Jilly D.


In Holidays on November 25, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I am grateful to have loved and been loved. I give thanks to have a roof over my head, light, heat, water, and food. I appreciate that this winter I will not struggle so hard just to stay alive like I had the past several years; and for that I am very thankful. I am still living in the country, still with Dalmatian dogs, Lucy and Scooby, still visiting the farm and pond and family and l feel gratitude for that comforting blanket of familiarity. In my sorrow and sadness I sometimes lose my grounding and I am so blessed to have so many upon whom I can depend for support and guidance. Visits from lifelong friends and renewed connections are gifts which I have greatly appreciated. And I am so fortunate to live in a community with a wealth of resources and social services. Thanks to Alternatives Federal Credit Union. Thanks Hospicare. Thanks Suicide Prevention Services. Thank Friends of Schuyler County Animals. Thanks to the strangers who showed me small kindnesses when I needed them most. Thank myself for having the strength and foresight to recognize that I needed help, still need help, and will continue to need it. I lost everything. I lost Sam. I lost a sustainable lifestyle. We had everything we needed and more together there. I lost the farm. I lost my business and job. I lost my identity. I lost contact with most all of Sam’s friends and too many of mine. I lost a lust for living and enjoying all that life offers. I give thanks that I am a strong woman. Fierce. Fierce in my love. Fierce in my loyalties. And I thank my parents for raising me so that I could always take care of myself. Self-reliance is as much a Swenson trait as it was one of Sam’s characteristics. I give thanks for the growing list of items on my bucket list. Several items recently added include riding a motorcycle (I didn’t say drive; I want to ride), take a balloon trip in the fall in the Finger Lakes, take a vacation somewhere exotic (by myself sans dogs), go dancing again, sing as a backup singer in a rock or country western band (I may have to settle for Karaoke, but it’s not going on the bucket list and I’d have to get really drunk first), publish my own books (yes plural), and take up painting. Despite my blues, I’m not planning to leave this Earth anytime soon. I am so thankful for good books and exquisite films that escaped my attention since Y2K. I give thanks for Judy preparing a traditional turkey dinner and making me welcome as part of the Warren family; even though all I can do is cry at the thought of making deviled eggs and Sam not snitching a few. He loved them so. I have him to thank for making me good at making deviled eggs. I remember the last time I brought them to Judy’s; he actually opened the door for me. Thank you. Sam made me more me; more of a woman; more of a one-of-a-kind person. I wouldn’t know myself or be myself without him. I remember visiting family in Minnesota and not being able to sleep without him. I had a hard time concentrating on anything if it didn’t involve him. While his absence in my life has been completely unbearable, he has come back to me. In the form of animals, fleeting figures and shadows, moving objects, and lately, he has come back to me in my dreams. So I give thanks for Sam’s continuing presence in my life. Love is an ongoing relationship. The nature and form of our relationship has changed; and perhaps for the better. He listens better. He doesn’t have to yell. He doesn’t complain about the weather, although I still hear him bitching inside my own voice on crappy days. Just before I woke Saturday morning I dreamt he came to plow me out of a snowstorm; waist high. When I got boots on and a hat and out the door (of a house I don’t know), he was driving a big brown Cadillac. This car was one he’d owned in his youth that his mom remembered when I told her about the dream. Sam sat smiling wearing his hat with earflaps. I know he’s predicting a terrible winter this year. All his signs indicate foul weather ahead. At the end of the day, the first day of hunting season I went to the pond at dusk with the dogs. There was one lone goose swimming. Odd. The dogs paid her no attention. We hiked around the pond for more than an hour as it got darker. Then in the west appeared a gander and began to coast toward the surface of the pond. The goose saw him and prepared for liftoff. She waited and he came back to take her with him and rejoin the flock flying south. I just sensed in every pore of my skin that Sam was sending me a message that if he could he’d swoop down and rejoin me and everyone else he left behind. These signs and messages are only of personal consolation. To others it makes me sound daft. There is magic in reality if only you believe. And I believed. I believed in our love enduring all. I believed in Sam; he was a good man with good intentions. I believed in what we were trying to do together; that it was possible to live off the grid as self-sufficiently as possible in harmony with Nature. To lose all that hurts, but I haven’t lost it. It’s right here. And so is Sam.


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