Tuesday, March 17, 2009

tealess. [another loss]

This has been a rough few weeks for me. Remembering the subject of my post last week, and now I just got a call from my mother telling me that I no longer have any grandparents left--my papaw passed away last night. Sad as I am for this loss, I know in his case that he was miserable in the nursing home he was in, and cursed his immobility. He longed to drive car again, something each of us take for granted everyday, he longed to check his birdhouses, and enjoy the spring as another blue jay would give him the honor of choosing the birdhouse he built, painted, and put up in his yard. Now he is able to do all that and more--he is in the presence of his Heavenly Father, and can walk with him through gilded streets of heaven without pain. Keep my family in your prayers, Papaw was a character, and will be sorely missed.
I wrote this poem in light of recent events.

Swearing Fealty

Winter begins to wane,
As spring waxes easily into my senses.
Daffodils raise sunny faces to the heavens,
The first to awake from wintry slumber.
Everything around me breathes life,
Yet everything in my head screams death.
A bright, young friend, but two weeks ago,
And last night, my only remaining grandfather.
Remaining no longer.
Death sits heavily in my mind,
I pray he doesn’t look in my direction too soon.
Life blooms in my mountain valley,
But death creates a valley of despair in my mind.
Battling for the fealty of my thoughts
I struggle to give both their due allegiance.
A man cannot serve two masters.
Weep for death, give joy for life,
And remember who it is that bestows both.

Caitlin B. Foreman

Monday, March 16, 2009

english afternoon tea. [early march]

I realize it has been longer than I usually allow between blog posts, and for that I am sorry. Though I think the only person that has really suffered because of it has been myself, and my own writing. As I take a sip of my English Afternoon Tea in the late evening instead, I try to think what I should write here in this post. I'm torn between having too much to say, and really nothing to say at all. Yes, things have happened, and yes I have been affected by them in both negative and positive ways, but what is really worth taking the time (and the effort--does anyone know how difficult it is to type with an overgrown Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in your lap, who does not want to lay down peacefully, but sit up and look around, so that you have to type around him, and not be able to see the keys at all?--I didn't think so.) I do love my spaniel though--he and his dewy-eyed "I love you" face have been some of my few comforts during the week as Jeremy is away toiling with rock and stone. Yes, Jeremy is still away Monday through Friday down in South Carolina doing stone masonry. I am ever so proud of him, but I must admit that it's hard going to bed each night knowing that not only will I not be able to fall asleep beside him, but I won't be able to wake up next to him either. Though the fact that I miss him is sometime unbearable, I will say that him being away during the week makes the weekends when he comes home all the more wonderful. We both tend to overlook petty things that would have otherwise made us miffed with one another, and just revel in the two short days that we can enjoy each others' company before he rides off into the sunrise again on Monday morning. He is doing well in SC, and though is horridly tired in the evenings after a full day, sunup to sundown, of stone masonry, he soldiers through the week and comes home stronger in body and mind, and ready to be with his wife.
Another interesting and quite exciting piece of information from my last week or so is that I have finally decided that, indeed, I want to continue on and get a Master's Degree, and have also decided that I want to study Irish History in Ireland or Northern Ireland. Once I realized that was what I wanted to do, it was easy to reconcile to because of how obsessed I have been with my Irish heritage and anything Irish for the past 5 or so years. I am really excited about this development and am ready to get things going on it, we must save money and wrap things up where we are first. Plus, Jeremy is going to go to seminary in Scotland before I continue my education in Ireland. So, who knows when God will have us there, but I think we'll be trying to head that direction in the next two or so years.
On a final note, this past week I have been entranced and reveled in the the book The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory. I finished it yesterday and it has quickly risen to the top of my favorite books list. Thanks to my lovely friend, Chelsea, for lending me yet another wonderful novel.

Still sipping,


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lady Grey Black Tea. [Ryan Alea]

I'm drinking Lady Grey this morning, because I did not have Earl Grey, nor Green Ginger tea--the two teas that my friend Ryan told me were her favorites (much to the chagrin of her British boyfriend.) This post is dedicated to her, and as I sit here drinking my Lady Grey tea, and eating my oatmeal like every other morning--I still cannot believe she's gone. There was the brightest light in Ryan, and it touched every person she can into contact with. I knew she had impacted my life, and figured she had impacted others as well, but I did not know to what great extent she did so until she was taken from us, and all that were able congregated to bid her farewell. She touched so many people--even those who had just met her were there, already having been enraptured by her amiable spirit and unable to forget her.
Ryan and I were good friends when we were in high school, we were on the YSST swim team together in Hickory. We were friends from the very beginning--the first day I joined the team in my awkward fifteeth year, there she was, bouncing and dancing beside me in a joyful and rambunctious spirit that rarely ceased. For a whole summer during those years, we were inseparable, along with our friend Kelsey as well. We not only swam together, but also were life guards together at the same pool. She was the reason I came out of my shell as early as I did in high school--not to mention the reason I got into trouble so many times. She was michevious, but I loved her for it. When we went to college, she to UNCW and I to Montreat, we lost touch for a while. We still spoke to each other online now and then, or if I was down in Wilmington at the beach we would try to get together, but it wasn't like we were before. Over the couple years in college, we both grew up and matured, and we finally reconnected a few months ago when I found her blog, discovered her knack for writing, and we began a correspondance through our blogs, and on FB as well. I began to remember all that we had in common, and how similar we were in humour and interests. We planned to get together soon, perhaps in the summer after she graduated, to properly catch up with each other, and also to have our significant others meet. We both thought that our boys would really enjoy each others' company--one being a soccer player with knee problems, and the other being a rugby player with knee problems.
Then last Saturday morning, all of our plans were halted when she hydroplaned in the dark morning rain, and left this world forever. I didn't find out until that evening, I had been at work all day and couldn't answer my phone. My friend, Kelsey, was the one who called me and broke the news to me. I made her say Ryan's whole name before I could accept what my mind already confirmed to be true. I sobbed for the first fifteen minutes, then went between emotionless shock and broken down weeping for the rest of the evening, and into Sunday as well.
Jeremy and I drove down to Shallotte, on the Carolina coast, on Monday to attend her viewing that night, and her funeral service the following morning. It was an open-casket viewing. I've never done something so hard in my life. I stood in front of her, just staring, waiting for the horrible dream to end and her to just wake up. She did not wake up, and it was not a dream. It was horrible reality. Ryan Alea Young was gone, and way too soon for anyone's comfort. I cannot understand how anyone who knew Ryan can believe that death is all there is. Ryan's was such a colorfully vibrant and brilliant spirit that something so simple as death could never quench it. She remains, though bodily gone, she remains--and that's why even though I stood not two feet from her body, looking at her lifeless face, I cannot think of her as gone, cannot make my mind and my heart accept her departure.
Though I do mourn the loss of memories not-yet-made, I do know that Ryan would not have it that way. She wouldn't want people crying over her, but remembering and taking joy in the memories that were made with her. It is our own loss; we, a little less full than before, regret her absence. But she, she now flies unfettered by these earthly bonds, and is in the presence of her Savior. I miss her terribly, but will try not to take any moment for granted, and live my life to the fullest, as she did. Take a page from Ryan's book: Life is like a wave, you can't change the way it breaks--just the way you ride it.
If you're interested in reading her blog, it is in my They Write Too section on the bottom right of my page. Hers is Life's Too Beautiful For a Single Sentence.

Missing a friend,