grief

Richard Cabe (1950-2011) ogling wildflowers

Five years ago today, at 11:07 am, Richard Cabe, the love of my life and the father of my beloved step-daughter, Molly, took his last gulping breaths. I still miss him acutely, though not every moment and not with the sharp pain of that initial parting.

After five years, the missing him is more like a dull, nagging ache, a bruise in the part of my heart our nearly 29 years together live. 

In Thornyhold, one of Mary Stewart's later novels, the heroine says that a message came to her "like a gift from the air." 

It was a rare slow night at Amicas, the wood-fired pizza restaurant in my neighborhood, which meant John, my favorite manager, had time to chat after I ordered my pizza to go. 

"How have you been?" he asked. I haven't been in for quite a while. Either I'm on the road, or home and feeling too vulnerable to be social--my loss, I know.

"Pretty good," I waggled my hand to indicate the ups and downs. 

Since sometime last fall, I’ve been struggling to not succumb to a kind of low-level, background malaise that is uncharacteristic for me. I’m usually sunny, or at least resilient and optimistic.


On weekends, I put the creative energy I use for writing into homework: projects around my little house and yard.


This weekend, I was determined to make more progress on the flagstone dining patio I'm laying on the east side of the garage/studio. I had laid the first four flagstones early this summer, when the ground was still moist and workable. 



I've been cranky around the edges for the past several weeks, less patient than usual, easily irritated and sometimes outright bitchy. I've embarrassed myself with my moods, and wondered more than once where the good-natured me went and who is this out-of-sorts woman currently inhabiting my skin.


Richard Cabe, 1950-2011, with one of his beloved "ambassadors of the earth." Richard Cabe, 1950-2011, with one of his beloved "ambassadors of the earth."
Cottonwoods showing autumn's final colors along the Rio Chama. Cottonwoods showing bronzey-gold fire along the Rio Chama.
Buffalo Peaks, on the way up Trout Creek Pass, one entrance to South Park Buffalo Peaks, on the way up Trout Creek Pass, one entrance to South Park
Richard and me (and our Great Dane, Isis) by the Arkansas River in earlier years. Richard and me (and our Great Dane, Isis) by the Arkansas River in 2003.
New year, new moon--and long nights.... New year, new moon--and long nights....

This time of year as the long nights of winter yield much-too-gradually to the turn of our hemisphere toward light and warmth, I spend time deliberately tallying my blessings.

Not in a superficial, oh-isn't-life-wonderful way.

Summer silliness (photo by Scott Calhoun) Summer silliness (photo by Scott Calhoun)

Last Wednesday, the second anniversary of Richard's death, I thought about what I've accomplished over the past 104 weeks.

Richard on the Big Sur Coast, California Richard on the Big Sur Coast, California

You're working too much.

I was headed home after spending the morning in a contentious three-hour planning meeting for a local land management agency.

Words that arrowed straight to my heart.... Just a few words... of such great power.

On the bookshelf to the right of my desk sits a simple hand-lettered card bearing birthday wishes  and this quote:

Happiness is a form of courage. --George Holbrook Jackson

Eye-popping dawn colors this morning. Eye-popping dawn colors this morning.

It's my birthday!

Richard Cabe inflating our brand-new kayak at Frantz Lake, September 2009. Richard Cabe inflating our brand-new kayak at Frantz Lake, September 2009.

I usually post on this blog once a week, often on Sunday night. Last weekend though, I was involved in negotiations related to the sale contract on Terraphilia.

Sandra D. Lynn and granddaughter Skye Sandra D. Lynn and granddaughter Skye

Last Wednesday morning, on my long drive to Western Washington, I stopped to check email in Spanish Fork on Utah's Wasatch Front, between spearing peaks and sprawling suburbs.

My house, shot by Terraphilia Resident Robin MacDonald-Foley. Thanks, Robin! The house and attached guest cottage--photo by Terraphilia Resident Robin MacDonald-Foley.