Friday, June 27, 2008

Pistol River State Beach

Pistol River State Beach

I feel like I am posting just for Geoff today. We were all up very early yesterday, to take him to the airport for his flight to Chicago.
I really wish we were with him. He's gone to be with family, in remembrance of Jim "Corm," who passed away last February. It is strange and indescribable... the countless ways our lives have changed since that sad and unreal day when we first got the news. I could hardly say what happened; it was too painful, and even now, I find that there is still a great deal of disbelief and grief.

I find myself thinking Everyone in Chicago is going to have so much fun, and we'll be missing out on all of that family time, and then I am taken aback when I realize, again, that it's a memorial, that we have lost someone. It won't be all fun and levity, and the fact that I forget is very telling of how hard it is to believe, to really know that he is gone. I do not think that time eases pain. I believe that time is what it takes to learn how to wrap the pain and hide it from our heart and thoughts, otherwise it cannot be tolerated. When I turn off the noise of everyday tasks and chores, when I quiet the daily din of rambling thoughts and remember that Corm is gone, the pain unfolds and I am devastated all over again.

I still wish we were with Geoff. Everyone will be having fun. There will be fun and healing and wonderful memories to share, new ones in the making. And even when it is painful and sad, I wish I could be with Geoff, and Ruth and Holly, Paul, with all the people that knew Corm and loved him, because time does not ease pain... family, friends, love and sharing ease pain.

I still remember the first time I met Jim and Ruth. It was 1982. I hardly knew Geoff and came to their home as a guest of a mutual friend. I think it was my huge crush on Geoff that made me take everything in and preserve it all in so much detail. Geoff introduced me to "Mom and Corm." I shook their hands, "Hi Mom, hi Corm." Even then I was struck by the familiar and easy way I felt. They had company and were finishing a spaghetti dinner, and Geoff was really excited about his sister being home. Holly had just returned from a year in Wisconsin.

I can picture the dining table, the soft evening light of summer. I can even smell Corm's spaghetti. I can remember the relief at realizing that Holly was Geoff's sister! Geoff was so sweet and attentive, and until I was introduced to her I thought she might be his sweetheart! She lent me a swimsuit, so we could all swim at the neighbor's pool. Now we share baby clothes and holidays, and sisterly love.

And in 26 years I have had the pleasure and blessing of becoming a part of a family that feels as much my own as the mother and brothers I grew up with. I was a child when I met Corm, with a child's limited perspective, and I cannot say when this changed, but I see so much more now and it breaks my heart to realize what we are missing.

My husband, his integrity and skills, his tender devotion... I can see that Corm influenced these dear qualities.

My cooking... turkey burgers, chili and spaghetti are some of the mainstays of our favorite family dinners.

Love. I can say that Corm has been a significant teacher about love. I realized this too late to thank him.

He loved music, and he could play instruments and sing... I used to sit in Geoff's room listening to Corm sing to his parrot, Pablo, in the shower. I adore this memory, and can still recall the happy sensation of enjoying those loving (private) concerts.

He loved language and art and craftsmanship and he applied himself skillfully to all of his interests and endeavors, so that his work and his home, his cooking and conversations were all artful, intelligent, well made. I will miss walking in the house he and Ruth built, appreciating the views they chose, the quality of the construction and the beauty of their work.

He loved Ruth. He loved her in private ways. He loved her with his heart on his sleeve. And it was not about flowery declarations or material gifts... it was about sharing the workload, listening to her needs, honoring her beliefs and sharing his own. His love was about being constant and dedicated to Ruth as his partner. He went to work to provide for their goals. He came home to share in the making of their dreams, to be in her company. I never heard him speak to Ruth or about Ruth without at least a hint of reverence, a protective tenderness and affection. Especially in recent years, I would be so touched by his giddy exuberance when he told me how much he loved her, cherished her, appreciated her, and it was with unchecked candor that he shared his love of his wife, and his awareness of her love and devotion to him. I thought A person could be sustained and carried through anything with this kind of respect and affection. It's a beautiful gift that he can feel this way and share these feelings and acts. And when he died, I thought How sad it is that we cannot witness this love, this outspoken regard and tenderness any more.

I think, perhaps at the memorial, in the next few days, Corm's love and devotion, his dedication, will be witnessed once more, because he touched so many of us and we can each of us carry some part of him with us. When we tell his stories, and share the memories, we will evoke the qualities that were a part of him and that he imparted in us.

I hope Geoff will come home and share many of the details of his time in Chicago, so that we can have some idea of what we are not there to be a part of. I realize that we are missing not only Corm, but in not being at this memorial we are missing all of the people that knew and loved him and that were an influence and inspiration to who he was. Even as a memorial, how can it not be a wonderful time? Everyone there is a part of a circle of people that influenced or were influenced by a wonderful person...

I really hated to leave my Mom and Ron. More than ever, I am keenly aware of the frailty of life. Nothing is constant on this Earth. I tried not to cry as we drove away, or during any of the 1,000 miles driving home... the children have seen too much of that already. I have tried to let Corm's example move more consistently in my life, so that I share my love out loud and wear my heart on my sleeve. I love as much and as sincerely as ever, but now I consciously endeavor to say what I feel, to honor what I feel and to treasure the time I do have with the ones I love. So, as sad as I was to leave, and even with my fears and worries, I found some comfort in knowing that I love my Mommy and Ron, that I have shared my feelings and said my piece... it's not the same as having them close by, being able to drop in on them any time, but it's good to love and be loved, and share those thoughts and feelings often.

On our way home we stopped at Pistol River Beach State Park. It was an unplanned break at the start of a long and arduous trip home. There are about 42 or more places that I would have loved to stop and visit, such is the beauty and attraction of the miles between here and there, and it's hard being very pragmatic and merciless about not visiting every park, viewpoint and farm stand.

Ah, but it is so worthwhile to stop, to quiet the din of everyday chores and appreciate the beauty in the world, the humor, art and language, and the people in our company. So, we watered the chickens, and found the trail to the beach. We let time pass unaccounted and played at being treasure seekers, and pirates. We planned picnics and camp-outs and noted the size of rocks, the sound of the waves. Geoff, you would love this place. We were looking for agates and imagining having a home on the forested bluffs overlooking the ocean. As happy as we were to be there, we were even more anxious to come home to you, because we love you.


Jennifer said...

Thank you for thinking this, writing it, and sharing it. Love and peace and joy, caring and remembering and saying it out loud. This is what we live for.

Tracy said...

Thinking of you as you remember...Your loving words are beautiful tribute, balm for the soul...((HUGS)) to you all!

Em said...

That was so sweet, such a wonderful tribute to your memories of him. I hope you'll have a great weekend!

Mama Spark said...

Natalie, you have such a beautiful and poetic way with words. Corm new you loved him, still love him. It is a fitting tribute that you are acknowledging his influence on your life by making subtle changes to pass these same qualities on to your loved ones. Corm would be touched! Bless you and your family, my dear!

tea time and roses said...

Hello Natalie,

Such a beautiful tribute. Blessings to you and your sweet family.


Tarie said...

Aww, Natalie. *hugs!* I think I understand what you feel. I still can't believe Tita Baby is dead...

Thank you so much for the perspective! This post has reminded me of the better perspective for life. This is a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your emotions and wisdom with us.

calamitykim said...

First I smile at the orange and blue quilt- so lovely and bright.
Then I am amazed at the beautiful Victorians and remember there is one here in Sarasota that is my favorite house ever and I should go take a picture of it.
Then I read about Corm and I feel your pain, share the grief, weep the tears.
I stop, unable to read more.
I am sad and forlorn and so unable to help you. I feel bad and don't know what to do with that feeling.
I look out the window at cardinals fussing with blue jays and squirrels trying to get all the sunflowers for themselves and think about you on the other side of the states. the opposite coast.
I shake my head at the wonder of being able to be a part of your life and yet I am not. Cyber friends. so close yet so far.
hugs and kisses and sweet peach cobbler love to you all.
I would bake a cake a week if I was your neighbor. Then you would all grow fat with my love, too.
go kiss the chickens for me.