Tag Archives: Mom

going up the hill to the house, we

 

going up the hill to the house, we
saw flowers that she loved, and picked them
black eyed susans, sweet williams, daisies, columbine.
we gripped them in our plump warm hands.
by the time we made it, panting,
having stopped for toads and all the small things,
we presented them to her half-wilted.
“ragweed gives me allergies” she would say, plucking one of them out.
the rest would go in a vase of honor on the kitchen table
a small token of each others’ love.

going down the hill to the creek, we
see flowers that she loved, and pluck them
dandelions, sweet williams, violets, asters.
at the bottom trickles clear water
over mossy gray rocks
and we tip her ashes in.
they are white
like her hair
pure white
like her devotion
white like the sugar in her blood
white
like the angels she adored.
they swirl the water opaque
atop it we scatter the flowers
a painter’s palette of Missouri colors
blackberry, butter yellow, sap green, slate.

the sandy ashes sink.
it takes a full hour for them to wisp away
grain by grain into the gentle landscape.
we’re used to waiting for her.
no matter how we tried to rush,
she always did move slowly,
tasting her fine wine time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Journal – past fears, future fears

 

Reading about Huntington’s
Brings back memories of caregiving
The stress, the pain, the joy, the pain, the guilt
The pain, the pain
My heart aches, it’s full of love for her
But I’ve got nowhere to put it.
She knew what she meant to us.
We told her we loved her.
Remember her calling “I love you” to our backs as we left
When she finally managed to get her tongue around the words
Was it three years ago that we lost her?
Is that all?
Is that a lot?
The wound has reopened
And it feels like she’s still in the nursing home
I’m once again feeling that terrible weight
“I have to visit her, it’s been a while.”
Seeing her crumpled up
Like an empty can.

Sitting in my car
The car she gave me
The car she loved so much
She would still ask after that car
Say things like, I’m glad you have it now.
I would sit in the cab
In the nursing home parking lot
Stare at my young hands
Resting on the wheel, just where hers did
Wonder whose hands they were
Building courage, every time
To go see her
For her sake, to go see her
Because of what she did for me
Because she gave me so much joy
Because we laughed together in that car
Getting pizza, renting movies
She drove me to college in that car for a year
We gave rides to a pathetic classmate of mine
Mom scolded me for not talking nice about her behind her back
Although we were both exhausted by her unending need.
I would sit in that car
Alone now
Behind the wheel now
Despair gnawing on my brain
Dread gnawing on my gut
Knowing I would have to face her again
Face her dying again
Face her confused tears again
Watch her cough and choke again
Her hands clenched into cold blue granite
Argue away her demands for ice cream, diet coke, diet coke, one more diet coke
They said only two cokes mom… okay I’ll sneak you one more
In my childhood I said yes ma’am
I obeyed without question
It was my joy to obey
She accepted me well; I never rebelled against her
Until she was dying
Then
I finally learned to tell her no
I’d spend an hour
Either fielding her demands
Or talking her down from a mental precipice
On good days, I just got to listen
As she rambled through her own fanciful mind
Picking gems here and there for me to examine
Her imagination truly unfettered.
Every day hurt.

I’m going to have to go through it all
All of it
Again.
The spiral is coming back around
And points this way.
It’s still far off
Barely visible on the horizon.

Well
I’ve done things I’m afraid of before.
I’ve gone to the dentist
I went and went until I wasn’t afraid
I’ve taken the worst they can throw at me
And trounced that fear.
I’ve ridden roller coasters
I’ve jumped from great heights
I’ve walked alone down dark hallways with the lights off.
I visited mom.
I can face fears.
I can face reality.
I can face grisly horrors
I can face and embrace the darkness.
Shit happens.
We all gotta die.
We all gotta lose someone.
It’s okay to be scared
But being scared is a waste of precious time.
I am strong
I am brave
I can take a lot of fucking punishment.
I can take a lot of grief.
I can take a lot of burden.
I’ve been there.
I will be there again.
I’ve been well taught
How to bear things with stoicism and grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Journal – the best compliments

I realized I’ve been hiding my real writings recently.  Oops, bad Sarah. No secrets. Be open.

It sure was comfortable while it lasted, haha.

 

Something nice to muse upon… what is the best compliment you ever received?

 


I was watching old home movies
I saw mom laughing again
The elegance in her hands
Her purity

Kid me came up to her with the camera
I said, “What are your thoughts on life?”
“I’m for it,” she quipped.
“What are your thoughts on death?”
“Also for it.”
Her philosophy would be tested and proved
later in life,
later in death.
She may not have known this word for it,
But she was very Tao.

I always saw mom in me
Her philosophical side,
Her creativity
Her crazies
Her acceptance.

The best compliment I ever received
Was from friends who never really knew mom
They told me I was just like Dad.
Something I had never considered before.
But once I did I knew it was true.

I got his outrageous side,
His caring
His extroversion
His stoicism
His sense of humor.

Both were nonconformist
Both were strong
Both were smart
Both were brave
Both were loving.

I am lucky, so lucky
To have had such parents
I am lucky to have a family
Bound tightly together in common tragedy
I know true tribalism
It’s wonderful
To know who you are
To have a place
To have a role.

Everyone has ever been so good to me
As good as they knew how
They have taught me how to be good to others
Some lessons better than others
I am grateful for everyone
I try to deserve what I have
But not too hard.
Trying too hard to deserve something
Makes you deserve it less,
grow unbalanced.
I must love me
If I am to love others.
Odd that being in the presence of my heroes
Should make me feel so small
We spend our time
Building each other up
And I always leave
Feeling smaller
Undeserving
These people are my people
My family
I love them unconditionally
And they me
I just have to love myself
Unconditionally.

The cat gave me a compliment today.
She waited outside the shower for half an hour
I take long showers
And when I came out
She purred, happy to see me
Rubbed against my wet leg
Knowing she would get wet
Deciding it was worth it.

My sister tells me to come visit.
I say, I have a nasty cold.
She says, then I’ll make you soup.
The joy of my visit outweighs
The physical discomfort I bring.

Love should not be measured in sacrifice.
The pleasure should outweigh the pain
By a grand margin.
However, it can be a small proof
Here and there
Little heartwarming gestures.
Someone gives you roses
You know they gave up some time and money for them.
Someone gives you food
They made just for you.
Someone reads your blog
Every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Elegy for Mom

My sister said I should post this. I wrote it right after Mom died. She suffered from mental illness for most of my life, and passed away from complications due to Huntington’s disease.

 

 


 

 

Mom–

You were my idol

You were a voodoo queen

An earth goddess

A diva

A madwoman

A sophisticate

A saint

Always with a touch of the divine

Though everything you said was unreal

You never lied

You were fragile

And strong

And so much a part of me.

I used to envy the kids who had normal moms

Even the adults who complained about their aging parents

But these days I know better.

You taught me how to wear my crazy well

You were a fast friend

And a devoted parent through the last moment of your life

Often you were

So much more than human.

I battle myself not to be like you

I push myself to be more like you

You were a dark enigma

Yet transparent as light

Gentle yet terrifying

When you lived I couldn’t handle the pain of your existence

Now that you’ve died I find the absence hard to bear.

I once thought I took more care of you than you did of me

But today I understand what you sacrificed to protect your children.

Your laugh echoes in my empty heart

Your spirit derails me still

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Another one for Mom

 

Mom

Was it four years ago

Only four

When you were in the kitchen, insisting on helping with the dishes

You took so long

Running the disposal dry for minutes at a time.

 

Was it three years ago

Only three

In the cold, you in your green trenchcoat and walker

And I took you to a Chinese restaurant

For your latest obsession, orange chicken.

You hugged the waitress and told her you loved her.

 

Was it two years ago

Only two

When I was feeding you ice cream in bed

Sugar free, but we didn’t tell you that.

You ate it all, every time if I let you.

You told us you weren’t sick.

 

Was it one year ago

Only one?

We’d asked you if you were done with meds

And you nodded an emphatic yes

One of the last things you said.

We held your blue fingers

And watched you fade.

 

I miss you

I miss you

I hated to see you suffer

I was glad you got to go

But I still miss you.

Days go by

I’ve made new friends

I’ve found new joys

I am blossoming in new ways

You would be proud

You were always proud.

I haven’t missed out on anything

But I miss so much.

 

You were always easy to talk to

You knew things

I bet everything I have uncovered for myself

You already knew.