A walk in the woods, a ceremony, and a kittenPosted: October 9, 2010 Filed under: 365 Life in the Bogs Challenge, Adventures in Life, Autumn, cats, celebrations, Earth, family, nature, Spirit, travel, Walking, weather | Tags: death, fountains, graves, hospice, New Jersey, Outdoors, Physical exercise, trees 9 Comments
Today is day 17 of the great outdoors challenge. As on day 16, M and I went to a nearby park for exercise and fresh air. It’s a nice park with a sledding hill (or a climbing-up-and-down-the-stairs hill if there is no snow and you want to get your heart rate up), a large playground for the kiddies, a small pond with fountains, a paved track going around the park, and a mulched nature trail that goes through the woods.
The weather here in New Jersey has been wonderful. Sunny, warm, and feeling more like summer than autumn. I keep forgetting it’s October.
At the park, we walked through the woods:
Met a few big, beautiful trees:
And saw a couple of rainbows on a sunny day:
We also spent some time at the exercise station doing push-ups, sit-ups, and whatever else the signs instructed us to do in order to stretch, strengthen, and increase our heart rates. It was fun. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of those outdoor exercise stations (the copyright on this one was 1994), much less worked out at one. I’m trying to talk M into setting one up for us. He said I’m welcome to build it myself and he’ll be happy to support me with advice. I may take him up on that.
Being outdoors in this part of New Jersey is a little different from being outdoors in the Bogs. Traffic noises are always present and it seems like wherever you are is in the flight path of planes large and small as well as helicopters. Being more densely populated, there are plenty of people everywhere. It’s also a part of me as this area is where I spent my childhood. There is more of almost everything now: more people, more cars, more highways, more shopping centers, more restaurants and bars, more jughandles, more houses. But there is also less: Fewer farms, fewer orchards, fewer circles/roundabouts (because they have been replaced with jughandles and intersections with lights and overpasses), fewer quiet places where the traffic of everyday life doesn’t intrude.
The ceremony at hospice yesterday was nicely done and the hospice folks were caring and supportive (as one might expect — or hope to find — at a hospice). The plaque honoring Mom is lovely. There were two other families there (as there are three names on a plaque). The ceremony included a few speeches, a couple of readings, some songs, and a lot of tears.
You’ll have to pardon me for quickly glossing over it. It was, as expected, a highly emotional affair. In some ways it brought Mom’s death back to us almost as if it just happened. If there are other ways about it, I’m not sure what they are yet. I know one of the ideas behind it is to bring a sense of peace. Perhaps that will come with time.
I’m not sure what we’ll be doing today. It depends on what my father is up for. We’ve talked about going to Philly for the morning, but I don’t think Dad will be able to do that. We’re leaving in a few minutes to visit Mom’s grave. The last time I went there was a temporary marker. The permanent marker has been put in place now.
Football (watching it on TV) is on tap for the afternoon. I’ll probably end up spending some of that football time playing with Shadow, Dad’s cat and my new friend.
Isn’t he adorable? If I didn’t already have two cats who would be highly unappreciative of a third, I might kidnap (catnap?) him and take him home with me.
I identify with so much of this, especially the Hospice service. A few months? weeks? after Jerry died I was invited to a ceremony at the hospital where he volunteered (also where he died). They were honoring the deceased who had been volunteers. I just was not in a place where I wanted to open grieving, so I didn’t go. I don’t even know if they put his name on the plaque. I must check that out sometime. I’ve also not been ready to scatter part of the ashes and it will be two years in January. I may never be ready. Our plan has always been to save at least half the ashes to mix with the other when that one dies. At this rate the kids may have a lot to mix and scatter.
I’m not sure I would like so much civilization intruding on nature (as in NJ) but at least nature is still there. And I can hear the Interstate from my bucolic plot of land.
P.S. Love the kitty.
Anhinga: I can understand not going. I was anxious about this trip and event for weeks before the time arrived, having the anniversary of Mom’s death to go through as well. Hospice originally wanted to have the ceremony on or near the date of Mom’s death and I said no to that.
This was especially hard on the grandchildren (my niece and nephew) as they lived next door to Mom for the past seven years and Mom was their babysitter before that. They were very close to her and had no appreciation for (or understanding of) the idea of a life celebration. They just saw it as another reminder of her death. I think that made it worse for me as well, seeing how upset they were.
As for civilization intruding, I think I may make it sound worse than it is since I’m used to living out in the country now. There are still reasons for NJ to be called the Garden State. It’s just that those reasons have gotten smaller and continue to shrink.
I so understand the grandchildren. That is exactly how I felt about the ceremony for Jerry. It was just a reminder of death–after we had already celebrated his life. I think the ashes are the same.
Thank you for such a newsy post today, Robin. The park sounds wonderful. I’m amazed at the idea of a mainstream park containing an area of woods! Australian friends of ours spent a few years living in New Jersey some years ago and they told us that suburbia was very similar to here in Australia. The only outstanding diffenerce was their New Jersey home came complete with a basement!
Through experience (unfortunately) I have learned that we each have to grieve in our own way. No other person can tell us how to cope, we just have to go with the flow and do what is right for ourselves at the time. My mum was a keen crochetter and I have her last, unfinished project, which I will complete one day, when I can bring myself to do it. I’ve been saying that for 17 years…As Anhinga said, you wait until you’re ready. And if you’re never ready, so be it.
Shadow is adorable! I’m sure he’s wonderful company for your dad.
Love to you. 🙂
Joanne: My mother crocheted too, and — you might not believe this coincidence — I have an unfinished project of my mom’s that I would like to complete someday. It’s a lacy tablecloth that she started for me and then taught me how to do it so I could finish it. Then I forgot how to do it. 😦 One day I’ll pick it up along with the instructions and notes I took and figure it out. Or find someone to help me figure it out.
I remember when Preston and I went back ‘home’ to the East. We had lived a good number of years in the East and along the eastern seaboard. My! The traffic, people per square mile, and noise about overwhelmed us after living in the spacious rural. The park does look lovely, though, and NJ is a beautiful state. Shadow is adorable!
Thanks, Anna. 🙂
Back East (as they say) can be a bit of a noise/culture shock. Although I was born and raised in New Jersey, I don’t understand why folks live there. It’s noisy, crowded, and terribly expensive. Property taxes are ridiculous. I think I’m spoiled by where I live…
I’m happy you got to enjoy the warmth. We need to warm our bones as much as possible before the true cold takes over. Looks like it was a nice way to wind up the visit.
Karma: Good point. We’ll need all the heat we can get when winter rolls around. 🙂