A Little Patch of Blue Will Do

It’s been raining for a solid month. How do I know? Because the day my dad went to hospice–poured buckets. It rained until the day he died. Then it rained some more but we had a beautiful blue sky day for the funeral. Then it rained some more and then October was over but it is STILL RAINING. Here’s a haiku I wrote about the weather:

Rain rain more damn rain

Yep still raining rain rain rain

Rain rain rain rain fuck

(That is COPYRIGHTED, y’all, so don’t try to sell it to Hallmark.)

Even on a good day, I’ve already got a wagonful of depression to drag around. Add to that a layer of grief, a layer of rain, a layer of daylight saving time and a snotty cold and it has made for a really bleak week. Oh, then my doctor pointed out to me that I weight 20 pounds more than I did when Carlos was born. Cherry on top.

The grayness is eating into my brain. But right around lunchtime today, a weird soft glow came through my office window. I looked up to see a patch of blue hanging over the soggy trees!


I made a RUN for it. I walked the longest way possible down the stairs, across an extra parking lot, around the E.D., past the puddle-covered helipad, up stairs and down. I crossed the street so I could walk without the old oaks dripping on my head. People I passed on the sidewalk looked like little squinty moles rising up into the light.

Then up ahead, another patch of blue:


The line snaked out the door but the wait is always worth it for Marti’s at Midday. When I ordered a half Paige (tuna melt) with a half/half mint tea, Marti winked and said, “This one’s on me.” I’ve learned to just say thank you when she does that and put what I was going to spend on lunch in the tip bucket. A few minutes later, she handed me my lunch, blew a kiss and said, “Love you.” Her blue eyes twinkled with loving kindness.

The rain began to plinky-plunk again. I really wanted to sit outside and enjoy the patch of blue sky while it lasted. Then I remembered that there are a few tables on our cafeteria patio that are covered. Victory! I claimed one for myself and pulled a book out of my purse:


Check out that little patch of blue, huh? (It’s about two inches above Justin Theroux, for those of you having trouble focusing.) If you are watching “The Leftovers” on HBO, the book is well worth the read. I watched some of the first season and one recent episode from the second season. Lots of differences in the novel, so it’s interesting to compare how one had to be turned into the other. And Justin Theroux. There’s that.

So I was feeling pretty good, out of the rain, enjoying the last 30 pages of a book, my favorite lunch on the side. I choked up over one scene (No spoilers!) featuring Jill, the teenage daughter who has lost so much in the story. She stood up a person whom she was supposed to meet in favor of hanging out with a cute boy:

She felt a little guilty…but not guilty enough to do anything about it. She could apologize tomorrow, she thought, or maybe the day after.

I ran into some friends, she could write.

Or: There’s this cute boy, and I think he likes me.

Or even: I forgot what it feels like to be happy.

Yep. Sometimes I forget what it feels like to be happy. Today was a nice reminder.

As I got up to leave the patio, I saw one more patch of blue out of the corner of my eye. There sat my friend, Pat, also taking advantage of the shelter of the overhang so she could eat her lunch in the fresh air. Her back was to me and I thought about leaving her to her private time–she’s a nurse who doesn’t get a lot of down moments during the day. Just yesterday, she gave me a hug in the cafeteria. I wanted another one. She was another patch of blue on my trail.


Look at that smile! Pat is one of those people who has been encouraging me for years. Whether it was through grief or motherhood or boring days or thilling ones, Pat never fails to tell me that everything will be OK and I will be too. We talked for a few minutes and she told me how much she enjoys reading these stories on Baddest Mother Ever. I got my hug and another one to spare. Thank you, Pat.

That lunchtime adventure really turned my mood around. I followed the “blue clues” and found myself a little happiness. This afternoon? It poured. As my dad always says–said–“It’s raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock.” I can’t change that. Any of that.

And that’s OK. I just have to find enough happiness to keep going. During those times in life when it’s raining and it’s been raining and it’s going to rain for another week, a little patch of blue will do.

8 thoughts on “A Little Patch of Blue Will Do

  1. Lisa in Athens

    I took Leroy for a walk after I finished working out, looked up and spotted a star. Made a wish. Had I read this first, the wish would have been for you.

  2. Brandy H

    Ashley, Pat is so right! Everything will be OK. It takes time. It will never be the same but just keep on going through the motions & you will come through it ALL when you are READY! You are amazing & thank you for writing this blog!

  3. Kristi Wimmer

    I love those little patches too!! Really enjoy your writing. Makes me laugh and cry, all emotions!! Thinking of you! Praying for more blue patches!!

  4. Gay Garrett

    Remember the coconut cake…A million kids out there never had their Daddy make their birthday cake. Remember the joy. We had it.


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