Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Four of Us and Healing Love...

The foursome with our sweet mama

That is what we call ourselves, the four of us.  We were raised rancher’s daughters amongst cows and prickly hay bales.  We learned young the meaning of hard work.  Two brothers tailed the four of us, they were our babies 'til they grew in stature, began to set the seat of a tractor and drive the hay truck.  I’m sure daddy was glad to see his boys grab a hay hook and dump the dresses his four daughters put them in.
There is a healing joy, laughter and enlightened tears that wash over my heart when I think about my sisters and our past, our present and how intricately we are linked, like one, but four.  A life lived tucked up against the Cascade Mountain Range where our 1300 acre ranch sprawled; nothing but land, critters and the breath of life.  We bonded hard and fast because, well, we were all we had.  Now each one in her own home, children raised close, like we were.  Each with our own troubles and joys.
My buddies have always been there for me and especially during Zach’s illness (and sisters-in-law; they stood by strong too; helping, loving).  I don’t know if I would have made it without the support of my God given sisterhood.  You are all treasures, each one glistening in a different way.
We try to gather together often for coffee, or lunch.  The blessed days of consistent meetings are dwindling as times change, we change, life changes.  But for nearly ten years we had a weekly coffee day and on “coffee day” we had an unspoken creed of no gossip, no slander.  These days fell right in the middle years of caring for Zach.  My sisters were and are my multitude of counselors.  I'd drag myself out to the car feeling I couldn’t take another step.  Once through the doors of the coffee shop, the faces of my sisters, those faces and hearts I’ve know forever, they would lift, would listen as tears flowed and always, always my heart left more resolute to do the right thing, to keep on keeping on.  Gathering was and still is for positive reinforcement.  For heartaches to be shared in a safe place, for love to wash over hurts and for the healing balm of laughter...and loads of the latter.  All it takes is a certain look and we drown our silly selves in a bath of giggles.  Oh how my heart squeezes behind these ribs.
We joke about a long line of rocking chairs on a front porch one day; fourteen to be exact (perhaps fifteen if Zach joins us) when the hips fail and walkers are parked next to us and then, when the hard work of life is done, we four Swedish sisters and our beloved mates, our two brothers (their mates) and mama and daddy will sit and have coffee every day like we used to around the ranch breakfast table and laughter will be our good medicine till we meet in the great beyond and there...with our precious Jesus, we will continue our sipping of transformed coffee (I’m not sure what that is, but it’s bound to be luscious), our deep loving and honking with laughter over all those inside jokes.
Excitement mounts as our annual gathering is seen just down the path a ways.  There, we prepare for our sisters-get-away.  This, I call my yearly feng shui, my… stop and smell the lavender life-is-good antidote.  We’ve all raised our families and we can afford that yearly break from the merry-go-round of life (of course, I still care for Zach, but he stays behind with his dad, or care givers.  It’s a much needed break for me).  It’s always hard to pull away; but we need to make the effort to heal in a quiet place where daily service is minimal.  We pack light, and drive to the Staunton cabin in northern Cali; shopping for food at several health food stores along the way.  Our cabin is remote, there are no facilities close by.  The nearest town, McCloud is over an hour away.  We pack what we need, give gifts to each other, lay in that high mountain sunshine on the oversized dock and reminisce, till, if there were any, the cows come home.  They are, next to my immediate family, my greatest support, my therapy, my comedic relief and Zach’s treasures.  My three sisters are living proof that there is a God, He loves beauty and He enjoys laughter.  Sheila, Linda and Janice…I adore you!
Here is to yesterday, (our special lunch time.  I look forward to our next lunch date) cheers!  You bring me that special sister light always.
From left to right, Janice, Linda, Karen (me) and Sheila
Shopping at La Boheme where Linda works 4/27/12

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