We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations. (Anais Nin)
It has been quite an amazing week since last I posted. I did all that I wrote about and more: said goodbyes, had long talks with those closest to me, had a meeting of the Club (BCMA), watched a dear friend marry…She looked all shiny and new in her love, a radiant bride after a whole lifetime already lived as wife, mother, widow.
Our friends in Chicago staged a farewell party extraordinaire, with foods gathered from the finest restaurants and bakeries the Windy City has to offer. Charlie Trotter’s rare beef tenderloin on Sarah’s brioche, cupcakes from Sweet Mandy B’s, world famous potato chips with rosemary, balsamic syrup, white truffle oil and parmesan cheese from the West Town Tavern, caviar pie, champagne and Larry’s stand-up/knock down margaritas. Best of all was the company of our neighbors and the promise that they will let me cook for them all again, this time next year, in Asheville.
Throughout the week, always on my mind and in my heart, is Bud. Bud has fallen on hard times up at Lost Loon Lodge, quite literally. He spent 14 hours outside, through the night, in freezing temperatures after suffering a stroke. He found himself in this ignoble position because of choices he has made and we have respected. After my mother died he was clear about his intention to stay at Lost Loon Lodge in the tip of the Keweenaw up on the edge of Lake Superior. 300 inches of snow, soaring eagles, bears eating the bird feeders, failed plumbing, the same family of loons returning year after year and all of his incredible memories made with his life partner- there was never a question that he would stay. Over the past few years we have had discussions around the edges of other possibilities but really, we’ve all known that Bud would stay as long as humanly possible. This was the summer he planned to build his crypt at the back of their land.
Right now Bud has moved out of intensive care and into the rehabilitation unit at Marquette General Hospital. If you’ve followed here for a while you know that Marquette is a wonderful place 150 miles from that little cottage, a place where this family has gathered before. Right now, Laurel is at the helm and in the cafeteria (she reports that the menu of 23 flavors of jello has been reduced during these tough times). Bud is getting hours of hands on rehabilitation each day, growing in one dimension and not in another, unevenly. He is moving into less complicated clothing (hey! I moved into drawstring pants several years ago!) and determined to earn his release sooner rather than later. He seems to have a clearer idea of what that looks like than the rest of us; we are all still looking to doctors and therapists and social workers for answers.
Major life events never seem to occur in organized fashion. As soon as we finish the transaction on the Chicago house I will head up there and see what I might do. Right now I feel relatively helpless, sad that he is struggling away from his beloved home in the wild and grateful that he is in very good hands for the moment. Our next two weeks involve back and forths, packing, movers, bankers and closings. The best I can do right now is hold him in my heart.
Oh! and send e-mail. One of the things that Marquette offers, as a regional care facility for the entire upper peninsula of Michigan, is a great e-mail service for patients. Bud has always enjoyed the blog here and he’s one of those people who loves mail. If you want, you can send him a note HERE. All you need to know is that his name is Eugene Avery, he is 81 and in room 388 in the rehabilitation unit. And you can attach a picture if you would like. Thanks.
So that’s it. Things are bittersweet and busy here. I’m taking this morning, just back in the middle of the night from Chicago, to catch up on mail, comfort the cats, enjoy the rain and a beautiful potted Persian lime tree that has mysteriously shown up on the doorstep. I need to track down the source. Meanwhile, my husband is sending me poetry:
You’re not at the Zoo
The animals miss you
And I do too