I drive back to New Jersey early tomorrow morning.
All the deck furniture has been placed in the storage shed. I put in a load of bed linens and towels while I vacuumed and dusted the house and cleaned up the bathrooms.
Later this morning, I'll finish up my sermon for Sunday before heading out to an early supper with a very dear friend.
Friday night at Dos Locos. Half-price Alaskan King Crab Legs. Yum, yum!
And, the Martinis there - Bombay Sapphire, up, two olives, and just a whisper of vermouth over the top - are the BEST anywhere. Bar none.
Then, it's a long walk on the Boardwalk before I get back in my car and drive back home to Llangollen to finish packing. I leave Very Early Saturday morning.
This has been a wonderful summer, filled with visits from good friends, good conversations, and GREAT food.
A bitter sweet note has been the visit with my brother. I am so deeply grateful to have had this time with him and to sort through some stuff that had been cluttering the corners of my heart and mind and soul.
I'm no where near done, but I've made a good start. I'm deeply grateful for that.
I did get a note from my sister-in-law this morning. She took my brother to the Eye Doctor yesterday where it was learned that half the vision in both eyes is gone. It seems the plaque that attaches itself to the brain has gotten to the optic nerve and occluded half of it to both eyes.
That's the Bad News. The Awful News is that it will progress.
The Really Bad News is that this sort of wild-fire progression of Alzheimer's is signature of its manifestation in its younger victims.
I will call him Sunday night, as has become our routine, to see how he's feeling about all of this. When we talked when he was here, I saw on his face and in his eyes, and heard in his voice a combination of being overwhelmed mixed in with a bit of disbelief, confusion and amazement, all while attempting to resign himself to his situation with some manner of good cheer and dignity.
"Hey," he would say every so often, "What else am I going to do, right?"
Oh, I don't know. I can think of a few other options that would at least cross my mind as distinct possibilities.
I covet and cherish your prayers for my brother. Go ahead. Put that request on your prayer lists. I haven't wanted to be a bother but now I'm thinking it's time to 'storm heaven' on his behalf.
John. His name is John. He's 56 years old - just turned in July.
Pray for a miracle - without condition or specifics. I don't know what God has in mind in all of this, but I do know that when things get this bad this fast there's usually a miracle just around the corner which often doesn't have as much, if anything, to do with a 'cure' or 'healing' of that which gave rise to the prayer in the first place.
It's about "something else" that needs curing or healing, by which the party of the first part finds hope and strength and solace, through which the parties of the second, third and fourth parts play a significant role - which changes and transforms everyone and everything.
I know that sounds confusing, but I'm actually crystal clear in my head and heart.
I don't know how any of this works. I only know that it does.
So, in these last days of summer, I have been given the unexpected blessing of some stamina and courage to walk into the dyings of Autumn and through the harsh, cold realities of Winter, knowing that the new life of Spring is really only just around the corner and Summer will return again.
I entered this poem in my journal early this morning, after prayer. I think it sums up my state of mind in this:
Echos of Summer
Summer boldly infringes on a day
the calendar claims for Autumn
The sun rises hot in the Eastern sky
a cool wind blows in from the North
Mortals cling to flip flops and bathing suits
the cosmos revolts against the status quo
does not stand still
refuses to feed our fantasies
fuel our anxieties or
soothe our sadness
Two abandoned crab shells cup my ears
listening to the whispers of summer
My sisters' giggles
My brother's taunting
My mother's warning
My father's scolding
We are echos of each other
Very present and near and now
Telling our tales, one day to the next
I close my eyes and listen
I open my heart to hear
These are not the last days
but days of beginning
All our days
all our livings
all our dyings -
- all miracles awaiting birth.
Listen to the echo
not the calendar