As soon as 2020 began, I began feeling excited about my bi-yearly week at the cabin, requesting my desired week in early January -- for the last week of July. Cherie requested the first week of August. We were finally going to have 2 whole weeks at the cabin, together! As the strange events of 2020 unfolded, my family chose to stay 'safe at home', and not travel to Utah with me for vacation. I debated staying home too, but only for about 2 minutes! My time at the cabin is too precious to give up. I brought my fuzzy friend, Roxy. My 10 yr-old grand-daughter, Gabrielle, has one just like it.
My introverted, nature-loving self, enjoys quiet and solitude. But it felt very odd not to have others around to enjoy the unique beauty of our special cabin. I was really glad I brought Roxy along.
When I first arrived, the lower pasture was empty. A few days later, I was happy to see two horses had been moved here from the upper pasture. Horses are a big part of my memories of Pines Ranch.
I passed the days doing my usual bi-yearly drawer organizing, some reading, walking, and lots of prayer and contemplation. My sister's husband, Kurt, was concurrently terminally ill, in hospice, in their home in Provo. He was my same age, 62. This wasn't supposed to happen to people 'our age'. I appreciated the grounding of nature -- while feelings of sadness and anger swirled through me.
Between time spent walking and reading, Roxy and I drove the scenic country roads.
Cherie invited me to join her family one evening for dinner -- and a funeral planning meeting. Except for my parents, this was my first funeral planning meeting. It was spoken aloud many times, and I think silently as well, 'this isn't any easier; knowing that death is imminent'. We shared and laughed and cried, reviewing our many different memories from our many different relationships with Kurt.
'Shopping' for a mortuary and cemetery the next morning with Tiffany and Cherie was extremely bittersweet, and an extreme honor. Later that afternoon, I said my good-byes to Kurt, as he lingered partly in this dimension and partly in another. I drove quietly back to the cabin.
The next day, Saturday, August 1st, as morning sunlight sparkled through the trees, I saw a deer just outside the window. Cherie and I have always felt that a deer is a sign that our Dad is near. She had seen a deer in her backyard as well. The ringing of the cabin telephone made me jump. Cherie announced that Kurt had died a few hours earlier. We believe Dad welcomed and escorted Kurt to his eternal home. I believe in divine timing. I was grateful to be near Cherie and her family.
A few days later, Friday, August 7th, in the cool shade of the trees, a small gathering of family members joined for a beautiful memorial service. Kurt's final resting place at Eastlawn Cemetery is perfect; peaceful and serene.
Cherie was able to enjoy 3 days of her precious bi-yearly week at the cabin. The day following the funeral, Satuday, August 8th, she and Tiffany came to the cabin. Tevin, Trent and Haley and Lauren came also, for the day. It was absolutely delighful having company, their company! Everyone could feel a palpable peace, enjoying familiar activities, nature, each other, and stories around the 'no-fire' campfire!
Sunday and Monday, it was just us girls, Cherie, Tiffany and I. We enjoyed sleeping late, (love the light-blocking curtains!), walking, talking, swinging, hammocking, cooking, and eating, together. And we watched a movie, Shall We Dance? In it, Susan Sarandon's character says the reason for marriage is to have a witness for your life, which Cherie quoted in her memorial to Kurt.
Bye bye, cabin. See you in 2 years.
Bye bye, Kurt. Not sure when I'll see you again.
I pondered whether to post this message here, as it may be too sad for our Cornwall Cabin website.
But midway through creating the post, Gabrielle let me know that she and her dad were burying her hamster, Midnight, in the backyard, and she asked if I wanted to join them. She helped me know.
'Yes', I do want to post this message here.
Birth and death are both part of life here on Earth -- this wild and precious life.
P.S. When I said my good-byes to Kurt, I asked him to send me a sign from the great beyond, a sign that I would know was from him. While driving back to the cabin the day after the funeral, a rally of Corvettes passed me as they cruised along Highway 32. ;-)
The Summer Day
Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean- the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down- who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away. I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?