Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cutting Grass

   Rain patters outside my window. I hustled, but the grass got trimmed, although not edged. I get so many odd looks when I toodle around on my riding mower. Don't know if people think I am brave to ride such a thing or crazy to have one without the acreage to go with it. The kids think it is great though and it saves me a little time, which is a precious thing. To be fair it was a gift to my late husband, from his co-workers. They knew he had mobility issues in his last days and our old mower was giving up the ghost on us. They did a pass the hat at work and showed up one evening with it in the back of a trailer. He was shocked, embarrassed and pleased as punch all at the same time. He thought that they were coming by to take our older mower and have its deck re-welded. That eventually did get done as well, but the riding mower was a heart-felt gift that gives me great joy.
   Thunder rumbles. Good thing I got done fast! The first time I tried to use the riding lawn mower was a sight to see. Hmm. I was almost in tears. While I have had some lessons in standard vehicles, that was not enough for me to wrap my head around making this piece of equipment go on that day. I put the key in the ignition and turned it, with no response. I read all the stickered instructions plastered all over the place at my feet and tried again. This time I pushed the clutch peddle in and turned the key. I got a rumble, but still could not get it to fire. I tried again, and again. I re-read the instructions and looked at all the levers and handles. I felt small and powerless, as I struggled with making this machine come to life. I wanted so badly to take control of my life and accomplish something all by myself. I got angry. I got teary. I got nothing more than a puff of smoke and noise. Just when I wanted to burst into tears and kick the object that was reeking havoc on my life and brittle self-esteem a voice said,
   "Hello Kathy."
   I looked up. Normally I don't go by Kathy (always been a Katherine), so I knew it was not someone I knew well. My elderly  neighbour was ambling across the road. He had been watching me attempting to get the mower going and saw that I was loosing the battle. He is a kindly man in his eighties that had lost his wife a few years back. Now he lived alone, but still gets around. I noticed he was out trimming his bushes, as I cut my grass this morning. Hugs to you Larry! Anyway, that day Larry made a little small talk.
   "It looks like you are having a little trouble there," he said.
    I hung my head and admitted my incompetence. The man is so sweet and I think his kindness that day came from a compassion born of our kinship. He knew grief and could see it all over me. My problem was the mower, but the bigger problem was learning how to live again without the appendage that was my spouse.  Brad had always cut the grass previously with our riding mower. I was well-versed in a push mower, but had nothing to fall back on to help me in this new task at hand. There was no one I could turn to in my house to ask for help or to hand the task over  to. You see, my tears were not over the fact that I could not get the mower to work. My tears were another manifestation of loss and grief. I was alone. I wanted to be able to function, but at every turn realized that a piece of my life, a piece of me was gone. The mower was a reminder and at that moment in time, I could not go it alone. I needed help, but did not know how to ask or even who to ask. Truly, I did not want to have to  ask for help. I felt like I required help every step of the way and it just seemed to beat me down. On that day, a guardian angel appeared in the form of my 85 year-old neighbor and he gave me the help I needed graciously. 
    Now I feel the windows are not full of rain, but clouded by tears with this memory. I have had so many beautiful people step into my life at moments of need. Sometimes they step in for a moment, like Larry did. Other times they have held my hand for days, weeks and months. Still others will walk with me for the years that I call a lifetime. I do not know why I thought of this today, other than that I had to cut the grass. Most days I am pretty stable and happy with life. I managed to winterize the mower myself this past winter. I cut the grass whenever it needs without a bat of an eye. I know that I will be hit by moments of grief on occasion and that will continue for a long time to come. Always I will have that experience of loss there. The sorrow that goes with it lessens over time. This I have been told and know from my own experiences. Today, I remember as I watch the rain. Hopefully I will let it go this afternoon, as I breathe and lay my head on the yoga mat. Namaste. 

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