A Life and a House to Rebuild
In mid March 2006, our normally below-the-snowline valley had been visited by a rare and un-seasonal storm. And although awesomely beautiful it was equally devastating.
Seventeen trees had been brought down by the weight of snow on early leaves and weakened limbs, blocking the only road in. Numerous other trees had toppled within our acreage. The most consequential had been an immense oak with roots extending beneath the front portion of one of the two houses serving family and guests. Standing at the kitchen window in the lower house I had watched, as in slow motion, the mighty oak had fallen forward and downward, and in so doing lifted the foundation and the entire front section of the upper house, pulling it away from the rest of the house and leaving it suspended in mid air.
Some days later Bob would tell me that when the oak went down he knew it signaled his own impending departure. I think we all did.
Bob’s Surprise Visit
For several years I had been putting off knee surgery, waiting for a more convenient time. Once Bobâ€™s memorial service was over, I knew what I needed to do and asked Anna to take me home with her for knee surgery. A nurse and well-connected to the medical community where she lived, I knew this was the ideal and best possible choice for the new beginning of my life. Each of the children had tirelessly been on hand to help since the onset of Bobâ€™s health crises the previous July. Similarly, each would now under gird my physical healing and lend their emotional support as I met the challenges ahead. I knew surgery and recovery would be painful, but necessary if I wanted to regain mobility and step back into an active life. I also reasoned that the physical pain would help me bear and even offset some of the emotional pain. I understood, or perhaps intuited, this as having something to do with a transfer or a sacrifice of energy on one level for that of another. And so, a few days later I headed with Anna for what would be my home away from home for the coming year, culminating with our trip to Scotland.
Arrangement for my surgery fell into place in a remarkable way and on April 7th, my 77th birthday I found myself in a hospital bed behind a partially drawn curtain in the surgery staging area. Of a sudden and taking me totally by surprise, Bob was there; his presence palpable and unmistakable. I expressed or thought appreciation for the effort I assumed it would have taken for him to be so tangibly present. To this he telepathically replied that of course he would be with me. Not only for my surgery, but wasnâ€™t it also my birthday? I was overwhelmed with gratitude at his presence, and I felt deeply at peace and confident all would be well. Again, in the operating room and just before going under the anesthetic, he was again there and just as palpable as before. With this I lost consciousness, but the memory sustained me throughout my stay in the hospital and the coming weeks.
Back at Murray Creek
In the meantime, back at Murray Creek a friend in need of a place to live moved into the lower house â€œto hold the space and honor the vision of the sacredness of the place.â€ While three hundred miles away, with Anna and her husband Jim, a building contractor, plans began to take shape for using the storm-damage insurance to rebuild the front portion of the upper house. Before Bobâ€™s transition I could not have imagined my life at Murray Creek without him. But now I began to embrace an image of myself living out the remaining years of my life in this house on a hill overlooking creek and valley. And in my journal dialogues with Bob he insisted this was where I needed to be for what lie ahead.
Jim, with lots of help from sons, grandsons, and even neighbors, began the project of rebuilding the broken house. Moreover, with the demise of the great oak, a magnificent view of the valley and mountains opened up.