Friday, June 29, 2012

F O C u s

If a situation requires undivided attention, it will occur simultaneously with a compelling distraction.  

Hutchinson’s Law 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A mother's bountiful harvest

Learn your theories well but put them aside when you confront the mystery of the living soul.

Carl G. Jung

Four generations experience the miraculous:
 Marianne, 82; Jeffrey, 62; Eliza, 30; Vivian, 10 weeks.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Painting day at 10356 Windstream Dr

George & Marianne's daughters
in front of Marianne's home of 41 years.
A prayer of thanksgiving:

Gracious God,
Thank you for the faith that courses through me, courses through me, courses through me.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fare-thee-well dear mother

We sang, we kissed, we gently rubbed noses and we held hands, and she offered spontaneous smiles of sweet contentment.  And then I said goodbye.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sisters from a common mother

The easy familiarity of being with my sisters is akin
to donning that favorite garment: it fits like a
damn glove and settles in against the body like
a second skin.

As we say around these parts, "I love myself some sisters!"

Geo with maple seed whir-li-gig on her nose:
a Derick girl trick if there ever was one!
Across the miles, a mutual love of swimming
and, miracle of miracles,
matching bathing caps!

Beautiful Melinda, in a rare moment of seated repose.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sisterhood of the traveling scarf

I've viewed this photo of Mom many times; in fact I probably shot the damn thing.  How did I miss the scarf-- yes, the very same scarf I found  in April buried beneath a mountain of sashes and scarves in her drawer?  

All these years when I've re-visited this classic photograph snapped in the hotel room of the infamous Henlopen Hotel in Rehoboth Beach, I've seen the same things: her sunkissed skin and relaxed demeanor; the eye-catching ad for Eight Legged Freaks;
the trademark fuzzy blanket common
to hotels, and the old-school walkman
and matching headset delivering tunes.
The scarf? Never registered it.

So she kept it and wore it; good for her!  I'm tucking the little gem into my suitcase today.  Hey, maybe I'll wear it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dapper fella from Watsontown, PA

Quite willing to take requests while seated at the piano, Grandpa Sheffer was never more than a step away from a cuppa coffee and a Marlboro.  We've got more questions than answers about this man, and I'll admit that one of mine concerns his colorful ensembles, and I don't mean choral.  Did Grandma do his shopping?  I must remember to ask my mother when I see her next week.  Perhaps the photo will jog her memory sufficiently.  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Mom and Dad" (with no disrespect to our four step-parents)

Sitting with his thoughts,
 my father takes some quiet time at his
 80th birthday celebration,
Thinking of my mother; remembering my father.  It is not often my siblings and I find ourselves using "Mom and Dad" in the same sentence; a common outcome of being a child of divorce.  But today on the heels of worship, I find those words come together quite naturally, and so I claim them here: Mom and Dad.  

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Yesterday, today, tomorrow

2004- Mutual love and adoration: sun-kissed in Maui.

2008- Three generations; one unstinting love.

2010- Simple pleasures: a glass of water, a deck of cards, and a willing parter.

April 2012- A visit to Wilde Lake: Mimi's long-time destination of joy and solace and her desired final resting place.

June 9, 2012- In the embrace of her much loved neighbor, Ranjan Jayanthan.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

That place

Someone who knows that my mother is receiving hospice care recently asked me, "Is your mother dying from Alzheimer's?" Though she doesn't know my mother or much about my mother's storied life, I understood her question.  "She is losing weight and has trouble with swallowing.  She sometimes seems unable to manage the steps involved in eating," I replied, and we talked further about what Mom can still do, despite the steady march of her disease.

What I wonder about is that thin line where living meets dying.  Once I knew a woman who was a mighty warrior.  Soon after an ovarian cancer diagnosis, she walked with head held high straight into the morass of treatment, and, almost concurrently, took intentional steps to ensure that 'the stuff of daily living' got attention.  This eventually included the planning for the passing of the baton to those she selected to carry on her mission.  She was blessed with intelligence, perseverance and a clear mind.  And when she was ready, she told us this: "Now I am ready to embrace the dying process."  Let me be clear: she was not throwing in the towel.  The towel had nothing to do with it.  She was done with the logistics of her life among us and was now ready to mindfully do the work of dying.  She told us what she wanted done with her body when it no longer would hold the breath of life.  Those who knew her well drew inspiration from her unwavering warrior spirit.

We call cessation of life many things: death, dying, passing on, passing over, crossing over, expired, transitioning. I understand that the line that separates living from dying is often without form, and I acknowledge that it encompasses more than the miraculous membranes that line our respiratory and circulatory systems.  I understand much of the mechanics and a tad of the miraculous.  But I have no idea how to qualify, define or describe that nether world between here and there.    And I hold fast to the wonder of that sparkling edge.