Can’t Find Her Purse

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is CAN’T.

This is such a bendable word. CAN’T may means “I’m not able to…” CAN’T may mean “I’m not allowed to….” (Remember teachers of years gone by pointing out CAN NOT versus MAY NOT?)
CAN’T may be stretched to mean “I won’t, so drop it!” or we may use CAN’T as a brush off because I don’t want to bother. And there’s the temporary kind of CAN’T that affects us all from time to time.
Since this humorous verse by Edgar Guest echoes one of my theme songs at this point in my life, “I can’t remember,” it will be my response to the prompt.

THE LOST PURSE

I remember the excitement and the terrible alarm
that worried everybody when William broke his arm
and how frantic Pa and Ma got only just the other day
when they couldn’t find the baby ‘cause he’d up and walked away,
but I’m sure there’s no excitement that our house has ever shook
like the times Ma can’t remember where she’s put her pocketbook.

When the laundry man is standing at the door and wants his pay
Ma hurries in to get it, and the fun starts right away.
She hustles to the sideboard, cause she knows exactly where
she can put her hand right on it — but alas! It isn’t there.
She tried the parlor table and she goes upstairs to look
and once more she can’t remember where she put her pocketbook.

She tells us that she had it just a half an hour ago,
and now she cannot find it though she’s hunted high and low;
she’s searched the kitchen cupboard and the bureau drawers upstairs,
and it’s not behind the sofa nor beneath the parlor chairs.
She makes us kids get busy searching every little nook,
and this time says she’s certain that she’s lost her pocketbook.

She calls Pa at the office and he laughs, I guess, for then
she always mumbles something ‘bout the heartlessness of men.
She calls to mind a peddler who came to the kitchen door
and she’s certain from his whiskers and the shabby clothes he wore
and his dirty shirt and collar that he must have been a crook,
and she’s positive that fellow came and got her pocketbook.

But at last she always finds it in some queer and funny spot,
where she’d put it in a hurry and had somehow clean forgot;
and she heaves a sigh of gladness and she says, “Well, I declare,
I would take an oath this minute that I never put it there.”
And we’re peaceable and quiet till next time Ma goes to look
and finds she can’t remember where she put her pocketbook.

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

 

Of Vain Regrets

Regret Quote
There is a grief that’s common to all and inescapable. The sense of loss, missing someone who’s gone on, regretting you won’t be able to turn to them anymore. No more phone chats, no more visits over coffee, no more celebrations or sharing memories.

And there’s a grief that wants to depress us. Everyone feels regret or remorse at times, that sense of having done wrong or missed opportunities that will now never be recaptured or enjoyed. But this kind of grieving can become chronic and swallow us whole.

Sometimes a person does need to ponder what they could/should have done different, to repent; and make amends where possible. At times we need to say “I’m sorry. I was wrong to do or say that.” It really pays to understand how we could do better the next time and make positive changes, be more respectful, develop a softer way of expression our opinions, etc.

The night we got home from my sister’s funeral I couldn’t sleep well, understandably, and felt so blue. Mine was a combination of both griefs: the sorrow of “she’s not there anymore” and regret for lost chances. Why didn’t I do more, call more, visit more…about the really important things of life? Why didn’t I say “I love you, I appreciate you”?

I felt the need to read something upbeat, and spotted an old Our Daily Bread devotional magazine lying in the bathroom. Someone had once given me a bunch and I pull a few out now and then for “bathroom reading.” Seeing it was the January 1978 issue, I turned to the Jan 1 page and read “THE FORWARD LOOK.”

Included was this poem — and it seemed just what I needed at that moment. Googling, I see this verse was published in the mid-1800s and lists M.H.W. as the author.

The past is o’er;
waste not thy days in vain regret,
grieve thou no more.
Look now before
and not behind thee; do not fret,
the past is o’er.
Thy pain is sore,
and thou hast cause for sorrow yet;
grieve thou no more.
Close memory’s door;
that day is dead, that sun has set —
the past is o’er.
There are in store
for thee still happy days. Forget!
Grieve thou no more.
Smile as of yore–
no longer let thine eyes be wet,
the past is o’er.
Grieve thou no more!

I took this as a message from the Lord to me, one that I needed to hear at that moment. While I won’t stop missing Rose or regret we can no longer communicate, I need to shut the door on that insatiable remorse of “I should have…” For one thing, it’s actually a self-centered grief. For another, I can’t improve the past one speck by regretting it.

“Where to from here?” is a better question than “Why didn’t I?”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: SHUT

 

Sister’s Last Good-Bye

Yesterday we as a family gathered to say our last good-bye to our sister Rose. Our son-in-law and daughter drove us down for the Celebration of Life, which was held at Moose Jaw. This was directed by a Celebrant who read the write-up of her life the family had written out. Then her oldest daughter came to the mike and read her memories of Mom, at times with a smile and at times pausing while the tear flowed.

I learned some interesting things I hadn’t known about my sister, including the fact that she and her husband met on a blind date set up by friends. She was only fifteen-and-a-half but it must have been love at first sight. Only six weeks later he popped the question in a unique way, simply telling her, “There’s something on the kitchen table for you.” She went to look, saw the small box and said, “YES!”

After the service there were hugs and tears and a lunch at the reception hall, where a video was shown. This was a collage of photos of her life and some of those photos brought me to tears. I remember those years, the little girl in some of those pictures.

Watching the years of her life pass in flickers on the screen was hard in a way, because she’s so alive in those scenes. You want to pull her back! There were a few snaps of her childhood and teen years, some from her wedding day. I saw a few showing some of us siblings together, a couple showing our parents, us as a family together at her house after our dad’s funeral. These were interspersed with many pictures of them as a young couple, growing older, travelling. We saw her two daughters at birth, as teens, their weddings, then them as parents; with many shots of the extended family and/or Rose holding and playing with her grandchildren. A lifetime well lived and enjoyed.

As I’ve already said, Rose was the only sibling I’ve had steady contact with through the years; the others I met more often in passing at functions. I will definitely miss her and that continuing family contact.

Perhaps because of those pictures, last night life as a whole took on a dream-like feeling. This present life seems like a flowing stream of incidents, scenes viewed from a train window as we speed through time. The world waiting on the other side seems like the true solid ground.

I’ve a cousin who says there’s no life beyond this one. You die; that’s it. Lights out. As a Christian I accept the Bible teaching on Heaven, but most people of various faiths do believe in, or at least hope for, a land of peace and light on the other side. People who have been revived after clinical death claim to have experienced some life after their last breath. All hallucinations?

At the service we were told that Rose definitely believed in a life after this one. The names of other family members were mentioned, people Rose would be meeting and joining over there. As the poet, Fanny Crosby, wrote, “Oh, the dear ones in glory how they beckon me to come, and their parting at the river I recall.”

After the lunch, siblings and spouses of Rose and her husband, their daughters and families, had a little service at the crematorium. Another round of tears and hugs, then her ashes were left there and we joined the extended family members at a lunch at her oldest daughter’s home. So now the day is over, except for the quiet grieving we’ll all go through.

Today’s Journey

The Ragtag prompt this morning is MIXED FEELINGS, and these we certainly have. We have planned our own family Christmas for tomorrow and were looking forward to that with anticipation. But yesterday we got a call from my niece telling us that my sister’s time on this earth is coming to an end.

Rose went into the hospital Nov 25th with an infection and it’s been roller coaster battle, at times gaining, then getting hit with a second infection. According to my niece, her mom’s body can’t seem to fight it any more and the family has been called together. Barring a miraculous recovery, she’ll be with us only a short time.

So we are preparing to make a journey back to Moose Jaw, our old stomping grounds, as it were. The place my husband and I were married almost fifty years ago and lived some of our first married years. We hope the weather will be favorable for this trip and would appreciate your prayers during these next few days.

Your Daily Word Prompt : JOURNEY
Ragtag Daily Prompt: MIXED FEELINGS