FALL – TO THE END

Now comes a period of some heavy introspection.

Seen through the eyes of autumn duties of a homeowner —

This is the story of my home:

Sandstone house

Home:     A man.   Or a woman.  Or a man and a woman.   Man and woman and children.    Later,  man and woman, children moved out.   Then . . .  woman.

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One day this summer Son “gifted me” with this beautiful lawn — or rather the nice, even stripes on the lawn.   I was having trouble doing the whole yard by myself (for a while this summer)  and he took over the hard outdoor work, setting up a nice lawn for me to enjoy.

I’ve learned that,  for anything valuable,  there is a lot of work to do, not just to set it up,  but to maintain . . .

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I like using this kind.   It’s quieter and the lawn seems to like it,  if you’re sensitive to “outcomes.”     Our marriage was rather easy to “set up” but required constant, sometimes costly maintenance,  and you had to always be sensitive to the results of what you were doing.

Eventually,  sunset comes.

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And the leaves fall off the trees.

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And it’s time to pick up the pieces.    You know?

 

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One of my favorite photos of Hubbie is of him, several  years ago,  raking leaves.   He shouldn’t have been doing it because he was already struggling with his heart condition,  but I think he was enjoying a beautiful Fall day as much as I enjoy this season too.  Besides,  he was wearing my favorite shirt that I liked to see him in:  a soft, light tan and brown flannel shirt.  I could hardly keep my hands off of it!      He liked it too, probably because of all the hugs he got!  But I ran in and got my camera because I wanted to remember him like that,  that day,  raking leaves.

Last night’s work was just the light “cleaning up.”  I had done a lot of the more serious, heavy leaf-raking in the weeks before.    I enjoyed working in the evening.  It was somewhat warm, a little windy.  Good surroundings to do some thinking and sorting things out while I raked the leaves.

If felt like “clearing away” the last debris lying on the lawn,  also lying around in my mind.

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But I never rake leaves, now, without thinking of Hubbie, and the last Fall season of his life.

I had made an enormous leaf pile as things were getting darker.    I love to rake leaves.   Strange, huh?  Good honest exercise, fresh air,  and the repetitive work that is so good for thinking.

But Hubbie had a different idea.   For some reason,  he liked to use the very loud,  very heavy . .  . leaf blower!     He bought it.  He liked it.  And that was okay until five years plus two weeks ago.

Beginning of November, 2010.    His heart was so weak.  He had so little strength yet, and he knew something that none of us knew, or wanted to know.     I had become very protective of him, or of his heart.   I told him that at this stage, “exercising your heart”  doesn’t make it stronger, like other muscles;  it makes it weaker,  using up what function is left there.

And so that day, five years and two weeks ago,  I went  outside and  got him to stop using that heavy, noisy,  irritating thing;  and he agreed to come in and “take a rest.”

I fed him —  my “secret weapon”  to make him sleep for a while.   Oh, yes, I was all crafty ulterior motives back then,  anything to protect that heart of his.

And a couple hours later, while I was busy somewhere else in the house,  I heard a familiar sound.

The leaf blower again.

This time I rushed outside and actually grabbed the leaf blower out of his hands.  I had never done anything so bold before;  so decisive;  so certain.   I didn’t act that way around him.    (Sensitive to the outcomes,  remember? I know what my “lawn” likes.)

We had a talk.   We were inexperienced and innocent about things like “terminal health.”

We decided to call his doctor the next day and ask for “a prescription for oxygen,”  like the oxygen which saved his life a few years before when we were up on a mountaintop, attending our daughter’s wedding.

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That’s us.  8,300 feet up, wedding site accessible only by ski lift.    It suited the young couple’s lifestyle.    But not Hubbie’s struggling heart.   He needed an oxygen tank.

It worked then . .  . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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