Bones and nests and webs, oh my

Close up prayer flags in TibegBeen a while, and my mind is so stuffed that it’s bursting at the seams like my youngest son’s t-shirt drawer. I hadn’t looked in his dresser in years. You see, my husband insisted our kids do their own laundry in high school “so they would know how” (wink-wink.) I always figured Seán left his clean shirts piled in the basket because he was too lazy to put them away. Now I know.

I opened his drawer yesterday, a month after he left, and stumbled into a cram-packed memory lane. I found thread-bare soccer jerseys… a faded Bob Marley… a silly Spongebob… and a rainbow of festivals and fundraisers. Like scarves in a magician’s hat, they seemed endless. One at a time, I lifted, folded and smile-cried my way through his cotton-poly fingerprints.


I had wanted to weed out Seán’s room with him before he headed to Loyola. Yep. I also planned on college shopping, eating out too much and making him ride waves with me one more time before he ventured to his new life as a freshman in New Orleans.

The universe, though, had other plans.

I’ll skip the details (and some choice words), but let’s just say it involved a white van cutting a corner into my bicycle. In the blink of an eye, I traded my pep-rally role as chief transition orchestrator and dorm decorator for a totally unfamiliar one: spectator.

I watched from a living room recliner as my youngest prepared for his big change. I had to sit by while my daughter, Aislínn, got ready for a long-dreamed semester abroad in Beijing. And I remained propped up with pillows when my drumming firstborn, Ciarán, did a post-college backpack through Vietnam for six weeks then headed away to start his “real” life.

None of them could hug me goodbye; broken bones don’t do well under the pressure of love. Neither do empty nests.

Today is eight weeks since the accident. Patience has never been my strongpoint and inactivity is a foreign land. Yet maybe there’s a reason I needed to sit still. My helplessness helped my offspring fly the coop with stronger, more graceful wings

As my body parts continue to heal, I’m trying hard to adjust to my new life – where tWeb of Pray Flags on Tibet mountaintophe only one I pick up after is my old dog, Scout. And when I hear from my boys in NOLA or Skype with Aislínn in China, I know – like the beautiful webs of prayer flags in her photos from Tibet – that I am truly connected with my children, no matter where we all are.

.. now, to clean out some of those t-shirts!

4 thoughts on “Bones and nests and webs, oh my

  1. Merry, It has been some time since you blogged, but then it’s been far longer since I got all my emails dealt with. I had over 1500 of them just lurking there, squawking at me! I’ve finally got really brave today and am deleting all the really old ones, but first I always scan the names of whom the emails have come.

    When I came across a post from you, I stop deleting and read it! I can so relate to your accident experience. I’m so glad to hear you are getting better and more able to do things, but I agree with Neil – wait til your son is there to ‘experience’ the stories of each item in that drawer!

    In early July, my dear eldest grandchild spent a week with me with to goal of ‘helping grandma unload some of her ‘stuff”. It was actually a fun time together and I actually felt lighter when she left for home on July 4th. I only have one thing she left behind but it was really a winner – not! My husband was recuperating and getting much needed PT for a recent back surgery in a Rehab/nursing home.

    Since he wasn’t here to do his usual activities, I was watering all the flowers and veggies on July 5th. It was a really hot, muggy day, so I waited until early evening. I got the back yard stuff done, thank You God. I started on the front yard and, as was common, I found some pansies growing up through the gravel we put down 5-6 years ago, so I bent over to pull them gently out so I could replant them in one of our flower pots. I use a cane and was being very careful, because my balance is not all it should be. I bent over to get one last pansy and . . . started to tip over . . . I was able to catch myself twice, but the third one landed me on the ground, from which I’m not able to get up alone! We live in a retirement community and at 7:30 PM, every one is inside their home. I sat on our front lawn YELLING “HELP ME” over and over again!! Finally the couple across from us realized it wasn’t coming from their TV and rushed right over to help me. Oh, one small thing I forgot to say . . . as I fell I heard a terrible crunch from my left ankle. But, as you likely understand, I still thought I could get up and just go back in the house for the evening. However, when my neighbor brought out a table chair and I tried to get up, I started with my LEFT foot – YUP! Same awful sound. She called 911 and before I knew it I was in the ambulance heading for the hospital, which conveniently is across from the center my hubby was in!

    I ended up spending 3 days in the hospital and then was transferred right across the street. We spent 4 weeks together in different rooms, for several reasons.We endured lots of jokes about finding a way to be together, all in good fun. We ate all our meals together in his room (it was larger) and would watch TV occasionally. HE actually got to go home 8 days before I did.

    I had not yet walked in my boot cast, so I had a commode by my bed, since the room was too small to keep my wheel chair in. For some reason, when I woke up at 7 AM and when I saw that my door was open, I decided I didn’t want anyone to see me on the commode – first mistake! So I decided to walk over and close the door – second mistake. My next memory is feeling and hearing the back of my head smack really hard on the linoleum/concrete floor – third mistake. When my sweet husband came down, he could only shake his head and utter words of ‘OMG’, etc. I was taken across the street to the ER again, and after evaluations, was sent back. NO skull fractures and NO brain bleeds!! Just one HUGE blood filled bump – called a hematoma. I still got to go home on time and we commenced with healing and getting back to whatever ‘normal’ means. Truly, both my falls kept my very busy Guardian Angels on alert. We couldn’t do much at first, but we are doing much better!

    I send you blessings that your injury is a ‘once in a lifetime event’!

    • Oh my goodness, Carol. I am so glad to hear from you again, but soooo sorry to hear about your funny-in-the-telling but really awful experiences. YOU should write a blog! Thank goodness you are ok — although I think “normal” changes on a regular basis for all of us! Be well!

  2. Merry, you are truly justified to be proud of your three little birds flying so strongly! But throw out even one of those shirts and you’ll face the wrath of one Angry Bird. Close that bedroom door and look forward to reviewing the shirt collection together at semester break, it’ll be more fun!

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