Possible, probable, or mystery?


DSC_0184I received a letter today after receiving a phone message from a stranger. She told me that she had a letter addressed to me from an address I last lived at in 1999. The woman now owns and rents out the cute old house we used to live in, and the letter…the letter…

I went by her house today and picked up the letter. She told me beforehand that she had opened it, by mistake, was just busy and didn’t read the name before tearing into it. She apologized. The letter was taped closed.

I went back out to the car, looked at the airmail envelope and the value of the stamp and noticed no return address. I thought how it’s been some time since postage in Canada was 43 cents. I drove away, pulled into the parking lot at the grocery store, and opened the letter.

Two pages, typewritten, and hand signed. I read the words slowly. I read them again, noting the telltale signs of time of writing. “seeing photos of you and Bob and your wee lad” and “He has given you one of the greatest of all blessings, a dear wee son…” and further on “God bless you – all three”. We are “five” now and have been a family of five since 1996 when our second son was born.

Just now I google stamps in Canada 1996 and see…45 cents

And a little more digging around and I see the stamp…issued for 43 cents, December 30, 1992.

The letter is dated June 15, without a year noted. But our wee son was born in May, 1993, so it could be from June 1993, or a stamp saved and used in June 1994, or June 1995…because by June 1996, we were a family of four.

Could this letter have been in transit for 20 plus years? Is this even possible?

Could I have received the letter while still living at the old house and left it behind when we moved? I can’t recall having read it before, but sometimes I have trouble recalling my PIN! Probable, I suppose, but why would multiple owners of the old house, and multiple tenants save this letter over and over again rather than recycling it?

What am I to think? What does it mean?

An old family friend, a mentor all those years ago, the writer of the letter is long passed from my life and from this world. I wonder how many years he has been gone now? I text my brothers and ask them.

What is it he had to say over 2 decades ago that I am to pay attention to now?

And so I will sit with the letter, and ponder the question… what is it God, that you would have me see?

And at the same time, shivers that this is happening…and the memories of that time…the people…a reminder of someone good, kind, and gentle who took the time to write a letter.

This is just a wee note to renew acquaintances, for I so well remember you…

Sincerely, in Him,

Alan

Remembering Buddy…


It’s a year today my amazing dog Buddy lost his battle with cancer. I still think about him a lot, and miss him. When I look at Emmy, our new GSP, I can’t help making comparisons. My Buddy is a hard act to follow, and I really have to give Emmy a whole lot of grace to be who she is. I guess I’m not entirely over it yet? And maybe I’ll never be.

‘Buddy Memoirs’ is a series of poems that allowed me to work through the process of letting go of my great friend and companion.  I’ve written other posts on the subject of losing pets, including here and here. I dedicate this post to those who have experienced similar loss.

God understands. And so do I.

Buddy Memoirs

i.

I hold the yogurt container
while you lick it clean
and a slice of cheese destined for the lasagna
seems better served to you.
“He has ears like velvet” Malcolm remarks
as he lays with you on the floor
strokes your faithful head
How do I know when it’s time,
when pain is your constant companion
as you have been to me?
Dear creature without words
your chocolate eyes speak of long walks
and one way conversations on the back porch
you still like to ride in the car
ears pricked up

ii.

Oh, Buddy
there are things I’m noting so I won’t forget
stubby tail with skunk stipe, wags your body
toes contort in pleasure as we run hands down your back
speak love words in baby talk
insatiable appetite for flushing birds in the yard
and cruising food on the counter
6 fresh baked banana muffins for a mid-day snack
belgian chocolates by the box

The early days, dog park days, weight loss days,
The first time I saw you point – vibrating hard-wired DNA miracle
and waiting for ducks to come back, sitting still,
looking at the sky – ears perked up
Ears absorbing tears and words no human has heard
Your eyes, knowing in their depths
the colour of butterscotch, like a werthers toffee
ecstasy at 7 and 3, spinning for your dinner dish
all those walks, all those walks
losing you on Knox mountain, the elephant stepping off my chest
when I found in the the pouring rain
sitting on the sunny porch early in the morning with you drowsy at my feet
protecting me from all things buzzing,
wasps met their demise in your clenched teeth

Like watching Art die, only here at home.

iii.

What kind of dog is that, strangers ask?

such a beautiful dog
such a gorgeous dog
so regal
so elegant
so smart, sweet and gentle

What do they know.

We know.

iv.

This bloody hurts to let you go.
It was supposed to be so much longer, like it said in the book
your breed being long lived, up to 17 years. Bullshit!
You’ve only been with us 5 years… like a sunny day memory
and now it’s over
way too fast.
So I’m sad and mad and mixed up.
What will I do without you?
Who will I take care of?
Who will listen and follow and adore me
like you do?

I’m hanging on too tight today
tears and sniffles and words and wishes
I’m believing in here-afters with you
that God would never have gone to all that trouble
to make your kind
if this is it.
I’m hanging my hat on the verse where the
lion lays down with the lamb
and the Revelation horses bring me hope
that I will see you again.

Your name is ordained to follow me
in blogs and passwords and memories

I’m letting go in little ways
while you lay here on the couch beside me
breathing deep
Plans are gelling
and we will walk into this as best we can
under the circumstances.

But, Buddy, Oh Buddy.

v.

In all this you are larger
somehow magnified.
Your circle of influence constricts with limitations,
distills to pure intimacy of you and I.

Do you remember long hikes, or birds in the yard?

As I contend with masking pills in cheese
and contemplate playing God,
do you have knowledge of what comes
alongside love?

vi.

I dream’t last night of substitutionary atonement
and woke to cold truth, pillow damp, heart racing
anticipating
the last car ride, the last pills
masked in cheddar morsels.

The Spring morning expands in grace
allows us time enough
for our last walk, slowly now
between the budding lines of macintosh
wide branches witness to our passing.

I read you poetry on the porch steps
salt words linger on my lips
I absorb your smell, your feel, your sound,
write you into memory.

Then time, stretched to its extremity
returns us to this breath held static place
Your eyes say you understand
my ungodly secret.
You follow when I call your name.

Soli Deo Gloria

Lesley-Anne Evans

Poetry Friday029


Rosehips

Rosehips remind me of Grandpa, and
how we once drove all the way down Yonge Street to
Thompson’s Homeopathic Supplies.
We brought home pills, tinctures
to prevent and heal chronic and acute ailments.
He said the bottles contained things that would
clarify the blood, make grey hair disappear,
eat a tumor, make her walk again.
He fed her handfuls of vitamins every day
swallowed hope himself with his morning tea.

Come to think of it, long after she was gone
he lived like age was relative, an after-thought.
Saw the doctor first when he was 92
wide-eyed, untouched, somewhat surprised that
there might be something wearing out by now.

I flew in from B.C. to see him,
told him I was pregnant with our third child.
Lying in the hospital bed
he moved his leg like it was still there
Kept asking me
when he could go home.

October 2010

Poetry Friday005… one day early


Photo from newscientist.com

Tomorrow is Good Friday, and my thoughts are toward the Holy significance of that day.  As a result, Poetry Friday is on Thursday this week.

May your experience of Easter include personal reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This poem recalls the recent death of a family friend.


Scotch Mints

On the very next day
I woke to snow falling
a heavy, sloppy mess on the roads and underfoot,
and I was immediately thankful that the bag of mints
is foil lined, waterproof,
pressed down by a covering of wet white.

And I thought (tried not to, but I did)
Of you, tucked in there
and what remains of you tucked in here,
in us.

How I can’t help but look expectantly at each passing red pickup
even though I know, I know.
And how often I (almost) drag myself up there
to stand over earth and voice something you’d want to hear,
Something I forgot to say.

Like long after an elephant dies
Scavengers had their fill, blood ties paid homage
The bones remain, sun whitened, immediate.

Like you, still present in
your house on
your street,
and in echos of
your words,
the lingering smell of your cigar
as you sit in the darkened backyard with Bob
shooting the breeze.

Lesley-Anne Evans, January 2010