An update… Life rolls onward

Mom in 2014

My brother Justin and I arrived in Colorado to whisper our goodbyes to our mom.

It turned out that she’d contracted E-coli, and while the illness raged through her intestines, it also caused kidney damage and cardiac complications. In her already weakened state, it was draining what was left of her strength.

I sat vigil in her hospital room, slept on a bench, aided the amazing nurses, and after 9 exhausting days in intensive care, my mom’s health began to improve.

In the meantime, two hours away, my dad contracted E-coli (I learned later that CNN reported the outbreak). Justin and I were on double duty, driving, caretaking, and cleaning! The old codger refused to go to the hospital, and he was strong enough that we decided not to drag him there by his ears. He remains at home and is recovering.

My mom is still terribly frail but has been moved to a rehabilitation center as a step toward going home. I remain hopeful and will be facilitating her transition home and then moving them both to senior housing near Justin and me as soon as space becomes available.

I’m home for a few days and then back to Colorado this weekend. Life has been topsy-turvy, the blog suffers from neglect, best-laid plans are in shambles, but I have no regrets for being part of my mom’s last weeks or years, whatever comes. Writing? What’s that? Haha!

Blogging will be sporadic during October as I travel back and forth, and I’ve been contemplating a few changes for the new year – all fun writerly stuff! I hope to visit everyone during this brief respite at home, but I don’t expect I’ll post frequently until things settle down. Thank you all for your kind wishes and concern. I have thought of you often over the last two weeks.

 

Go Gently into that Good Night

My dear sweet mother is nearing the end of her life, and I find myself suddenly dashing for the airport. I will be away from the blog for a few weeks.

This beautiful poem and the accompanying photos by Sue Vincent speak eloquently of the arc of life as expressed through flowers. I encourage you to read it to the end. I have closed comments here, simply because I would feel obligated to reply, and my heart is elsewhere. But trust that I know you wish me peace and comfort. Please enjoy this stunning poem.

Flowers

There were always flowers.

Orchids pinned upon a mother’s breast,

All lace and diamonds.

Long black gloves

And painted lips,

As she left, laughing.

A child who watched

As the door closed.

There were flowers…

Yellow tulips,

Cellophane and ribbon

A girl who blushed

As the curtain fell

Upon the stage;

She cradled them,

A first bouquet.

There were flowers

Roses and lilies

White, in hands and hair,

Their fragrance mingled…

 

Continue reading at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

 

 

Voodoo Child

pixabay image

Carrot Ranch has selected the winner of the Rodeo Flashfiction challenge #6. This prompt was a doozy!

Challenge #6: First we had to sign up to receive a real US Rodeo bull’s name from the snickering, evil competition designers…. I received “Voodoo Child” (oh, great).

Then:

  1. Stories are to be 107 words long in 8 sentences.
  2. Stories are to include the two words drawn as your prompt (you may change the order of the words and they do not need to be adjacent).
  3. Write a fictional story that involves facing a challenge or fear.

Voodoo Child

Cici done hate hospitals, but Miss Clara drug her there on account of her drowned daughter, wee girl fixing to die.

“Can you help her?” Miss Clara say, crying and wringing her fingers like washday linens. “Do your… voodoo?”

Cici take no offense, for Miss Clara’s hurt so raw and deep it reach between them like they share a heart. Mothers do when they lose a child. Cici know it a grief to swallow the world.

Cradling the child’s doll, Cici chant some mumbo-jumbo over it like she made of magic. She coo, longing to believe, and pass it to Miss Clara like it a newborn soul.

***

To read Kerry E.B. Black’s winning submission and other judge favorites, click here: Carrot Ranch

Sunday Blog Share: The Days of Wine and Roses

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Days of Wine and Roses

by Pamela Wight

I’m on my way to see my mom this weekend, and taking little with me except some old albums.

When I visit her in late summer, she seems so less of what she used to be. Because of dementia, she can’t remember what I told her five minutes earlier, like “your clean clothes are in the drawer” or “dinner is in 45 minutes.”

Seconds after the conversation, my once bright, quick mom asks: “where are my clean socks?” and then “isn’t it time to walk down to the dining room?”

But when I direct mom to her floral comfy couch and open up the big battered black album, the one that sat in the bottom of her hope chest for decades, her dulled eyes brighten, and she sits up straighter.

Continue Reading: The Days of Wine and Roses

My Daughter Elopes Today

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Amber, 1 hour old, 1983

My daughter, Amber, elopes today.

How do I express how much this baby/girl/woman means to me? How I have loved her every moment of her life with the whole of my heart?

I remember the moment she was born, the unconditional love that flooded me with the certainty that I would cherish this tiny person for all my days. I remember looking ahead into her future, at the winding path she would follow, how I would be unable to protect her from the travails of love, from the valleys of life, from failure and disappointment, from loss and gray hair. It made me hold her closer.

We named Amber, after the stone of healing, altruism, and wisdom. The child of my heart has found her way, carving out a life as a loving mother and partner, a caring friend, sweet daughter, and unsurprisingly to me, as a healer.

At the young age of 32, she and her partner of nine years, Shawn, are tying the knot. Celebrations to follow.

LOVE

Scan43

Ambie and me

I love you,
Not only for who you are,
But for who I am
When I am with you.

Scan14 - CopyI love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

Showtime

Showtime

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things

Mother and daughter

Mother and daughter

That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

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Ambie and the Overlord

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song…

Author Unknown

rev 2

The renewed family 12/5/2015

Mothers and Daughters

My great great great grandmother. Her mother was Indonesian and her father was a Dutch sea captain.

My great great great grandmother. Her mother was Indonesian and her father was a Dutch sea captain.

mothers allMy mother called me and told me I need to drive to Colorado (17 hrs each way) to pick up six boxes of family heirlooms and transport them back to Oregon…Now.

The timing isn’t convenient as I’m committed to weekly babysitting for the Overlord so his mother can work, and I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo for the first time ever. I shall write on the plane…yes, I’m traveling by plane and engaging the services of USPS for the boxes.

My mom grew up in Indonesia where my grandfather worked for the Dutch government. Our family goes back quite a few generations in that part of the world, and we are proud of the sliver of Indonesian heritage that flows through our veins.

My mother still identifies as Indonesian, an assertion that earns her an odd look from time to time. During WWII, my grandfather was interred in a Japanese POW camp. My grandmother and her children escaped that fate – because of those droplets of Indonesian blood.

When I was a girl, my grandmother told me stories of those years, of supporting her children by painting portraits of Japanese officers, of lobbing chickens over the camp wall.  My grandfather, a large man, weighed 95 lbs at the end of the war.

My mother has a few Indonesian plates and vases, batiked linens, wood carvings, and other unusual pieces that I have mused over since I was a little girl and first allowed to touch them. I like old things that are infused with history. I think about the artists who made them, my ancestors who cared for them. Some pieces go back over two hundred years to my great great grandparents. They’re part of our family heritage and as the family grows, these heirlooms will be dispersed to an ever-widening circle of descendants.

Sometime in the next year or so my parents will be relocating to Oregon to live closer to me. My mom has entered a packing frenzy and has begun giving items away in an effort to lighten the load. I asked her not to part with the family history. She doesn’t understand what I mean. She wants me there to explain and so I will go.