My sister Christine Ottaway died in 2012 of breast cancer.
I took this photograph at Christmas in Alexandria, Virginia in the late 1970s. I am three years older and made her stuffed toys and puppets for years. The first one was a stuffed snake that I sewed by hand, of brown flowered fabric. My mother was very unconvinced about it, but Chris and I had both longed for the giant velvet snakes at the County Fair. We failed to win one. The snake I made her was only two feet long, but she loved it.
I made the puppet on the left and bought her the one on the right.
It’s lovely to still have the photographs and memories.
For the Ragtag Daily Prompt stable, because maybe love is the only stable thing in an unstable world.
The bones of the great blue heron are so light, that I think it is standing on the floating kelp beds. I’d wish my bones were that light, but that would be osteoporosis. Maybe I could come back as a heron.
The older we get, the more we learn which bridges to cross, which bridges to burn.
What shall I keep?
And shall I burn that bridge before I cross it
I did not know that was a bridge
I would burn
And I grieve as a I learn
But the sledgehammers and bombs
loosed by the family
have left a bridge
that is all but falling
Into an abyss.
It is stone and old.
It won’t burn, but it barely holds together.
One heavy rock, thrown in the middle
and it will fall
down down down.
What shall I keep?
What shall I let go?
I wonder what my parents think
Do they think at all
or do they let go with death
and let joy overcome them
in reunion with the Beloved.
I hope where they are is joy.
It is ok, loves.
It did not turn out well
but people make their choices.
I can’t rebuild the bridge alone
and on the other side they prepare
new IEDs to blow me up
if I attempt to rebuild
I keep my children away
from the web of triangulation
and so they are not attached to the land
nor do they play the family games.
I am so glad.
I am still attached to the land
and my dead.
Not the living but the dead.
My sister, my mother, my father
grandparents, uncles, aunt.
All the dead.
Forgive me, but I can’t keep the bridge
and I will let the land go.
My children and I will be dead
to those living.
We have family and friends
who are loving and not hating
and not cruel.
I still love my dead and even though the place reminds me of them, they are not there. They are in my heart. I keep them safe and let the bridge and the land go.
It’s about shacks on a lake in Ontario. My grandparents and family built the shacks and I’ve been going there since I was under a year old.
However, my sister died of cancer in 2012 and there was a horrific family battle over my niece. My mother had already died. My father died 13 months after my sister and left the same will as my mother. Unfortunately it was written when I was a minor. I cried when I read it because I was the only person named in it who was still alive. I knew what my father wanted, or remembered what he told me. A will is a will though. I took it to an attorney and followed her interpretation.
Then I was sued by family regarding the niece.
I knew what my father wanted but he had not done it. So I decided not to fight it and handed over half the estate. Because even though my father wanted me to watch over his granddaughter, he had not left me the tools. And she did not want me.
So back to the shacks. It’s the side of the family that brought in all the lawsuits. I have not felt welcomed there nor loved since my sister died.
Part of me is furious that I am being hunted out, unwelcomed, wants our grandparents to curse them.
The other part points out that I have already been hunted out, effectively. I stopped trying to take my children there because I couldn’t tell who in the family was “neutral” (basically not talking to me) or “gossiping” — the rumors re me trying to harm my niece were incredibly painful. I had to let her go.
After my father died I dream that I am issued a huge SUV, black. I am to go pick up three children. When I arrive, two are teens: my two. The third is a toddler. My niece is really the same age as my daughter, but not in the dream. In the dream, they tell me, “You can’t take the toddler. You don’t have a car seat.”
I say, “Can I go get one and come back?”
“No.” they say.
I say, “Please, can I borrow one? I didn’t know I needed it! I was issued the SUV!”
“No.” they say. “You can only take the two teens.
So I took the two teens and left, crying.
I woke up and thought: my father’s will is not my fault. I did the best I could. I followed an attorney’s advice and I tried to do what my father wished. I did not have the tools I needed.
Now my children and I may get an offer to buy our share of the land. My children are ready to be bought out.
I do not know if I am. I feel like this is the last connection with that side of my family, not only the living, but the dead. I love the land far more than the silent living and the cruel living. Why are families so cruel and why do they need enemies so badly? Gossip is a sin, truly, and hurts. Selling my share is saying goodbye to my sister, my mother, my father, my grandmother, my grandfather, my two uncles, my aunt. I don’t mind saying goodbye to the cruel living nearly as much as to my dead.
An old friend died this morning. She was a college friend of my parents and has known me since birth. I will miss her quite terribly.
She and I took a road trip in September. She had lost thirty pounds, not on purpose. I thought I had better do the road trip while we could. We went from Michigan to visit five households of old friends in Wisconsin. I lived with her and her family for a year during college in Madison, Wisconsin in the early 1980s. She is a beloved mentor.
She also introduced me to all sorts of groups. She has an amazing record collection.
I went with her to see Warren Zevon in Madison.
The painting is my photograph of one of her oil paintings. It is about 3 by 5 feet and gorgeous.
I think of you as dead. Love is not dead, not mine for you. This is not respectful to those truly dead. Yet you are dead to me in that you lie and say forever. Torched and ashes, now it’s never and the real you is dead to me. I love the you that made a different choice, that loved me back. He holds my hand and walks with me and laughs with me daily. And there is nothing you can do to stop him and me. If anyone asks, you are dead to me, dead forever, and I will love whoever my heart chooses, for all time.
I found the chalcedony nodule on Indian Island yesterday.
Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt is prompt, because we need a seventh person. Sounds pretty easy, right? To pick a word once a week and post it and then watch the replies.
It is easy and it isn’t! That day sneaks up on me. Now I try to post the Tuesday prompt 5-7 days early and set it to post on Tuesday morning.
If another prompt is missing, I can check the Ragtag site. Sometimes a prompter is gone or has something happening in their life or has put 9 pm instead of 9 am! I can intervene and fix the last problem. We fill in for each other, too.
This is an international group and a prompt for peace! Peace us and join us! I love seeing photographs from all over the world. I am itching to go to Australia to see all the birds and to India and back to Alamosa, Colorado and in fact, I would go to any of the areas that people post from. With all of the stress from the pandemic and the ongoing war, this is a daily place that makes me hopeful that people can get along and that we will reach the point where the color of our skin matters no more than the color of our eyes. It is Martin Luther King Day in the US and I am celebrating peace and hope.
I heard a wonderful sermon yesterday from a man who works in our school system, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfmPjcEIbBA. I went to a music jam which had wonderful diversity of music. I went to hear Chicago Bob play and I have to say that I did not expect him to play Teddy Bear’s Picnic. A friend came to dinner too.
Refugees welcome - Flüchtlinge willkommen I am teaching German to refugees. Ich unterrichte geflüchtete Menschen in der deutschen Sprache. I am writing this blog in English and German because my friends speak English and German. Ich schreibe auf Deutsch und Englisch, weil meine Freunde Deutsch und Englisch sprechen.
You must be logged in to post a comment.