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

SoCS: This Door

This door I walk through every week It is her petite figure I seek Sleeping in a brown broda chair Wrinkly forehead under gray hair I say, “Hello, mom, how are you?” She says, “Who are you?” I tell her my name is Mary but she seems a bit wary It goes back and forth most days This unknowing haze Am I sister or daughter? Is it March or October? This door leads to Pauline The Energizer Bunny machine StillRead more

Mom, at 98

Today, August 6th, is my mother’s birthday. She turned a whopping 98. I don’t know how she does it. I call her the Face of Resilience, the Energizer Bunny, The Little Engine that Could. She keeps going and going and going and going. Then again, she was more interested in sleeping than talking with her daughter on this momentous occasion. I could only wake her with the allure of food and the cheesecake I brought as a birthday treat. InRead more

Mom at Easter

April 16, 2017 Beautiful Smiling Mom at 97 Another holiday to celebrate This a Sunday, mother/daughter date Adorable Diminutive Mom at dinner Waiting for today’s special meal Asking, “Is there coffee for me?” Quiet Demure Mom at Easter Her hands long and slender Her fingers painted purple and silver Joyful Grateful To have mom at 97 I hold her hand firmly tight She smiles, I smile, the day blessedly brightRead more

Imperfect Relationship

“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”   ~Donald Miller~ Mom likes me. Her mind has accepted me as her sister or her friend or the nice lady that comes to visit and holds her hand. When I was younger, prior to the care of mom and dad as they lost their independence, mom had a critical side. She always felt the need to tell others what was wrong, rather than whatRead 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

Home

“I want to go home. Can you take me there?” She wants to see her mom and dad. “Not today,” the daughter replies. So she sits in a blue cloud of sad. “No one here will take me home.” Her expectations always dashed. “Maybe next week,” the daughter consoles. But next week is never cashed. “I need to go home soon.” “I don’t remember pa’s face.” “Me neither,” the daughter fibs. She has forgotten he left the living race. “WhatRead 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

Origins: Reconnecting

That laugh! As I listened to it echo through the phone, the 22 years of a lost connection melted away. I instantly remembered a sound that I had long forgotten – it was the laughter of friendship. Later, as this friend and I met and hugged and reminisced at a local Starbucks, the fond memories of years past came flooding back…awash with shared meals and adult refreshment, a trip to Canada, card games, watching her children grow, and pondering whyRead more

It Doesn’t Work That Way

Mom and I had a wonderful visit on Saturday. Given mom is minus a hearing aid at the moment, we were able to converse fairly well. I had to spell a couple of words for her, but that will occur even with two hearing aids. Our conversation drifted from parents to siblings, to her own mother’s cooking, to how the food at the home sucks, to her children, to “why doesn’t your brother get married?” These are many of theRead more

Let it Be

Mom speaks words of wisdom and she doesn’t know it. It’s wisdom for her daughter. To let it be. I’ve been reticent to write about mom for several weeks. Her dementia has been in a darker place of late, filled with anxiety and worry and sadness. It was only this past Thursday, when I paid a special visit to the woman who still clutches the ratty black sweater, that she seemed in a better place. Mom appeared more alert thanRead more