Until today, my reading list suggested I had stopped reading sometime in February. What actually happened was this.
On January 4th, a serious nor’easter hit Provincetown. The main problem was flooding, and my house is up on stilts. So I wasn’t worried. The power did go off, but Eversource got it right back on. The next day, a neighbor called. Giant ice cycles and blocks of ice had formed under the house. Yep, the electricity had come back on, but my heating system had not. When my friend opened the front door, it appeared to be raining inside. The deck had been demolished between Christmas and New Year’s for a planned rebuilding. So picture me opening the door nine days later–no sheet rock, no floor, no kitchen, nothing at all out the sliding glass doors except for the sad, empty ocean. It would be five months before things would be back to normal.
At five am in the pre-dawn darkness of March 9th, while I was staying at my neighbor’s house in Provincetown, a large bird landed on the balcony and began bellowing for all he was worth. The preceding days had been cold and harsh and devoid of birds. I almost got up to see what he looked like, but I was so cozy under the covers. Twenty minutes later, the phone rang. My father had died at five am after a long struggle with Alzheimers. I wrote his obituary, which I had actually already started, but my sisters and brother and I (five of us) had a hard time choosing a photo. Finally I found one we could all agree on, and I made it black and white for the newspaper.
On July 24th, the day before what would have been my parents’ 64th wedding anniversary, I was shopping at the Party Store, hoping to find some fun stuff to celebrate with my mother the next day. She had been in poor health for a couple of years–with difficulty walking, seeing, breathing. I texted my sisters, I’m not feeling it. Still, I managed to choose some plastic coconuts and leis–my parents had loved Hawaii. At the checkout, I asked about their return policy, not something I often did. My sister called a couple of hours later. My mother was worsening–the new pain medicine was not working and her breathing was more labored than usual. I was getting my hair cut when I realized that if she died that day, they would never have spent an anniversary apart. And she did it. Around six thirty, wearing a multi-colored tie-dyed t-shirt, she died peacefully, my sister beside her; minutes later, a rainbow shooting across the sky. I wrote her obituary but had no time to find a photo so my daughter offered to choose one. All five of us liked the one she chose.
It wasn’t until August 9th when I was going through photos for my son’s upcoming rehearsal dinner that I discovered the original photo from which my daughter had cropped my mother’s picture. Without any of us realizing it, my daughter had chosen the other half of the same photo from which I had chosen my father’s photo.
So that’s what’s been happening with me. This morning I updated my reading list. And now I’ve written something. Hope all is well with all of you. Send reading, writing, and life news from your parts of the world.