Unanchored Thoughts

Bits and pieces of musings about family, friends, social issues, and whatever else travels through my head without a purpose.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Madison and her grieving

Madison has appeared to move through several stages of grief and is now into the "acceptance" phase, far ahead of her parents, and assuming such stages exist. I've heard about stages of grief and have some some experience with them having been through four devastating miscarriages before conceiving Graeme. I'm stuck in denial and disbelief, with a sprinkling of anger. I'm not sure where Steve is. It's been interesting to watch Madison over the last month and to see how her mood truly has evolved. When Knox died she was getting sick frequently and spent most of her time in Graeme's room. In the days following his death her vomiting slowly subsided to the point where, with the exception of a few hair balls, she hasn't been sick at all lately. We've been truly amazed at the impact Knox's illness had on her physically; the mental impact must have been monumental. Following his death she quickly moved herself from Graeme's room to my dresser, seeming to need to close comfort of her parents.

In the last 2 weeks or so she has become much more playful and returned to two games that we used to play with her frequently. "Snakie" is an old favorite. She finds herself a shoelace, piece of string, length of rope, anything and carries it around until you tease her with it and give her a good workout by whipping it back and forth while she chases. Her latest snakie is about 10 feet of twine that we were planning to use to secure a table to the roof of my brother's car last weekend. Madison had other plans for the twine and we'll now wake up to find it at the base of the bed. Sometimes she trips over it as she's dragging it through the house. Her other game isn't so much a game as a habit. Years ago she adopted this furry witch that my mother had sent to us with some Halloween candy. It's really just a hairy fur ball with an orange hat, and if you peer closely you can see arms, legs, and eyes. Somehow she got ahold of witchy and for months would carry it around in her mouth. Then, she would abandon her. Every once in a while we would find witchy at the base of the bed, or she would bring her downstairs while we were watching TV, only to drop her at your feet and meow loudly. We never really knew what she wanted us to do, so we assumed this was some kind of latent mothering instinct and we would praise her. Witchy has been sitting in our bedroom in a corner for months and months, if not a year...essentially the entire time we think Knox has been sick. Well, about a week ago we found witchy in the kitchen and now, every day or so, she'll appear with witchy in her mouth. It's really a sight to see this little cat with a big furry witch in her mouth. I'm not sure what this has to do with her grieving, except that she is now able to focus her nurturing (albeit sporadically) on other things; previously, we speculate that she was focused on Knox. The final change in behavior that we've observed is that Madison has taken over Knox's bed. He always slept in a window hammock in our bedroom. At one point we had two hammocks, but she didn't really care for hers so we removed it. She didn't touch Knox's bed until about a week ago. It was as if she was preserving his space or honoring him in some way. She has now taken to sleeping in it both day and night. We find comfort in seeing her there and I'm sure she finds comfort in being close to him.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Happy Father's Day, Steve!

Steve did what every good father should do on Father's Day....grill and teach your child how to ride a bike!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Kentucky Maguires

The past few weeks have just flown by. We spent a long weekend in Kentucky a few weeks ago, reunioning with the Maguires. (See the pacifier-loving captain of our boat above.) Steve's cousin, Ann, rounded up the family for a first-ever Maguire reunion unrelated to a wedding. We met lots of new additions to the family, as well as some older cousins she found in Tennessee and New Jersey. The latter included part of Graeme and Steve's namesake, Royce Flippin. (Both Graeme and Steve have Royce as a middle name.) Mr. Flippin and his wife are fabulous 70-somethings who love to drink wine, dispense worldly advice, and laugh frequently. They have a rich family and work history and it was great to spend time with them. We spent the weekend at Cumberland Lake State Park, a somewhat picturesque dammed lake that is rapidly losing steam due to a deteriorating dam. The Army Corps of Engineers has lowered the water level in the lake by about 60 feet to avoid a potential Katrina-like disaster in Nashville, the recipient of Lake Cumberland's water should the dam fail. It was disturbing to think about the ecosystem that was destroyed when the dam was created, and now the one that is being destroyed while the lake is lowered to dangerously low levels. I suppose this kind of foresight was ignored in the economic analysis that likely accompanied the project years ago.