Tribute Series

A Tribute to Your Changing Body

How has your body done it?All these years carrying you carrying your weight carrying your burdens shouldering your aches and pains bearing the brunt of your choices actions, decisions and indecisions.

Shiny, abundant hair combed, coiffed, tweezed, shaved, and blown, till it starts to become mousy grey, thin, recede, till it starts look wise only then you look wise.

Smooth, dewy, fresh skin cleansed, exfoliated, and masqued, till it starts to become lined, marked, sagged, tagged, till it starts to show evidence of years on earth with its joys, sorrows, loves and struggles till it starts to look experienced only then you look experienced.

Smooth, toned, tight muscles exercised, stretched, strutted, lusted, till they start to become soft, weak, pudgy till they start to call your attention to your physical and mental strength only then you look resilient.

Straight, dense, strong bones + joints walked, jumped, moved, ambulated, till they start to become compressed, porous, arthritic till they start to feel full of steps lived only then you look full of steps lived.

Sharp, clear, open ears listened, heard, and processed, till they start to become muffled, impaired, even deafened, till they start to listen for what’s important only then you listen for what’s important.

Stable, easy, tiny weight grown, dieted, heavied, and leaned, till it starts to become uncertain, fidgety, sensitive till it starts to connect to your wholeness only then you connect to your wholeness.

A Tribute to Quarter-Centurians

You’ve travelled from the orange of childhood passed through the lime-green of teenage-hood rites of passage completed and now, past adolescence, into the deep ochre of adulthood.

Your book of life years old now dozens of thick blank pages open for you the blank empty pages waiting, beckoning. How will you fill their emptiness? How will you fill your emptiness?

Make-believe playtime gone silly-putty fun grown up into modest, muffled maturity, restrained responsibility composed calm commitments losing your inner innocence losing your child’s dependence losing your childhood dreams.

The heavy ink of should’s and supposed to’s: Supposed to have a job, Should know your career, Supposed to graduate with a diploma, Should be hired, then promoted, Supposed to be coupled with the love of your life, Should be engaged, maybe married, soon pregnant, Supposed to be toned, buff, vibrant, Should be driving a car, Supposed to be saving to buy your home, all by — now.

But wait! Whose markers and milestones are these? Yours? Your parents? Your culture? Your generation? Whose pages of dreams and hopes are these? Whose accomplishments and disappointments? Whose values, beliefs, successes, and failures?

What are your life’s markers? What if you have none, yet? What if your dreams have changed? Which of your dreams have changed?

It’s your job to change them It’s your job to create and re-create your life’s dreams, markers and milestones.

Other people are writing their stories they may be nearing the end of their book they may try writing yours filling your pages with their hopes and beliefs.

But it’s your job to write your story beginning a new chapter in your life turning pages of fresh new sheets of paper we all have to travel onto our blank page.

You are a carrier for Others’ dreams whether you know it or not you’ll disappoint Others will put their expectations on you sometimes lightly placed sometimes heavily loaded What will you say? What will you do? How will you be?

The invisible threshold of adulthood taking responsibility for who you are, and aren’t taking steps to heal your inner wounds and scars now that you’re aware now that you found them own them claim them as you step over.

How do you want to write this transition? Staying open and curious, Grounding yourself in calm, Connecting with your strength, Being adventurous and courageous. What do you want to hold on to? What are you ready to let go of?

So go on, pick up the pen heavy with ink and write out your life. Sometimes it will smear the words splotch the page stain the sheets beneath. Ah, what a magnificent manuscript you’re writing.

A Tribute to About-to-Retire Couples

Well hello! Welcome, Welcome! What’s your name again?

He: It’s your husband, or don’t you recognize me? I know it’s been a few decades since  we spent weekdays together full days - just us. When we lusted for each other even played hooky from work. 

Our home is actually her space She’s been nesting it, creating it, Cleaning it, dusting and decorating it, Creating memories for us,  Creating a sense of family in it I enter it as though I enter her It’s her private, sacred sanctuary Now where’s my place?

She: He works at the office works on the outside of our home I work on the inside of our home always have This is my work space The kids, they’re mostly grown and out (I hope) I want the same time and space for me Cooking meals that nourish me Puttering in the garden  Making calls and chatting with friends I’m scared of what I’ll be asked to give up.

We: How do we come together, again? used to being apart  for most hours of the day working in different places Reconnecting  if you can call it that at the end of days,  sometimes perfunctorily.

It’s a new beginning retiring from full-time workship  closing in on Elderhood, a time to re-evaluate  our togetherness to reflect on  who we are now,  each alone,  both together.

Who is he?  Who is she?  Who are we? How do we grow  each other, together?  Will we? How do we re-create our life? How do we begin to talk again?

A Tribute to Caregivers

You were my family,I loved you, sometimes resented you, felt darkly confused and conflicted. Your illness set in slowly, as you lost your way your independence your self I became your caregiver and you my care partner.

This was a new role I was scared, even terrified i’ll admit, to try it on. I helped you to hang onto your dignity, in your home aging in place they call it, and you helped me, You gave me reason to get up in the morning, and night, You gave me a new life purpose. I helped you look good to the world, You helped me look good to the world.

Our relationship shifted maybe it’s just that I shifted my heart grew ripe and opened patience, ahhh patience, attentiveness to your person caring for you in ways i thought were impossible respecting you wholly I wish I’d learned this sooner.

I learned that pushing what I want for you can hurt us, our relationship, that pushing clashes with acceptance. Our relationship re-created now through routine daily tasks tiny details big conversations mammoth decisions dispensing meds, setting meal trays, changing bedsheets, dressing and undressing clothes, from leaving loving notes and seemingly silly reminders to asking you How do you want to die? What’s unsaid that wants to be spoken?

My world shrunken you are it we are it.

I owe my thanks to you for being a funny, wise sometimes grumpy sage for teaching me new skills for giving me new knowledge to pass forward for revealing the courage I have inside to ask bold questions to create a healing space to understand discomfort and awkwardness to laugh sardonically at our body’s vulnerabilities at our deathly ambivalence to realize life’s transitions as I mourn you and recreate myself.