Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Gratitude

Short Update on Life and Health

I can’t believe it was just above 70 degrees Fahrenheit today! Though it won’t stick around yet, it’s a sign that Spring is just around the corner. D and I enjoyed several outdoor walks in the last two weeks. The photo at the top shows crocus exploding out of the cold ground in our back yard.

As for my daily priorities, they’re simple: sleep, eat, exercise, write, play music, and read.

My heart seems to like this agenda, though it gets tired now and then. I just finished reading a memoir about living with atrial fibrillation. The author is in her early 80s, and has lived with AFib just about as long as I have. Her situation isn’t mine. Still, her straightforward approach to doctors emboldens me to ask more questions, and expect more evidence before consenting (or not) to go down this or that path.

As for my social life, it’s not number one on my list. Nonetheless, I now have several female friends I can visit with. No fixed agenda but talking, and going out for a walk as possible. Just what I was aching for. Also, with warmer weather I’m able to stay connected with a couple of my neighbors when I’m out walking.

Writing is easy, or it isn’t. No middle ground. The biggest challenge at this age is identifying in my behavior echoes of what I experienced when I was a child and teenager. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between what was done against my will, and what I do today. I’m grateful for regular phone conversations with a friend who has helped me for years. It’s hard work. A bit like filling in the gaps in my life, though I don’t always like it.

As for music, I’ve let my piano coach off the hook. He teaches at a local university, and ended up with more students and commitments than he could handle this spring. However, I’m going gung-ho on my own, practicing regularly and loving it! Right now I’m hooked on J.S. Bach’s piano compositions. I have three well-worn (from childhood) books of preludes and fugues, enough to keep me busy for rest of my life.

If you’re interested, here’s info on the book I mentioned above: In a Heartbeat: The Ups and Downs of Life with Atrial FIB, by Rosalie Linver Ungar.

I hope this finds you content and grateful for the life you’ve been given. It all flies by quickly. Thanks for being part of my life, especially in these later years I’m calling The Last Chapter.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 15 March 2019
Photo taken by DAFraser, 14 March 2019

Yesterday and today

The beginning and the end
One day follows another

A hand reaches out
Eyes meet yet again

One true note after another
moves through time after time

A small bud bursts open
on trees swaying in the wind

The sun set in the west
and rose in the east
yesterday and today

Yesterday I accompanied D to a doctor’s appointment, and watched a procedure on his back. It wasn’t pretty or pain-free. It was, however, successful. We came home relieved and weary.

It got me thinking about times D has accompanied me in the last four years to appointments with a variety of doctors, including emergency room and surgical procedures. Some planned, some not planned.

I’ve always prided myself on being healthy. Looking back, however, I’d say I was fighting to hold it together as best I could, given the circumstances of my childhood, and my workplace. I didn’t expect retirement would surface so many health challenges.

Nonetheless, D was there for me. It felt wonderful to be there for him yesterday. A small way I could do for him what he has willingly and mostly gladly done for me, especially in the last several years.

This little poem came to mind while I was sitting at my kitchen window this morning. The minute it was on paper I knew it was for D. And for you, my friends and visitors who have your own lives, dreams, sorrows and joys.

Take care of someone you love today–or your pet. And don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 28 February 2019
Photo found at clicknmoms.com

giddy about the sun

I’m giddy about the sun
This strange and brilliant visitor
From another planet

Sitting at the kitchen table
My mind races through the house
Flinging windows and shades open

Shouts of happy recognition
Rise in gratitude for this visitor
Inviting me outside to play

I know warm weather will come—likely bringing unwelcome ultra-warm weather. But so what? Today I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my face, and witness the first bits of spring breaking through slushy mud and still-frozen ground.

This morning’s mail brought a new volume of Mary Oliver’s poems. D is making a multi-bean soup in the slow cooker. Smudge is asleep on our bed, comforted by my pajamas. What more could I ask for?

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 February 2019
Photo found at kinooze.com

Off-balance

Turned tables
Throw me off-balance
Disrupt my rhythm

Stumbling along
Through gray haze
The sun strains to shine

Overcast Winter
Sifts through misty air
Chilled to the bone
Searching for rhyme
If not reason

What would we do
Without daily routines
Holding us together
Like friendly glue
Warm to the touch
Made sweet with
Familiar music
And the sound of our cat
Purring across our laps

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 23 February 2019
“Foggy Mood” oil on canvas painted by Bekir Smolski, found at art.mine.com

An evening prayer

Today I got a little lost
Until You found me
In the hymns I played
At the end of the day

I’m weary and it’s late

Last night I had a hard time
Getting to sleep which
Made this entire day feel
Off-balance –
already behind and unable
to catch up with myself

This night – sing me to sleep
And wake me with joy
Alive and ready for another
Day – found and grateful

From my journal yesterday evening.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 29 January 2019
Photo found at unsplash.com

soul-pain

Tears flow easily these days,
fed by inescapable beauty
plus the soul-pain of being
alive and open to life.

Or perhaps it’s chill winter
resurrecting shared memories,
turning spare light into a
celebration of what we
have together, parsed out in
days and nights of longing for
spring’s welcome thaw.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 January 2019
Photo found at thefuntimesguide.com

Gifts of old age

Gifts of old age
Come slowly sifting
Decades of memories
Through a heart
Converted to truth

Soft and pliable
It weighs the years
Discarding self-contempt
For self-acceptance
And understanding
Of what and why
And wherefore these
Shadows are nothing
In the end but
The reverse side of
Life interrupted and
Redeemed at great cost

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 January 2019
Photo found at artistsnetwork.com

A Fond Farewell to 2018

Dear Friends,

The last two months I’ve been barely alive on my blog. That’s partly because D and I have gallivanted with family members almost nonstop.

In November we enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with our son, his wife and their three children. It was our last family meal in their big old house plus barn and meadow. We were surrounded by boxes waiting to be moved to their new house (minus barn and meadow). Not in the middle of nowhere, but in the middle of everything—with no big yard or outdoor animals to keep up.

Then we were off to Portland, Oregon for ten wonderful days with our daughter and her husband. It was our first visit to Oregon in over two years. I posted photos here. We did nothing but rest, talk, and eat good food plus some of the other stuff. Fabulous!

Then just before Christmas we spent Sunday in western Pennsylvania with David’s sister, her husband, two adult children, their spouses, a couple of grandchildren, and our son. Lots of good food, lively conversation and catching up with relatives we don’t often see.

Finally, back to our son and daughter-in-law’s new house on Christmas day with their three children, their second set of grandparents, two big dogs and two small cats. There were still boxes to be emptied, and everyone was feeling his/her way along. Nonetheless, they were excited about their new neighborhood and neighbors.

In addition, I talked on the phone with my two surviving sisters, and thought a lot about our sister Diane, and our Mother. I still tear up and grieve their lives and deaths. Both were in their last months during and after Christmas. I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit with them before they died. Mom in 1999; Diane in 2006.

Yet the bottom line isn’t morose. I’m more upbeat and less anxious now than I’ve been for the last few years. Hopeful about many things, but chiefly about my health and well-being, no matter what happens next.

For now, I’m grateful for the opportunity to write from my heart, and belong to the WordPress community. Thank you for all your visits, likes (or not), and comments.

Though things look bleak at the top (speaking of politics), it seems the best place to live is at the bottom. With love and acceptance, without malice, reflecting the light that entered our world at Christmas – one small flame at a time.

Happy New Year to you and yours!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 31 December 2018
Photo found at fpctyler.com

Year’s end approaches

This morning I woke
Floating again within
A calmer space
Less fraught with angst
Or anguish of life

Cars splash to and fro
Outside my office window
Hurrying somewhere
Or reluctantly ambivalent
All roads aren’t chosen

Year’s end approaches
Almost without notice
Holding layer upon layer
Of unsavored moments
And gaping disasters

Yet my heart is calm
The flow of life and death
Invites steadiness
In the space between now
And coming joys and sorrows

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 28 December 2018
Photo found at 123RF.com

My third try at the lottery

10:18am–
Congratulations!
You have now joined
the long line of callers
continuing to hold as
discordant jingle jangles
scream at me through
my miraculous speaker
phone enabling this poem
to birth itself as the
nonsense of this world
spins out of control
one minute after another

My mind wanders to
fairer days when real
people with real not fake
friendly voices answered
whether I wanted to do
business with them or not

At least they were there
on the job and paid enough
perhaps (I do not know)
to earn a living wage
instead of this inane broken
record that has cheerfully
announced the importance
of my call and assured me
that my call is important
to say nothing of reiterated
apologies that do nothing to
reassure me that anyone will
be on this line anytime during
the next hour or so and yet
hanging up means giving up
which I don’t have time to do

So now I’m feeling sorry for
everyone including myself
who is enduring this nonsense
on both ends of the line
wondering how we come to
find ourselves in this fine mess
given all our duly worshiped
electronic devices that are
supposed to be making sure
all is well and in order with
no one left behind or left out
as I now believe I am with
millions on other lines doing
exactly what I’m doing and No,
I do not have the competency
to do two things at once though
to be honest I never thought
I would get this far on a so-called
poem about a so-far nothing call….

10:30am–
Hello! This is Brenda! How may I help you?

Brenda was wonderful. I got my business sorted in the space of 3-4 minutes. Which partially atoned for my first two tries earlier that went on and on and on…..

Yes, it’s the end of the year and I’m back in town. Ready to go and grateful for the last several weeks in which I’ve enjoyed an orgy of family visits around meals and on the phone.

Cheers!
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 December 2018
Photo of a 1950s/1960s call center found at syntheticzero.net

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