Getting Things Under Control

Whenever I feel lost, I grab my calendar. I look ahead at the days and weeks ahead and I fill the empty spaces to fill with things I feel I need to do to find my way home again: write, organize, call people, make appointments, complete a craft project, clean, exercise, create a new eating plan. The exercise always helps me to feel for a while that things are under control. When I am done, I can see it there all on paper – my organized life. It gives me hope. It makes me feel like all will be well.

But I wonder – on the day I die, will a family member pick up my plan of attack and see that I have 3 birthday cards to mail…and mail them? That I had intended to call two friends…and call them? That I was in the middle of organizing the utility cabinet in the laundry room…and go there to finish the job? Will that family member appreciate the fact that I at least had the good intention to weed the garden and to make soup out of the steak bones in the freezer? If they see that last dish towel I’d started? Will they complete it or pass it on as is? Will he or she read the last entry in my journal to see how I was feeling that day that my heart stopped? What was on my mind before the light went out? What nugget of wisdom might there be that could be shared at my funeral service?

As I attempt to get my life under control, I have to remember that control is just an illusion. My life will never really be so. There will be loose ends dangling when I leave just as there were for my mother and her mother before her. In my basement there is a box with an antique doll, some lace and satin and blue ribbon and a pattern for a new dress – a project Bernie’s mother had intended to complete before she died. It is a clear meminder that all we have that is sure are our good intentions and the gift of whatever thing we last did.

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