Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Countdown

Much of this year I've spent thinking back on what was happening last year.  I have a litany of dates in my head, starting with November 17, 2011, when Peter was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and ending when he died - December 7, 2014.

In the year following the death of a loved one it seems that your job is to "get through" all the special events...the first ones without the one you love.  My birthday fell three days after Peter died, so that passed in the blur of the aftermath, but I was surprised at how difficult that day was.

By summer's end I thought I'd made it through all the birthdays and anniversaries, and then remembered, "Oh god, the State Fair."  I burst into tears every time I thought about all the years we'd gone together, including 2014.  Some friends advised me not to go, and others said they'd go with me.

In the end, I knew I had to go alone, and so I did, on opening day.  I wrote a piece about that day, but didn't post it.  Then Jessie, Matt, and I took Levin near the end, and seeing the fair through his eyes was an entirely new experience.  I don't think future fairs will hold so much drama for me.

Scrolling back I see what I wrote about "Estevating" this summer.  I think I did more than that.  I think I slipped into a deep slump...maybe even a depression, and I didn't realize it until I started crawling out.  Summer is not my best time of year, and this year we seemed to skip those crisp cool fall days that energize me, and got warm rain instead.

Finally my energy is coming back.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday I tackled several project that been overwhelming, including starting to move that huge pile of split wood into the woodshed (that had a bit of a make-over this summer).  That is next year's wood.
This year I am still burning what Peter cut and left for me.  He's still keeping me warm.

There is not a day that has passed that I have not thought a lot about Peter, and very few days that I haven't cried.  After a lifetime of saying, "I am not a crier," my story has changed.  Some people have told me that the second year might be even  harder.  That is difficult to imagine, but perhaps that is what this year has prepared me for.

As I write this an author is warm and cozy out in the Tiny Cabin.
All of the outbuildings have seem pretty steady use this year, and even more will be happening in 2016.  I seldom walk around the farm without thinking of all of Peter's toil and handiwork that created this place.  He used to joke that he had an "Edifice Complex," and you don't have to look very hard to see that was true.  I walk around and say, "Thank You."

Today, in 2014, Peter went into the pond, and Jessie captured his "dunk" so beautifully with her camera and photographic skill.  Afterwards Peter said, simply, "I did it because it felt good."  We had the rope around him for safety, but in the end he just needed a little help coming back up the ladder.  His sister, Karen was here that day.

As this last week of the first year without him unfolds I might post a little more....until the 7th.  And then I'll close out this blog and begin posting on downyonderfarm.blogspot.com for the farm and all of the arts activities taking place out here.  Once the warm weather gets here we'll be busy.

 My sister sent me a "Peace Crane" earring set and as a result I've started folding Peace Cranes again.  Tonight, in the dark fog, I took one down to the pond and "set it free," as I did so many days and nights last winter.  I began by writing sad notes to Peter on them, but gradually the messages became ones of gratitude. 

Peter built quite a place out here and I'll continue sharing it in the months and years to come.  In the short-run I am making plans for how to share these Peace Cranes to remember Peter on December 7th, the day he left us in 2014. I'll let you know here as any plans un-fold.

So watch here for the next 7 days, and after that day the news will come at downyonderfarm.blogspot.com.

Thanks for reading.