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Going home.

I'm pretty worn out after wrangling with financial aid for 3 hours today, but wanted to drop a marker at the end of a pivotal week.

Last Friday, I got a tearful phone call from my mom. Her husband, John, had died in his sleep early that morning. My brothers and I had called him Big John for 16 years - he was a barrel-chested, sensitive man with a crass sense of humor, a shock of flax-colored hair, and a nose like W.C. Fields. He loved my mom with all his heart, and it was his heart that finally gave out on him. An aortic aneurism brought him down at the age of 60.

I flew home as soon as I could. John and my mom live in a corner of the western Colorado Rockies tucked between the Roan Plateau and the Grand Mesa. Six acres isn't much, but it's a lot for a single person to manage, especially since winter comes early in the high country. I grew up rural, but not on a farm - my family is mining stock. Still, I can chop wood and cut grass and feed animals, so that's what I did. In the process of work for work's sake, I found some peace in the middle of heartache. I still hurt like hell, but I didn't run from it. It just ran over me and through me, until it was me, like the axe, the swing, and the split. I stood in the last moments of monsoon rain on the plateau and the edges between ego and felt experience turned to mud.

The next day, I read the following during the service:

Winter Song

In Memory of Dorothy Milliman

The acceptance of death
Clear down in our hearts
Is the faith we bring to life
That love may go on:

The lustrous umber
Of decaying ferns;
Belled vermillion
Of the gooseberry bloom;

Rain on the river.

- Jim Dodge

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
ewokgirl
Aug. 26th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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