There is always a moment of time standing still. While this road is long, I distinctly remember such moments, and they usually involved someone asking--seemingly out of the blue--how I was doing since losing my father.
It never failed to stop me, and rattle my nerves a little--not because those questions brought any pain, or because I felt anyone was rude to ask. Simply put, grief for me is a confusing grey area, mired somewhere along lines of behavior I wasn't sure I should or shouldn't be doing, and feelings that went from pure flooding, to guilt, to happier days that I didn't KNOW if I should feel guilty about, or not.
Frankly, I am a rank amateur at reacting to this massive loss, and I dare say I wouldn't wish anyone become an expert at this sort of thing.
I'm not even sure I should be writing along these lines--I'd guess most folks don't want to sit next to the weepy girl at any party--and a place for dreamy journeys might not be the best showcase for deep, scary, philosophical musings. But this is a true story of a JOURNEY in all of it's forms..happy moments, triumphant moments, mistakes, funny moments--all of this I promised to document, the perfectly imperfect real life I have. And so here is a place to answer those of you who have asked--found it funny, perhaps--that there is the one stand alone post of such sadness, and then no more mentions.
Truth is, I am slowly going through this long process--and there are times I've cried into strangers' (and friends') pillows whilst traveling, and times I have laughed heartily at the beauty and wonder of it all. I have savored everything longer, and been less demanding on myself because life is too short to be so disheartened. And, there are also days I've inexplicably been panicked, at a loss for answers....it's all a large jumble of thoughts, indeed.
Of course, my healing IS this journey. I've said it time and again: there is something about the kindness of the people in The Midwest that has been a balm. Along this journey, know that each soul I have met here has extended such kindness in their everyday lives as to provide some comfort...
And then some...
This is a prayer blanket. I was shocked when it was waiting for me,
neatly folded into a brown paper bag, while staying at Miss Effie's.
This was hand made by a beekeeping participant of mine, Beth Johnson, a woman I had met once with her sweet little boy, who took my first ever beekeeping class with Miss Effie's a year ago. This woman has adopted several children, and gives generously to her community. How could she have time for me, a person she met once? How could anyone care about a person they barely know? And how bitter it is to know that I, and so many like me, have gleaned by so many people in our lives that meant so much more?
How humbling to hold such a treasure...how does one thank someone for such a tenderhearted gesture?
Other friends have simply helped me by--being themselves...I've had new friends, like Cynthia Wilkinson, regale me with funny stories about her farm, her llamas, and more on a huge shopping trip with Tamara Houseman.
Others have been kind by giving me a chance. Such is the case of Linnea Crowther. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this witty, funny dame here, and if I haven't, that's a darn shame on my part. Because EACH time I've traveled over to Miss Effie's side of the pond, she's welcomed me with open arms and encouraged me to teach COOKING classes with her organization, Slow Food Quad Cities.
It's a brilliant concept, truly--cooking the way people used to--over stoves...yes, Slow Food is the antithesis to "Fast Food," and therein lies the charm--teaching classes on specific themes, and then inviting mad chefs like me to give it a whirl. Mind you, before Slow Food, I had taught perhaps one cooking class in all of New York. So for Linnea to keep asking me out is both mind blowing and humbling, to say the least. It does not help that I have had some very "human" moments during my cooking (can we say "exploding sesame seeds" for Indian cooking class?), but she has been funny, and her passion for the food is infectious.
Alternately, for each of my classes, I am humbled by ALL of the students who have come out.
For the many curious new beekeepers, for the lovers of my cooking classes, even the few art classes that I have taught in Florida...each. and. every. one. of you has bolstered my confidence as a teacher, has made me smile, has made me feel important in teaching you, and made me feel lucky in knowing you as a person.
For all of your kind, concerned questions, I am grateful. And that is this journey, large and small, band-aided by one and all....
TOMORROW--More Iowa adventures!