I took Barkley for a walk yesterday. We walked on the path by the wetlands in back of my house. It’s my time with Peter. I talk to him there as it holds so many memories – a shortcut to the school my children attended, the path he helped build, the prairie he helped maintain, the fields my daughter tried baseball for two seasons, open areas our dogs would run and times spent with Peter on breezy Spring nights, hot Summer days and crisp Fall mornings. We would hold hands and walk with birds flying overhead, frogs croaking loves songs or snow swirling around us. It was there problems were solved, the state of the world was addressed, and a place we simply walked in the comfortable quiet I knew so well in Peter.
The hour after his memorial service, family and friends walked with my kids and I around the path as a final good-bye to Peter. It is where, later, his ashes were scattered, among the land he so loved. I feel close to him on these wetlands. I hear our memories come alive and feel his presence among it all. So, I walk there at least four times per week. Most times, a hawk will fly over ahead as if Peter is whispering to me, I’m here with you.
I’ll talk to Peter when I’m there. Sometimes I speak aloud, sometimes in my head, depending on the amount of people. And yesterday, no one was on the path so I asked him aloud, “can you believe the life we are living in?” Then I released one of those small, bitter laughs and said, “well, I’m living in. You’re dead.”
See, lately, I am reeling and hurting and angered from the recent events in this world. COVID 19, the economy and especially the hellish reality racism is still alive in America and what I can do, how I can help. Walking around the path, I knew I am a white privileged person, and as such, I am protected by my whiteness. I am so far removed to the emotions and experiences of a person of color. It would be arrogant for me to even think I can began to understand. And I don’t. But I need to do something. What and how to call up the reserves left in me from a Life that has beaten me up fairly harshly lately are the things I need to figure out. Until then, I write about my anger, my bitterness, my sadness. And yesterday, on the path, I spouted off to Peter all what I held inside, like I always did, only he is dead and what I always did, wasn’t working in the now for me yesterday.
While walking the final few minutes of the path, a hawk flew over head. A hawk always appears in the sky when I’m out there. Maybe it’s a natural occurrence. Maybe hawks like wetlands. But what I think, I think it’s Peter. When I saw the hawk, I’ll be honest. I had momentary jealousy in the freedom of its flight for it reminded me how Peter has been released of all life’s current worries, and he no longer lives in the life I am living in. And I so I asked him to be with me, help me be the fighter we both know I am, help me figure out what I can do and ask God, the Universe, all the people who went before me and now are my angels, to show me where my path lies in all of this. When I got home. I cried some more.
I miss Peter during these times I am living in now. I miss talking to Peter and holding him and some how feeling better because of him, the physical him. All of that is gone now because all of him is gone now which only makes me feel more helpless.
I was empty last night, truly empty. It wasn’t just Grief’s fault. It was Life’s too for all the messed up things its holding right now.