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CONTEMPLATION AND ICE CREAM

CONTEMPLATION AND ICE CREAM

This should be the name of a new treatment, I thought as I decided yesterday that I couldn’t live without ice cream because I went to my second funeral in a week yesterday of another young woman. Ice cream was soon to be some much needed therapy that only ice cream can be. I found myself with the day off and no plans and a bag of freshly bought edibles from the compassion center in Portsmouth where I am a proud and loud carrying card member. Rather than day drink after the funeral, surely not a solution to anything, especially since the young woman who died was sober for a good part of her life, I cut a very small piece of the caramel square, placed it on my tongue and decided that today would be a day to relax. Medical marijuana has been a savior for the band of tightness that has become like a Siamese twin on my upper body and though I don’t need it as much as I used to, it is definitely helpful for stress and anxiety and taking the edge off an otherwise weepiest of weeks. Yes I know we must go through the pain, not around it, delve into the grief, but sometimes just taking the edge off moves me there a little faster. Like ice cream. And a bike ride and a caramel edible.

Gretchen, the superchick who died, whose funeral I attended had six nieces and one nephew, many who spoke. The service was sad, but beautiful and I could tell the priest really knew her. I don’t often feel moved at Catholic funerals, sometimes they feel a little rote and sometimes I feel an ironic lack of spirituality. Not this one. I was so moved by the Good Father’s words I actually felt like I could be a member of this church for a brief moment. His language about our grief was spectacular, encouraging us to stay in the present moment, to free ourselves from the what if’s what could have been and in Gretchen’s honor, live in the now, with zest and joy and spirit. If there had been a gospel choir singing along with this message, the service would have made me want to stand up and wave my arms in the air singing I BELIEVE!

Funerals like weddings bring up a lot of matter, matter from the past, seeing old faces, not seeing some faces. Funerals like weddings have a way of bringing you up close and personal to your own life choices, love lost, aging, sadness, happiness, a virtual mecca of emotion. I found myself at Gretchen’s funeral yesterday starting to plan my own funeral in my mind which I know is bat shit crazy, but I couldn’t stop the train. Funerals do this, they make you think of your own mortality and how you may want your own exit to be if you had the ability to make the plan. Trying to control my funeral even, clearly I need more therapy (or more edibles or more ice cream). One of the nieces made some references to overeating Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream so much that their stomachs were beyond full at sleepover with their Aunt Gretchen, how Gretchen loved bouquets of wild flowers and many other delightful antidotes about a life well lived albeit shorter than it should have been. Their personal words were touching and heartwarming and when I got home to figure out my remaining day, I just knew ice cream would be part of its recipe.

With dinner already in the works on slow cook, I got on my bike and rode like the wind, just me, no friends along for the ride, just the wind in my hair, water in my basket and a freedom like no other. Bluebirds and yellow finches flew fast and furious in my vision, cardinal sounds warmed my ears with hope and the notion that everything is alright. Ospreys communicated in a way that took me off my bike just to stare. It was refreshing to see so many kids on the bike path without their parents for a change. Kids actually outside, moving their legs with no cell phones in their hands. The sky was bluer, the trees were greener and the air was that perfect breeze that made the bike ride comfortable for either a slow or fast pedal depending on my mood and energy level. I pedaled and glided and freed myself with a much needed second week day in two weeks off, though this one was not playing hooky. I actually had this day off and forgot that a funeral doesn’t take all day and there was no way I was going to do paperwork after.

Before I left for the bike ride, I noticed that one of my employees had a two hour opening, but I didn’t want to take the appointment in case it could be filled last minute, always the possibility. On my way home from the bike ride, when I stopped to look at the ospreys, I texted the front desk to find out if the appointment was still open and when the answer was yes, I took it. But first I had to fulfill my ice cream obligation. Stopping by the ice cream parlor to discover it wasn’t open for another 2 hours, I made my way home and walked the short distance across the street to Pick and Pay praying they would have mint oreo cookie. They did proving that there indeed is a God and that Gretchen was indeed with me in the Pick and Pay.

I still had a full half hour before my appointment so I made it home cranked open the ice cream and stuck my spoon in the creamy cool delight knowing that I still had my treatment ahead. This treatment would end my afternoon with perfection, a spassage, an hour and half warm oil rubdown like nothing else by Katelyn, a long term employee who has a smile and an innocent happiness like I seldom see in people. Katelyn usually freaks out when she sees my name, her boss’ name, in her schedule for anything other than waxing, but she greeted me with her sincerest warmth. I told her I was there purely for relaxation, that I didn’t want to talk, I just needed to chill out. As soon as her hands touched my back, I felt her care, her maturity, her strength and I understood immediately why women would want to go to her for their appointments. She had beautiful light and I was immediately taken into her arms for an hour and a half of meditative peace.

As I lay there in a dreamy state going in and out of REM slumber, I couldn’t help my creative brain from going into full gear coming up with new treatments and new business ideas. This is a sign that my brain is clearing from the cobwebs and fogginess of grief, that I am very much alive and in Gretchen’s and Lesa’s honor will seize whatever is remaining and march forth. As I finished my treatment, joined Michael C outside in the garden for an afternoon glass of wine, headed back inside for dinner and the news, I was looking forward to finishing my day. First off though, I would finish the pint, something I have actually never done before, I know, hard to believe for those of you who know me, in Gretchen’s honor and in honor of a life that was finished too soon. I cut some flowers for her, finished off the ice cream and reflected on my day. Satisfied and belly full.


for gretchen

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