November 2010
just LOVE

Sometimes there is beauty and tragedy all at once. Maybe always. Watch your back!! My niece was born just a couple hours after my father suddenly died. These are strange days.


One of my very nearest and dearest is eloping with her beloved, right at the time there is heartbreak in her family.


And all we can do is hang on to the trapeze until we make the catch, or finally let go and let the net do its job.


I will admit in the last few weeks I have not accomplished much. Perhaps my heart has opened in new ways. Been crushed in others.


But I did manage to do a little knitting.


For the bittersweet occasion of a beloved's union?


something old

(Grandma Amelia's crocheted table centerpiece...)


something new:

(cozy shrug for the cold winter to come.)


something borrowed:

(my rock and roll wonder-woman bracelet, keeps away stupid people and sadness)


and something blue:

(the blue ribbon for the most loving, compassionate, generous, creative, beautiful soul in the world, and her one true love.)


love is all there is.

one foot in front of

She says my grandmother used to say "keep on keeping on." But that sounds funny to me. It absolutely suits my mother's indomitable spirit.


Mom is slowly reorienting toward home. "Georgie"

and "Francais"


are her constant companions. Although i think she finally feels safe, my heart shattered a little bit more the other night. I checked on her sleeping, and she was curled up with her tattered red cloth purse. Inside? "Francais," her hymnal, lots of tissues, tic tacs (she calls them q-tips now) her glasses, and extra underpants. I think she was afraid she might still not be home or that we'd take her somewhere else and she'd get lost. In case 'home' was just a dream,  she had her purse ready.


I was reading her hymns today. She had underlined in one that starts "Holy Father, Thou hast taught us..." the line that comes in the second stanza:


"Keep us from our own undoing."

the long and the short of it

My mother had a total knee replacement surgery last Monday morning.

(The journal I am keeping, the antique plumb line my father gave me. My little reminder to keep singing.)


The knee? perfect. you've never seen such a beautiful scar, 33 perfect staples, just like you took a gun from home depot and went right up her leg. The doctor's skills? Impeccable. Gold medal. Bedside manner, empathy? negative 100.


Her poor little psyche, her confused and terrified soul? Luckily she doesn't remember some of the more harrowing passages, but I will never ever forget them.


I think no matter how many times I mentioned dementia, anxiety, hard of hearing, to every single person in the chain of her care, I was ignored, so no one ever ever addressed her in a way she could understand. No time for that. No one tried for a moment to put themselves in her shoes, or in her mind. Ok, maybe an empathetic PT worker named Melissa, and two nurses named Jennifer, I give them some credit.....but the rest?


And all along the way, I have seen close up what is happening to those who DON'T have family advocating for them at every turn, asking questions, demanding relief. This week was torture for my mother, and we were with her around the clock. Imagine the absolute hell of trying to muscle through alone.


I'm not trying to be political. Now it's personal. She is home finally, and slowly coming in to some semblance of her former self. I don't think I will ever be the same.