Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Solace in a Winter's Solstice

The silhouette of an eagle passes over head, its wings pulsating gracefully in the dawning light. The frosty grass crunches as the dogs pad around the yard, looking for that perfect place to do their morning business. Standing in my pjs on the back porch, I shiver, clutching my coffee mug with both hands in a feeble attempt to keep warm. I should have grabbed my winter coat. I could go back into the house for it, but I know if I open the door both dogs will rush in without finishing what they have started. And then I shall have to hit replay ten minutes later.

I am plodding through my grief-filled days, one foot in front of the other, taking one day at a time. Such clich├ęs, but oh so true. It is all one can do. Death is part of life, life is part of death. Dogs and sisters pass on. So shall we all.

It is Winter Solstice. Paradoxically, with the advent of winter comes the lengthening of the daylight hours. I haven’t minded the darkness. My evening walks around town, looking at Christmas displays and nosily peering into people’s undraped windows, have been enjoyable. I find comfort in spotting things that make me smile. Joy and sorrow are so intertwined. Laughter is so important to survival.

A Christmas turtle with his fishy catch

I am thankful that the weather has been nice – cold and crisp one day, warm and mild another, but little rain to dampen my spirits. The outdoors is my solace. How can one not feel at peace with such beauty all around?

Osborne Bay on a December morning
Arbutus tree reflection

Sun filters through misty morning

Becky leads the way on the oceanside path

Granddog Becky and I go for a long walk each morning, a shorter one at night. This morning we watched ducks do water ballet, hoisting their little white rumps straight up in the air, then twirling around in perfect synchrony. They made me laugh out loud.

Sadie and I also do two walks a day, though shorter by necessity, Sadie slinks low to the ground as if every step is an effort for her. She stops to sniff the ground where Charley once peed. She is grieving too. As I returned from a walk with Becky the day after Charley passed, I heard, then saw, Sadie howling in the middle of the house. She looks for her friend, for the companion she so carefully watched over the past few months. But she is slowly coming around – today, when I returned from an afternoon out, she greeted me with happy playbows and attempts to mouth my hand with her big smiling face. That, too, made me laugh.

I fill my days with reading, music, seasonal activities. The Christmas parade, a couple of community sing-alongs, a few volunteer shifts at the theatre, dinner out, coffee with friends – it is an enjoyable time of year, surrounded with people and animals and sounds and sights that I love. It is good to be alive. I weep, at times, but smile through the tears. Oh to share this place I love with those who have passed on.

In many ways I do.


Beth said...

I stumbled across your blog somehow, and recently becoming a resident of "the Rock" I opted to come back and read as often as I could. I am so sorry to read of your loss. While there is nothing that a complete stranger can say that will make you feel better in any way, remember that where loved ones are concerned, the amount of grief we feel upon their passing is in direct proportion to the love we shared with them. Great sorrow equates great love, and in time, the sorrow will lessen, not because the love is less, but because the happy memories will begin to surface.

Duchess Sammy said... foot in front of the other, taking one day at a time.
We are thinking of you Jean.


The Royals

MrsB said...

May your days become lighter - in every way.
I too am new to your blog - but so enjoy it.
Joy and Sorrow - different sides of that same wonderful coil.

Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

And they are grief-filled days after you lose those you love. I'm glad your beautiful hometown gives you solace in these times.

Your photos of ducks made me chuckle!


Anonymous said...

DUCK BUTT! DUCK BUTT! Sorry.... I do offer my sympathy to you at this time. I hope the memories of good things far outweigh the pain of loss. xxx