My father-in-law died last September. My mother-in-law died last month. My eldest sister died last week. They say things come in threes, so maybe I’m done with death for a while. I hope so.
As an antidote, during this week leading up to Easter, I am turning my attention toward life — resurrection, if you please — and the pleasurable aspects thereof.
Here’s what I’ve found to buoy the spirit:
- The gray, gloomy weather here in the Northeast is the perfect backdrop for the bright-yellow daffodils skirting the yard (and better than sun for my Irish skin).
- My husband and I may not be able to get away in this economy, but walking along Main Street in a heavy mist, surrounded by old churches and older homes, we fool ourselves into thinking we are meandering through a Cotswold village. (Added benefits: No airport security to molest us, no discomfiting pretzel positions in coach, no uncomfortable beds, strange bathrooms or weird food to upset our digestion—hey, at our age, that’s important! Just our own comfort food and sweet pillows to come home to at night, and the lovely patter of rain on the roof.)
- Stop & Shop is virtually empty, as if the entire store is open only for us.
- Ditto the library, with every popular DVD that’s always out, in.
- While waiting for his new tires to be aligned, my son bought one of those impossible-to-do, 1,000-piece photo-jigsaw puzzles of “Peanuts” characters (for peanuts, $6, at Walmart) — and it has turned out to be a challenging, fun pastime for all of us. It’s spread out on the dining-room table and we eat dinner around it. I’m considering making “Snoopy and Woodstock” a permanent centerpiece.
- My daughter was recently accepted into the Professional Writing Program at a wonderful, local state university. She wants to be a fiction writer (though she’s wisely minoring in biology) and we are thrilled for her. Then we got the bill for enrollment: $200. Double thrills.
- My daughter’s high-school and extracurricular activities, on hiatus for the week during final exams, of which she and all interning seniors are exempt, allows me to stay up late reading and to sleep late in the morning. I burrow under the covers. Bliss.
- I am so relaxed, it’s no bother to repaint the bathroom and a pleasure to make my mother’s complicated brandied chicken.
- I get to putter outside, picking up sticks and windfall, talking mother-to-mother with the house wren nesting in our porch eave, having a heart-to-heart with the forget-me-nots.
- With all this rain we’re having, I won’t have a tan by Easter but I bet I’ll look years younger than I did a week ago. I already feel it.