Get me out of this mood

Today is not the brightest of days here in Trilliland, so I’ve decided to get sentimental in order to cheer myself up. If the mushiness offends, click away, but if you need some hope, stay.

A little late for Canadian Thanksgiving, and early for the American version, I’m going to do a thankfulness entry anyway.

I am thankful for my family. They have known me through all the phases of my life, from cute, precocious little girl, to hurt, angry pre-teen, to full-on rebellion, and now as almost a grown-up. And they have loved me.

My great-grandmother taught me that unconditional love is truly what living a Christian life is about, even when I hated all things to do with people who called themselves “Christians”. And she loved me, and people, regardless of race, creed, sexuality, or country of origin. And at 80 years old, she proved to me that age is no excuse for intolerance. Her graciousness carried on to the end of her days. My hurt and broken self, tattooed and pierced, was welcome to sit at her feet and she would stroke my hair, loving me as much as she had when I was an unsullied child. She never said a word, never preached at me, just loved me and let me bask in her love, and the love of Christ that flowed through her. If in this lifetime I manage to be half the woman she was, I will consider myself blessed. 99 years of service and faithfulness ended with the peace that passes all understanding, and left me knowing that I do not mourn like those who have no hope.

My great-aunts and uncles have been much the same way. A few jokes at my expense, never mean-spirited, and a few “why would you do that to your body”s, but never in judgment. They showed me what it was to work, and to raise a family, and be good, honest, loyal people. I have never been turned away from the home of any of them, have never been met without a warm hug and the kind of affection that comes from a lifetime of history.

Some of my best memories come from “the farm,” my great-Aunt and Uncle’s farm I visited as a child. Farm dogs, kind of smelly and never allowed indoors, leaping all over me as soon as I got out of the car. Calves, sweet-smelling and soft, awkward, and adorable, and so much fun to chase from one corral to another.

The vast, smooth expanse of a frozen lake, three feet of snow unmarked by anything but one set of fox tracks. Borrowing a snowsuit and boots, bundling up and wading out as far as I could, lying on my back and listening to the quiet, the sounds of livestock muted by the snow.

Kittens! Tiny barn cats who would sit, patiently waiting for a jet of milk to be sent their way at milking time. I never mastered milking, city kid hands, and timidity. But it was hilarious, how masterfully they’d catch the stream of milk, not wasting a drop, and them go back to washing their paws. Dangerous paws, those. I learned the hard way that barn cats do not like to be picked up. And that barn cat claws are dirty, and a wound inflicted by one can easily get infected if you don’t take proper care of it. Fortunately, Aunties and cousins are smart that way. They took such good care of me.

One of my cousins would let me sit on the floor in front of her, and she would brush my hair. My mom’s cousin, technically, she was older than me by quite a lot, and she treated me like a princess. Foot massages and everything. And a collection of Harlequin Romance novels to boggle the mind of a 13 year old girl!

My first ever experience with a horse was with a cousin on the farm. A beautiful creature, was Sundance, gorgeous and gentle enough to be trusted with tiny children. My cousin took me out, in a pair of borrowed jeans, bareback riding, seated behind her, the horse strong and warm beneath me, the sun warm on my back. I remember asking her why Sundance would speed up and stop suddenly. She said “because you’re letting your legs dangle, and every time you bump her, she thinks you’re telling her to do something.” I was in awe of such an animal, so much bigger than me, yet so docile and well-trained that a rope bridle could hang slack in my cousin’s hands. That summer, I must have driven my cousin crazy, wanting to go out as often as possible, never satisfied, despite the soreness of city-kid legs after hours on the horse’s broad back. Saddles drive me crazy, even now.

We lost my Auntie this summer. I was able to sit beside her and hold her hand, and tell her about the memories I had of her farm, her house. How walking through the mudroom, I looked forward to the warm “Hello, there” and the hug and kiss on the cheek that she never failed to give me.

Her cheek was as soft this summer as it was all my life, her smile not as bright, but her eyes as kind, the love as strong. She was beautiful, and her heart was as soft and gentle as ever. My Grandma lived too far away for regular visits, and so my Aunties stepped in. This one was such a source of comfort to me in the times of turmoil and change I went through as a pre-teen. Sitting in the hospital, I poured out my heart, mostly laughing, often on the verge of tears of gratitude. And the last time I saw her, I rested my cheek against hers, and kissed her, and she patted my hand, and smiled up at me, and with such love and clarity in her eyes, softly said, “My little grand-daughter.”

So I sit here, thankful for the love that I sometimes took for granted. And my heart breaks, overflowing, and I’m not ashamed to acknowledge the tears that are flowing freely down my cheeks. I have been truly blessed. I have been given more than I could ever deserve. And if, in this lifetime, I live to give a mere fraction of what I have received, I will consider myself a success.

That’s all I have for today. I feel a little better. There is sadness in my heart, but not the kind that brings despair, the kind that can be accepted and let go. In its wake there is peace. And I am thankful.


~ by Trillian on 11/04/2010.

7 Responses to “Get me out of this mood”

  1. I found you through Jay G’s blogroll update. Curiosity brought me over here – outstanding writing will bring me back. A beautiful remembrance. Now if you excuse me, I need to go find a tissue for I seem to have some dust in my eyes.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to check out my blog, curiosity leads us to interesting places, and I’m glad it brought you here. And a most humble thank you for your appreciation of my attempts to get what’s in my head out into the world. Any time my words resonate with another person, I feel a little more human.

      • I’m all caught up in the archives – need new material quick!
        Good stuff, Trillian. If you get the urge, check my blog out – lots of US politics, pretty guns and family stuff, too.

  2. Trillian, that was wonderful. Thanks for sharing such close memories

    • Thanks for reading, DaddyBear, I’m glad that my memories strike a chord. Sometimes I think that sharing what makes us who we are makes us more able to connect with other people. Like you!

  3. Thanks, Christina, your kind words mean a lot to me ^_^.

  4. This is so very beautiful, Trillian. Thank you for sharing. I’m glad you’ve had that kind of unconditional love in your life.

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