A Love Poem For My Mom

It is in the open spaces, the order finally created last night
since her passing, that I ache,
outside in the path of a cool summer breeze after night rain,
and endless days of sun-baked heat behind us on the trail of time.

In the distance, recorded and given, for a moment just as this,
a man sang with his flute, a haunting melody for the earth,
for the spirit, for an unnamable knowledge.

His song is my solace, the shape of the wind,
a memory and the lightness of hope, of knowing
a way beyond words,
the substance of love that death can only magnify.

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Easy Like Sunday Mornig


porch swing

I need to hear the birdsong,
the distant hoot owl call,
and nothing else,

I like a little drip drop
from cloudy skies,
a notion I might
bake brownies,

I like a notion,
I like the word.
It sounds gentle,
like two people

on a porch swing
talking about last night’s storm
when one gets “a notion to…”
do something

with that creaky porch door,
and then they sit and swing,
back and forth,
back and forth

all day long, as if no words
had passed between them.







Peaceful imnage found here

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Abundant Sweetness

It was my turn to stay with my mom at the hospital last night. We arrived after 11pm (my evening nap lasted a bit longer than anticipated) to relieve my dad so he could head home for much needed rest. A bit after midnight David picked up the boys, my dad left and my mom and I got down to the business of serious rest. By a stroke of perceiving the obvious (how did we all miss it for five days?), my mom suggested we move the table-on-wheels to the other side of the bed so she could reach her phone, mouth swab, etc. In this way, I was able to get some sleep and my mom felt less at loose ends.

My dad arrived at 6:30 this morning, I left at 8:30, planning on getting coffee, a few groceries, breakfast, and a shower. I’ve managed three out of four so far. Showers take a backseat as needed, though I may yet get clean.

Here’s the gift. Last night, trying to get up after the nap, I was tired like a lead weight, but I knew my responsibility so went to the hospital. This morning I’ve been happily surprised by an abundance of unexpected sweetness. I had a choice between getting coffee at Starbucks or Common Ground. Though I wasn’t interested in conversing (almost inevitable at the Co-op), I followed a twinge of intuition and drove into the mall lot to find the weekly Farmer’s Market in full swing. Again I almost left, but followed that small inner voice.

First, my favorite cashier was at Common Ground and I thoroughly enjoyed our brief visit. Second, coffee in hand, I ambled the Market, aisle by aisle, trailed and led by the memories of all the years we’ve been going there. Images of Bill and Bahiyyih, our small fry in strollers and toddling beside, how I arranged the world and the contents of my mind back then, it all walked with me, hand in hand with the most recent recollection, the few hours I had just spent in the hospital with my mom, praying, laughing together some, doing my best to help her be comfortable, listening to her converse with her dreams in the dark morning, and how I am simply taking life day by day just now.

As I’ve been about town this Saturday morning, I find my heart reaching out to each and every person I pass. I stare too long, but I must be smiling right. So many people have smiled back, seeming to be genuinely pleased with the interaction.

I’m tempted to head back over to the Farmer’s Market to see if Michael the One Man Band is there yet, but really, a shower would be a good idea…

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Partial update for my mom


The results of the MRI showed a break in her upper thigh, which completely explains the pain. She had x-rays done today so the surgeon can get a better handle on her exact situation and decide if he/she feels qualified to perform the surgery needed, or if it will need to be done by a different surgeon.

Her oncologist at the CTCA recommends the surgery be done here rather than there since their hospital doesn’t have the facilities on site for what specifically needs to be done so she wouldn’t be at his hospital anyway.

So basically we have answers but a lot of details not yet figured out.

My mom is still in good spirits a lot of the time, and at others she is understandably very upset by having to accept things as they are, all the unknowns, and the extreme physical hardships.

Through this experience that started back in September, I have been learning from my mom’s example. At a time when she could easily completely fall apart (and no one would fault her for it), she has been trying to pull out the gifts, has been praying like never before, and has been reaching out for help, trusting her friends and family will answer the call. And they have, powerfully.


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Hanging out at the hospital

Hi Friends,

Monday night my mom was admitted to the hospital for severe leg pain, chest congestion and fever. Since the moment she arrived at the emergency room friends and family have been with her except when she has requested to be alone in order to sleep.

Yesterday she was feeling a bit better, and today better still. Her temperature returned to normal a few hours after getting to the hospital and the chest x-ray was beautifully uninteresting. This morning her leg was in far less pain, though it still hurts. We’re waiting to hear the results of an MRI from yesterday to know more about what may be going on there.

Matthew and I have been at the hospital since around 8:30am. Fortunately both my mom and Matthew enjoy PBS Kids, at least most of the shows, and they seem to dislike the same ones. Other friends and family have been in and out and there has been much laughter, a good portion of it provided courtesy of my mom’s wit.

Presently we’re watching a gardening show, mom sleeps, and Matthew and I are diddling around on computers. I plan to update as we know more.


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recording now (written last July)

to market at dusk
brown-speckled bananas, organic mints, time
she’s locking patio furniture with a hundred-foot cable
i sit
so humid, clouds, those pink chalk smudges above
hold still
cicadas, tire spokes, boys’ foot steps
an orchestra
i inhale pastel petals in wooden crates
solitude lifts my breath
if you were here, i would offer a sip of ginger-ale

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untitled (written last August)

I pray for the willingness to accept the prosperity in my life. The more I allow in, the more my younger, wounded self pushes back. She needs a voice, for right now, none other can be heard when I sit down to write. She speaks for many.


I am an aching wound that clutters city streets.
I am society’s dis-ease come to life – one more time.
I am unraveled, uninformed, undone – completely… inept at your game.
I am what goes wrong when everyone has better things to do than be bothered to help the children really.

I am grown and wandering your alleys.
A disconcerting facade will never cover what is broken.
Who am I to tell you your way is failing?
Who am I to realize my failures are birth pains toward sanity?
(O God please.)

Who am I? Nobody knows.

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small joy

I look across the kitchen table at my eleven year old son, and in a moment of grace, I forget our growing pains, his manifested discontent, that I’ve been cloaked in my own frustration all morning; a discomfort triggered by his determination to see an idea through though we’ve told him more than once to stop, and so have been gifted with a display not exactly like a tantrum, but not far from.

As I gaze on my son’s angular form, I remember that I am his mother, he is my cherished baby. I cooed over him, watched with held breath as he toddled two steps in Nana’s bright living room, an eleven month old miracle. I remember his toothless grin, bouncing sun-streaked auburn curls, and a light in his eyes. It seemed to call, “I am a magic elf and you are my best friend. Shall we play and laugh forever?”

I’ve been staring at my growing boy for a while. He’s engrossed in a book, unaware of my transformation. I am lost and found, lighter for seeing him as the jewel he is, for waking up (again) to how how quickly eleven years has passed, that eighteen is surely a blink away. He looks up from his Superman comic, reads me for a moment, then smiles back.


Three year old beside three day old – I’m writing about big brother
Just now he’s in a lower-bunk fort, reading an Asterix Omnibus comic, making up a rhyming song, belting it out for our enjoyment (through writing this not-so-small joy, I have sense enough to appreciate his purposely-off-key, giggling creativity). Though I cannot see his eyes, I am certain they’re twinkling.
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words of wisdom? (written last August)

Let’s say you’re deathly afraid of heights. If there’s a chance you’re going to need to leap off a cliff (like it or not), make sure there is deep water below. If you have in fact confirmed the water level to be sufficient, and all of a sudden, there you are at the precipice with say, a hungry lion on your trail,  jumping is safer than trying to confuse or overpower the very large cat!

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incomplete thoughts (written last August)

Today I thought about discontent, having what we want/have worked for, doing enough, and gratitude. I hear, “I should not be sad/angry/overwhelmed, after all, look at my healthy family/nice home/promising career.” But we are distressed. There is something more we need to consider.

We have been lured to want what is not good for us; more things, more money, more enriching activities – at the expense of simple, loving, supportive community. So once we get what we think we want, we are still by ourselves (as an individual or a family), and that is not enough. We then talk ourselves into being grateful and that helps for a while, but really, we need accompaniment through the dailiness that is life, even when everything is going along basically fine. We need to be helping each other as a habit, not waiting for the big opportunities, like fire, a new baby, natural disaster. I expect folks who observe the Sabbath have a handle on how to do this, at least once a week.

As a country we are suffering from acute loneliness, and it is driving many folks literally crazy.

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