Wow what a 30 days it has been. 30 days full of more work then I can schedule, whirlwind travel and an ever growing baby girl. This morning I'm sitting home watching my wonder play on the floor with the Christmas tree twinkling in the background. A year ago we wandered around our home whispering "can you believe next year we will have a little girl who is almost one year old". Here we are and it is amazing beyond what we dared to imagine it would be and we are finally no longer whispering.
Amidst this happiness we lost a dear friend to lung cancer two weeks after her diagnosis. I have struggled with this, the news lodged itself to the right of my heart and had been spinning and throbbing there ever since. You see, we never got to say goodbye. We heard she was in hospice the day we flew out to spend Thanksgiving with my family and she passed the morning after we flew back. A week before that she was hugging Cora and happily telling me about the birth of her third grandchild. We never saw it coming.
Her name was Lisa and she was the maternal figurehead of our entire neighborhood. Lisa managed the pub on the corner (literally on our corner, a few houses down). Our local pub is more then a drinking spot, it is home to many of us. It is where we go when we want to share, when we are too tired to cook at home, when big news is breaking and we would rather watch it with our neighbors instead of alone. Our pub is the first place Scott and I scuttled into when we moved her 5 1/2 years ago. Lisa looked us up and down and knew right away that we were a couple of scared kids with just the shirts on our backs seeking shelter from the rain. She took us under her wing and never stopped caring for us. She was there with us celebrating every success and every sadness. I will never forget the knowing hug she gave me after I lost our first baby. She held me and let me cry and cry on her shoulder as the tears I didn't expect overcame me.
Now she is simply gone...within two weeks...gone. We are all in shock, stumbling into each others arms and trying to draw at straws of comfort. This week the sadness has lived in my chest and as our bodies are prone to doing it has settled into me and I am sore. I know enough about the emotional and physical relationship in the body to know this is what is happening. So I laugh and move my body and go to work and seek healers for myself to move through it. I was finally getting some massage yesterday when the tide shifted, the sadness opened into the knowledge of all I have to be so very grateful for and that Lisa is somewhere out there loving us and celebrating our happiness. I walked out of that session feeling healed on every level, the pain in my muscles diminished and the sadness in check. Such powerful work we do.
So here we are celebrating the passing of a generous and beautiful life and celebrating the abundance of our bright and shining life. The heart grows and expands to know these extremes if we just let it.
We had a whirlwind Thanksgiving trip to Montana which included a 17 hour "layover" is Seattle's airport. It took us 2 1/2 days to get from Portland to Kalispell when it should have been 4 hours of flying. Cora handled it like a champ and Scott and I survived and stand on the other end feeling like we earned a notch on the parenting belt. Once we got there we enjoyed the winter wonderland it had become. We hunkered down and had a great meal with family, Cora played in the snow for the first time and helped shovel the driveway with grandpa on his tractor. Cora also met her great grandpa who's mother she is named after. It was a blessed time. Then we were off to Missoula to see our beloved friends there and welcome a new spirit into the world. Heather gave birth to her third and as I held all 7 pounds of her I wondered at the power of life and tried to remember my baby ever being that small.
The longer and longer we are here the more I miss Missoula. I am starting to actively wonder if we will stay here once Scott is done with his apprenticeship. Missoula feels like home in every fiber of my being and I miss my people there! I imagine Cora growing up there in the town I love, learning to ski while she is young enough for it imprint in her DNA, the mountains and rivers coursing in her blood. Time will tell, we have several years left to go and in the mean time I am enjoying Portland and trying to maximize my time here. I am taking advantage of all the excellent learning opportunities here and have begun a serious study of Thai massage with my amazing teacher here. It's all about utilizing the gifts that are right in front of you.