2020-08-24 Whiskers & Dominoes


Because of SCU Lightning Complex fires our area was under Red Flag warning for possible evacuation. As I was gathering the important things and first aid items, I went into Rick’s side of the vanity drawers. Along with razor, travel shaving foam in the bottom of the white plastic organizer I found accumulation of black whiskers. It has been 6 months since I saw those black whiskers! Oh, how many times over the past 19+ years were those whiskers ringing the basin to spite me (and I wanted to ring Rick’s neck for not rinsing them down the drain).  And now, seeing them I realize that I will never again see them in our bathroom sink. Wham! I felt a gut-punch, my heart sank, and I sank to the floor. No more meaningful talks while Rick shaved and I watched while meeting his gaze in his reflection.

I will miss Rick’s goofy “I love you so much, let me give you a kiss” with his freshly lathered face. And the all the times he looked admiringly at himself in the mirror for comic relief.

I have kept a few cans of his shaving gel. Every now and then I put a little pile of foam in my hand, close my eyes and inhale deeply. For a split second, standing at our vanity, so much of Rick comes back to me.


Why am I so anxious with these lightning fires of 2020? I figured it out while disrupting my day to stage items for evacuation:  Right now, it is all out of my control! And I suddenly realize when Rick and I were in the last weeks of having Rick still on this earthly plane, so much of life was beyond my control. It felt like watching a domino wobble and fall, and then the next, the next, and you cannot outrun the next one to fall.

And these lightning fires are out of my control. In our many travels through magnificent forests and stunning vistas Rick would inevitably turn to me and say “Wouldn’t you love to have a home here? Maybe a vacation home?” And I would agree that the setting was beautiful but would tell him “I could never buy real estate-a home, even a vacation home in a wooded area. I have a healthy fear of wildfires.” I had no problem vacationing in such a place, but the idea of owning a dream home that could burn to the ground while we were gone for a few hours just had no appeal to me. I would always want to live where the infrastructure was in place to lessen/irradicate the risk of wildfire.

So today is hard day. Because when things are out of control, due to cancer or due to red flag evacuation warnings in my safe little suburban concrete neighborhood, I see wobbling dominoes, giant ones.

Once I finally processed through my anxiety about the red flag warning and could name what was so unsettling, I felt better. I now have a large new tote that is the new storage place for many irreplaceable papers, pictures, and artifacts, so if I did have to evacuate it would be less of a mad scramble. And once again in this bizarre year of 2020 I am relieved that Rick is not having to endure the smoke, threat of evacuation and hearing of the destruction of so many local trails and vistas he loved to visit. I cannot imagine trying to change out the oxygen tanks and having Rick at risk of this toxic air to evacuate while battling cancer. So, I choose to look forward and be thankful for the dominoes that are not in my path!

Published by terriamma

I'm a Northern California native and have made over 60 trips around the sun. I work hard, play harder (and younger) and believe life is best lived with passion!

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