July 12, 2015 – Sunday
June 25, 2009 – Cape Cod
When I signed up for my Intro to Jewelry-making class two months ago, I thought it a bit odd that it would fall on the week-end of your birthday. But something told me that this was okay. That it was meant to be this way. I did not struggle overmuch with the notion that I would be “doing” something on your birthday instead of sitting at home in quiet contemplation of the life we had led together and the thirteen birthday celebrations we had shared together.
I admit that your first birthday had caught me a little off-guard – I not knowing that it was your birthday. And it was actually Cougar Woman who came to my rescue that first year, advising me that I should get you something nice for your birthday and helping me to find that special gift – a beautiful, hand-crafted medicine bag made from suede and turtle. And it was fitting that turtle would be a part of your first gift, in honor of your wisdom and guidance in suggesting that we take our journey together slowly, in turtle time.
After that first year, I would like to think that I created a special birthday celebration for you every year because you were so special to me and you were such a special child born into this world. And it wasn’t that I necessarily went about it in a grandiose manner. Instead it was always my goal and purpose to feed your spirit on all levels – most importantly, but not exclusively, your creative spirit. I always looked so forward to your birthday and often began planning for it months in advance. It was much the same way with Christmas. The two big events of the year – our respective birthdays, and Christmas.
Yes, maybe I overdid it a little on the quantity of gifts, but it always brought me such joy to sit with you and watch as you unwrapped all the precious gifts that I wanted to share with you. And I loved the way we created our special days. In all my dreams, it could not have been more perfect than the reality that we co-created. And I acknowledge, with a deep, deep gratitude, how fortunate I was (we were) to have been participants in our sacred celebrations of each other.
Because of the intensive jewelry class that I had enrolled in for this weekend, your birthday weekend, it was a very busy weekend for me. But I always carried you with me, in my heart, as I always will. During our first day in the jewelry making class, as we opened the three-day class with a share out of who we are and what had brought us to the class, I shared a bit about our journey together and how your love of jewelry had been passed on to me until I had developed my own love for, and appreciation of, jewelry in all its forms.
So in going to the workshop this weekend, I felt as though I was honoring your memory and following a bit in your footsteps even as I continue to carve my own path through this journey of life. I often thought, during the weekend, of how much you would have loved the class, and of how much you would have learned. It was not lost on me that this was the stuff I had always hoped we would be sharing together. Somehow, life had other plans for us and we got caught up in the mundaneities of life – struggling through aging and ill parents, until illness finally caught up with us too. And I remember your words one day as we sat quietly and forlornly in your art studio-turned-hospital room, and we were talking about how you had shared some of your gifts and knowledge with Debbie that last summer. And you quietly said that you wished you had accepted and acknowledged your gifts fully and had done more with them when you could have, when you were still healthy. But how could we have known that we did not have all the time in the world? We operated under the assumption that we would fix all of our problems first, and then do the things we really wanted to do. We learned a lesson then. Don’t hold back. Live the life you want to live now, while you can. Tomorrow is never guaranteed and the only moment that we can truly count on is the moment that we are in.
I am trying to honor that piece of wisdom, so hard-won. It is a bittersweet lesson because the cost was so steep. And yet it was such a deep, deep gift that you gave to me and I could only decide for myself whether it was in me to accept your gift and try to move forward into a life path I had never seen coming; as I had thought that you and I would last forever and yet here I was, cut adrift and on my own, with your words ringing in my ears, “Why did I hold myself back from doing the things I was meant to do? Why did I stop myself from fully utilizing the gifts that I had within me?”
We all do the best we can in this world and if we don’t get it right this time, well, maybe we just get right back in line and go on the ride one more time and maybe next time we do things just a little differently, and progress just a little further. . .
Happy birthday to you, Laureen!! The love of my life! My most precious, beautiful and gentle-hearted Little Black Eagle. I will always and forever love you!