It's Mother's Day -- the first one since Peter's death. My daughter is at home in the Pacific Northwest, wrapping up her master's degree, so I spent the day alone. When she called this morning I told her I had three dying trees cut down yesterday, including the sweet Japanese maple Pete gave me for Mother's Day 6 or 7 years ago. It was sickly almost from the beginning, with some sort of black disease creeping up its limbs and this year, half of it was dead. I knew it had to go. Even so, I was sure that at some point today I would be crying yet again, mourning the loss of the tree and the man who gave it to me.
After Pete's funeral in February, when everyone had left and I was alone in our lovely home, I felt a sudden lightness, a lifting of the shroud that had encompassed us as we fought our way through chemotherapy three times a week, 90 miles away from home, and three very long hospitalizations. I hadn't even been aware of the shroud then, I just faced each day with every ounce of strength I could muster. I adhered to all the restrictions Pete was given after his stem cell transplant -- all 12 pages of them. No travel, no restaurants, no houseplants, no dogs, no gardening, no movies, no house guests, no tap water, etc., etc. We had a new normal, and that was okay. Whatever we had to do, we did it. We wanted to beat the disease.
We lost the battle on February 8, five days after my daughter married her sweetheart Josh at Pete's bedside. As rare as T-Prolymphocytic Leukemia is, it is even rarer to find anyone who survives it. During Pete's final two weeks in palliative care, when it was clear he would not survive, Pete and I, along with his brother Clem, Clara and Josh, were able to plan his funeral and to organize all the stuff that needs doing when someone dies.
So here I am -- three months a widow (such a very strange word!), still grieving, but moving forward a little bit at a time. I'm working at my rug hooking again and planning a big party to celebrate Clara and Josh's marriage. I'm catching up on deferred house maintenance and trying to garden a little bit each day. It's good to have the sun on my back. And just a few minutes ago I found a tiny Japanese maple seedling growing by the back porch. I'm going to pot it up and watch it grow.