Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Story of Mur and Shirl...

I was just reading in today’s issue of The Toronto Star about Spain’s Duchess of Alba  who, at the age of 85, married for the third time after being twice widowed.

We’re all familiar with the expressions about “second time around romances” – and people seem to feel most touched when a new couple have kindled a meaningful and promising relationship after being having being bereaved and feeling bereft  when a former  partner has died.

The ringing out of new names together is always exciting – as the royal example recently of “Will & Kate”. Some names just seem to “fit” together and are years later always thought of as a single unit, such as Bonnie and Clyde!

In my house, the names are Mur and Shirl. Spoken of with fond remembrances, their memories bring  pleasure, sweet recall and humourous recounting of once upon a time.  Their photos are not on the mantle; nor are they face down in a dusty box. If, once in a great while, either my husband or I call each other by the wrong name, both of us take it as a compliment that we each see in each other, and  enjoy and value, the comfort of a happy marriage, the second time around.

Lyrics sung by Frank Sinatra are all about “The Second Time Around” -  which extol the glories of having both feet on the ground .  For some what was “before” stays before and is no longer admitted as part of the present - but for others, their partners from the first time around still have a place in the heart and a room in one’s mind.

And good luck to the Duchess who, on her wedding day, danced the flamenco.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Singin' Joni's Song...

Many partners have suffered the loss of their significant other…an event that feels catastrophic. Well-meaning friends and sometimes the most unexpected people offer their condolences and help.

Casseroles, baskets of fruit, maybe some wine, and a staggering array of floral arrangements can be overwhelming. These goodwill gestures and symbols of sympathy are traditional and sincere. In retrospect though, even after bereavement nearly twenty years ago, I sometimes feel a little niggling of puzzlement. “What on earth would have made them say that?” type of thinking.

Last week I read in the local newspaper of an untimely death by accident – leaving a bereft and bereaved wife. Prestigious address, seemingly comfortable in an early and hard-earned retirement, well-known in the community – and yet, surrounded by well-wishers and family, decidedly now quite alone. This very woman was one who, when my husband died very suddenly, should have reflected in words better sense and sensitivity. But having made that comment myself, it’s easy to excuse people who may simply not know what to say.

As Joni Mitchell once wrote – “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone”. My condolences, heartfelt and  sincerely.  When the crowds have gone and there’s only still silence, the journey begins.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Giving Thanks...

The autumn colours are splendid and forecast for this turkey-time weekend  is sunny and deliciously warm.

Traffic volume starts to build early on Friday afternoons when it’s a long weekend, whether in Muskoka or other parts of Ontario or across the country. Destinations are yearned for even as cottagers depart at weekend’s end for the trek home – already anticipating the next trip “up to the cottage”.
Some travelers are journeying to visit families elsewhere, sometimes secretly wishing they could just stay at home.

This weekend, with its bounties of natural beauty, friendships, teamwork and heavily laden tables of food all come under the umbrella word “Thanksgiving”.
In this great country we have so much to be thankful for at any given time, if we just look at global economics, disparities in quality of life, and cultural differences which are sometimes rife with misunderstanding and complete ignorance of others.  Cars were lined up at the gas pumps today – aren’t we lucky to have fuel to dispense!

So even if you have to work this weekend, so do thousands of others – and we should be thankful we have a means to earn. Travelling to dine at someone else’s table may not be what you’re “into” –at least you have an invitation, for which you should feel gratitude. Just look around at the lonely people you see on the streets. Many members of our communities have probably lost a family member or friend – we should be grateful that we still have partners or relatives to enjoy and cherish good health.

And on any one of the starry, clear nights we’re about to enjoy as a last hurrah, most of us have cozy beds to nestle into and if it were to drizzle, a roof to shelter us; unlike many.

Personally, I am deeply grateful for all of the circumstances that are good and improving in my life – and also feel thankful that I have the brain and brawn to strive and survive.

Happy Thanksgiving, every day.