Posted by: Brenda Kula | June 8, 2008

Sunshine Peeking Through

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I found this yellow water lily peeking through the other pond plants amusing. And a sign that the very essence of nature somehow brings hope.

Especially after my bit of melancholy upon ironing all those handkerchiefs the other night. If you didn’t read that post, I told about my best friend dying two years ago. That I had inherited an old trunk filled with vintage linens and hankerchiefs that belonged to her.

The many handkerchiefs sat in a closet these past two years. Then finally I got them out and started ironing them. It took hours. Then I laid them, all  neatly starched and pressed, on a table. On Friday night, I sat down in my chair and started to fold them.

I made it through the folding of about twenty handkerchiefs before the tears started to fall. What finally got me was a tiny brown-edged hole in one that looked as though a cigarette ash had fallen on it and burned through.

My best friend had stopped smoking thirty years before. I remember going with her to purchase a Ficus tree from a local nursery. It was a huge tree. We  had to have it hauled to her house out in the country, where it sat for years in her two-story living room. It was her gift to herself for not smoking.

So I surmised that this handkerchief had been the victim of a long ago cigarette. I remember how she use to say that smoking was a ritual. She relished the thought of sitting down with a cup of coffee and lighting one. It was not really the smoking so much, she told me, (a non-smoker who didn’t quite understand), but the ritual itself that she so missed.

I sat with the folded handkerchiefs on the side table next to my chair as I held the one with the little burned spot in my lap and cried. And remembered her. Finally I got up, splashed water on my face, and sat back down and folded the rest.

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I want so badly to talk to her. To tell her that I visit her in my memorial garden I created for her out back, where I planted bright, colorful flowers that remind me of her paintings. She was a very talented artist.

I want to tell her that sadness, right now, seems to be etched into the seams of my life. As my ten year marriage has hit a particularly rough patch. And I can’t figure out how to fix it. She would know just what to say. How to bring me comfort.

I want to tell her that I have those handkerchiefs here in my garden room folded up in a basket next to my reading chair, and that my gaze wanders over to them often. Their neatly folded presence gives me hope that I can iron my own life out. Somehow.

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Responses

  1. Oh, Brenda… what a heartfelt post. I truly believe your friend knows of your visits to the memorial garden you have for her, and that she hears everything you say to her. Have you ever seen the Shirley Temple movie, “The Bluebird of Happiness”? It’s my favorite Shirley Temple movie (she’s a bit older in this one – not the wee little girl like in so many of her movies). In it, she visits her grandparents, who have long since passed away. And she says something to the effect, “I thought you were dead.” And they say, “Oh, no… Every time you think of us, we come alive.” It’s a very sweet movie. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it… I love your analogy in the last paragraph; and I do hope things iron out soon for you… Also, regarding the message you left on my blog, you gave your children a beautiful gift with the gift of laughter…Donna

  2. Brenda…. It took me so long to get through this post as the tears were just pouring and it was hard to see the screen. I admire how heartfelt and genuine you are in your writing and sharing this special piece of your heart with us. I know what it is like to lose someone so special- but also how blessed we are to have these treasures that keep us linked to them. To many people these are just “things” but to me they bring me a happiness and a comfort. They remind me of my special person and I feel like I have a piece of them to hold with me forever. My prayers are with you for the rest of your “ironing” sweetheart. May God bless you with His best and give you the strength and the faith that you need at this time.
    I am adding you to my favorites as well as I am enjoying your blog so very much!
    -Heather 🙂

  3. Here it is the first time I have visited your blog, and you have made me cry.

    You must have been such a treasure to your friend. I truly believe that relationships don’t end just because one is no longer physically present. Somewhere she knows that you carry her in your heart, and she loves you, too. Your memories are your treasures.

    I see you have an adorable grandson. I have one, too, and he lights up my life.

  4. Brenda, my heart went out to you while reading this. How beautifully you remember your friend. Take care

  5. I know what it’s like to lose a cherished friend, and I know what it’s like to watch a 21-year marriage dissolve before your eyes. I hope you are able to fix yours, Brenda, if that’s what you want. I’m sure you’ll find a way. This was a beautiful, heartfelt post — thanks for sharing with us. And here’s a (((hug))).

  6. I could feel your pain while folding the handkerchiefs,I know that feeling myself as I sat in my mother’s apartment folding her clothes after her death, I could smell her perfume and her cigarettes too,those damn things took my mother from me,she smoked for 75 years before she died a horrible death from lung cancer,I wasen’t angry at her because in her younger days in was considered very chic and IN to smoke and she didn’t know any better. I miss her so much.
    And I am so very sorry your having a problem with your marriage,everyone has ups and downs and its not easy,I hope you find some resolve for both you .If you want to fix it you will both find a way together,just open your heart.Wishing you sunnier days ahead.
    Diane
    PS Thanks for coming by my blog

  7. What a wonderful post…you have a fabulous gift for writing!

    Have a blessed weekend!

    smiles, kari & kijsa

  8. Thank you, Brenda, for sharing the uniqueness of your friend with us. I wonder how we get through loss at all, sometimes. I’m so glad your friend figured into your life so vibrantly, and that you have mememtos that bring her back in unexpected ways. I’m sending you a hug across the miles, and prayers for your marriage to weather this rough sea. Thank you for the beauty, and the honesty, you bring to us through your blog…you are a special woman.

  9. Brenda,
    Hold on to those lovely memories you have of your friend. I am sure she is looking down on you now and smiling, knowing she will always have a special place in your heart.
    Hugs,
    Penny

  10. This was a lovely tribute to a very special relationship. If you sew, you might consider using some of those lovely handkerchiefs to make a few pillows or a small lap quilt. Then you can keep them out more often. Marriages? They are a lot of work! I hope that you find a way to deal with the issues involved, and that you find some happiness and peace. It usually helps me to remember what I saw in him in the first place and the fun we used to have. I also try to keep in mind that we are all only human. Big hugging arms around you. Susan

  11. brenda, what a lovely post. I am here at work, trying to wipe away the tears before the Attorney’s see me. 🙂 Everything will work it’s self out… I firmly believe we are only given what we can handle. Have a blessed day, Joanna

  12. Dear friend, rejoice in the bright prospects of the future, and be cheerful. That which you cannot understand, commit to Him. He loves you and pities your sorrows. He “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” It would not satisfy the heart of the Infinite One to give those who love His Son a lesser blessing than He gives His Son.

    Sending my love…

    Cielo

  13. Dearest friend– what a rare blossom you are to share your wisdom and emotion with the world! You are a rare talent, too. You better be keeping these posts for a book. (See me shaking my finger.) I truly believe we are blessed with all the rough experiences of our lives; they grow us up, just like a plant, to provide shade for the smaller plants growing behind us.

    Sending lots of love and hugs,
    CurtissAnn

  14. I could not imagine being without my best friend but what a wonderfully, beautiful tribute to her. Thanks for sharing.

  15. What a beautiful post Brenda. I am sure you must miss your friend dearly….

    Joy

  16. Gives me hope that I can iron my own life out. Somehow. Love that line how i feel folding clothes it put all in line for my day when i fold my clothes for my famoly it gives me peace that they well have them all clean and in line for the next day.hugs love your blog wanted you to know were reading keep it up we love it.


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