Friday, June 25, 2010

My Walks with Sugar

I'll be taking Sugar for her second walk in a little while. I look forward to taking her. We walk around the neighborhood where it's quiet, and most are still at work. My work of course is done inside my home.

I've lived in this neighborhood for close to 40 years. It's hard to believe. I almost moved away last fall but decided against it for the time. And since then I've realized how lucky I am to be where I am, in a location one can actually relax, and feel more in touch with nature. Yes, I have neighbors on all sides, but am situated in a way that I do have my privacy, yet we can all look out for each other, which we do.

I moved here in 1971, actually at the end of August. Married, with a two year old and six months pregnant with my second child, this was going to be our "starter" home. Except as the years passed, we found it easier to stay on, add on, and remain where we were. My house is considered tract housing, a small ranch house. We paid I think $20,000 for it. We added a two car garage, a family room, another full sized bath, a deck. The basement is finished. The yard is kept up by my neighbor, who does a fantastic job. He lives in the back so is always around to do whatever needs to be done. His son plays with the younger boys across the street. They often cut through my yard to visit each other's house. I don't mind. We have formed a community and we look out for each other.

Still, whenever I go out into my backyard, I envision how it once was. My neighbors to my right, the original owners of that house have passed on. I can still imagine Roger out in his garden, or building a windmill, or stocking up on wood, filling a special shed just for that purpose. I imagine him with my late husband, figuring out how to start and complete the latest project. Each holding a beer, kabitzing about the best way to do things.

Helen, Roger's wife loved bingo. She also loved her hot dogs, and knitting or crocheting.

Roger loved his special projects, like that windmill. I'm not sure if he ever really generated any electricity out of it.

Every summer Helen would holda tag sale. One time I participated in a neighborhood tag sale with Helen and her sister Jeannie. Both have passed on, joining Roger, and my husband.

I now walk around the neighborhood with Sugar. All the kids have grown, and have kids of their own.  It's all different. 

The years passed so quickly. And each generation will wonder how does time go by so fast like that, leaving behind only memories.

The above ground pool we once enjoyed is long gone. I did not plant a garden this year, although the ground is ready for it having been rototilled last week. I simply did not get around to it. Age has something to do with it of course. I conserve my energy now for those actitivies that I want to enjoy. Dancing being one of them which I'll do tonight.

My walks with Sugar gives me the opportunity to reminisce, reflect, and re-evaluate. As July 4th weekend approaches, I am reminded that it will be eight years that will have passed since losing my husband on that fateful day (July 6, 2002.) In the beginning of my grieving I was told eventually we get "over" such terrible tragedies. In a way I will agree. Yet, I have to warn we totally never get over those type of events in our lives that pretty much turn us upside down.

I'm sure that every day since that day I have at some point during any given day thought of what happened. The images don't disappear but become embedded into our psyche. Thirty-three years with someone does not disappear. Forgetting become an impossibility.

We go on. We make a new life. We create new memories. We can laugh again. We can experience joy again. Yet, in the quiet moments, such as taking a small dog for her walks we can be transported back in time, and even start to again enjoy those moments created by that past life.  Moments such as those have made us who we now are in the present.

Through death, through divorce, through an event that separates us from that person we had spent a lifetime with, it is the  memories that stay.

As a result, I think we appreciate more of what is in the here and now. We remember to show gratitude for when things go well, because we know how it can all go wrong and turn on a dime.

We value relationships better, and we become more patient with those who are now in our lives.

And why I look forward to my daily walks with my dog Sugar, and am more grateful and more appreciative of all that life brings to me.

This week will be a week of reflection for me of course as it has been since after 2002.

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