On the morning of August 4, 2009, I was awake early. I wasn’t sleeping much in those days anyway. My husband Bill was dying from pancreatic cancer. He hadn’t spoken for days. Sometimes I would look in his eyes and know that he wasn’t there. I was told later that his spirit guides were lifting him out of his body. When he was there, his eyes would look at me, brimming with love. On that morning in August, I woke with an urge to get out of the house. It was strong and unusual, because I hadn’t left Bill’s side for many days. The urge to leave was so strong, I could hardly wait to make my coffee. It was if I was being pushed. Before I left, I went to Bill’s room, leaned over him and said, “I’m going to walk down to the river, Billy. I’ll be back soon. And I’ll love you forever.” I don’t know why I said that last thing. I kissed him on the forehead and walked away quickly.
It was a beautiful, clear day. I took a deep breath and looked up at the sky. I hadn’t seen it for a long time. My daughter Niki came with me. We walked down to the river and sat on a grassy ledge, our feet in the sand of the small beach. I sat there, sipping my coffee. The sun was bright; the river sparkled.
Suddenly, a mother duck and four very small ducklings came out of the water, walked onto the small beach, and headed toward us. I had never seen anything like this before. Niki and I froze. She came right up to us and sat at our feet. Her ducklings burrowed down in the sand beside her. “Don’t move, Niki,” I whispered as softly as I could. “She’ll nip us if she feels the ducklings are in danger.” We sat there, barely breathing. After a few minutes, she got up again and headed back into the river, the ducklings following. She had set us free.
“Well,” I said to Niki, “I guess it’s time to head back.” We walked back to the house, still wondering about the ducks’ behavior. When we entered the house Bill’s sons, Sean and Patrick, were waiting for us in the living room. One look at their faces and I knew. Bill was gone. Like my mother and father, Bill had slipped away when I wasn’t there. I went in to sit with him for a while and say goodbye. I took the wedding ring off his hand and put it on, next to mine. Some time later, I was told that his spirit guides had to get me out of the house so that he could leave.
I’m remembering this now because a few days ago, as I was taking my daily walk, I heard a small sound coming from a deep ditch filled with water from the rain. I looked down, and saw a mother duck and three ducklings. She looked up at me, totally unafraid, opened her mouth and made another gentle sound, almost like a greeting. Her eyes were sweet and friendly. The ducklings played happily around her. Well, that’s strange, I thought. It was as if a small loop had been closed.
That sort of thing has been happening to me lately. A friend I have known for over thirty-six years decided to drive down from Washington to visit and stay the night. We usually just meet for lunch once or twice a year. He said he did it because he felt that I was leaving. Mind you, I had not received the offer on my house yet. On Mother’s Day, as I was having brunch with my daughters Michaela and Niki and my granddaughter Elenni, I got news from my agent that I had received an offer on the house. The two younger girls had driven down from New York. The day was a gift. Another young man who was especially close to my husband left a Mother’s Day card in my door and came by to see me the next day. I hadn’t seen him for a while. A few days later, another friend invited me up to Washington for a celebration that included many old friends I hadn’t seen for years. For weeks it has felt as if my loved ones and friends are saying goodbye.
Since I last wrote, my counter offer was accepted, and on Monday, there will be an inspection. Upon learning this, my first inclination was to panic. I’ve had two prior inspections. One resulted in extensive repairs (two new bathrooms), and the other, because of a small leak and a beam that had to be reinforced, frightened the buyer away. But this time it’s different. It isn’t something I can explain. It’s something I feel. I started packing weeks ago, a little here, a little there. It just felt like the right thing to do. This morning, I went out in the driving rain to buy more bubble wrap and boxes, and this afternoon I met with a mover, who answered all my questions – about selling a heavy futon I don’t want to take with me (his company does that), about getting my car out to Arizona (I figure five hours on a plane with a cat is better than five days in a car). He will hitch it to the moving van. He was great. Confident. He knows how to crate a very large, very precious painting of mine, having just moved an art show. Whadda know? I have made airline reservations to go to Sedona the first week in June to find a place to live. I fully expect, like Goldilocks, to find a place that is just right. After that, I will go to Los Angeles, as I had promised my daughter Debbie and granddaughter Celine I would long ago, and Debbie and I are going to drive up the coast to Monterrey.
Here’s the thing: I am doing the what. I am letting the Universe do the how. I’ve always preached this message. Now I get to practice it. One more blog next Saturday night and the next one will be from Sedona. I’m still traveling in the headlights, but that’s all the road I need to see.