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the heart bursts

7.30 a.m., another hot day dawning; I’m on the deck, swimming in scent and colour: roses, honeysuckle, jasmine, lavender, basil, mint. I’m watching three baby raccoons climbing home to sleep high in my neighbour’s giant tree, sparrows crowding the feeder, landing to sip water from the pots on the deck rail. The William Morris roses, though wounded, survived the umbrella attack; the entwined purple Jackmanii clematis has just bloomed to keep it company. So much is ready to bloom. 

Upstairs, in one of the greatest gifts of all, my dear ex-husband is asleep. He’s here for the first time in three years to visit us; on Thursday he flies to Winnipeg to deliver the eulogy for his brother Dave, who died of a heart attack a few months ago. Ed arrived Monday, and we had a big family dinner here, utter chaos with three puppies bouncing about, one with four legs and two with two. Ben and Eli got out the wooden play food to play waiter, Ben handing us a written list of choices.


1. supe

2. pezzi

3. tost, egg, huney, chees

4. egg, scrambi, sunny up 


Last night Ed and I watched Jon Stewart win the Mark Twain award, another man, like Macca, whom I’ve never met and love deeply, a man who combines marvellous humour with gravitas, integrity, thoughtfulness. Those paying tribute, a stellar, hilarious assembly including Stephen Colbert, lauded his kindness. Few famous, successful men are well-known for their kindness. As we always did, Ed and I laughed in the same way at the same things. We’ve been divorced for over thirty years. 


This afternoon he and Sam are taking the boys either to the C.N. Tower or to the Aquarium, and tonight we’re all meeting at one of Sam and Anna’s favourite Parkdale restaurants for dinner. 

Getting old is in many ways not fun; the wrinkles and splotches and aches, for some the terrible afflictions of disease and disability. The knowledge that the days are limited, closing down. But nothing, nothing is better than the sense I’m flooded with right now of having climbed from many days of fear, confusion, and sometimes despair, to this place of utter gratefulness: the smell of roses, the long green stretch of healthy garden, one of the loves of my life about to come downstairs and I will make him a cup of coffee. 



5 Responses to “the heart bursts”

  1. beth says:

    Thank you, dear friend.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Beth, I just finished Loose Woman (absolutely loved it) and now to read this post, well, it just made me smile. All our past loves hold places in our hearts, at least they do in mine…

  3. beth says:

    Dear Anonymous, I don't know who you are, but I like you! Thank you for your kind comments.

  4. Trevor says:

    Love that last sentence Beth – brought a lump to my throat (in a good way)

  5. beth says:

    I'm glad it was in a good way, Trevor.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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