Then it is Winter -- the Winter of my Life

[Photo credit: GOOGLE online images]

(7 Jan 2013 – Each day the image in one's mirror changes.  The years fly by, and then one day the mirrored image is that of a stranger. You touch the mirror, and you touch your face, and then wonder who that older person staring back at you is.  Where is that vibrancy and youthfulness of Yesterday?  How many Yesterdays have passed by, since you last saw that person?  And yet, you 'feel' the same, although the aches and pains of getting older are settling in for the duration.  Below is something I have seen on many websites, but have not found who authored it originally.  It seems close to my thoughts as I enter this new year of 2013, so I have transcribed and rewritten the story, and offer it here for reflection.
~Dorothy Hazel Tarr)

                             Then it is Winter -- the Winter of my Life!
Time has a way of silently moving by and catching you unaware of the passing years.  It seems only yesterday I was young, just married, and embarking on my new life with my mate.  Yet it is decades ago!  As I reflect now, I wonder where all the years went.  I know that I lived them all.
However, now it approaches -- THE WINTER OF MY LIFE -- and it catches me by surprise.  How did I get here so fast?  Where did the years go?  Where did my children go?  And, where did my youth go?
I remember well -- seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me.  My WINTER was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.  Now, here it is.  My friends are retired, getting grey, and move slower.  They are not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant.  Some friends are in better shape and some worse shape than I am.  Like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we would be.
In my own mirror, I see an older person now.  I see the great changes of Time's Toll all around.  Each day now, I find that just taking a shower is a real goal for the day!  Taking a nap is not a treat anymore, it is mandatory!  For if I do not take a nap of my own free will -- I just fall asleep where I sit, succumbed to Nature's Spell!  I enter into this WINTER season of my life now, unprepared for all the aches, pains, loss of strength, and the ability to go and do things that I wish I had done--but never did!
Albeit I know the WINTER season of life approaches, I am not sure how long it will last.  Nevertheless, this I know, that when it is over – it is over.  Yes, I have regrets.  There are things I wish I had not done.  Things I should have done.  Things I could have done.  Then, there are many things I am happy to have done.  It is all part of a lifetime – an Earthly Journey.
If you are not yet in your WINTER season -- let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think.  So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life -- do it soon!  Do not put things off too long!
Life goes by while you are busy preparing for tomorrow.  All too quickly, the tomorrows come and go, and in your WINTER season, your life is seen in a backward glance to the past.  So, do what you can today, for you can never be sure whether this is your WINTER or not!  Whether this is your final season or not!
Since there is no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life, live for today and say all the things you want your loved ones to remember.  Then hope they appreciate and love you for all the things you have done for them in all the years past!
Life is your gift today!  The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after!  Make it a memorable one and live it well !
It is health that is real wealth, and not pieces of gold or silver.
May you always have Love to Share, Health to Spare, and Friends that Care!
(Original author unknown; transcribed and rewritten by Dorothy Hazel Tarr, copyright Jan 2013)


In Love's Own Time

"Lady in a Garden" by Frederic Leighton

(7 NOV 2012 – LOVE is not taught, not learned, not earned, not bought, and not owned!  LOVE can prolong life or bring it to an abrupt end!  LOVE can be a guiding light – a beacon in the shadows of Life's shoals.  The ebb and flow of LOVE's tide is as a mist without substance and without constancy.  LOVE's loss is felt for a lifetime -- its scars never fully healed.  Dorothy Hazel Tarr)

LOVE comes to a precious few!
It may arrive softly as a whisper or as loud as a Heartbeat.
Love can sweep you off your feet as its wave of emotions break over the shores of your Heart.
It may retreat with the turn of events and circumstance, even as the tide retreats from the shore.
Tangled barriers scarred over by tears and years can hinder or prevent Love's triumphant return!
The wounds of Love Lost cannot be healed in Time's Mortality!
For some Love comes only once!
For some Love comes not again!
For some Love never finds its way!
By: Dorothy Hazel Tarr

"The Awakening of Spring" by Csok Istvan, 1900
Below is a poem written by my maternal cousin Emily Elizabeth Dickinson.  Emily never married during her life – but she did have the Love of Family and Friends.  She experienced much from loss and grief, and felt the scars of pain and illness.
"Morning Sun" by Harold Knight
Each Scar I'll keep for Him
Instead I'll say of Gem
In His long Absence worn
A Costlier one
But every Tear I bore
Were He to count o'er
His own would fall so more
I'll mis sum them.
Poem #877 by Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, written about age 34, an American poet, born in Amherst, Massachusetts (born December 10, 1830 – died May 15, 1886).

Below is a short story – a tale of LOVE that blossomed in youth and flowered in TIME.  I found the story on the Internet – its author is unknown to me and seems to have been written over 40 years ago.  It touched the tender places in my Heart – I hope it touches yours!

“The Letter --  The Lost Wallet”
"A City Park" by William Merritt Chase
As I walked home one freezing day, I stumbled on a wallet someone had lost in the street.  I picked it up and looked inside to find some identification so I could call the owner.  But the wallet contained only three dollars and a crumpled letter that looked as if it had been in there for years.
The envelope was worn and the only thing that was legible on it was the return address.
I started to open the letter, hoping to find some clue.  Then I saw the dateline–1924.  The letter had been written almost sixty years ago.  It was written in a beautiful feminine handwriting on powder blue stationery with a little flower in the left-hand corner.  It was a “Dear John” letter that told the recipient, whose name appeared to be Michael, that the writer could not see him anymore because her mother forbade it.  Even so, she wrote that she would always love him.
It was signed, Hannah.
It was a beautiful letter, but there was no way except for the name Michael, that the owner could be identified.  Maybe if I called information, the operator could find a phone listing for the address on the envelope.
Operator,” I began, “this is an unusual request.  I’m trying to find the owner of a wallet that I found.  Is there any way you can tell me if there is a phone number for an address that was on an envelope in the wallet?”  She suggested I speak with her supervisor, who hesitated for a moment then said, “Well, there is a phone listing at that address, but I can’t give you the number.”  She said, as a courtesy, she would call that number, explain my story and would ask them if they wanted her to connect me.  I waited a few minutes and then she was back on the line.  “I have a party who will speak with you.”
I asked the woman on the other end of the line if she knew anyone by the name of Hannah.
She gasped, “Oh!  We bought this house from a family who had a daughter named Hannah.  But that was 30 years ago!”
“Would you know where that family could be located now?”  I asked.
“I remember that Hannah had to place her mother in a nursing home some years ago,” the woman said.  “Maybe if you got in touch with them they might be able to track down the daughter.”
She gave me the name of the nursing home and I called the number.  They told me the old lady had passed away some years ago but they did have a phone number for where they thought the daughter might be living.
I thanked them and phoned.  The woman who answered explained that Hannah herself was now living in a nursing home.
This whole thing was stupid, I thought to myself.  Why was I making such a big deal over finding the owner of a wallet that had only three dollars and a letter that was almost 60 years old?
Nevertheless, I called the nursing home in which Hannah was supposed to be living and the man who answered the phone told me, “Yes, Hannah is staying with us.”
Even though it was already 10 p.m., I asked if I could come by to see her.  “Well,” he said hesitatingly, “if you want to take a chance, she might be in the day room watching television.”
I thanked him and drove over to the nursing home.  The night nurse and a guard greeted me at the door.  We went up to the third floor of the large building.  In the day room, the nurse introduced me to Hannah.
She was a sweet, silver-haired old timer with a warm smile and a twinkle in her eye.
I told her about finding the wallet and showed her the letter.  The second she saw the powder blue envelope with that little flower on the left, she took a deep breath and said, “Young man, this letter was the last contact I ever had with Michael.”
"Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder"
by Marcus Stone
She looked away for a moment deep in thought and then said softly, “I loved him very much.  But I was only 16 at the time and my mother felt I was too young.  Oh, he was so handsome.  He looked like Sean Connery, the actor.”
“Yes,” she continued.  “Michael Goldstein was a wonderful person.  If you should find him, tell him I think of him often.  And,” she hesitated for a moment, almost biting her lip, “tell him I still love him.  You know,” she said smiling as tears began to well up in her eyes, “I never did marry.  I guess no one ever matched up to Michael…”
I thanked Hannah and said goodbye.  I took the elevator to the first floor and as I stood by the door, the guard there asked, “Was the old lady able to help you?”
I told him she had given me a lead.  “At least I have a last name.  But I think I’ll let it go for a while.  I spent almost the whole day trying to find the owner of this wallet.”
I had taken out the wallet, which was a simple brown leather case with red lacing on the side.  When the guard saw it, he said, “Hey, wait a minute!  That’s Mr. Goldstein’s wallet.  I’d know it anywhere with that bright red lacing.  He’s always losing that wallet.  I must have found it in the halls at least three times.”
“Who’s Mr. Goldstein?”  I asked as my hand began to shake.
“He’s one of the old timers on the 8th floor.  That’s Mike Goldstein’s wallet for sure.  He must have lost it on one of his walks.”
I thanked the guard and quickly ran back to the nurse’s office.  I told her what the guard had said.  We went back to the elevator and got on.  I prayed that Mr. Goldstein would be up.
On the eighth floor, the floor nurse said, “I think he’s still in the day room.  He likes to read at night.  He’s a darling old man.”
"A Contemplative Moment"
by Stephen Lewin
We went to the only room that had any lights on and there was a man reading a book.  The nurse went over to him and asked if he had lost his wallet.  Mr. Goldstein looked up with surprise, put his hand in his back pocket and said, “Oh, it is missing!”
“This kind gentleman found a wallet and we wondered if it could be yours?”
I handed Mr. Goldstein the wallet and the second he saw it, he smiled with relief and said, “Yes, that’s it!  It must have dropped out of my pocket this afternoon.  I want to give you a reward.”
“No, thank you,” I said.  “But I have to tell you something.  I read the letter in the hope of finding out who owned the wallet.”
The smile on his face suddenly disappeared.  “You read that letter?”
“Not only did I read it, I think I know where Hannah is.”
He suddenly grew pale.  “Hannah?  You know where she is?  How is she?  Is she still as pretty as she was?  Please, please tell me,” he begged.
“She’s fine…just as pretty as when you knew her.”  I said softly.
The old man smiled with anticipation and asked, “Could you tell me where she is?  I want to call her tomorrow.”  He grabbed my hand and said, “You know something, mister, I was so in love with that girl that when that letter came, my life literally ended.  I never married.  I guess I’ve always loved her. 
“Mr. Goldstein,” I said, “Come with me.”
We took the elevator down to the third floor.  The hallways were darkened and only one or two little night-lights lit our way to the day room where Hannah was sitting alone watching the television.  The nurse walked over to her.  “Hannah,” she said softly, pointing to Michael, who was waiting with me in the doorway.  “Do you know this man?”
She adjusted her glasses, looked for a moment, but didn’t say a word.  Michael said softly, almost in a whisper, “Hannah, it’s Michael.  Do you remember me?”
She gasped, “Michael!  I don’t believe it!  Michael!  It’s you!  My Michael!”  He walked slowly towards her and they embraced.  The nurse and I left with tears streaming down our faces.
“See,” I said.  “See how the Good Lord works!  If it’s meant to be, it will be.”
About three weeks later I got a call at my office from the nursing home.  “Can you break away on Sunday to attend a wedding?  Michael and Hannah are going to tie the knot!”
It was a beautiful wedding with all the people at the nursing home dressed up to join in the celebration.  Hannah wore a light beige dress and looked beautiful.  Michael wore a dark blue suit and stood tall.  They made me their best man.
The hospital gave them their own room and if you ever wanted to see a 76-year-old bride and a 79-year-old groom acting like two teenagers, you had to see this couple.
A perfect ending for a love affair that had lasted nearly 60 years.
- Anonymous
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November Maunderings


(1 Nov 2012 – Before I began my Journey into the 'World of Grief', the idea of heartache, sorrow, and depression were mere words.  True, there was pain in my Life – bruised knees, skinned elbows, foot blisters, toothache; but these were just teasers for the kind of sadness that can tear one's Life apart – that can cripple one from the loss of a spouse, children, family, and friends. 
Even after over 50 years, it is hard for me to see other couples, children, family, and friends at a park, shopping, in church, or wherever.  Usually my eyes tear when I see a couple who are middle aged and even older—and I feel the pain of loss for that intimacy between spouses.  When that band of gold left the finger on my left hand, so many Dreams left too, with only the memories of what Love could have been if you'd Loved me.  That secondhand band of gold and some faded photos are all that is left. 
It is a double-edged blessing to look at photos -- tears and smiles; albeit so hard to look at them, I would not part from the photos for the world.  A photo is a prelude to a memory kept ever fresh and alive of moments lost to the past. 
The Journey through this 'World of Grief'  is a daily struggle, it robs one of energy, financial stability, sensibility, joy, happiness, health, companionship, family, hope, faith, and all that is embraced by Love, support, and more. 
Emotions come flooding and driving me to my knees in prayer and grief.  It is so hard to 'move on' to any kind of Future, when the Past is always intruding into the Present.
There are times when even a fragrance, a song, an image, or a thought bring on a flooding of emotions.  I've heard it is said that there are 'Stages to Grief' that one must pass through at their own pace to find healing and peace.  Well, that is just not true!  Sometime the 'Stages to Grief'  follow a circular pattern, and one can only follow where it leads moment by moment, for there is no 'healing' only some 'scaring' that reopen with the next tear the 'Wounds of Grief'  .
Dorothy Hazel Tarr)


[Photo source: Google online image]

The Holidays extrude a sense of joy and happiness – its tendrils reaching out to enfold.
My Life seems warmed and enriched by the gay colorful trappings and wrappings which symbolize the season.
Yet how Cold – how Empty my Life is in comparison to the facade of those surrounds.
Sweet dreams that my Life would be full of Love with a Future bright with Family – have faded.
Hope of what could have been Rears then Dies in a Heartbeat – leaving behind the ache of a solitary and yearning Heart.
Such foolish Maunderings intrude upon my thoughts during Holidays.
Folly really – to compare my Life with others.
True, it's not all it could be, but many could not wish for more from Life.
(Dorothy Hazel Tarr)


[Photo source: Google online image]

[Photo source: Google online image]


Not Just Another Haunting

[Photo Source: Google internet image]

(26 Oct 2012 –
What are some of the Ghosts that intrude into your thoughts and dreams and reality?
For some the Ghosts are Fears from our past – memories of difficult moments when Life was not within our control.
Then there are the Fears of our present – when circumstances seem more than one can endure.
Even more challenging are the Fears for our future – where any Hope is threatened for personal safety, health and independence, financial security, emotional fulfillment, and faith in God.
Our peace of mind is threatened by our Fears – as much or more than the Ghosts and Horrors in Halloween Stories.
The Demons (ghosts) that traverse (haunt) our Thoughts (corridors of our brain) begin with our birth and continue throughout our life until death's end. 
One may feel alone and vulnerable when faced with the terrors and Fears that confront our body and mind.
Especially during periods of loss and grief, our emotional and mental capacity is stretched almost beyond endurance -- Tears and Fears run rampant.
In a sense, this is a period of mental distress (mental illness, insanity), where Life may seem unfair, without hope, over whelming, and not worth the next breath.  Where the external 'Ghosts' are put to the pale by the internal Ghosts that confront us.
Some may not find their way through this period, this labyrinth, without the loving support of a 'host' of family, friends, and prayers.
Dorothy Hazel Tarr)

[Photo Source: Google internet image]
Below is Poem #670, written by my maternal Cousin Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (born 10 Dec 1830 – died 15 May 1886 at age 56).  Emily uses metaphor to examine the "mind" and likens it as the residence of our Fears.  Emily penned this poem while living in Massachusetts, during the uncertain and chaotic days following the American Civil War 1861-1865.  She was confronted with illness and emotional turmoil within her home (parents, siblings, and herself) from early life through death's end of family, friends, and herself.  Her Life was full of challenges—overwhelming in their singularity and solitudity.

[Photo Source: Google internet image]

[By Emily Elizabeth Dickinson – Poem #670]
One need not be a Chamber -- to be Haunted --
One need not be a House --
The Brain has Corridors -- surpassing
Material Place --
Far safer, of a Midnight Meeting
External Ghost
Than its interior Confronting --
That Cooler Host.
Far safer, through an Abbey gallop,
The Stones a'chase --
Than Unarmed, one's a'self encounter --
In lonesome Place --
Ourself behind ourself, concealed --
Should startle most --
Assassin hid in our Apartment
Be Horror's least.
The Body -- borrows a Revolver --
He bolts the Door --
O'erlooking a superior spectre --
Or More – 


[Photo Source: Google internet image]