Here is the Place

It's been so long since I've written. Today marks twenty one years since the wildfire that surrounded the shelters and the animals, that scorched the land and took the tall pines. We stood with hoses throughout the night, dousing small flames on the base of trees. We woke to a barren charred landscape. Crushed and horrified by the power of fire, but grateful for being safe, we held the animals and cried.

Today marks three months and one day since my mom died. The days and weeks have been a blur. I miss her. I see her face inches from mine, as I run my hand across her smooth skin I whisper promises to her. I am placing a damp towel on her hot forehead and soothing her as her energy is moving on. Her breath is shallow and the seconds between each breath grows. It grows until the very last moment, it does not come again. And her energy is moving on. And even though it is expected and even though she lived 88 years, it is so hard and it does not seem real. I miss her so much.

In the weeks following her passing there is little time to grieve. I lay on her bed and am paralyzed with shock and sadness. That must seem strange that a 59 year old woman hugs a stuffed bunny on her mother's bed, wishing she were here. There is much to do. Must finish the school year. Must prepare for the funeral service. Must prepare for our big fundraiser. Must prepare the home for sale. Must care for everyone daily. Must continue on with life. Somewhere, it feels like the opportunity for grieving has passed me by.

Today I am two weeks closer to returning to school. The back to school dreams are happening. The feeling of hesitation countered by anticipation make an awkward balance. I wish this summer could last forever. But not really. It's hot, dry and we are ready for some rain and relief from the smoke.

Last week I was seeking some kind of vacation away from the work and constant reminder of it. Some kind of respite that would take my grief and cradle it. My grief would become an identifiable form that could be molded into a controllable object. So I sought. I wanted a time away, a time to let go and just be.

I googled the words spa and hotel. The visions I had in my mind were soon trampled by the options available. The spa and hotels advertised were hourly rate joints to high end places. Frustrated, I closed the google, got up and walked outside.

Walking down the driveway toward the goats I am pulled into an image that is almost iconic. It is spirit in tangible and abstract form. It is the peaceful image of Blue, our 13 year old goat, resting with his head nestled into his body, with the backdrop of lush and spendy green hay. This is the most peaceful sight I have seen for so long. In an instant I am feeling love and stillness. This is the way I imagined I might feel, if I were to have the spa and hotel package. I am feeling firmly grounded in the beauty of the animals surrounding me. Each breath and step they take holds the essence of life.

I had hoped I would find a place to retreat in order to grieve. I thought I might float on the water and reach a moment of nirvana. I fantasized about a place away where I might recharge. Somewhere to collapse and replace negativity with love. I thought it had to be a place intended for such things. A place where people were practiced in giving this to you. A place, other than here.

Here is the place. Here is where I will grieve and love.