Jilly D.

Time shifting into mourning

In Anniversary and memorials, Friends, Mourning on July 12, 2011 at 11:34 am

A full moon rises with the cast of a pale cheese. The rind takes its color as aging takes effect. And the moon gathers the silver threads in my hair. Every wrinkle on my face is earned; the smile lines around my eyes and mouth belong to Sam. How long has my face been turned up towards his anticipating a serious whisker rub? Twenty one months. The worry in my brow comes and goes with the everyday challenges. Lines form in the opposite direction of the past decade indelibly on my face.

On June 15, 2011, I woke up crying. Twenty one months.

I escaped back into 1892 as a schoolmistress at the Eight Square Schoolhouse, #5 in Dryden, NY for most of the day. Teaching young scholars about flag etiquette and memorizing a poem we know today as the first version of the pledge of allegiance reminds me of Sam’s patriotism. He liked to be called Uncle Sam and there was a slight resemblance between the WWII comics’ image and Sam Warren; if you replaced his welding cap with a top hat.

Reading, spelling, punctuation and grammar. Now those things make up most of my modern day. And I follow those roots back into 1892 and the instruction and celebration of words and language. It thrills me that I might provide a lasting positive impression on a young person’s mind. Every moment I am there in the schoolhouse I remember how much I enjoy timeshifting and what a kick Sam would get out of me in my hightop boots, long skirts and a straight-laced face.

Operating a pump, writing with slates and pencils, using the outhouses, cursive penmanship lessons with pen and ink, recess playing with hoops, graces, stilts, and the swing in the old pine tree bring me back to the lifestyle Sam and I enjoyed together.

Twenty one months.

Discussion of a work of fiction among six local women keeps me occupied into the evening. I dare not feel sorry for myself. Each woman in this group provides me with a model of being comfortable as themselves in the world.

What lessons can I learn? For me to survive, on the anniversary dates of Sam’s death, I need to fill my day and evening with good friends, good conversations, good times. Not to escape from the pain of his loss, but to remember why I miss him so much; and do so within a buffer zone that can absorb the impact. Keeping busy at what I do best lets me remember why he fell in love with me; with who I am. Keeping busy so I can tell him what is happening in the world that impacts me deeply. What stories I can tell Sam remains a mindset I cannot yet shake as I integrate the reality that he is dead.

I think he might love me more today. He loved me more and more the longer we were together. And so did I love him more every day. Twenty one months and I still can’t accept he is dead.

Hunh. That may be the first time I have acknowledged he is dead. Dead.

So why do I cry to the moon and howl?

“Come back, please Sam. Please come back to me.”

Time to stop that, I know. He comes to me all the time. I know him all around me and inside me. I miss the past. Don’t we all?


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