Processing 16 Years

Over coffee on Saturday morning, a friend asked me, “How are you processing?” She was asking about moving forward from my mother’s passing in February. A number of friends have asked this question in various formats, with concern in how I’m handling a new chapter of life. It’s a question that’s contemplative in response, at times difficult and at times easy to put into words, but I will try to answer. This is more than about mom, it’s a journeyRead more

Her Hands

  “God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.” ~Billy Graham~ Long, slender fingers Touched by the passing of ninety-eight years And the slight wrinkle of a Shar-Pei Daughter squeezes memories of her childhood Of wars, depressions and political elections Of marriage, babies and Catholic faith A fleshy grip that once held adult refreshment Now holds a warming cup of thickened brown The digits shake dinner’s fork and spoon And point toRead more

My People

“Take me back to my people.” That was the directive mom gave me on Christmas Eve, when my brother, the girlfriend and I decided it was time to leave. Mom usually sits in the main living room between meals, among the other residents. On December 24th, we had taken mom in her wheel chair to the front living room of the assisted living facility, where it was just the four of us and we could have a quiet, personal conversation.Read more

One-Liner Wednesday: Steak

I went to visit mom this past Monday afternoon, on my birthday. Even though mom has been calling me by her sister’s name of late, I felt the need to share this day with her – to bring mom a piece of cheesecake and have one of our “usual” conversations. I had no expectations that September 26th would be of any significance in her mind or that she would remember my actual name. It didn’t matter. If mom would haveRead more

She Wants to Go Home

I tell mom she’s 96 years old, but age is not registering in her mind. “I can’t be that old!” “Yes, mom,” I say to her gently, “You are 96.” She shakes her head in disbelief and responds with, “No, I’m not!” I ask mom how old she believes she is and the response, “In my seventies.” An aide attempts to confirm her age, but mom resists, and I eventually have to change the subject. This is how the conversations haveRead more

Smiling Mom

Mom can be as grumpy as an alley cat and mad as a wet hen, because the food at assisted living still “SUCKS!” But when I ask her to smile for the camera, she does. This day, mom was a bit mad when I visited. The caregivers wouldn’t give her ice cream after lunch. She complained that lunch, the food, was awful. So, being the good spy daughter, I went to the kitchen area to investigate. When I asked caregiver “Sara” aboutRead more

Snapshot: I Don’t Want to Grow Up

Discover Challenge: Get inspired by Andrea Jarrell’s post “A Roar for the Ages,” and tell a broad story using a series of short, focused scenes. The Shower I remember the day clearly, walking home from eighth grade with a girlfriend. We were standing in the middle of the sidewalk, next to an apple tree, near where a former house had been replaced by a gas station. Vehicles buzzed past, maneuvering a curve, then disappearing. We were on the verge of ninth grade, highRead more

Margaret

I want to be Margaret…when I am 101 years on this planet. Margaret is a newcomer to the assisted living facility where mom lives. The aides were giving her a tour of the building when I brought mom back from lunch this past Saturday. While mom and another aide proceeded into her room, I was introduced to the smiling little munchkin. “Tell her how old you are!” prompted aide Heather. Margaret smiled coyingly while Heather blurted out, “She’s 101!” “Wow, that’sRead more