Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday

A dear friend of the Baroness' was in town for the last few days, clearing out the contents of her mother-in-law's assisted living apartment; the mother-in-law has, in recent weeks, taken a turn and will no longer be in a condition to have much independence anymore.

I helped out the little I could - I think I was there mostly for emotional support.

This was a difficult scenario to revisit - I've had the task of clearing out both of my parent's apartments. And while I no longer had to belabor every choice, every plate, every family chatchka, just the boxing away of someone's possessions lays a heaviness on my heart.

I know, I know - they're just things. But they are also symbols of that person - the cross-stitch wall-hanging they loving worked on for weeks on end, the mug they bought on a well-earned vacation that brought them such happiness, the closet organizer that they finally chose to bring some order to their lives. Each is a revelatory key to that person's puzzle, and now the puzzle pieces are being put back in a box.

For today's post, I spent the better part of last night searching for the right something - I shied away from what I thought might be the obvious, or the glaringly metaphoric - and found this little gem.

It's bittersweet yet quite beautiful -
"The Waking"
by Theodore Roethke (American, 1908-1963)

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

Go where you will today, dear readers, and continue to lay out those pieces so that your puzzle will be completed before it's tucked away.


Momma said...

I love it. And I love Roethke.

It's so true that we take life for granted, not realizing that someday it will begin to slip away from us. I'm glad you were there for your friend in a very difficult time. Those passages are an upheaval for everyone involved.

God bless.

Peace - D

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess D: As tough as this kind of bonding is ,I am glad I was there, too. As an only child, she's the older sister I never had; I couldn't imagine not helping.

Memaw's memories said...

A beautiful poem. I helped my bff clean out her father's apartment at his death. She couldn't bear to take anything with her that belonged to him except his watch and his army medals. I took a small table and two chairs. I loaned the table to another of our friends, but I still have the chairs. It was hard on her.

I also remember many years ago going through my mother's things. I think what got me through that was that I was in shock over her sudden death.

I worry about my children having to go through my things. Many of my treasures will mean nothing to them.

Mental P Mama said...

Just beautiful. What a good friend you are Baroness.

well read hostess said...

So perfect..and just what I needed today. Thanks for that! And for being someone who knows who Roethke is!

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess Meemaw: Welcome! I can surely say that the thought of this event one day happening to our children is a little sad. Unfortunately for my sons, I yik yak non-stop about all my little treasures (endlessly, they'll tell you), so that they will have some meaning, and a story attached to them that can be polished up every once in awhile.

Countess MPM: Aw, shucks, you flatter me so. It is from this friend that I learned how to be a friend, so I'm really only the pupil with her teacher...

Countess WRH: You are so very welcome. Honestly? I just discovered ol' Roethke yesterday, but his story is very compelling, and I'll have to find more. Suggestions?

Lisa said...

Very haunting, very thought provoking. Makes me want to hit the gas pedal on my bucket list. ...Babs Peapod

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess Babs: Does your tachometer actually go any faster than you've got it at right now? I think you're doing just peachy filling up that bucket (don't want to burn out the engine, after all...).

Not Afraid To Use It said...

My family is very sensitive about this topic. My parents have so much shit in their house. It is terrible. It frustrates my mother to no end because she just had to go through HER mother's things. It is such an emotional thing.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess NATUI: It's the job no one wants, for sure. Maybe Mom should just start the 2 year plan.
1. Box up stuff not picked up, used, or mentioned in last year. 2. Move to special area of the basement. 3. Get rid of after another year.

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