The Forager

Sylvia is sitting watching the seagulls forage and beg for scraps. She too finds herself begging for scraps this last Saturday in August. Just one more minute. A second even. She doesn’t want to turn back the clock; she simply wants another tick or two, a second during which she can walk into his room, say his name, and see him light up. And then maybe another second or two to watch her finish the crossword while her fourth cup of coffee grows cold. Those momentary looks of contentment and satisfaction that she remembers on both of their faces, yes, those are the scraps she desires right now to fill the emptiness, the perfect ointment to salve the wounds of self-doubt, longing, and melancholy.

The seagulls in the distance appear to be fighting over something they have come upon, and Sylvia wonders, “Are they truly hungry or do they just want more?” There is a difference she realizes. Knowing the difference at this very moment somehow assuages the useless and often crippling feelings she harbors of not having done enough or been enough.

“See, Sylvia. Sometimes wanting more makes you feel you are less. Be grateful for what you’ve had. It must be enough or contentment and peace will forever elude you.”
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“I don’t know if I told you enough, loved you enough, did enough of anything to show you how important you were to the world – my world. I was never ready to let you go, and I think you knew it.”

Dad and Mom, scraps will have to do. I’ll piece them together and wrap myself in them until I’m whole again. I am so relieved that you are not here to witness the chaos, the meanness, and the intolerance of this time. But then again, knowing both of you, you’d find light and hope and contentment as you would watch the waves lap upon the shore, sitting on the seawall drinking your Dunkin after checking on the parks.
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Weekend wisdom : Even foragers must know when they have enough to sustain themselves.

Say It and Mean It

Day in and day out, she tried to raise her son to be independent, kind, and strong. So, how lovely it is when she receives a simple message that reveals that he has become that man– and so much more!

He teaches me to embrace it, welcome it, and love it. What is “it” you ask? The day. The world. This life.

When we recognize that our children become our teachers and purveyors of compassion and genuine goodness, then the world will make meaningful leaps towards being a place where love and kindness are in bloom year-round.
~K. Morgan


All the Thoughts She Never Had

Erma: Well, here it is another new year. You know what that means, Sylvia, right? Everyone and her mother will ask you about your resolutions. So, what’s going to be your stock response?

Sylvia: My reply? I can tell you what my answer won’t be. I’m not going to vow to lose weight. This is the year I learn to accept that pounds may or may not come off, but that the number on the scale won’t define me. And you know why I’m certain of that, Erma? Because after resolving to lose weight the last two years in order to become the size four that I haven’t been since 1992, I finally lost those pesky ten pounds. I threw out the damn scale!

Erma: Okay, so that’s one non-answer. Anything else you are committing to do or to change?

Sylvia: I’m determined to accept my plight or rather my future as a never-thinker.

Erma: Your what? You mean an over-thinker. Yes, that’s a good goal. Stop that.

Sylvia: No, not over-thinking, Erma. I said I’m going to embrace my never-thinking.

Erma: Okay Sylvia, hold on for a second. I’m grabbing a fresh mug for this. It’s bound to be good.

Have you ever thought about all the things you have never really thought about and then realized that those are the issues, the woes, and maybe even the little slices of joy that you’ve been hiding away or hiding from? Sylvia’s been doing just that this last week, perhaps even the last month, as she reflects on the last year- life, love, and loss of all kinds. And, of course, glimpses into the last year have done exactly what she never imagined they would do; they have led her to recognize that it is not her overthinking that burdens her mind, body, and spirit. It is all of the thoughts and events that she never fathomed would hit her, happen to her, and become a part of her being that are bringing her–hell, maybe even catapulting her-fiercely into the new year. Highlighting the past year for Erma pulls Sylvia to places in life she never thought she’d visit!

Still perplexed? “I never thought that would happen [to me].” You know that expression most certainly. Everyone says it at some point, at many times, in his or her life. The truth is though that as we all try mightily, knowingly or subconsciously, to convince ourselves of what will never happen, all of it almost always happens. So, on this new day and the first day of this brand-spanking-new year, Sylvia reminds me to think about all that I have survived, big and small, heartwarming and heartbreaking, all that I never thought about until I had to think about it.

She never thought she’d be able to live without her best friend, her mother, another year, yet here she is. Nine Christmases later and she’s doing it. She’s getting up each day and learning to laugh and hope again.

She never thought he’d be here another year. It’s a mixed blessing and one that torments her every single day. He’s leaving her and this world slowly, but she’s accepting it, albeit just as slowly, that it is out of her control.

She never thought she’d be able to find joy or a bit of a silver lining to his illness, but she is. She’s trying. The light in his eyes, the smile that still remains that only he can give to this world- those are the silver.

She never thought that she would be at a crossroads at this time in her life. After all, women over fifty should be settled, comfortable in their own skin, and feel accomplished, if not professionally then most certainly personally. And yet she’s none of those and all of those, and she’s surviving it. In fact, there are even days when she appreciates her ability to change her mind and risk throwing others’ lives out-of-whack for a change. (Yes, she never thought she’d relish breaking a few rules, unwritten and self- imposed ones, but she’s doing it and accepting that sometimes self- preservation is most important.)

She never thought that she’d be a part of a dysfunctional family and be okay with it. She’s learned that we are all born into families, but we don’t have to choose to stay. We owe it to ourselves and to the world to be the very best versions of ourselves. When people make us dislike who we are simply by being in their presence, it’s time to change surroundings, live our truth, and find a tribe that loves and supports us– no matter what!

She never thought that she’d see home as a feeling rather than a place. She has old and new friends who “follow” her, check in with her, and who welcome her with loving, nonjudgmental arms and minds. When she is in their company- physically, mentally, and spiritually- she is home.

She never thought she’d look forward to time by herself, to herself, where she’d be happy with her own company and nothing more. It’s a process, but it’s happening.

And she never thought, not in a million years, that she could love another human being more each day. That’s just plain crazy! She has learned though that the feeling of a growing love comes from watching those she loves live their truth, and it comes from within when we learn to live our own truth. Her truth is: she is flawed and fabulous. She makes mistakes and is learning to forgive herself. “Life in full bloom” she sees in her own child and hears in his voice as he finds his place in the world. She never thought that he would be her teacher and that the greatest lesson he would impart would be that she too deserved happiness and unconditional love.

She never thought she’d make it through this past year, but she did!

Erma: Wow. I’m exhausted by all of that thinking.

Sylvia: Oh, it’s not all that bad. It’s only tiring when you overthink it.

Keep going, friends. 2019 is sure to be a year of unexpected and unforeseen happenings and feelings. Let’s just call it life.

With wishes for love, peace, laughter and hope,

Sylvia & Erma

CHECK OUT THIS LINK WITH THE AUDIO UPDATE OF THIS POST ( January 1, 2021):