A Fire, A Visit and Birthdays

Wednesday, was Christians’ birthday.  He is my youngest and the last one at home.  No matter, how old he gets, Christian will always be the baby.  His brothers and sister, never let him forget it.  We had a quiet dinner and a strawberry cake.    I had taken Thursday off, as I was going to Raleigh to watch Ryan so Sydney could work on Friday.  Sydney usually works from home, but she had an appointment on Monday as well, so I was happy to oblige. 
I was up early, on that fair, Thursday morning.  I took a stroll at dawn around the territory. Daffodils were blooming, birds were singing and the first long strands of sunlight were washing over  the countryside.  When I came upon the garden, still half full of debris from past storms.  Kyle had recently added a small pile of leaves and so I thought to burn it.  I would have time to hang a small load of clothes, after the smoke cleared, with time to spare.  I started the fire and went  back in to have coffee and read a little as I always do. It wasn’t so very long  that I went to the clothes line.  To my horror, the garden was on fire!  
I was gathering buckets,when Christian was fixing breakfast.  I told him, that I intended to wet the yard around the garden, for now there was a strong wind blowing.  Christian said :it was not a good day to burn, with the wind . .”but there wasn’t a bit of wind, when I started”  I interrupted.  I was calm, so he was too.  I came back for two more buckets.  This time, Christian decided to see for himself.  By now, I was beginning to worry as the fire was heading to the the patch of young woods.  The wind just kept picking up, as well.  Christian started helping, for he was worried.  No matter, we could not keep up with fire that seemed to jump over soggy land-and in all directions.  We called the fire department. 
I was so ashamed of myself and all of the running with buckets of water had taken a toll on this old lady.  I apologized several times, and then left Christian to conclude the fiasco.  I was drained physically and felt so thoroughly foolish.  What a damper, on the otherwise, peaceful morning!   When  I had recovered and the fire department had left,   I continued the plans  for my departure . 
Sydney was waiting outside while Ryan napped.  What a welcome sight.   
The days flew by.  They were filled with long strolls , good meals and wonderful conversations.  Ryan prefers wild life videos and farming videos, intended for farmers.  At a bit shy of eighteen months, he talks about plows and combines!   Ryan is a small child and quite agile .  He knows at least half of the alphabet and the sounds of the letters, which has shocked me.  It is uncanny, but Brant and Sydney hadn’t a clue, this was spectacular. Ryan has “beauty and  brains “. . .according to his Honeybee, at least.   I left on Monday, while the first blooms of the cherry could be seen.  It was Daddy’s first heavenly birthday, though I doubt Heaven has clocks and calendars.   . .but here on earth, we do. 
Hence, my sisters and I had devised a plan to gather at Mamas’.  Delores presented Mama with a quilt,that she had made from Daddys, shirts.  No one could top that!  It was a work of art.  It is hard to believe that this is a new hobby for Delores.  I am thrilled that her next project is my own celtic quilt. 
The day was destined to be a somber one, but it was less so, sharing it with  loved ones. 
Grief subsides, but it does not leave us. Really, grief is the remnants of love.  It is an odd feeling and always  an unfamiliar  feeling  -to lose a loved one.  I will never again “lose a father”, so that experience is odd, for there is nothing to compare it too, and it can not come up again.  The other part of this sorrow, is losing someone that loved me.  I remember first realising that particular  sense of loss, when my  maternal grandmother died.  I was a child, but fully comprehended that idea. Someone who really loved me was gone.  Decades later, my paternal grandmother died, and once again, that same sentiment,  occurred  to me.  I was much older, but felt as frightened as the child I used to be.  I felt more alone, right off and less brave, than ever.
Grief is a long and  complicated business. . . it is also a very certain component of life.   Those in mourning, seem to share some common denominators.  There are more than a few thousand books written  about the subject and always there are “studies”, to confirm this.  . . but  what do with grief is in reality, a very personal affair . 
I am erecting a statue in memory of “Daddy”  -in the form of an apple tree. . .and a “Hall of Fame”,   for I will tell my fathers’ story til it is”old hat” to his great grand children.  I will try to live as he taught me to . . . and make a birthday cake in March. 
 
 

29 thoughts on “A Fire, A Visit and Birthdays

  1. Out of control fires are frightening. I have fought of few of those in my yard too. Grief is very hard on those who remain behind when a loved one leaves this earth. The years roll by, but grief is still there. Memories seem to help. Telling stories to grandchildren are a wonderful way to remember our loved ones. Enjoyed reading your post. Much love to you Michele.

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  2. I love you Rabbit. Those first are so hard but they do pass and eventually the 24th and the realization that someone, my youngest son, has been gone longer than they were here is a fact we have to face.
    It is just a bitter sweet knowledge that we miss someone so much but have that same someone waiting on the other side for us to join them.
    Now…about that fire. Goodness I’ve a been there too and it can be a very uncomfortable situation. So glad Christian was there and yes the wind can pop up when it isn’t invited.
    We are back to cool nights , always do before Easter, but I do believe Spring is here . Life continues.

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    1. I am dreadfully sorry about your son . . I can not imagine. I would love to hear about him. Christian made a huge difference the day of the fire. I could not believe how early spring came this year. I remain very concerned about all things-but am taking a break to restore myself. God is my answer.-as He is yours. I love you too Beverly.

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  3. Your post is very beautiful with so much drama and wisdom filling our hearts.

    I am glad the fire ended well and none of you were harmed. Storm and fire are indeed not so
    good together.
    Your sharing about grief touches me deep. I particular like this:
    “Grief subsides, but it does not leave us. Really, grief is the remnants of love. ”

    Miriam

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  4. I grieved with you and fought that fire with you. Your writing is very vivid and always full of wisdom. You are such a blessing to me!

    It’s marvelous to watch a brilliant child. Our neighbor Logan is one of those. He was four years old when we moved here. He could read before he went to kindergarten. I was impressed with his logic, too. He was reading the road, explaining how the tracks must have been made when the vehicle was going a certain way. I think he was six at the time. You are going to enjoy Ryan in a very special way. The girls will always shine in your posts, too. Grandchildren are precious!

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    1. There is something so very beautiful about grandchildren-I hope you claim Logan! Haha! Every one seems to have some beautiful gift. God bless ours and really all children -and dear friends too! x love Michele

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      1. We claim Logan as an adopted grandchild. I don’t think anyone knows if his biological grandparents are still alive. He is adopted, and Shawn and Bob’s parents are dead. I wish all children had a support group of 8 — parents, grandparents, and two outsiders. Love, Anne

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  5. I am very thankful too that the fire got stopped when it did. I enjoy a lively bonfire as much as anyone else, I think, but there’s always an element of nervousness as the flames rise higher and higher.
    It’s never an easy thing to look after young ones but you’ve always kept your heart on what is precious and tender. I love reading about how you and your children/in-laws zealously guard the young ones’ childhood. Some people push their kids to grow up and to grow smarts before their time. I pity those children, they don’t stand much a chance to grow into themselves; as adults later they will never be the easy in their skin sort. But not yours, Michele. They will grow up to be fine young people.
    Although I understand grief better now, I have not made my peace with it. But I don’t fret over it. I think that it is important to take the sting out of grief as much as we can – not by rationalizing it or running away from it or even trying to smother it – but by letting grief shape a better life for us in some way. When we live better, even in a little way, because of grief, then the sting of grief has not won.

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  6. Happy late birthday to Christian. And to your Daddy in heaven. Thank you for sharing so much of your heart and life. The fire is scary and I understand~one time I had to call the fire dept over an accident that turned too large in my old kitchen. Life can be so peaceful one minute and then immediately bring about something that will rock your moment. I commend you all for how you handle yourselves. The apple tree is a beautiful tribute my sweet friend. I’m sending love and hugs to you~Karla 💛❤️💚🤗🐶

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  7. I agree that grief is the remnant of love. And despite all that is written about it, it is a very personal thing and everyone experiences it slightly differently. I’m so sorry about your father, and hope that you will continue to let yourself cope with this in your own way, in your own time. I love the idea of an apple tree statue!
    Happy Birthday to Christian! I’m sorry about the garden fire, but glad that the fire department put it out quickly…I’m sure that was a scary thing! Take care, my friend, and continue to enjoy the company of your sweet family.

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  8. “Grief is the remnants of love.” ….. what a perfect way to sum it up. You are a keen word-smither Michele & I’m so glad my eyes get to fall on those words.

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  9. Much love to you, Michele, as you honor your precious papa. It’s been 7 years now since my papa passed, but I still miss him and will never forget 08 March – the day he graduated to Glory. I think your father will love looking down from Heaven on your apple tree monument, and his heavenly heart will smile when you share the legacy of his life and love with the next generations…

    Hugs and love – Virginia

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