Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Sending love near and far

During this week in April 1968, R kissed me for the first time.  We were 18 years old.  During this week in April 2008, I began driving from Washington to Northern California to be with R at the Palo Alto VA Hospital during the last days of his life.  We were 58 years old.  

This blog's first post was when I was 56 years old, nearly 18 years ago!  That was on the 36th anniversary of the day R returned from serving a year in Vietnam in the U.S. Army as a helicopter mechanic.  A wise older woman, knowing how haunted I was by all that had transpired since R's return in 1970, gently suggested that I do something different on the anniversary of R's return from Vietnam.  Starting this blog was something different from anything I had done before.

The first name of this blog was "Old Girl of the North Country."  The focus of the blog was a retrospective of my art work from the year I met R while still in high school until his death in 2008.  All of that art work was inspired in one way or other by R's presence and absence in my life.  After that I posted photos taken from my porch and from my long walks in and around Bellingham, with R never far from mind.  Through the years, I've enjoyed posting music and other offerings from YouTube and other sources that inspired me and which I wanted to share.  In the last year, I've been posting my Tiny Mandala Series (drawn with my non-dominant left hand) which is still a work in progress. 

This past week when I met with my psychotherapist and mentioned that the anniversary of R's death was approaching, she gently suggested that I do something different to mark the coming days.  Today I took a walk up the hill to Big Rock Garden and took the above photo which shows one of the many blooming rhododendrons and, in the background, two lovely evergreen trees and the Empress tree which will soon be blooming.  

As I was walking down the hill from Big Rock Garden, I realized that it was in April fifty years ago, that I came to live here in Bellingham.  

I'm committing to living fully in the present, making the most of the last years of my life, beginning today.  

Tiny Mandala #42 of 52 (inspired by the Chinese character for "to stand upright.")

Harpo the Nomad in a quiet moment.  He's a lively fellow.  Good company.

It's been a long long time since I've had much to say on my blog.  My social energy is increasingly limited.  I'm a true introvert.  Given that the blog was created to help me work through "Prolonged Grief Disorder" before I even had that diagnosis along with a diagnosis of "Trauma, Not Otherwise Specified," I'm realizing that I'm ready to let this be my last blog post, although I'm not deleting my blog.  I'm grateful to all who have visited my blog through the years.  You've all played a major role in my healing.  

I'll continue to read your blogs.  You are dear to me.

Sending love to all, near and far.


Anonymous said...

37paddington: oh my goodness! Your last blog post? I’m trying to respect your choice even as inside I whisper nooooooo. I will miss checking in with you here, but it will comfort me still to know you are out there creating your art and being a force for gentle goodness in the world. April and R. What profound anniversaries. I don’t know what to say. Except I send love. Always.

Sabine said...

While I respect your decision, it makes me sad to think that I will no longer enjoy your new art work and reflections on life and your music suggestions.

All along, I have been moved again and again by your love story, which it truly is, and your commitment to an acceptance of living with your experience in the best possible way.
Thank you, stay in touch, don't go completely.

Colette said...

What can I say? You are one of my favorite bloggers. Thank you for all your unique and amazing posts. Congratulations on your commitment. I'm feeling the love.

Anonymous said...

I want to say Thank You for sharing glimpses of your life with us, the cats and the beautiful photos of trees and plants. I will miss reading your posts, but as you say, life goes on and we all change. If you leave posting here, I wish you well with this next part of your life. Safe travels as you go forward!

am said...

Dear 37paddington, Sabine, Colette and Anonymous. Thank you for these loving comments. You are dear to me.

Tara said...

This post touches me deeply. What a life you have had and it's been a pleasure to read your blog over many years. I know I've been absent the last 4 years, but when I do check in I'm always glad that I did. I think I've told you before that my social energy is very much diminished as well. I get it.

I will try to follow the places you are going on the internet. This feels like a good completion of your original mission. Peace to you, my friend.

am said...

Tara -- Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a kind comment. You, too, do understand about limited social energy. All the best to you.