Wednesday, July 05, 2017

My July Pause

Allen attempting a quite moment at Camp Cross
Every year on this day, about half-way through the year, I pause to spend some quality time with the memory of my late husband who died all the way back in 2000. I generally spend the days leading up to this anniversary considering how I might spend the day to best feel closer to him, whether it be listening to his favorite music or fixing his favorite food, paging through photos or just being alone with my thoughts. I often consider what I think he might like me to be doing that I've been putting off, like working on a specific project in the studio or getting out for a hike or a sit by the lake. I still think of him often, if not daily, in the course of my passing days, and sense his spirit remains close, guiding (or more often shoving) me along. But it is good to block out this particular piece of time for less distracted reveling in his memory.

I've been going through the posts I've written each year at this time, mostly to check to see what photos I've already shared, but this time I've also read what I wrote to go along with them. If anyone tells you that grieving has a beginning and an end with ordered steps along the way, steps that everyone goes through in the same way, don't you believe them. As I am now fond of telling others, the depth of our grief should match the depth of our love for the person now gone, and while it will lessen and change its shape over time, it will always be with us, as it should be. Grief is not something to get over. Grief is the way we deal with continuing to live without those we cherish, and help keep a part of them alive, and everyone grieves in their own time and way. Read those yearly posts of mine and you will see me hinting at this, how each year is a bit different and definitely done my way.

As for this year, I share with you a photo a friend sent me a couple of years ago, one I'd not seen but that this friend, was going through his 40 year old slides of our camp counselor experiences, knew I would want to have. Such a treasure as I have none quite like this, Allen sitting atop pilings at Camp Cross on Coeur d'Alene Lake. It's probably from the first year we counseled there, the session ending two days before our wedding (which is a whole other wonderful tale). In a way, it encapsulates his personality: a bit of a loner, often getting away from the crowd for some quiet contemplation; a risk taker (I'D never climb up onto those pilings!), pushing himself in so many ways to get better, learn more, do good for others; and I think he's giving the photographer "the look", one of challenge he often used and which worked pretty well on those campers we were counseling, and could keep me in line when I needed it too (although I was known to give the look right back!) It takes me right back to those early days of getting to know each other, and the magic of those few summers we spent time isolated at that camp on the lake.

Allen getting a wet hug from a his campers



Roberta Warshaw said...

A beautiful post. I am sorry for your loss.

The Inside Stori said...

Such a beautiful tribute!!

Olga Norris said...

Your thoughts on grief ring so true. Keeping a special time must be an even better way of keeping memories alive.

Michele Matucheski said...

Hugs to you, Sheila. They love us still -- the ones who have died. Death doesn't change that. He is watching over you still. I completely believe that. He might have even nudged this counselor friend to send you this old picture because he knew you'd enjoy the memories.

Lucia Sasaki said...

Dear Sheila, thanks a lot for sharing your memories of Allen. It is one of the most special treats of your blog, when you share your personal memories.
Sorry for your loss.
Thanks again!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks guys, much appreciated. The hugs are coming through!

Sherrie Spangler said...

What special memories -- the love surely does shine through in your words. Hope you had a special day.

Living to work - working to live said...

Please excuse my complete ignorance, but what is counselling at a camp?

Lovely pictures and memories.

Lots of love from your friend across the pond!


The Idaho Beauty said...

Hillary, think of a camp counselor as the so-called adult in the room, assigned a small group of kids to shepherd through group discussions, religious lessons, fun activities, etc. Sometimes we knew what we were doing and other times we were just winging it. But we all had fun and I don't think anyone sustained permanent damage. ;-)