Archive for September, 2009

fire aftermath

Photos of the aftermath of the fire that nearly came through our community.

We drove up last week and took a small hike up a small hill to see where the fire stopped. It was rather close. If the wind direction had not changed, you will read of my cursings as we file papers with our insurance company. Although, at that time of fire, I was truly not afraid of losing the cabin. It was, just a thing.

The day before the fire broke out R told me he met this new family that bought the house (on foreclosure) up the hill. They had arrived the night before to realize electricity was not turned on and they did not even have flashlights. (People– never ever go anywhere without a flashlight. Always keep one in your glove compartment for goodness sake, even if it’s a pen-sized one.) As we fled, I could not help thinking of that family and what a bizarre welcome it was to the neighborhood. (Like us, that was their summer home of sorts.)

We passed by their house when we took the small walk. They have three boys. As we walked past we saw the youngest, about five, dragging some branches up to the roadside for disposal. He caught sight of us, nodded importantly, and waved to us as if to say, “I am helping out, doing very important work!”

I walked a few steps more, turned back, looked at him again and try to imagine I have a son like that, with much darker hair, perhaps half the size, begging his father to let him have a go at the axe to chop firewood.

It makes me horribly sad when I do things like that. I feel terrible and I feel sad and I feel trapped in time. I remind myself that this is the test, to never have what you want and yet be okay with it. Life is not about what you want, but discovering what you have within you, when you do not just so easily have things fall into your lap. From time to time I write my “I am grateful for… …” lists and I know I am blessed. Yesterday I even told myself, You have everything that you need. You do not want. Now you just need to be a better person.

One day I just have to be okay with it. And lay myself open to all kinds of possibilities. I one day thought I would look into a young man’s eyes and know Ferdinand, touch and be touched, somehow, in a most surreal moment, know that he is unlimited and unbounded by a physical and human body. I don’t know why I think that but I just felt something like that may happen some day. Maybe I need to focus only on non-fiction books.


That necklace that I pondered over? I received a coupon code and thought what the heck I will just order it. I can always return it. It arrived today and I think it is gorgeous and just perfect. Truly two perfect circles leaving that sliver of a crescent, that little void that is my son. I loved it. I tried it on and wish I have a long, silky white neck, but that I doubt I can order online. I had not said a word but Sophia told me, “It’s like the moons, mom, and it reminds me of Ferdinand.”

I looked at her and she smiled shyly.

“Why, Sophia? Why would it remind you of Ferdinand?”

She told me there were sparkles (very subtle ones) on the circle, and they reminded her of stars and thus, Ferdinand. I explained to her that I was thinking of F when I bought the necklace, and explained to her about the two perfect circles, one void, one solid, and the tiny space they create between them, and of the moon phases and then I started to choke.

It is a delicate necklace, simply beautiful. But I am not sure it will stand up to Lyra’s curious and strong fingers.


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midnight braindump

I am surprised at things that I get surprised at.

Like how some mornings the first thought that enters my head, as I open my eyes and see Lyra laying next to me is: “I can’t believe he died. I can’t believe after two years I still have problems believing this.”

Like how astonished I felt when I saw how fast the fire burned the paper drawings the girls made. I thought, “They spent such a long time drawing everything, and it is gone, just ashes within fraction of a second.”

Like how long I have not heard from some people. How “giving space” evolve into being ignored, and then conveniently forgotten. (Not that I have regrets, I am such an anti-social nut, it is a wonder I am not into cats and all that.)


Sometimes they talk about Ferdinand like they really know him. Every so often I hear one of them say to the other, “I miss Ferdinand” and I cannot help but wonder how this relationship will evolve as they grow up. I hate to go there but I can’t help thinking if they will have fears when one day pregnant themselves, that their baby may die. I cannot tell you how much I hate this.


This is what approximately one hundred stringed cranes look like when packed in a paper bag:


And, the lessons learned in the process of stinging them:

  1. The holes in the beads are delusional. They may look big enough to let the needle pass through but won’t, and they may look small yet allow the same needle to pass through.
  2. You can spend more money on beads you feel look better and have bigger holes, but it won’t work (refer to above).
  3. Those cheap-looking ones you popped into the cart thinking maybe the girls could use them, and the holes are too small anyway? They work, and do not look as cheap as you thought.
  4. Wear a thimble because after some time the thumb starts to hurt from having to tug at the ribbon and the beads.
  5. Wear a thimble because it is possible to get “ribbon burn” when you pull the beads up the ribbons.

I still have the bag of cranes with me. When the bereavement coordinator finally called me back (she told me it had been crazy busy and I try not to think why), Ferdinand’s anniversary was over. But she told me it was too hot anyway and they just had the trees trimmed so it may look better when everything has grown out a bit. And in any case, there will be a memorial service in the garden Oct 15. So, some time early October I am going to be hanging the cranes up in the garden. I did wonder how long they will last, how soon their bright colors will be bleached by the sun, but I know that nothing is meant to last forever.

And I still have more cranes. I will string one hundred again next year, and so on… until they are all gone.


I think what has brought me peace is to remind myself that it is impossible to know everything, or to understand everything. There must be a reason and explanation but it may not be for me to know. I do not own my children and they have no obligations to me. It is a spirit’s choice, to be born or not; or to be born handicapped; or to live only briefly; or to never experience life inside a dense body made of blood and flesh. I do feel Ferdinand made his choice and he has his journey to make, his destiny to fulfil. How wonderful to know that so clearly. I envy that, because I still feel I struggle to find my path. I still wish, and continue to wish till the day I die, that he can send me a sign that he is safe. He is safe, I just need to hear it from him, directly. Somehow.

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I will never understand

I was going to post a quick update on the fire, that it seems to be contained and that the bbq we were planning on for this weekend can probably go on.

But I clicked on an email to read about Mirne’s and Craig’s monumental loss. Their third child Jethro Craig Wilhem graced their lives forĀ  three brief days and then he died. I just could not believe my eyes when I read it. I am just deeply shocked, saddened to the core and I’ll have to admit that I felt anger. I just do not understand.

I’ve tried so hard to make sense of it all since Ferdinand died. I’ve done all sorts of things. I’ve read, I’ve meditated, I’ve grabbed onto every fragile shred of reason, trying to weave a scrap of meaning out of it all. Some days I feel I can find peace of it all. I may not understand, I may never know the answer, but I can come to some form of acceptance.

But this sad news just brought me down to my knees and I wish I can howl Jet’s name for his heartbroken parents. I will never forget. I will never, ever understand, but I will never forget. Sending much love to Mirne and Craig, who have navigated such difficult terrain, please go over and let them know they are not alone.

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