It is only a few days since the 6 month anniversary of Mark's death and, though he is not on my mind as constantly as he was a few months ago, he is never far from it. It is also the 4 month anniversary of Michael's death. It amazes me that I still think of him as being alive --- maybe because in the last couple years our relationship was mostly conducted through emails and phone calls. I still wait for the phone to ring at times. But, even constantly aware of the loss of Mark, my heart still thumps when I see a silver Toyota truck in the street. When the Called ID display says “Wireless Caller” I still get a little thrill --- silly, I know, but all too real.
The sadness that accompanies the losses has been other losses I never anticipated --- the loss of support and concern from some friends and family members. Nothing prepared me for that. One of my friends --- a close friend for over 20 years, whom I dedicated my first book to --- has not called, or written, or returned any of my emails. I emailed her daughter who tells me she is fine and doesn't know why she has stopped communicating with me but the pain of losing her friendship, in addition, is very hard. And, much to my astonishment, my siblings seem equally disinterested in my life these days. Phone calls are rare or non-existent. When I sent emails to a few of them talking about the emotional pain I was going through the messages were not answered. I am speechless.
And yet, and yet, and yet, there have been some amazing gifts as well. Friendships and expressions of concern and love that have come from the most unexpected places. Women I knew casually have suddenly become tremendous sources of support, calling and sending emails to say, “I'm thinking of you, I hope you are okay.” Asking me to meet for a salad and chat. It has been good. My neighbor, herself the wife of a fisherman, has been sweet and supportive always taking time to stop and chat and ask how I am doing. She always says, “If there is anything I can do, just call.” There isn't but I so appreciate the offer.
Mark's friends have been the most wonderful surprise. Guys, tough guys, fishing guys, Gloucester guys --- they call or send emails o just stop me in the street. “How you doin', kid? Yeah, I miss him too. He was a hell of a guy, huh?” The man who was his backman on the lobsterboat stops to talk. He tells me stories --- stories that never made it into the book but should have. Even a couple of his old girlfriends have contacted me, they say they are sorry, that they know how hard this must be for me. It is kindness past explanation.
And, as always, there is the gift of writing and of the people who have come into my life through this blog. I am hard at work on the knitting book (and plan to spend most of this long weekend on it). Every day I get inquiries, “when will it be ready? I can't wait”. Neither can I.
My second novel, Each Angel Burns, is ready for the final edit when the knitting book is done and I've started work on a new venture, an ePress of spicy, romantic stories which will be called Heart Throb Books. My friend Skye Alexander and I have been talking about a couple of ePublishing ventures. SeARTS has also become a good creative outlet as I do more promotional and design work for them. And I'm planning a cookbook based on the my cookbook blog that will be Pennsylvania Dutch recipes laced with lots of stories.
And there have been spiritual gifts. For these I am most grateful. Something I have learned is that sometimes when we feel most distant from God's mercy we find ourselves closest to His Grace.
So, all in all, I am thankful --- for unexpected gifts of kindness, for creative energy, for the love of God. Today I'll work on my book, cook, then go spend time with friends. Thank you one and all for reading my blog and for all your kind thoughts. May your day be filled with peace and your lives with much to be thankful for.
Thanks for reading.
Postscript: Another hidden blessing to be thankful for. As I was writing about the friend who has stopped communicating with me I remembered that I once knit her a shawl that I had forgotten about. I went looking in my photos and found a picture of it! It is now going in the book. It is a combination of silk, alpaca, mohair and wool. I called it Trudi's Shawl (above). So there was the hidden gift of yet another design to be thankful for.