowing up to one person: me! Oh, joy. (Note the tone of sarcasm.) So, this week I bit the bullet. I had the landlady come over and show me the ins and outs of the mower. I did the front lawn on Monday. No small feat considering the odd shapes and the slope and considering that I'd never used this mower before. Today I attacked the back yard. It took me 45 minutes of steady work due to the frequent emptying of the lawn mower bag, but I got it done. Talk about a cardio workout! Then, within an hour of coming inside, it started to rain. Guess I got the timing right.

I wasn't sure if I should be sad because Jack wasn't here and this is such a change for me, or if I should be happy and proud because I was able to do it. Or maybe a little bit of both.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Missing Jack

After Jack died, I decided to start attending the local Unitarian Universalist Church with the girls. Jack and I had talked about doing so awhile back but hadn't gone yet, so I figured that now would be a good time to start after his passing. We went on Easter, and we went again today. Today's celebration was a Beltaine (May Day) celebration, complete with a may pole. Cool! The Beltaine service felt comfortable and familiar, and it was very Pagan. (I'm glad to have found a place that includes Earth-based religion in its services, although it is not limited to that.) It was also a kid-friendly service, which was a new experience for me. When they called the kids up for part of the service, Sarah wound up playing the part of the May Queen. She went along and went where she was told, and she got to wear the pretty crown of green plastic flowers. Gabby just followed right along Sarah, almost as her assistant. This was totally unrehearsed and totally charming. And I remember thinking that Jack would have been so proud of his little girl playing the part of the May Queen, and hoping that he was looking down on us from Summerland. It was bittersweet. (Hopefully, the person who was taking pictures will email me a few. When he does, I'll post one here.)

There are also times when we just plain miss him. The girls talk every day about missing Papa. It's not the big stuff, it's the little, everyday stuff. It's the empty chair across from me at the dinner table. It's him not being here to help with the kids. It's the conversations we'd have about all kinds of things. It's the laughter and the fun. He was a silly guy at times, and I miss that. It's watching late night TV with him next to me sometimes. It's wanting to pick up the phone and call him and talk to him, but there's no phone number for Summerland. Just his presence. He was a guiding force in our family. He kept on telling Sarah that I was the center of their world. Well, he was the center of mine. And he and I together were the center of the girls' world. Not having that is tough at times. But somehow we're muddling through. One day at a time. Sometimes it's one minute at a time. But we're muddling through.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Jack as husband

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. Between going to CA by car with the girls for the Santa Cruz memorial followed by a 3-day trip to Spokane, it's been kind of busy. I finally have a chance to catch my breath.

While the girls and I were driving home from dinner at a friend's house this evening, I found myself thinking about the kind of husband Jack was, and the kind of marriage we had. My friends and I had been talking about it, so it got me to thinking. I'm not talking about many of the sparkly gifts he gave me, and there were quite a few of those. I'm talking about how considerate and generous he was. And how bonded we were.

We had the kind of relationship where we finished each other's sentences. We would find ourselves, out of the blue, echoing the other's thought at the time. When this happened, it was usually followed by the person thinking the thought, "Stop that!" It happened a lot. Our wedding rings are a Celtic braid pattern using 2 strands. It felt like we were that intertwined. One friend described it early on as "the bluebirds of happiness flying over your heads" and it was still there last summer when he last saw us together. Others have referred to our romance as "legendary." We were "The Jack & Linda Show!" We were a unit. We loved each other deeply.

Some nights, while Jack worked on his astrology for the next day (he still did it but wasn't publishing it anymore), I'd sometimes watch TV in the other room. He knows I love medical shows. He couldn't bear to watch them, no matter how fake. If ER was on, he was outta there! He'd come to the bedroom door where I was watching the TV, refer to the "guts and gristle" when the show came on followed by "Gotta go!" in that almost radio announcer voice he had. Earlier this year, he asked me what I wanted for my birthday. One of the things I asked for was either the ER series or House, MD on DVD, thinking it would be nice to have. Wouldn't you know, on my birthday, he gave me all 4 seasons of House on DVD. I was astonished. He was so generous that he gave me something that he knew that I would spend hours watching even once but that he would have no interest in whatsoever. Now THAT'S love. And classic Jack.

Last Dec., we had our first romantic getaway since Sarah was born. He took me to a lovely B&B in Gig Harbor where we had a lovely, romantic time. As soon as we pulled out of the driveway, we were "us" again. We weren't parents of 2 beautiful little girls. We were a happily in love couple getting away for a fun time. It was one of the best and most beautiful week-ends I'd had in a long time. Leave it to Jack to create an experience that was beautiful and romantic.

Jack was also incredibly supportive of my doing the RN refresher course. The evening before he died, he'd asked me if it was going to be a "study night." While it was a Saturday, I hadn't looked at the material all week, so I said it would be. That was fine with him. While I sat on the couch and read my textbook, he worked on his computer right behind me. Our last exchange went something like this:
Jack: "It's shower time for Jack"
Me: "OK. Saturday Night Live starts in 25 minutes."
Jack: "Cool. See you then."
Me: "Oh, honey, one more thing."
Jack: "What's that?"
Me: "Thank you for being so supportive around my studying."
Jack: "It's OK. It's important."

With that last exchange, he went to take his shower. The next time I saw him, he was gone. I'm grateful that our last exchange was so supportive. I just wish that we'd had more of them.