Living in Unconditional Love (30)
Oct 03, 2021
Living in Unconditional Love (30)
“Love flows from God to humans without effort:
As a bird glides through the air without moving its wings-
Thus, they go wherever they wish united in body and soul,
Yet separate in form.”
–Mechtild of Magdeburg
My wife Eileen died from esophageal cancer in February 2020 one year after being diagnosed, 60 years to the day that we met on Long Island. Then my brother Tom became ill, and I spent a total of six weeks being with him in Ohio, but he died in October 2020. My sister-in-law Sue Mahoney died from Covid-19 in January 2021. On top of it all stood the pandemic, locking everyone down for over a year.
10/03/2021 Hmm. October. Many things occurred this week. Most importantly, I went to the funeral Mass of my good friend Ron, and talked to his immediate family, all of whom I know well. Ron was a good-hearted person, always willing to give of himself to help another. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, never wasting anything he caught. He was a retired Marine captain, very proud of the Marines and the Corp. He had a full military burial at a cemetery close to where his son lives up by the Canadian border, near Watertown. It is sad to see your friends leave, but that is part of life. Jane asked me to call her, so I will call early next week, and call once a week. She will remain in the home she and Ron have lived in for many years, as they have had 24-hour in-house coverage for a year or more and that will remain, and she loves her home.
I was asked to be in a vaccine study for RSV, a type of pneumonia that often kills children and aged people like me. The vaccine turns out to be by Pfizer, where my daughter Barbara works, but if she does not work directly on the vaccine, it was good to go. It is a three-year study, and I do not know if I received the actual vaccine or a placebo. I must keep a diary on my phone starting in two weeks, answering questions. Interesting talking with the nurse who oversaw the program; she stated she loves to work on Pfizer programs as they are very well organized, and it is a joy compared to other pharmaceutical companies. Barbara will be happy to hear that. I will be one of 30,000 in the study.
This time of year marks several anniversaries of moments in my life. On October 2, 1984, our original house caught fire and eventually burnt to the ground. That resulted in the house I now live in; the original house had a deep magenta carpet in the entire living and dining room that never wore but Eileen hated. So, we often stated that God threw up Its’ hands and said, “All right, now build what you want”. So, we did and have loved our ‘new’ house ever since.
On October 4, 1898, my Mother was born. She would have been 123 years old this year. She died on March 31, 1992, age 94. Coming up on October 12, in 1905, my Dad was born. He would be 117 this year, but died on March 15, 2001, also age 94. I have been surrounded by love all my life, first by loving parents and then my beautiful loving wife for the next 60 years, and now by loving children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. And friends, many loving friends. A good life indeed.
The weather is cool but beautiful. I looked at a photo taken one year ago this week, and the coloring is little different than last year; not quite as intense but not that different. I walked back to the gazebo on our pond and sat for a while: soothing. Then I worked on the bonsai, cleaning out the pots of the three that I lost this year and starting to remove the moss that accumulated in all the rain on most of the rest. Now is not the time to do any trimming (and they do need trimming), as they are going into hibernation and trimming stimulates growth. I will start in January to trim, pulling plants out of the storage room in the garage and work in the kitchen; that is a good time to see the branches of the deciduous trees and a good time to smooth out the evergreens and start wiring things for shape.
So God has given me time to rest. I find that it has taken this long, 19 months since Eileen died, to recover much of my equilibrium in life. I have become used to the quietness, and now spend a good part of the day in quiet, only sometimes putting music on as a background. I miss her, but this part of life is also good, as I have nature to soothe my soul and wonderful friends to bring joy, and many, many, wonderful memories. Nature is going into the time of rest and quietness, then onto the “deep sleep” of winter, followed by the wonder of spring and new life.
Today, Saturday, I spent the day just enjoying everything. Cool weather (low 60s) but with the sun it did not feel cool. This day is the first day in memory that I just enjoyed myself. Ever since Eileen became ill it has been one dash or another, one worry or another, burying pain so I could help Eileen, then burying pain just to survive. Today I did not have to bury pain, but I could look in wonder at the Blue Jay hopping on the deck railing, the frogs jumping into the pond, the quietness of the pond and the beauty of the world that is mine to enjoy every day, if I but look. I could even work on the bonsai in peace and be joyful. I have not been able to just enjoy myself in a long time, but perhaps today will prove a gateway into seeing, once again, the wonders that surround me. Maybe it won’t stay, but I now know it is possible, so if it goes, I know that it will return, even stronger.
Gentle One, Your beauty is breathtaking in all its wonder. This day opened a new path for me to see the wonders of life once more. I knew in my head that all was well, but today I truly felt all was well. Eileen, your love has worked its miracles, letting me see that, indeed, life can be good if I only open my eyes and heart. I close my eyes in gratitude to see the inner world of love and open them to see God (and Eileen) shining in glory around me.