Saturday, May 18, 2024

Emerging like a cicada

All anyone seems to be talking about here these days is the upcoming/any-day-now cicada invasion. Bugs don't bother me, and I barely remember their appearnce in 2007. But I am paying attention to the conversation and stories swirling around because it seems I'm rather like a cicada these days. 

They emerge from their lives underground, sing and shed their shells. I feel like I'm emerging from grief and I'm ready to sing and face the past and the future with something other than loneliness and regret. 

I'm back at the card shop, and interacting with our customers has done me good. I especially enjoyed working with a proud grandma celebrating a Kindergarten graduation. She came in for a card and left with a card, a book, a gift bag, a pair of fun pens (her granddaughter will be using ballpoints for the first time come fall and now she can practice). Because she was paying cash and spent so much more than she intended she couldn't afford $4.50 for tissue for the gift bag. I slipped some of the store tissue -- the stuff we use when someone buys something breakable -- into the gift bag. I was whispered that even though the store's logo is printed on it, the color works. I lowered my voice because I didn't want her to feel embarrassed, but she thought I was extending myself in a way that would get me in trouble. I'm quite sure my boss, Ceecee, would have done the same thing in my position. The customer was spending more than $60 and was running low on cash. Anyway, Grandma was so grateful that I spent so much time listening about her granddaughter, helping her find the perfect card and gift, and then (in her mind) breaking the rules by slipping her a freebie and she kept using my name when she thanked me over and over. Similarly, I helped a young woman put together a very pretty and impressive gift bag for her wine-loving friend. Getting it just right was important to her because she'd missed her friend's birthday. Anyway, helping others gets me out of my own head, and I'm lucky this job gives me that opportunity.

I wrote Postcards to Voters. Again, doing good gets me out of my own head, and losing my friends does not mitigate my duty as a citizen to be involved.

I'm back at yoga. My back is so creaky without it. It's time to accept that Henry and John may not be with me but I'm still here and I need to do this.

I went to lunch with John. Yes, he's still dead and no, I haven't lost my mind. It's just that I decided to honor his memory by revisiting his favorite bars and restaurants and raising a glass in his honor. I started with Italian Village. 

One of Chicago's great Italian restaurants, it's been in the same spot for nearly 100 years and the owners simply cannot install an elevator. Doing so would compromise the structural integrity of the building. And so John, with his limited mobility, was no longer able to enjoy, in his words, "a big slab of pasta" at one of his favorite places. 

I returned with my friend Elaine and told her stories about him. As I would with John, I stopped and reviewed the signed photos of celebrities on the wall and thought of the jokes he'd make about Frank Sinatra's unfortunate toupee. 

It all made me feel better.  

I'm blessed that way. God has given me the ways to emerge from my grief. It's time to avail myself of them.

 PS Thank you, Country Dew, for saying that you see me and hear me. That was perceptive and it really helped.


  1. Sending you much love.

  2. Yay, you're getting out! That's excellent news. I like this Elaine person you're hanging with sometimes. She seems good for you.

  3. Look at you, spreading your Fairy Godmother dust all over that card store! I love it! It lifts my spirits talking to people too, much as my curmudgeonly self fights that. Glad to hear you're feeling good and out and about!


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