Saturday, May 30, 2015

Hands

I have my father's hands.

And yet, as my mind allows my gaze to shift downward, it is your hands I see.  I wear your rings now.  The same rings you always wore, the ones you were concerned about shortly after your voice returned, following the removal of the life-supporting ventilator which sustained you for days.  They had been removed and placed in a sterile specimen container for safe keeping.  

I wear them now and remove them only when absolutely necessary; my hands become your hands. My touch becomes your touch.

I remember your hands well.  Not as well as your hair, but close.  

The memories:  When you picked me up from daycare (how I hated day care), I remember the touch and feel of your leather gloved hand in mine.  Finally time to go home.  I remember the feel of your fingers, massaging my scalp at the sink when you washed me hair before cutting it, and the cutting, the easy, natural way you combed and separated each section before the swift shearing of the ends, watching them drop, some upon your hand, my shoulder, the floor.  'Look at all that hair!' you'd exclaimed every time. 
I remember them slicing and peeling vegetables for dinner, how you never used a peeler, but instead, carefully slid the blade of the knife along the edge of a potato or cucumber.  'That's the way grandpa does it, and that's how I do it.'
One of my favorite memories of your affection comes from evening time, when you'd position yourself slightly sideways on the couch, reading a book while dad sat in his chair watching TV (or sleeping, as was usually the case).  Even as I grew older and rebellious, I'd find comfort in laying my head upon your lap and feeling your fingertips softly stroke my hair.  I don't recall ever feeling so comfortable as I did then.  When I was sick, you'd get me orange juice.  In the night, if I'd been coughing awhile, you'd show up (what time was it?) with a tablespoon of cough syrup and it always worked.  

When I returned to work at school after your funeral, the student I worked side by side with every day (who had missed me tremendously but found himself very sympathetic about my loss of you), asked me about the black onyx.  I told him it was yours and that it was your 8th grade graduation present.  He seemed amazed by that, telling me it was so old.  We smiled over that, and then, he looked closer, touched its shiny black surface and asked, 'Is your mom's soul in there?'

Not exactly, inquisitive one, but pretty darn close.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Place

It's been three years, three months and eleven days since you left.  Since I've seen your face, heard your voice, and felt your warmth.  It can feel like forever, and in an instant, as if you've never really left at all.  Perhaps you're on a journey.  I like to think it is a beautiful one.

It chills me not to know.  Having little faith in anything in particular and feeling guilty for having left the church so many years ago, when for so long i had fully believed in what is now a complete mystery to me.  There are a million places, and just as many 'gods', to consider... There is also - in my mind - the very dreadful concept, that there is little, if anything, at all.

I could go out of my mind trying to figure it out, wishing I could, or pushing the very thought as far out of my head as possible.  I know there's a middle ground somewhere.  A place of peace and acceptance in and of the unknown - and the known.  Where I can linger long enough to feel safe within and to simply be.  To not only exist without your physical presence, but to live fully, feel deeply and love wholly.  Knowing that no matter how I miss you, long for your comforting, and need for your unconditional place by my side, you never truly left at all.







Saturday, December 10, 2011

The whippoorwill has called and you are home now. I know it will take some time, but nothing feels right without you here. Today we said our final goodbyes - dad, the girls and I took time, both together and alone, to say a few words, shed a few tears and share a few, small tokens of love with you. I still feel at a loss, almost empty, and yet so full, from all the love you've shown and all the memories we've shared. It'll be a week before we share those goodbyes with family and friends, and what a long week it will be.... While I'm thankful for the time to prepare and make everything perfect (as can be) for you, and family can make arrangements to be here a week from today, I wish Saturday (and moving on) was just a little closer.

I still just can't believe you're really gone. That I will never again see your smiling face, hear your laughter or even just the simple words only a mother can say. That I will never feel your touch or get to hug and kiss you hello and goodbye again. That I will never taste all the yummy meals you took so much time to prepare and master. I can't believe the thought of your raisin sauce with our Christmas ham brought me to tears. Sometimes the simplest things invade my thoughts and either bring a smile to my lips or tears to my eyes.

I remember all the times we shared, just the two of us, alone on the porch sharing our innermost thoughts and dreams. So many countless memories... So many things you taught me and situations you helped me through, by just being you: so supportive and understanding. I loved how I could do no wrong in your eyes.

I tried being out today. The girls and I went to Walmart to have prints made of photos we have of you on the computer. I knew it wouldn't be easy, that's why I wanted them with me. But God, I hated being out, with all those people shopping for Christmas and looking around, hoping I wouldn't see anyone I knew. I felt something short of panic set in and I knew I had to leave. I know as the days and weeks and months go by, doing that will become easier.

We're meeting with a minister tomorrow that we've never met, but comes highly recommended. I hope you'll like him and that he says the right things. We're trying to honor your wishes, while still having our own needs met as well. I'll continue to pray that your smile from above will be wide and that you and nana and anyone else you happen to run into up there are at peace with all that's happening down here. We'll keep doing the best we can.

I love you, mom. Rest in peace.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I suppose I should explain why I've begun this new journal, although an explanation hardly seems necessary. I expect it will not be read often, if at all, by anyone other than myself. So, from this moment on, I shall simply share - be it emotions, events, memories, etc..

My mom, Ginny, is living with and dying of cirrhosis of the liver. As we, her family, struggle to help her live as full a life as possible in whatever time she has remaining, I'm finding the need to record all this in some way. Not only this, but also, the time we had before now. Before alcohol stole her will and enjoyment of life. Before struggles and inner demons drove her to find ways to escape at the bottom of a bottle. Because those are the times I treasure. That was the mother I knew ~ and still now know, even as her body fails her and her mind sheds it's ability to understand.


THERE DWELLS inside you, deep within, a tiny whippoorwill.
Listen. You will hear him sing.
His aria mourns the dusk. His solo signals the dawn.
It is the song of the whippoorwill.
He will not be silent until the sun is seen.